With its central location on the East Coast, and its relatively small size, Wilmington is an easy city to get to and to navigate around.
Wilmington has an area of only 17 square miles, and its streets are laid out in a grid, so most of its attractions are easy to find and only a short walk or car ride away. The downtown area is less than 20 blocks in all directions. Additionally, Wilmington is located right on the I-95, making it extremely accessible. Its prime location also lends itself to day trips – click here for a list of our recommendations.
This beautiful Brandywine Valley city can be enjoyed on foot, by car, or with public transportation. No matter what you prefer, we have tips for you.
Continue reading for a breakdown of all the transportation options available to you in Wilmington, Delaware.
Getting to Wilmington
Philadelphia International Airport
For those who don’t live on the East Coast, flying to Philadelphia International Airport may be the easiest option. The airport is less than 30 minutes away from downtown Wilmington, and more than 140 different international and domestic locations offer flights to this airport.
Philadelphia is American Airlines’ fifth-largest hub; they offer countless low-fare flight options to the city. Once you touch down at the Philadelphia International Airport, you can easily call a cab with Uber or Lyft to take you the short distance to Wilmington. The Delaware Express also offers rides from the airport to Wilmington for about $35.
Amtrak is a great option for those who live on the East Coast. Famously, President Joe Biden commuted from Wilmington to Washington D.C. via Amtrak every day during the decades he was a U.S. senator. The Wilmington station, located on the Riverfront, is even named after him.
Wilmington’s train station is one of the railroad service’s busiest; it is part of nine Amtrak train routes as well as the SEPTA Regional Rail commuter service. Trains coming from Vermont, Maryland, Chicago, Charlotte, Boston, and more all make stops in Wilmington.
Wilmington is also easy to get to by car. Since it is right on the Interstate-95, the main north-to-south highway on the East Coast, anyone from Maine to Miami can use the highway to get to Delaware. The city is also connected to the New Jersey Turnpike through the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
Downtown Wilmington is relatively compact, so it can be explored on foot. Wilmington also boasts beautiful parks and public spaces that should be enjoyed on a stroll, such as Brandywine Park and Rodney Square. Walk Score has given Wilmington a score of 74, meaning it is very walkable. The most walkable neighborhoods in the city include Trolley Square, Midtown Brandywine, and Riverfront.
The city's east-to-west streets are numbered First through 16th, and the north-to-south streets are named after important historical figures west of the Market, and after trees east of the Market.
DART First State
DART is an easily accessible and inexpensive way to travel around Wilmington and the rest of northern Delaware, including Kent County and Sussex County. DART, which stands for Delaware Administration for Regional Transit, has transported passengers across the state for more than 150 years. One-way bus fares are $2.00 for adults, but day, week, and month-long passes are available as well. DART operates a mobile app that you can purchase tickets or look at bus routes with. The app makes using this form of public transportation extremely convenient.
There are 34 fixed bus routes operating in the Wilmington area; the main hub is the Wilmington Transit Center on the Riverfront. The routes operate fully from Monday through Friday, with shorter service on the weekend. During the week, DART runs from 6:00am to 8:30pm; on weekends, it operates from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Check here for the bus schedules and routes.
Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft can be even more convenient than the DART bus routes, though they are definitely more expensive. A taxi may also be the best option to get to attractions that aren’t directly on a DART route, or for attractions that are further away.
There is a company called Zipcar that operates car-shares in Wilmington. It uses a similar concept to bike-sharing apps like Citi Bike; cars can be reserved through the Zipcar app and then unlocked with a Zipcar card. Gas and insurance is included with the car rental, and you can rent a Zipcar for anywhere from an hour to a whole day. The company has locations throughout Market Street in Wilmington. The only downside to using Zipcar is that the card that gives you access has to be ordered in advance.
Other major car rental companies like Hertz, Enterprise, and Avis operate in Wilmington as well.
The League of American Bicyclists has named Delaware the sixth-most bicycle-friendly state in the country. Wilmington especially is home to countless bike trails and bike-friendly parks. One of the best routes in the city is the Jack A. Marckell Trail, which connects the Riverfront and Historic New Castle. The 6-mile trail is mostly off-road, and winds by some of the most historic and most fascinating destinations in the area.
Other bike routes in or near Wilmington include the one at White Clay Creek State Park, the Toscana Loop, which passes Winterthur Museum and Kennett Square, and the Northern Delaware Greenway Trail, which includes Brandywine Zoo and Rockwood Mansion. (Read more about these attractions on our list of 12 Best Things to Do in Wilmington). No matter which bike route you choose, you are sure to see some of Wilmington’s best sights, and experience the cycling life in one of the top ten most bicycle-friendly states.
Wilmington’s Riverfront used to be home to water taxis, but they were recently discontinued. However, they have been replaced by boat cruises run by the Coastal Marine Group. In Wilmington, available cruises include the Evening Skyline Cruise, Scenic River Cruise, and private charters. The cruises last from an hour to two hours, as they coast down the Christina River. Though not necessarily an efficient form of transportation, this is still a great way to see the Wilmington skyline.
From Ubers to bike paths to the DART First State bus system, there are numerous ways to travel around Wilmington, Delaware, and the rest of the Brandywine Valley.