Visit New Bern
New Bern, North Carolina’s second oldest town, was founded in 1710 by Swiss nobleman, Christoph von Graffenried, and named after his native city of Berne, Switzerland. Bern means “bear” and the “Bern Bear” symbol is seen on its flag. Throughout the city you will see many creative Bear Town Bears.
New Bern has witnessed the beginnings of Colonial America, the American Revolution and the birth of our Nation, and survived the devastation and divisiveness of the Civil War. Occupied by Union Troops after the Battle of New Bern, New Bern became a safe haven for emancipated slaves who gathered there forming a freedman’s colony and one of the first United States Colored Troops. Many historic homes and buildings endured, and remain standing, adding authentic charm and character to the city today.
In the 19th century, the town of New Bern was a thriving strategic riverside port and center of culture and was nicknamed “The Athens of North Carolina.” Today, New Bern welcomes visitors with a unique blend of European influence, and a tradition of Southern hospitality. The town boasts a thriving main street, several museums and numerous art galleries, specialty shops and eateries. New Bern is the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola.
Nearly every month of the year is marked by a special festival or event, making New Bern an excellent year-round travel destination. Read Our State’s, “Tryon: A Palace for All Seasons,” Tryon: A Palace for All Seasons | Our State.
Garden & Gun recently showcased downtown New Bern, its rich history and Tryon Palace. North Carolina’s Living History – Garden & Gun (gardenandgun.com) New Bern has small-town charm but big-town spirit, and was recently named by Southern Living as one of the South’s top ten small towns in America. The South’s Best Small Towns 2021 | Southern Living
Accommodations in New Bern range from charming B&Bs to full-service hotels. It’s vibrant downtown features an array of restaurants and eateries, from elegant dinners in restored historic buildings to down-home cooking at locals’ favorite spots. Historic downtown New Bern is walking distant from Tryon Palace.
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In addition to the city streets, the coastal town’s waterways keep locals and tourists alike entertained.
For more information about events, hotels, restaurants, and attractions, visit the New Bern Visitor Center.
For more information about local businesses, visit the New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce.