Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Wilmington as number 7 on its list of 25 Most Fun, Affordable U.S. Cities. Its hot on the heels of the late-July announcement from online travel giant Orbitz that ranked Wilmington as their top destination for late-summer beach bargains in the U.S., Caribbean and the East Coast.

            “Any time we’re recognized in a positive light by a major online travel company, it only helps raise our visibility and, hopefully, increases tourism,” said Connie Nelson, communications and public relations director of the Wilmington Cape Fear Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau.

            Bloomberg used a report from Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate and real estate data company Onboard Informatics to formulate their list. Recently, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate reported on a number of locations outside major cities that had a variety of restaurants and bars and affordable homes. According to the study, Wilmington has 186 bars and restaurants.

Paired with the information from Onboard Informatics, which studies zip codes where the median home price is within 20 percent of the state’s median price, Bloomberg compiled a list of 25 fun and affordable places to live. The study reported Wilmington’s median home price as $178,900.

            “Affordability rankings resonate with travelers who seek value, especially in tough economic times,” said Kim Hufham, president and CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority.

Bloomberg’s list includes tourist destinations, like Wilmington and Myrtle Beach, S.C., as well as college towns like Wilmington and Greenville, S.C.

            Wilmington’s number 7 ranking put it ahead of some surprising and popular destinations, including three in Hawai’i: Kailua Kona (17), Lahaina (16) and Makiki (9). Florida destinations: Daytona Beach (22) and St. Augustine (11) fell below Wilmington, as did Myrtle Beach, S.C. (15) and Winston-Salem, N.C. (10).

            Bloomberg’s top picks, and the only cities ranked higher than Wilmington, were Sacramento, Calif. (6), Greenville, S.C. (5), Scottsdale, Ariz. (4), Tempe, Ariz. (3), Ala Moana-Kakaako, Honolulu, Hawai’i (2) and Ocean City, Md., at number one.

            To view Bloomberg’s full list, visit: http://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/20110809/america-s-most-fun-affordable-cities/