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New Bern is a city of 31,000 people (2020) in the coastal region of the state of North Carolina. New Bern has three historic districts with homes, stores, and churches dating as far back as the early 18th century.


Historical marker designating New Bern

New Bern was founded in 1710 by Swiss and German adventurers led by Baron Christoph von Graffenried from Bern, Switzerland. The coat of arms of the Swiss city included a bear, which lead to the New Bern city mascot being a bear. Bears are a recurring motif within the city - from names of businesses, to statues found throughout, to the "Bear City" nickname for the city itself. Royal Governor William Tryon made New Bern the colonial capital. His restored 18th-century capitol and residence, Tryon Palace, dominates a thirteen-acre garden complex that includes several historical landmarks in the heart of the city.

A major port and trading center in the 1800s, New Bern was captured and occupied by the Union Army after a fierce battle on March 14, 1862. In 1898, the pharmacist Caleb Bradham invented Pepsi Cola in his pharmacy at the intersection Middle and Pollock Street. The building still exists.

Get in[edit]

Generally, those who come to New Bern come in from Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU IATA) via rental car or through the local airport, Coastal Carolina Regional Airport (EWN  IATA), with flights on Delta and American Airlines. I-40 and I-95 are interstate highways that run relatively close to New Bern, which is located on US Highway 70, NC 17, and US Highway 17.

Bus service is provided by Greyhound. Buses stop at 4010 Martin Luther King Blvd, nowhere near downtown, so you'll have to figure out some way to get into town from the bus stop.

Get around[edit]

The downtown shopping district is walkable. Elsewhere in town a car is necessary. There is no public transportation and taxis are rare and expensive.


Tryon Palace
  • Bank of the Arts, 317 Middle St, +1 252 638-2577. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM. Home of the Craven County Arts Council, the Bank of the Arts is an art gallery in an old bank building. The Arts Council sponsors performances, festivals and other events and is a good starting place to find out what there is to do in the area. Free admission.
  • Birthplace of Pepsi, 256 Middle Street, +1 252 636-5898. M-Sa 10AM - 6PM, Su noon - 4PM. In 1898 Caleb Bradham invented Pepsi Cola in his pharmacy at this location. Enjoy a Pepsi at a recreation of the original soda fountain.
  • New Bern Fireman's Museum, 408 Hancock Street, +1 252 636-4087. M-Sa 10AM-4PM. A museum with fire fighting equipment and other historical items. The New Bern Fire Department has an unusual history of rivalry between the Atlantic Hook and Ladder Company and the Button Company; vestiges of this good-natured rivalry continue to this day. Admission $5 adults, $2.50 children, free under 6.
  • 1 Tryon Palace and North Carolina History Center, 529 South Front Street, +1 252 639-3500, toll-free: +1-800-767-1560. M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. A reproduction of Governor Tryon's mansion. New Bern was the capitol city of the Colony of North Carolina before the Revolutionary War. The original palace burned at the end of the 18th century. The Palace that stands today was rebuilt on the original site with North Carolina state funds during the 1950s. There are tours, special events, lectures and re-enactments. Day pass, $20 adults, $10 children; Galleries pass, $12 adults, $6 children; Gardens pass, $6 adults, $3 children. Tryon Palace (Q3331450) on Wikidata Governor's Palace, New Bern on Wikipedia
  • 2 Union Point Park, 210 E Front St. A waterfront park at the "union point" of two rivers, the Trent River and the Neuse River. With a boardwalk, gazebo, boat ramp, and small beach area. Duck food dispenser is located next to water to feed ducks.


  • The Accidental Artist, 219-A Craven Street, +1 252 634-3411. M Tu 10AM-6PM, W-F 10AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-6PM. Paint your own pottery. Choose a pottery item and paint it. The staff will coat it with a clear glaze, fire it and you can pick it up 4 days later. Studio fee is $8 for adults; $6 for children under 12. In addition, you pay for the pottery item, average price $8.
  • AtOmic Cycles, 504 South Front Street, +1 252 633-2242, . Tu-Sa 10AM-6PM. Bicycle rental and sales.
  • Down East Folk Arts Society, 1410 Spencer Avenue, +1 252 633-6444, . The Down East Folk Arts Society sponsors folk music concerts and dances at the Trent River Coffee Co., 208 Craven Street, New Bern and the Clawson's Restaurant, 425 Front Street, Beaufort. General admission $15, Active duty military and Down East Folk Arts Society Members $12, full-time students $8.
  • Ghosts of New Bern, Buy tickets at Bynum's Drug Store, 240 Middle Street, or phone to order tickets by credit card (tour starts at the corner of Craven and South Front Street), +1 252 571-4766. W-Sa at 7:30PM. A one-hour walking tour of downtown historic New Bern. Learn about strange occurrences and unusual happenings, including paranormal investigations, and ghosts that haunt many of New Bern’s homes and buildings. Based on the book, Ghosts of New Bern by Joseph and Joyce O'Callahan. Adults $12, children $6.
  • New Bern Civic Theatre, 414 Pollock Street, +1 252 634-9057. The New Bern Civic Theatre performs 6 to 8 plays and musicals each year in the historic Athens Theatre. Also has summer movie nights.
  • Rivertowne Players, Performing at the Masonic Theatre, 514 Hancock Street lat=, +1 252 633-3318, . Amateur theatre group performs a variety of musicals, plays and activities for kids around the year.
  • Trolley Tours, 333 Middle Street (Purchase tickets where the tour starts at the corner of George and Pollack streets.), +1 252 637-7316, toll-free: +1-800-849-7316, . Apr-Oct: M-Sa 11AM and 2PM, Su 2PM. The rest of the year, there is a more limited schedule. A 90-minute trolley tour through the New Bern historic district narrated by a professional guide. Adults $16, children $8.
  • Latham Whitehurst Nature Park, 1095 Broad Creek Road, New Bern, NC. The 133 acres that the park spans offers a popular destination for wildlife fans and hikers. There are many benches and a few viewing areas along the trails, and descriptions of the flora and fauna that one might expect to see at vantage points within the park. A 2000 ft boardwalk that goes over Broad Creek offers a good view of the creek and the wild life that thrives in the area.


Goat sculpture outside the North Carolina History Center.

There are lots of quirky little shops in downtown New Bern. A thriving artist's community in town and the surrounding area support a variety of art galleries.


  • Captain Ratty's, 202 Middle Street, +1 252 633-2088. A great seafood restaurant located in downtown New Bern. The food is moderately priced, and you get a great deal. If you like, you can eat on the roof overlooking the river. Sandwiches are $8 to $11; entrees are $16 to $24.
  • El Cerro Grande, 2503 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, +1 252 638-8938. Mexican restaurant with surprisingly cheap beer and margaritas. Entrees range from $7 to $12.
  • The Chelsea, 335 Middle Street, +1 252 637-5469. A well-established dining institution with an innovative menu. It is rather expensive, yet very good. Entrees $24 to $36.
  • Cow Cafe, 319 Middle Street, +1 252 672-9269. A landmark in New Bern. A great lunch place, fun for the kids, with ice cream and fountain drinks. Sandwich baskets for $7.
  • The Flame, 2303 Neuse Boulevard, +1 252 633-0262. One of the better eating establishments in uptown New Bern, featuring upscale buffets. It has a wonderful Sunday brunch each week from 11:30am - 3:00pm. Sunday brunch is $16 per person; dinner buffets are $20 to $24.
  • Morgan's Tavern, 235 Craven Street, +1 252 636-2430. A fine dining restaurant located in downtown New Bern. Excellent for families. Has a variety of beers on tap and an extensive wine list. Has covered, outdoor seating. Sandwiches $7 to $12; entrees $15 to $20.
  • Outback Steakhouse, 111 Howell Road (Across the bridge from downtown New Bern), +1 252 672-9394. Locally considered the best chain dining establishment around. Make reservations well prior to when you intend to go; business is fast and waits can be over two hours. Entrees $10 to $16.
  • Cypress Hall, 219 Middle St, +1 252-633-5909.


  • Harvey's Mansion. This bar is in the basement of the inn of the same name. Although the bar is small, it has a comfortable atmosphere. This is the bar where the locals like to go.
  • The Hilton. Has two main bars. Both are good hangout places during the weekends. One bar features dance music and the other bar is a classic tavern. During the summer months, the Sheraton is famous for its "Deck Parties" on Fridays and Sundays from 6-10 pm. Friday deck parties usually feature rock, pop, and blues live music. Sunday's usually feature jazz.
  • Mickey Milligan's, Trent Road. A great place to play billiards. Milligan's features a large bar with several beverages on tap in addition to eight pool tables. Some nights, there is also live music.
  • Trent River Coffee Company. A café with a classic coffee house atmosphere. It's located in downtown New Bern on Craven Street. Also, TRCC sometimes schedules gigs for live performances and movie screenings. Check the website for dates for movie screenings and live music. This coffee house also has free internet.


Go next[edit]

Routes through New Bern
NorfolkWashington  N  S  JacksonvilleWilmington
RaleighGoldsboro  W  E  HavelockMorehead City

This city travel guide to New Bern is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.