With a population of just under 8,000 people and a total land area of less than seven square miles, the town of North Star in New Castle County, Delaware, has a mix of suburban and rural lifestyles. The town is actually a suburb of Philadelphia, which is only about an hour away, but the crowds and noise of the big city feel far away.
North Star’s location along the Delaware River, with easy access to hiking trails and natural areas, gives it the rural feel. Yet the many restaurants, coffee shops, and nightlife venues give it a more urban edge, particularly in the downtown area. There are also plenty of places to shop, including Dover Delaware Shopping Mall and Pine Creek Shopping Mall.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around North Star, Delaware.
1. Grab a Bite to Eat at The Crownery Chinese Restaurant
After some time on the road, the first thing you will likely want to do is grab a bite to eat. The Crownery Chinese Restaurant in nearby Hockessin is the perfect place to enjoy delicious, authentic Chinese food in a cozy environment.
The menu features a variety of traditional and modern dishes, including the popular Dim Sum.
2. Mount Cuba Astronomical Observatory
On select evenings throughout the week, the Mount Cuba Astronomical Observatory in Greenville invites the public to visit. On-site, there is a 0.6-meter telescope from which you can view the moon and planets.
Throughout the evening, there are speeches about astronomy. Also on-site are a Sunquest sundial and a souvenir shop.
3. White Clay Creek State Park
Outdoor lovers can spend an entire day fishing, hiking, and biking in White Clay State Park. Freshwater fishing is enjoyed at Millstone Pond and Cattail Pond, and anglers have the opportunity to reel in a variety of species, including bluegill, crappie, and trout.
Hiking and biking are enjoyed on 37 miles of trails ranging from easy to moderate. Along the way, you will pass through historic sites and beautiful areas with views of valleys and unique rock formations.
4. Delaware Museum of Natural History
For a day filled with interactive learning experiences, visitors of all ages enjoy exploring the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Wilmington. As the only museum of this type in the state, you will have a unique encounter with the natural world.
The museum is home to a number of permanent exhibits focusing on a variety of areas, including dinosaurs, mammals, and Charles Darwin. Throughout the year, a variety of temporary exhibitions are featured.
5. Delaware Art Museum
If you love art, you will love admiring the more than 12,000 artworks housed at the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington. The in-house collection is among the largest in Delaware and features a variety of American art dating from the 19th century to today.
An outdoor sculpture park also spans across 10 acres of the property, and the museum hosts many special exhibitions throughout the year.
6. Take a Scenic Train Ride with the Wilmington & Western Railroad
While going for a scenic drive is one of the best ways to see much of the scenery around the region, an even better way is to take a scenic train ride, so you can keep your eyes on the beautiful surroundings instead of the road.
The Wilmington & Western Railroad’s routes take visitors through some of the most scenic places in the Red Clay Valley, including Greenbank, Faulkland, Wooddale, Ashland, Yorklyn, and Hockessin.
7. Try Your Luck at the Casino Delaware Park
Visitors wanting to have some fun and try their luck at winning money are greeted by an exceptional mix of gaming options at the Casino Delaware Park in Wilmington. Some of the gaming options available include more than 2,300 slot machines across two levels, table games, a large poker room, and sports betting.
Also on-site are several eateries and an 18-hole public golf course.
8. Russell W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge
The downtown area of Wilmington may seem like a strange place for a wildlife refuge, but an urban green space situated on the town’s riverfront is one of only a few urban wildlife refuges in the United States.
The Russell W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge is dedicated to the preservation of a delicate wetland marsh environment and the various species that make their home there. With the help of raised walkways, paths, and viewing platforms, visitors can view the landscape and wildlife safely.
9. The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Since the major city of Philadelphia is only an hour away from North Star, you may find yourself exploring this beautiful urban center. One of the must-see attractions in the city is the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This museum is huge, so it’s a good thing the cost of admission allows visitors entry for two consecutive days.
Once inside, you can explore on your own or take a guided tour. On your journey through this world-class museum, you will see an incredible mix of American, European, and Asian artworks across more than 200 galleries.
A collection of art by French Impressionists, art depicting the colorful history of Philadelphia, the world’s biggest collection of artworks by Marcel Duchamp, and a Rodin exhibit are just some of the fascinating exhibits that await.
There are child-friendly programs available, and several eateries, including Stir, are on-site.
10. Rockwood Museum and Park
The historic estate now known as The Rockwood Museum and Park in Wilmington was a beautiful country home built in the 1850s. It was passed down through several generations before being restored and opened to the public by a non-profit organization.
Visitors can take a tour of the home and its elaborate rooms. The outside yard and stunning gardens are also open to visitors. Throughout the year, many events, including ghost tours and markets, take place.
11. Ashland Nature Center
Visitors to the Ashland Nature Center can enjoy a full day learning about the nature of the area and relaxing in the peacefulness of 130 acres of woodland, meadows, and marshland. You can also enjoy stunning views along Red Clay Creek and hike the four miles of nature trails.
Along the way, you will come across the Red Clay Valley Important Bird Area, a Hawk Watch, a Bird Blind, a Butterfly House, and a Hummingbird Haven. This park is open all year round, and there are washrooms, a visitor center, a picnic area, and an overnight lodge on-site.
12. Enjoy a Seafood Meal at Big Fish Grill on the Riverfront
There’s no better way to enjoy a hearty meal of fresh, local seafood than with stunning views of a river in a laidback atmosphere surrounded by fun, nautical-themed decor.
At Big Fish on the Riverfront Restaurant in Wilmington, the kitchen staff are known for their penchant for serving up generous servings of whatever it is you order for lunch or dinner.
While seafood is their claim to fame, there are many other dishes available, and you can enjoy your meal indoors or on a large covered patio in warmer weather.
13. Delaware Children’s Museum
Children of all ages are welcome to spend a day exploring, learning, and discovering new things at the Delaware Children’s Museum. The main goal of this museum is to inspire children to embrace learning through a variety of interactive exhibits.
Some of these learning experiences include permanent exhibits dedicated to math, science, technology, and art.
14. Mt. Cuba Center Botanical Garden
At the Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, visitors can visit a unique botanical garden and learn about the various plants that are housed there. Most of these plants are indigenous to the Eastern Temperate Forests and the Appalachian Piedmont, but there’s also a wide variety of historic plants that were significant to the overall character of the property.
While admiring these beautiful gardens, take the time to learn more about the research that went into developing them and the conservation efforts that are being done to preserve them. Guided tours are available.
15. The Hagley Museum and Library
Situated on 225 acres, The Hagley Museum and Library is part of the larger compound once owned by the DuPont Family. Several other historic buildings, including a 19th-century machine shop, are on-site, and numerous artifacts are displayed.
Visitors can also admire the revitalized renaissance garden. You can learn all about the buildings and artifacts that are on-site when inside the museum.