Overview and History

New Bern

The river city is a treasure hunt where gems are revealed in walking pretty streets, noticing historic markers and talking with the people in their gardens and on their porches.

Downtown New Bern sits on a point of land where the rivers meet, now the site of Union Point park, the city’s major celebration spot for events such as the Christmas flotilla, Neuse River Days and the Fourth of July. In 1979 local government gave Swiss Bear Downtown Revitalization Corp — a nonprofit corporation of civic leaders — the authority and responsibility to capitalize on the potential of the failing downtown area.

Today, art galleries, specialty shops, antiques stores, restaurants and inns have resurrected downtown and the waterfront into a social hub. Improvements are continuously underway. Built and dedicated in 1995 through the efforts of Swiss Bear, James Reed Lane is a downtown mini-park and pedestrian walk-through on Pollock Street across from historic Christ Church. Private restoration efforts return many of the downtown buildings to their turn-of-the-last-century elegance.

Thank you to our site sponsors for supporting the local business community