Wilmington is a port city in and is the county seat of New Hanover County in coastal southeastern North Carolina, United States. The population is 106,476; according to the 2010 Census it is the eighth most populous city in the state. Wilmington is the principal city of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that includes New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties in southeastern North Carolina, which has a population of 263,429 as of the 2012 Census Estimate.
Wilmington was settled by European Americans along the Cape Fear River. Its historic downtown has a one-mile-long Riverwalk, developed as a tourist attraction. It is minutes away from nearby beaches. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Wilmington, North Carolina, one of its 2008 Dozen Distinctive Destinations. City residents live between the river and the ocean, with three nearby beach communities: Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach all within half-hour drives from downtown Wilmington.
In 2003 the city was designated by the US Congress, as a "Coast Guard City". It is home port for the USCGC Diligence, a United States Coast Guard medium endurance cutter. In 2003, One Tree Hill was also filmed here until the finale in 2012.
The World War II battleship USS North Carolina is held as a war memorial; located across from the downtown port area, the ship is open to public tours. Other attractions include the Cape Fear Museum, the Wilmington Hammerheads United Soccer Leagues soccer team, and the training camp site for the Charlotte Bobcats. The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) provides a wide variety of programs for undergraduates, graduate students, and adult learners, in addition to cultural and sports events open to the community.
Wilmington is the home of EUE Screen Gems Studios, the largest domestic television and movie production facility outside of California. "Dream Stage 10," the facility's newest sound stage, is the third-largest in the US. It houses the largest special-effects water tank in North America. Since the studio's opening in 1984, Wilmington has become a major center of American film and television production. Numerous movies in a range of genres and several television series, including Iron Man 3 and NBC's Revolution (TV series), have been produced there.
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