At the time of the last census, New Castle County’s Pike Creek Valley had a population of just more than 13,000 residents.
Though it’s one of the smallest municipalities in the region, it’s relatively central location is the perfect starting point for those intent on visiting the state’s many attractions.
Galleries, museums, and theaters are plentiful in both Wilmington and Newark, and there are plenty of historical sites and state parks nearby as well.
Golf, auto racing, and gambling are big draws too. For those who don’t mind road trips, there are miles of beaches along the Atlantic coast to the south.
Below are 15 things to do in Pike Creek Valley.
1. Café Pomodoro
Though Café Pomodoro is technically located in neighboring Wilmington, it’s just a few blocks from Pike Creek Valley’s town center.
For travelers with empty tanks, it’s the perfect place to fill up without spending an arm and a leg. Both repeat customers and one-time visitors agree that it has the most authentic and reasonably priced Italian food in the area.
Café Pomodoro’s menu includes traditional favorites like calamari, parmesan, pasta, and pizza. The restaurant features both in and outdoor seating as well.
Fresh salads, soups, baked goods, appetizers, and some seafood dishes are popular too.
2. Wilmington & Western Railway
For much of the 19th century, the Wilmington & Western Railway was a significant driver for Delaware’s economy. But since the mid-‘60s, it’s been dedicated to providing visitors and locals a fun and educational way to see the state from a unique perspective.
Train tours are inexpensive, last just a few hours, and include narration from a knowledgeable local, whose unique insights into the area’s history, economy, and culture might be missed otherwise.
The railway’s staff members offer a variety of regularly scheduled programs and special events throughout the year, especially during the summer months and holiday season.
3. Delaware Museum of Natural History
As the country’s first state, Delaware has a history that stretches back more than three centuries. For many first-time visitors, historic sites constitute the majority of their vacation activities.
For a change of pace from the human to natural world, however, the Delaware Museum of Natural History on Kennett Pike in Wilmington would be a great place to spend a few hours.
The only natural history museum of its kind in Delaware, its interactive exhibits focus on plants and animals, ecology, weather, and dinosaurs. It’s especially popular with families traveling with little ones with inquisitive minds.
4. Sushi Xtreme
Though Delaware probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when most foodies think of sushi, for those visiting the Pike Creek Valley area, there’s at least one great option.
Sushi Xtreme is located on Limestone Road and is an all-you-can-eat restaurant.
Their spread includes both sushi and sashimi, as well as tons of other Asian-inspired dishes like soup, salads, rice, fried noodles, and desserts.
Previous guests and online reviewers have commented that the restaurant was clean and the buffet was kept well-stocked even during the dinner rush, which generally starts around five o’clock and lasts until after 7:30.
5. Hagley Museum and Library
The Hagley Museum and Library are located on a sprawling tract of land along the scenic Brandywine River that includes more than 200 acres.
One of those destinations that typically occupies more time than visitors planned, it includes both historical and natural attractions that appeal to those with a wide range of interests.
The estate once belonged to the wealthy DuPont family and includes homes, impressive gardens with sculptures, and historical shop buildings from eras long past.
Many of the artifacts and memorabilia contained in the museum and library harken back to the state’s early years before and during the Revolutionary War.
6. Brandywine Creek State Park
Despite its small size, Delaware is home to an abundance of state parks. Many of them are in the northern part of the state, just a few miles from Pike Creek Valley.
Brandywine Creek State Park is comprised of almost 1,000 acres of pristine land, parts of which were the first in the state to be set aside strictly for public use.
The park is most well-known for its network of trails that stretch for nearly 20 miles through a number of varied environments.
The most popular trails are loops that are relatively flat and constructed with gravel or pavement, making them appropriate for those of most ages and levels of physical ability.
7. Delaware Children’s Museum
Traveling with children is never an easy undertaking, and without constant engagement and activity, many kids can turn a relaxing vacation into a stressful one.
The Delaware Children’s Museum is located on Justison Street in Wilmington and is full of interactive exhibits that touch on a variety of topics, including science and technology, the natural world, history, and art.
The cost of admission is relatively reasonable, especially considering that it’s one of those attractions that can easily occupy two or more hours. In addition to being educational, it’s just downright fun, even for older kids and adults.
8. Grand Opera House
The Grand Opera House on North Market Street in Wilmington has been around since the 1870s.
Over its long life, the historic building has served many roles. Though it’s been a movie theater, classical musical venue, and even a vaudeville attraction, for much of the 20th century, it fell into disuse and disrepair.
Now, it has mostly been restored to its former glory and is one of the state’s premier attractions for lovers of opera and theater.
Tickets to popular shows often go quickly, so it’s a good idea to check their calendar of events and purchase yours beforehand if your schedule allows.
9. Delaware Art Museum
The Delaware Museum of Art is located on Kentmere Parkway in Wilmington and houses the state’s most extensive collection of contemporary art.
The collection is comprised of more than 10,000 individual works, most of which were created in the 19th and 20th centuries and include many by local and regional artists.
The museum’s outdoor grounds feature distinct flower and sculpture gardens that are spread over 10 acres and connected by easily walkable paths.
Throughout the year, the staff offer an impressive array of events and programs, ranging from workshops for beginners to popular holiday events for kids.
10. Vince’s Sports Center
For its impressive variety of activity options, Vince’s Sports Center is in a class of its own.
Vince’s is located on Gender Road in Newark and is spread across nearly 20 acres. It includes pretty much everything sports enthusiasts could imagine, like mini-golf courses, batting cages, a video arcade, and even an executive style, par-3, 9-hole golf course.
At peak times on weekends during the spring and summer, it can be a loud and crazy place, so it may not be a good fit for those looking for peace and quiet.
Vince’s also sells drinks and food like burgers, dogs, pizza, and funnel cake.
11. People’s Plaza
People’s Plaza was the brainchild of an entrepreneurial man with an eye to the future more than four decades ago, when the area around Bear, Wilmington, and Pike Creek Valley was nearly all farmland.
People’s Plaza started small but has grown significantly over the years. Now, it includes a multi-plex movie theater, lots of restaurants, a pharmacy, a supermarket, and a large home improvement warehouse.
Clothes, shoes, and electronics are available as well. Since Delaware has no retail sales tax, most of what you buy is noticeably less expensive than it’d be in other nearby states like Maryland and Pennsylvania.
12. Midnight Oil Brewing Company
Newark’s Midnight Oil Brewing Company is located on Pencader Drive. Like many small-batch brewing companies, it started as just a hobby for its founder.
Now, Midnight Oil is a legitimate business that’s attracted a loyal following and garnered attention for its tasty beers that run the gamut from opaque stouts to pleasantly bitter IPAs.
For those interested in getting a unique insight into how relatively mundane ingredients are turned into such popular and intoxicating beverages, guided tours are offered on a regular basis.
Their tasting room is a popular gathering place. For those new to the area, it’s a great way to meet interesting locals, sample great beer, and learn about things to see and do in the area.
13. Huge Doctor’s Bag with Stethoscope
Huge Doctor's Bag with Stethoscope in front of a medical building near the intersection of Route 7 & 4 Newark, Delaware
Newark is home to one of the state’s most quirky, unique, and unforgettable attractions. Unlike most of Delaware’s more commercial tourist draws, it’s totally free to visit.
The massive, modern art doctor’s bag and stethoscope are located on the grounds of one of the city’s many medical centers. It measures nearly 20 feet wide and is almost as tall.
It’s a quick stop in near other area attractions and was built as a memorial of sorts to the many roles doctors have always played in society, especially during the days when they regularly made house calls to patients in the most rural parts of the state.
14. Delaware Children’s Theater
The Delaware Children’s Theater is located on Delaware Avenue in Wilmington. It is one of the state’s most unique theaters in that its productions are produced mainly by children for children.
The theater itself has been around for more than a century and has undergone a number of renovations recently that make it the perfect mix of the old and new.
The theater’s relatively small size makes for an intimate community feel that’s usually missing in larger, more contemporary venues, and performances often sell out.
The staff also offer instruction workshops and fun activities for little ones interested in exploring acting as well.