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Best Things to Do in Elizabeth City NC  

Best Things to Do in Elizabeth City NC  

Nestled in a narrow bend of the Pasquotank River. Elizabeth City North Carolina is known as the Harbor of Hospitality. That's no place to pass by without stopping. Here are a few of the best things to do during your stay.

Museum of the Albemarle

The peninsula of the Currituck Banks shields the sound from the Atlantic Ocean. The peninsula separates the river from the sea. Yet it allows their waters to mix. At the sound’s southeastern corner lies the mysterious Roanoke Island. Here, England's first American colony disappeared. To where still no one knows reportedly.

Travel west. To the wet soil of a meeting of land and sea. Of rivers. Of fresh and saltwater. Here, the first permanent English settlements in the Carolinas found an amphibious foothold. Like frogs on the western edge of the known world. The eastern edge of the New World.

Many rivers meet here. The Chowan and Roanoke among them. Here flow the brackish waters of the Albemarle Sound. These waters hold the memory of the earliest history of the United States.

This memory. This history. This unique story and way of life. This is what the Museum of the Albemarle seeks to share. Tourists call it excellent. No doubt they enjoy its location as well. Many other desirable destinations are also nearby.


This history museum hosts a variety of exhibits. Most are free and open to the public. They include:

  • Our Story: Life in the Albemarle. Tells the history of the community’s interactions with this unique environment. Open long-term.
  • North Carolina Shad Boat. A replica of the state historic boat. Open long-term.
  • River Bridge: Sunken Secrets. A display of excavated artifacts from the colonial period to the early 20th century. Open until February 2022.
  • High on the Hog. An exhibition on the vital role hogs have played in life in the region. Open until July 2022.
  • Women Breaking Barriers in Northeastern North Carolina. A tribute to the influential women of the region. Displays artwork from local high school students. Open until December 2022.
  • Reliving the 1960s. A look at the roles that movements, wars, politics, and the environment played in this decade. Open until January 24, 2022.

Don't forget to ask about traveling exhibits when you visit.

Jackson House and Proctor Smokehouse

Tour the Jackson House and Proctor Smokehouse, the museum’s two historic buildings. Both are the work of Russel Steele, a local award-winning restoration carpenter. He used period-accurate tools and methods to reconstruct these sites.

Built in 1755 in Pasquotank County, the Jackson House is older than the United States. This large and finely furnished farmhouse was originally home to Daniel Jackson, Jr., his wife Elizabeth, and their children.

Nearby, the Proctor Smokehouse is an antebellum structure. It was built between 1826 and 1850. This house for salting and curing pork in winter was invaluable to the farming lifestyle of the Proctor family.

Online Exhibits

The Museum of the Albemarle’s website also has many online exhibits, including:

Under Both Flags: Civil War in the Albemarle. Tells the stories of the region’s citizens, ships, and plantations during this bloody period of US history.

Temperance and Bootlegging: a Nation Under Prohibition. A series of panels explaining the lasting effects of the Eighteenth Amendment and Volstead Act on northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia.

The Day the Lights Came On. An interactive exhibit showing how the introduction of electricity around the 1950s revolutionized life in the region.

Mariners’ Wharf Park

Near the Museum of the Albemarle, on the downtown waterfront, is the Mariners’ Wharf Park. This is a favorite destination of boaters.

The park is located along the Pasquotank River and within walking distance of downtown shops and restaurants. It offers:

  • Free dockage for 48 hours on 1 of 14 complimentary boat slips.
  • Public restrooms.
  • Hot showers for boaters.
  • Free wi-fi.
  • Shady benches.

Even Wharf Park holds to the region's love of both land and sea. The park also offers plenty of events on land, including:

  • Downtown Waterfront Market. Tuesday evenings, June through September.
  • Music on the Green concerts.
  • An annual film festival.

Places to Eat

You’ve toured the history of the Albemarle and taken your boat out on the Pasquotank River. You’re bound to be hungry. Here are just four of the best local restaurants in Elizabeth City NC:

  • Hoppin’ Johnz - 606 E Colonial Ave, Elizabeth City 27909 - Hours: 11:30 am–10 pm

This Southern seafood restaurant offers a full bar, many vegetarian options, and space for small dogs on the patio. Patrons recommend the gumbo, shrimp and grits, burgers, and blackberry crisp.

  • Paradiso Roma Ristorante - 35 Camden Causeway, Elizabeth City, NC 27909 - Hours: 12–9 pm

Paradiso Roma Ristorante serves delicious, authentic Italian cuisine. Everything is made fresh daily from all-local ingredients. Seating gives a beautiful view of the water. Patrons recommend the pizza, garlic bread, fish n chips, and tiramisu.

  • La Tiendita Mexican Restaurant - 211 S Hughes Blvd, Elizabeth City, NC - Hours: 11 am–9 pm

This inexpensive local taqueria offers dollar tacos on Taco Tuesday and boasts an excellent oyster bar. Patrons recommend the enchiladas rancheras, burritos, and fajita salad.

For more excellent seafood options in northeastern North Carolina, read all about the Tidewater Oyster Bar in Port City NC.

  • The Mills Downtown Bistro - 200 N Poindexter St, Elizabeth City, NC - Hours: 11am–3pm, 5–9pm

This rustic hole in the wall has a quaint and classy atmosphere. Its unique menu items include:

  • Artichoke al Ajillo
  • Buffalo Flatbread
  • Prosciutto and Asparagus crepe
  • Chocolate tart

Patrons also swear by the Bloody Marys! Hint, hint…

On your trip along the northeastern coast of North Carolina, be sure to stop by for these historical, riverfront, and culinary adventures.

This place is for Publicity

This place is for Publicity

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