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27 Best Things to Do in Fredericksburg VA You’ll Love

In Fredericksburg, Virginia, history comes alive. Located on the east coast, along the Atlantic Ocean, this stunning state is one of the original thirteen colonies of North America.

Fredericksburg played a very important role in the American Civil War. Most of its tourist attractions are centred around its history and patriotic causes. It also has a great local vibe, with plenty of charming cafes, breweries, and parks.

Let’s dive into all the fascinating things to do in Fredericksburg, VA.

things to do in fredericksburg va

27 Fantastic Things to do in Fredericksburg VA

1. Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park

This national park in Virginia commemorates four major battles fought in the American Civil War: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, and Spotsylvania.

There are numerous monuments and memorials located inside the park, including the 127th Pennsylvania Volunteer Monument, the Fifth Corps Monument, and the Humphreys’ Division Monument. It also houses four major buildings that held significance during the Civil War: Chatham Manor, Ellwood Manor, Salem Church, and the house where Stonewall Jackson died.

Fredericksburg Spotsylvania National Military Park
Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park

During summer, guided walking tours are offered around the park and battlefields. If you’re visiting during the other seasons, you can take your own walking tour and read the plaques and exhibits while you wander.

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2. Fredericksburg National Cemetery

Fredericksburg National Cemetery is located inside the National Military Park. It’s the final resting place of more than 15,000 Union soldiers, but of those bodies, only about 2,500 are identified.

Fredericksburg National Cemetery
Fredericksburg National Cemetery PC NPS

The cemetery sits atop Mayre’s Hill and looks down onto the city of Fredericksburg. It’s a quiet place to wander and reflect on life.

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3. James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library

The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library celebrate the life and achievements of the fifth President of the United States, James Monroe. It opened in 1927 and was created by his direct descendants.

James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library
James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library

The building is the site where the late president held an office and practised law. It now houses a large collection of artifacts and heirlooms. Discover everything from Monroe’s old letters and documents to the plates he used at his dinner table. It shows a more personal side of the President and is a must-visit for all history buffs.

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4. Central Rappahannock Heritage Center

Central Rappahannock Heritage Center is a small museum that honours the cultural history of Fredericksburg and the surrounding areas. While this Virginian city is known for its history in the Civil War, this local museum focuses on the more simple aspects of life

Central Rappahannock Heritage Center
Central Rappahannock Heritage Center

But this local museum focuses on the more simple aspects of life. Guests can see things like old love letters, local court cases, personal photographs, and other mementos and keepsakes from the past.

See a different side of Fredericksburg at this little local gem which is currently only open on Thursdays.

5. Kenmore

The Kenmore plantation is a revolutionary War-era Georgian-style brick mansion. It was built in the 1770s by Fielding Lewis and his wife Betty Washington Lewis, the sister of George Washington.

Kenmore
Kenmore PC Brooks Photography

Tours of this fascinating mansion take guests around the first story and the kitchen. You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time as you admire the elegant, original furnishings. And don’t forget to look up to marvel at Kenmore’s original hand-carved plaster ceilings. The detail and artistry are unmatched.

Before or after the tour, guests are free to explore the grounds and gardens at their own pace.

6. Chatham Manor

Chatham Manor is an elegant Georgian-style house that was completed in 1771. Over the years, it has been the site of several important historical events. In 1805, it was the site of a slave rebellion.

During the American Civil War, the manor was used as a headquarters and hospital for the Union side. It was also a battleground. The war left the house in despair, but in the early 20th century it was carefully restored to its former glory.

Chatham Manor
Chatham Manor PC Wikipedia

Today, visitors of Chatham Manor can explore the grounds, gardens, and outbuildings. The inside of the house is closed to the public.

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7. George Washington’s Ferry Farm

Ferry Farm is the name of the farm that was once the home of George Washington. It’s where the first president of the United States spent much of his childhood. The house that now stands is a replica of the original version.

 In 2008, archaeologists found remains of Washington’s home, which had burned down in a fire sometime in the 1740s. From 2015 to 2018 a replica house was built above the original foundation.

Ferry Farm
Ferry Farm PC Wikipedia

It was created using the information gathered from the archaeological remains as well as descriptions of the original house.

It’s located in Stafford County, Virginia, next to the northern bank of the Rappahannock River, just across from Fredericksburg. It offers excellent insight into the great American patriot and president.

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8. Fredericksburg Area Museum

The Fredericksburg Area Museum (FAM) timelines the history of Fredericksburg. It’s housed in the historic Town Hall/Market House which was built in 1816.

The collection includes objects from the early Native American tribes all the way up to more recent events, like the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Fredericksburg Area Museum
Fredericksburg Area Museum

The museum features permanent and temporary exhibitions. It also regularly hosts community events, like outdoor concerts.

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9. Central Park Fun Land of Fredericksburg

If you’re looking for things to do in Fredericksburg with kids, this attraction is just the ticket. Fun Land of Fredericksburg is a family fun centre that all ages will enjoy.

Their indoor attractions include everything from laser tag to mini-bowling, arcade games, and even an indoor roller coaster. Outdoors, you’ll find go-karts, batting cages, carnival games, mini-golf, and more.

Central Park Fun Land of Fredericksburg
Central Park Fun Land of Fredericksburg

The cafe serves food and drinks, and the wristbands allow for unlimited fun.

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10. Mary Washington House

The Mary Washington House is an 18th-century house museum. It’s where the mother of George Washington, Mary Ball Washington, lived towards the end of her life. The first president purchased the house for his mother in 1772 for 275 pounds.

mary washington house
mary washington house

The house, as well as the garden, are open to visitors for tours. It displays period furniture and several of Ms Washington’s personal possessions, including a mirror she deemed her “best dressing glass”.

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church in fredericksburg

11. Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop

The Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop was a mid-18th century pharmacy. It was owned by Hugh Mercer, a doctor and Scottish immigrant who had close ties to George Washington.

hugh mercer apothecary
hugh mercer apothecary

The old apothecary has been turned into a museum. It displays exhibits and items related to colonial medicine practices and treatments. It also includes information related to Mercer’s life and his role in the American Revolutionary War.

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12. Shannon Air Museum

The Shannon Air Museum is a must-visit for all aviation fans. It contains one of the world’s rarest collections of vintage aircraft. It also houses the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame.

Shannon Air Museum
Shannon Air Museum

It’s a small museum where you can see an interesting range of planes and exhibits. You’ll learn about aviation history and be inspired for the future of flight.

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13. Alum Spring Park

Alum Spring Park is the perfect place to stretch your legs and admire the natural scenery of Fredericksburg.

This quiet public space offers various walking paths and paved trails. There are also benches where you can relax and admire the wooded landscape and shallow stream that flows through the area.

Alum Spring Park
Alum Spring Park

There’s also a playground for the kids. Pack a lunch and enjoy a peaceful, family-friendly afternoon.

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14. Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts

The Fredericksburg Centre for the Creative Arts is a local art centre that includes two art galleries. It also hosts art classes and special events. It’s set inside a house that was built in 1785.

Unlike Fredericksburg’s larger manor homes, this house is typical of what an upper-middle-class family would have owned in the 1700s. It was originally built and lived in by a silversmith and his family.

Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts
Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts

It features a nice variety of paintings, prints, and photographs. The art centre is open from Thursday to Monday and admission is free.

15. Old Mill Park

Old Mill Park is the perfect place to relax on a warm day. It’s located along the Rappahannock River with easy access to the water for swimming. It also contains a canoe/kayak boat launch.

Old Mill Park
Old Mill Park

There are plenty of family-friendly facilities, like covered picnic tables, restrooms, and a playground. If you’re keen on a scenic walk, the popular Rappahannock River Heritage Trail passes right through the park.

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16. Indian Punch Bowl

Indian Punch Bowl is a historical landmark located along the Rappahannock River Heritage Trail. The site consists of a rock depression that is believed to have been made by early Native American tribes who lived in the area.

Indian Punch Bowl
Indian Punch Bowl

The indent is perfectly round and shaped like a bowl. Legend has it that it was used by the tribes to mix poison that they would then dip their arrows into.

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17. The Rising Sun Tavern Museum

The Rising Sun Tavern Museum is another historic Fredericksburg site with ties to George Washington. This former house was built around 1760 by Charles Washington, George Washington’s younger brother.

Rising Sun Tavern Museum
Rising Sun Tavern Museum

In 1791 the house was sold and converted into a tavern. Today, it offers a glimpse into 18th-century life. Visitors can tour the house with costumed guides who bring the history to life.

Learn all about taverns back in the day and see period furniture and other artifacts.

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18. Goolrick’s Pharmacy

Smack dab in the middle of downtown Fredericksburg you’ll find Goolrick’s Pharmacy. This old-timey establishment has been serving customers since 1863. Its soda fountain was installed in 1912, making it one of the oldest continuously used soda fountains in the USA.

Goolrick's Pharmacy
Goolrick’s Pharmacy PC Jonathan Lurie

Grab a seat on one of the tall bar stools next to the counter and order a soda and a simple sandwich, like a BLT, grilled cheese, or tuna salad. Finish it off with a malt shake or fresh-squeezed lemonade.

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19. Sammy T’s

Sammy T’s is a local pub in downtown Fredericksburg. It opened as a restaurant in 1981, but the building it’s housed in has been standing since 1805.

Sammy T's
Sammy T’s

Their menu is diverse and caters to all palates. From classic American meals, like Brunswick stew, burgers, and grilled cheese, to vegetarian and vegan options, there’s something for everyone. 

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20. Eileen’s Bakery and Cafe

Eileen’s Bakery and Cafe is the best place to go in Fredericksburg for breakfast and coffee. They pride themselves on using fresh, local ingredients, and their bread and pastries are handmade daily.

Eileen’s Bakery and Cafe
Eileen’s Bakery and Cafe

Start your day off right with a hearty quiche, breakfast sandwich, or croissant and coffee. They’re also open for lunch and offer a simple menu of sandwiches, soups, and salads. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options are also always available.

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21. 6 Bears & a Goat Brewing Company

After a fun day of exploring Fredericksburg, 6 Bears & A Goat Brewing Company is just the place to end your night. Apart from their flagship beer on tap, they also offer rotational and seasonal brews.

RF&P Railroad Bridge in Fredericksburg, Va
RF&P Railroad Bridge in Fredericksburg, Va

If you’re hungry, their on-site restaurant has a beer-centric menu, with just about all of their meals containing beer in some way or another. They also try to make everything in-house from scratch.

As if you needed another reason to visit this local brewery, they also run free tours that give guests a closer look at their beer-making process.

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22. Strangeways Brewing Fredericksburg

Strangeways Brewing Fredericksburg has a fun social atmosphere that attracts all ages. Not only does it have a wide range of delicious Virginia craft beer, but it also has everything you need for a good time.

Strangeways Brewing Fredericksburg
Strangeways Brewing Fredericksburg

Inside, you’ll find several tasting room spaces as well as an arcade room and free board games to enjoy with your friends. On a nice day, the outdoor Biergarten is the ideal place to chill out. With plenty of comfortable seating, a large patio with umbrellas, and on-site food trucks, it’s the perfect environment for getting into the vacation vibe.

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23. A. Smith Bowman Distillery

A. Smith Bowman Distillery is a local distillery that produces award-winning Bourbon. It’s the oldest distillery in Virginia. It was founded in 1934,  the day after Prohibition ended in the United States. 

A. Smith Bowman Distillery
A. Smith Bowman Distillery

They offer free tours that show how their different types of spirits are made. End your tour with a tasting and don’t forget to purchase your favourite bottle to take home with you.

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24. Basilico New York Deli

Basilico New York Deli is a deli and market that offers your typical east coast food. From lobster bisque to corned beef sandwiches and NY style pizza, it’s the kind of place where you’ll want to arrive hungrily. They also sell imported groceries and fresh Italian baked goods.

Basilico New York Deli
Basilico New York Deli

25. Riverside Center for the Performing Arts

Riverside Center for the Performing Arts is a modern venue that hosts shows and musicals alongside multi-course meals. Each week they put on evening performances where guests enjoy dinner show-style entertainment.

Riverside Center for the Performing Arts
Riverside Center for the Performing Arts

A full three-course dinner is served which includes salad, bread, entrees, and dessert. Gluten-free, vegetarian, and kids’ meals are all available. If you’re looking for wholesome entertainment in Fredericksburg, this is the place.

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26. Belvedere Plantation

Belvedere Plantation is a farm that dates back to the 1760s and the original plantation house still stands. It’s been continually inhabited throughout its history, although this means it’s not open to the public.

Belvedere Plantation
Belvedere Plantation

Today, the land that surrounds the house is used to host seasonal family-friendly events. In autumn, there’s a Fall Harvest Festival with a pumpkin patch and a corn maze. During Spring, there’s an Easter Eggstravaganza with games, activities, baby animals, and Easter egg hunts.

27. White Oak Civil War Museum

The White Oak Civil War Museum showcases a private collection of Civil War artifacts from the Union and Confederate troops.

White Oak Civil War Museum
White Oak Civil War Museum

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Most of the items you’ll find here were abandoned or lost by the soldiers while camping or fighting in the Fredericksburg and Stafford County areas. See everything from personal items belonging to the soldiers to replicas of the huts they used as temporary housing; it’s quite a unique collection.

Things to Do in Fredericksburg, Virginia | Final Thoughts

Fredericksburg is the quintessential American city. With loads of historic sites, scenic parks, and local restaurants and breweries, it has something for everyone.

The museums are very informative and presented in a way that makes learning fun. The parks contain the typical east coast aesthetic you can’t help but fall in love with. And the food and drinks showcase the culture and cuisine of Virginia.

If you want to discover more popular American points of interest make sure to check out this post on famous landmarks in the US.

aerial view of fredericksburg

I covered all of the costs associated with writing this article. However, this things to do in Fredericksburg VA post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

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