Dover Travel Guide 2021

2021 Dover Visitors Guide

Dover, Delaware is a city of surprises and contrasts where visitors may see Amish buggies on the city streets while on their way to the city’s famous NASCAR track. The City of Dover is not only the Capital of America’s First State but also the hometown of many of Delaware’s historical landmarks and modern government facilities. Dover enjoys a thriving local economy in contrast to many cities and towns along the Eastern seaboard today. And family life is thriving too with Dover’s commitment to good schools, cultural and recreational venues.

Being founded in 1683, it’s quite easy to understand the long history of culture and events in Dover. Every year numerous events are held around the city ranging from fireworks on July 4th, Art Festivals, and Christmas Caroling on the Green to ethnic parades such as St. Patrick’s Day and the African American Festival.

Delaware State Capitol Building
Delaware State Capitol Building, Dover DE

Residing in one of the many historical buildings in downtown Dover is the Schwarz Center for the Arts which was reopened in October 2001, after extensive modernization and expansion from its roots as the Dover Opera House. The Schwartz Center offers a variety of shows such as comedy acts, weekend “Family Films and Classics” and the Dover Symphony among other performances.

Dover’s most popular attraction of recent years are the NASCAR races held at Dover International Speedway. Every year during the NASCAR season, the population of Dover expands from 30,000 to 200,000+ with tourists from across the United States. MBNA, a locally founded Fortune 500 company, sponsors the MBNA 400. With premium hotels available and recreational vehicles abounding, Dover is truly an icon for NASCAR fans every summer.

Dover is one of the fastest-growing areas in the state of Delaware, due in large part to its relatively low cost of living and high quality of life. As a consequence, the Kent County government is a major employer in the area as well. Apart from the state and county governments, Dover’s significant employers include Dover Air Force Base, located just outside the city. The base houses several airlift wings as well as the military’s only mortuary located in the continental United States, which accepts and processes the remains of soldiers killed in battle. In addition, the Playtex corporation has a manufacturing facility in Dover. ILC Dover, in nearby Frederica, is the producer of fabrics for military and aerospace uses, along with being the primary contractor for the production of the Apollo and Skylab spacesuits, as well as the spacesuit assembly for the Space Shuttle’s Extravehicular Mobility Unit.

Dover is approximately 90 miles south of Philadelphia, PA, and 90 miles east of Washington, DC. While its population is significantly less than that of Wilmington, Delaware, Dover encompasses a larger area than any other city on the Delmarva Peninsula. Dover is easily accessible, too, being served by the Philadelphia International Airport and local transportation via Amtrak, Greyhound Bus Lines and the Delaware Transit Corporation public transportation. The average commute time for Dover workers is 19 minutes, compared with 26 minutes nationwide.

Dover Quick Facts

  • Population: 32,808
  • Median Household Income: $38,669
  • Median Family Income: $48,338
  • Per Capita Income: $19,445
  • Latitude: 399’43” North
  • Longitude: 7531’36” West
  • Dover is on Eastern Standard Time and observes Daylight Savings Time.

Dover  Attractions

Historic Downtown Dover

Legislative Hall is Delaware’s current state capital building, home to Delaware’s General Assembly. Affectionately termed “Leg Hall” by locals, this historic building is home to Delaware’s state government as well as many paintings and portraits showcasing Dover’s rich history. The wide-open front lawn of the hall, known as Legislative Mall is the site of many festivals including Old Dover Days in May, The 4th of July Fireworks and the Amish Country Bike Tour held in September.

Constitution Park

This mini-park is dedicated to the Constitution of the United States and is the site of a 12-foot bronze quill resting on a four-foot cube on which the Constitution is inscribed.

The Green and Golden Fleece Tavern

Delaware’s ratification of the Constitution was held at the Green and Golden Fleece Tavern just a block Constitution Park. This action made Delaware the first state in the nation and the tavern still boasts a bronze plaque marking the historic occasion. The tavern also has the distinction of being the location where the Declaration of Independence was read to the public and where Delaware’s Continental Regiment was mustered for service in the Revolutionary War.

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Christ Episcopal Church

Built in 1734, the Christ Episcopal Church is most famous for its cemetery where many famous Delaware natives are buried including Caesar Rodney one of the local men who signed the Declaration of Independence. A monument to Rodney also stands in this famous cemetery.

Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village

The Museum offers programs that will transport visitors back to the 19th century. Museum favorites include costumed interpreters at living history events, workshops in 19th-century arts and crafts, lectures on life in early Delaware and a host of fun things to do with the family.

Dover Air Force Base and the Air Mobility Command Museum

The Dover Air Force Base is one of the best-known attractions in Central Delaware, critical to the country’s defense as it represents one-fourth of the nation’s strategic airlift capacity. Approximately 7,000 people are stationed at the DAFB. Dover is home to 36 giant C-5 Galaxy cargo planes, which are used to transport troops and equipment wherever they are needed around the world. The Air Mobility Command Museum on the base is equally impressive with its display of vintage and veteran aircraft and historical artifacts dating back to the base’s establishment in 1941.

Woodburn, the Governor’s House

This handsome Georgian Mansion, built around 1790, is the official home of the serving Delaware Governor. The home features Flemish bond brickwork on the exterior, with a broad heart pine staircase in the Great Hall, fine wood detailing and joinery, and a notable collection of antique china. The grounds and gardens surrounding the home showcase notable trees, beautiful flowers, and a goldfish pool. Woodburn has a rich history and was once a hiding place on the Underground Railroad. Legend says that the home is inhabited by several ghosts, as well. The mansion is the site of several popular special events throughout the year, including an Easter Egg Hunt in spring, the Governor’s Fall Festival in October, and holiday events and decorations in December.

Dover Recreation

Dover International Speedway

Dover International Speedway hosts two NASCAR Nextel Cup/Busch Series race weekends every year in June and September. The speedway has the largest seating capacity of any sports facility between New York and the Carolina states. The concrete track with 24-degree banking is the first and only superspeedway in NASCAR history providing awesome racing action.

Killens Pond State Park and Waterpark

Enjoy the great outdoors Killens Pond State Park famous for its boating, fishing, hiking, and swimming. The park’s location at Delaware’s center makes it the perfect home base for exploring the state. Year-round camping and cabins are available in a wooded area near the shore of a beautiful 66-acre freshwater pond. Canoes, rowboats and pedal boats are available for rent during the summer and narrated pontoon boat tours are available on summer weekends and holidays. There’s also much fun to be had at the Killens Pond Waterpark complex of waterslides, water amusements, kiddie pool, and bathhouse.

Dover Arts

The Schwartz Center for the Arts

The Schwartz Center for the Arts was originally constructed in 1904 and known as The Dover Opera House. Many renovations years later have resulted in a beautiful facility known for its aesthetic and cultural appeal. A recent strategic alliance was formed to partner the resources of Wesley College, Delaware State University, The Grand Opera House and the Friends of the Capital Theater to maximize the center’s usage and position it as a historic treasure and premiere performing arts venue.

Dover Symphony Orchestra

This non-profit musical organization was established in 1967 and performs four times each year at the October Classical Concert, a November Children’s Concert, a March Classical Concert and a Pop Concert held in May. The orchestra’s mission is to share its wealth of musical talent with the residents and visitors to Dover and it surrounding cities.

Patchwork Playhouse

The Kent County Theater Guild, formed in 1953, has a mission of presenting quality theater to the city of Dover and Kent County. The intimate venue at the Patchwork Playhouse provides the ultimate theater experience for each of the guild’s five shows performed each season which runs September through May.

Biggs Museum of American Art

The Biggs Museum of American Art houses a personal collection that has been in the making for over half a century. A native of Middletown, Delaware, with strong family ties to the history of the state, Sewell C. Biggs has assembled an impressive collection that reveals his devotion to the arts of the Delaware Valley region.

Dover Dining

Dover restaurants, along with those throughout Delaware, offer the authentic taste of the Mid-Atlantic, from crab cakes and fresh catch to other regional specialties and ethnic fare at places like Viet Kiev. Culinary experiences extend from downtown within this capital city on toward the beach, where Delaware boasts some 28 miles of coastal allure. Dover has its share of chain restaurants from Olive Garden to Red Lobster and beyond, and its attractions also provide assorted dining options. Apart from 2,000 slot machines, Dover Downs has a quartet of eateries to stave off hunger including Michele’s Gourmet Restaurant, serving steaks, seafood, and seasonal specialties.

Dover Communities

Dover is in good company surrounded by other prosperous towns and villages in the area including Camden, Cheswold, Clayton, Kenton, Leipsic, Little Creek, Magnolia, Smyrna, Viola, Woodside and Wyoming.