New Bern

  • By Wendy Card and Susan Cook

Wendy Card and Susan Cook give you five things – and more! – to do in New Bern.

Five Things to do in My Town

This entry is part of the “5 Things to Do in My Town” series where we asked Our State readers and fans to become the town tour guide and tell us what to do when visiting their town. Enjoy!

From Wendy Card

Visit New Bern to discover a city rich in the arts, culture, history, outdoor recreation, and community spirit!

1) The large art scene attracts visitors from around the world. Craven Arts Council and Gallery is the hub where artists unite and work together to create unique, fun-filled events. People look forward to Downtown Artwalks throughout the year to admire extraordinary works of art. They also enjoy live performances at numerous venues around town.

2) The Downtown Historic District’s revitalization effort began in the late 70’s and is recognized throughout the Nation as an award winning, Main Street USA success story.

3) Taste the local flavors at The Chelsea Restaurant, Morgan’s Tavern and Grill, The Cow Café, and Port City Java, to name a few local favorites.

4) Mitchell Hardware and Carolina Creations Fine Art and Contemporary Craft Gallery are acclaimed places to shop. Step back in time at the “Birthplace of Pepsi Cola” where Pepsi was invented. We also have numerous specialty stores around town. Visit the New Bern Farmers Market where locals gather to catch up on the latest news, meet new friends, and buy fresh produce, arts, crafts and more!

5) Founded in the early eighteenth-century, New Bern has a long historical story. Tryon Palace is the landmark of the first State Capitol in North Carolina. The Governor’s Mansion, Gardens, and the North Carolina History Center at Tryon Palace is one of the top places to visit. Downtown and the Historic District, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Christ Episcopal Church, and New Bern’s Battlefield Park, are only a few of many notable places of interest.

6) New Bern is an outdoor lover’s paradise as the opportunities are plentiful. Relish in our beautiful scenery, mild climate, the Neuse and Trent Rivers, and the Croatan National Forest. It’s a perfect place to bike, boat, camp, fish, golf, hike, and hunt. These are only some of many favorite things to do outdoors. Explore our town by taking a self guided or professional tour: horse and carriage ride; river cruises; helicopter rides, trolley tour, and more.

7) Our town hosts many festivals and events! The 32nd MUMFEST is a must visit event, October 13 – 14! Tens of thousands of people line the streets of Downtown New Bern for a weekend full of spectacular shows, arts, crafts, food, carnival rides, and a wide range of things to do – newest venue SEAFAIR “World’s first mobile mega-yacht”. The holiday season brings a “Beary Merry Christmas”, November 25 – December 31.

Residents range from native New Bernians, transplants seeking a slower pace of life, and snowbirds escaping from the cold weather. Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point is 20 miles away so we have a large military population and we are proud to support our troops! New Bern is also a very popular retirement community.

Encounter the carefree southern lifestyle with a twist of interesting cultural experiences. Click here to enjoy a video about New Bern.

Take a stroll in downtown New Bern, North Carolina

Enjoy the great outdoors at Union Point Park, New Bern, NC

From Susan Cook

1. Tryon Palace. Tryon Palace served as the first permanent capitol of North Carolina. There are tours of the mansion and the gardens – which are very beautiful – and demonstrations to show what life was like in the 18th century. There are also activities and crafts for the children to do at certain times through out the year.

2. Downtown area. Downtown has the nicest shops and restaurants. The place where Pepsi was founded is there and The Pepsi Store: The Birthplace of Pepsi Cola has a nice soda fountain and gift shop. Captain Ratty’s restaurant has great food and wonderful atmosphere. If you go, you need to try their fish and chips and their shrimp wraps. They are wonderful. There are many beautiful bed and breakfasts as well. And keep your eyes open for the many ceramic bears around town. Each gives you a little bit of the history of New Bern.

3. Union Point Park is a great place to go and relax and watch the boats come in. Take a loaf of bread to feed the ducks. If you wait long enough, you may get to watch the draw bridge go up to let the tall sailboats go thru. It is also interesting to sit and watch people fish for crabs.

4. MUMFest is a wonderful event in October. There are arts and crafts, great food, and a lot of good entertainment. It is a great opportunity to get out and see your friends and neighbors.

5. Riverboat Tours. It is a 2-hour cruise that is narrated while you get to see New Bern’s beautiful and historic waterfront. You may even get to see some wildlife and you travel by author Nicholas Spark’s house.

Bears around the town of New Bern

The Birthplace of Pepsi, downtown New Bern, North Carolina.

Note: Please verify location and hours of attractions and restaurants you may wish to visit, as they may have changed since this Our State reader shared the suggestions!
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9 Responses to New Bern

  1. Peggy Barnes says:

    New Bern is a great place to visit but an even better place to live!

  2. Gary Curry says:

    North Carolina’s trusted natural gas provider has once again partnered with the New Bern Young Professionals Group for this year’s River Jam! Piedmont Natural Gas, our title sponsor for this premiere MumFest event, presents three most-loved and highly entertaining bands for River Jam 2012! Join us as the Soul Shakers, The Switch, and the Band of Oz take the stage on October 13th. Gates open at 4pm and the show starts at 5pm behind the BridgePointe Hotel. We’re gonna rock the riverfront!!! Get your tickets now online at or from New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce, BridgePointe Hotel, or Mitchell Hardware for $15.

  3. Nancy Hawley says:

    Five Things I Love About New Bern
    1. Mumfest
    2. Ghost Walk; Cedar Grove Cemetery
    3. Blessing of the Pets at Christ Church
    4. Christmas Candlelight Tour at Tryon Palace; Christmas flotilla; shopping downtown any time of the year but especially at Christmas
    5. Arts – Whether it’s performances by the little theater groups in town or the art galleries – there is always something fun to do in New Bern.

  4. Dona Baker says:

    New Bern has everything we wanted; boating, fishing, golfing, hiking, and biking year-round. Our airport can get us to anywhere we want to go and the beach is just a short drive. Not only did we purchase a home, but we brought my business here as well. Visit and you may stay!

  5. Kudos to Our State for this outstanding series and kudos to Wendy Card, Susan Cook and Thea Kincaid for submitting this outstanding summary of New Bern and Craven County. We extend invitations for Our State readers to visit New Bern and enjoy the many attractions, shops and galleries, dining and of course MUMFEST, October 13 -14. Thanks again, Our State for this series.

    • Marynel says:

      - WOWZERS it’s a great one! I bet they all are though! What a uiqune setting. Love Joann’s red dress and how it pairs so well with his blue jeans. Bring em on Jen and Congrats to both Josh and Joann!!!

  6. David French says:

    During MumFest weekend be sure to visit the newly renovated New Bern Riverfront Convention Center for the Craven Chocolate Explosion!, A Premier Chocolate Experience.

  7. Andrea Fahy says:

    Excellent write up about things to do in New Bern! And if you’re here from out of town we have a great selection of accommodations throughout town, New Bern Round House being one of them with a view of the lovely downtown New Bern.

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