Fredericksburg, Virginia is a popular historical town and the childhood home of President George Washington.
This city is a popular tourist attraction with lots of fun and educative historical sites such as old Georgian mansions connected to Washington, a national cemetery and military park, museums, and lots of cultural landmarks.
Fredericksburg also has lots of great local businesses and attractions to explore for a fun experience including breweries, cafes, restaurants, theatres, and shops.
This guide provides the 20 best things you can do in Fredericksburg for fun during your vacation.
Best Things to Do in Fredericksburg (VA)
1. Explore Washington Heritage Museums
Washington Heritage Museums preserves four historic properties in Fredericksburg that reflect major portions of American history as they relate to George Washington, the first president of the United States.
During this educative exploration, you’ll examine various antique furnishings at one of Fredericksburg’s oldest frame buildings, St. James’ House, built on land originally held by Mary Washington, and learn about the doctor who treated patients, including Washington’s mother Mary, in the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop.
You can also explore the Mary Washington House, which George Washington purchased for his ailing mother, and the Rising Sun Tavern, which was built by his younger brother Charles, where you’ll see original woodwork that originally served travellers.
2. Visit Central Rappahannock Heritage Center
The Central Rappahannock Heritage Center is a historical museum that celebrates the cultural history of Fredericksburg and the surrounding region, particularly communities connected by the Rappahannock River.
During your vacation in Fredericksburg, you can visit this heritage center from Tuesday to Thursday from morning to evening time.
At The Central Rappahannock Heritage Center, you’ll see documents about marriages, love letters, local court cases, personal photographs, and other keepsakes and items that assist to present a full picture of life and culture in the region throughout history.
3. Tour The Chatham Manor
Chatham Manor is more than just a gorgeous piece of architecture, as it was built in an elaborate and exquisite Georgian style.
This home, which was completed in 1771, has seen a lot of history in its lengthy life, including a slave revolt in 1805 and serving as a Union Headquarters and subsequent combat during the Civil War.
The exquisite manor was left forlorn by the war, with its walls and floors covered in blood and graffiti, and its grounds burned and deforested by the soldiers who camped and fought there.
Chatham was finally restored to its former splendor in the early twentieth century, and you can have a fun time touring the grounds, gardens, and outbuildings of this manor.
4. Have Fun At Central Park Funland
Central Park Funland is a must-stop if you are travelling with your loved ones or children for the most fun vacation experience.
Central Park Funland is fun no matter what the weather is like, with 40,000 square feet of indoor attractions like laser tag, bowling, arcade games, a climbing wall, bumper cars, carnival rides, and a virtual reality video game called Hologate.
You can participate in fun outdoor activities, such as go-karts, miniature golf, batting cages, and other carnival games, making this a great spot for a fun-filled day with your family.
You can stop at a nearby cafe that serves food, snacks, and drinks, and you can also request wristbands that grant them unrestricted access to the adventure park.
5. Explore Fredericksburg Area Museum
The Fredericksburg Area Museum, which is housed in the old Town Hall and Market House of historic Fredericksburg and was built in 1816, is dedicated to collecting and preserving the region’s history.
The museum’s collection spans thousands of years of history, from the region’s Native Americans to more contemporary events such as Fredericksburg’s role in the Black Lives Matter movement.
The museum features a variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions that rotate seasonally, as well as community events.
This experience should be on your checklist of the best things to do during your stay in Fredericksburg, especially if you like history.
6 Explore Fredericksburg Battlefield
The Battle of Fredericksburg occurred on December 11-15, 1862, as a failed Union Army attempted to cross the Rappahannock River in their bid to capture Richmond, the Confederate capital.
Because Union pontoons took longer than expected to arrive, General Robert E. Lee had more time to reinforce his position and it ended as a wholesale bloodbath.
During your vacation in Fredericksburg, you can stop by the site of this slaughter, which belies its deadly history with its peaceful, tree-lined surroundings.
You should also explore the visitor’s center at Fredericksburg Battlefield, the bookstore, and the large museum displaying Civil War artifacts and history.
7. Visit Fredericksburg National Cemetery
More than 15,000 Union troops were buried in Fredericksburg National Cemetery, men who died in battles fought between Washington, DC, and Richmond during the Civil War.
You should visit these memorials commemorating those who died fighting for the Union in the Civil War on Marye’s Heights, as well as the remains of soldiers and veterans who were buried in Willis Cemetery.
The National Cemetery, which is part of the national military park, is open every day, so you should visit it during your vacation in Fredericksburg.
8. Tour Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania National Military Park
The Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania National Military Park honors the four key Civil War battles that took place in the region, including Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, The Wilderness, and Chancellorsville, as well as the troops who perished in the fights.
Chatham Manor, the mansion where Stonewall Jackson died, Ellwood Manor, and Salem Church are among the four significant buildings in the park that had historical significance during the Civil War.
There are two visitor centres within the park, one in Fredericksburg and the other in Chancellorsville, that feature exhibits and information about the park.
You should go on guided walking tours around the parks and battlefields during your vacation in Fredericksburg.
9. Eat Delicious Bread And Pastries At Eileen’s Bakery and Cafe
Eileen’s Bakery and Cafe produces all of their bread and pastries by hand every day, using a variety of fresh, local ingredients.
Eileen’s Bakery and Cafe serves a full breakfast of quiche, breakfast sandwiches, or baked goods, as well as a great lunch of homemade soups, salads, and sandwiches on fresh bread.
Before you start your day, you should come to Eileen’s for the great coffee and espresso drinks, which you can enjoy in the cafe with a lovely sweet baked treat.
10. Eat Delicious Meals At Basilico Italian Market and New York Deli
The food at Basilico Italian Market and New York Deli should be on your checklist of the most delicious things to do in Fredericksburg.
You can choose delicious meals from the menu including brick-oven pizza, a broad choice of freshly grilled paninis, pasta bowls with a variety of sauces and veggies, and daily soup and salad selections.
You enjoy the sweet Italian deserts such as handcrafted gelato, traditional butter biscuits, cannoli filled with filling and topped with chocolate chips, and a sprinkling of powdered sugar, tiramisu, and tartufin.
11. Tour The Gari Melchers Home and Studio
Gari Melchers was a well-known landscape, portrait, and mural painter who lived in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
When Melchers bought the Belmont Estate in Falmouth, Virginia, he was already a well-known and successful artist, looking for a location to get away from the beginnings of World War I and paint for the sheer joy of it.
Melchers’ wife bequeathed the house and all of its belongings to Virginia when she died in 1955, becoming the Gari Melchers Home and Studio one of the popular examples of a historic artists’ home and work in existence.
You should go on a tour of this lovely historic house, The Belmont Estate, during your vacation in Fredericksburg.
12 Explore Shannon Air Museum
The magnificent Shannon Air Museum houses one of the world’s most valuable collections of historic aircraft.
The original Shannon Air Museum opened in the 1950s but was closed in 1981 after the founder, Sidney Shannon Jr., died.
After all these years, you can now explore most of the original collection of aircraft and aviation memorabilia in Shannon Air Museum.
The former Shannon Airport has been repaired and reopened for commerce, so you can also explore there to learn about Virginia’s aviation history and view various interesting exhibits.
13. Visit Goolrick’s Pharmacy
Goolrick’s is a popular pharmacy and soda fountain in the middle of downtown Fredericksburg, that was opened
in 1863. Going to Goolrick’s today is like stepping back in time to a simpler time when there was music, nice affordable food, and a welcoming staff.
Goolrick’s Pharmacy is also home to the United States’ oldest and longest-running soda fountain, which opened in 1912 and has been joyfully serving customers on their tall stools at the long bar ever since.
You can visit here for lunch to order milkshakes, grilled cheese, BLTs, tuna salad sandwiches, egg creams, malt shakes, and freshly squeezed lemonade.
14 Visit Indian Punch Bowl
The Indian Punch Bowl is a strange rock depression found along the Rappahannock River Heritage Trail that is thought to have been created by early Native Indian tribes who used to inhabit the area around the river.
Many people believe it was used by early tribes to prepare poison for their hunting arrow tips because it is perfectly round and bowl-shaped.
The Thornton family established a grist mill along the river in the 1700s, and legend has it that this particular rock depression was used as a punch bowl to entertain guests – it is inscribed with a date – 1720, which is thought to have been added by Major Francis Thornton.
A visit here is worth it and should be on your checklist of the best things to do in Fredericksburg.
15. Watch Performances At Riverside Center for the Performing Arts
Riverside Center for the Performing Arts has delighted audiences with hundreds of stage shows since it originally debuted in 1998 with a performance of the iconic musical Oklahoma.
Riverside Center for the Performing Arts, with 36,000 square feet of space and a focus on musical theatre and dinner theatre, is a fantastic choice for a full evening of entertainment.
You can enjoy the three-course supper served here which includes salad, bread, entrees, and dessert, with gluten-free and vegetarian alternatives available.
You’ll love the family-friendly performances shown and this experience should be on your checklist of the best things to do in Fredericksburg
16. Visit The Monument to the Angel of Marye’s Heights
This bronze monument remembers the valour and kindness of one Confederate soldier at the site of the horrific Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg.
Richard Rowland Kirkland, who was only 19 years old at the time, earned the nickname “Angel of Marye’s Heights” for frequently risking his life to deliver water to the injured and dying men who littered the battlefield.
Kirkland was posthumously awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who erected the monument in 1965.
The legend’s truth is debatable, but if you’re interested in Civil War history should visit the memorial.
17. Chill At 6 Bears & a Goat Brewing Co
6 Bears and a Goat Brewing Co., or 6B&G as it is affectionately known, is a casual and delicious brewpub where you can enjoy a pint after work, chat over burgers with friends, and chill in this atmosphere.
It is named after the mascots of the branches of the military in which each of the founders served in the US Coast Guard and US Navy.
Their beer is created in-house, and the majority of the taps rotate to make place for new experiments and kinds as the season or the brewer’s whims dictate.
18 Go On A Tour Of A. Smith Bowman Distillery
This small, family-owned, and operated distillery creates great spirits by hand using only the finest ingredients.
A. Smith Bowman was a farmer who purchased his property in 1927 and utilized it as both a dairy farm and a granary but he soon began distilling whiskey once Prohibition ended.
After use, the distillation grains were fed to the cattle, which is still done today.
You should go on a guided tour of A. Smith Bowman Distillery during your vacation in Fredericksburg.
19 Sample Tasty Beers At Strangeways Brewing
Strangeways Brewing, founded in 2013, has spent more than eight years attempting to make exceptional artisan beers that stand out from the crowd.
Neil Burton, the founder of Strangeways Brewing, has always enjoyed doing things a little differently, and his quest for the unknown has resulted in the creation of some remarkable craft beers at Strangeways Brewing.
The Fredericksburg Tap Room, which has at least 36 beers on tap, vast indoor and outdoor sampling rooms, and rotating food trucks, is where you can learn more about these creative and trailblazing craft beers.
You’ll have an amazing adventure tasting beers in Strangeways and this experience should be on your checklist of the best things to do in Fredericksburg.
20.Go On A Trip To Belvedere Plantation
Belvedere Plantation is a historic estate founded in the 1760s and has been consistently farmed since then, producing corn, wheat, soybeans, and pumpkin.
You can attend various family-friendly seasonal fun events such as Fall Harvest Festival which includes a pick-your-own Pumpkin Patch, a Maize Maze, and many more attractions you’ll surely enjoy.
You can also attend Eggstravaganza, which includes Easter egg hunts, and a petting zoo during your vacation if it falls in spring.
You’ll enjoy this fun trip to this plantation and this experience should be on your checklist of the best things to do in Fredericksburg.
Plan A Trip To Fredericksburg (VA)
A long vacation or weekend stay with your loved ones in Fredericksburg will end up being the best unforgettable vacation experience.
You’ll be actively engaged and have lots of fun exploring the culture, history, food, and various parts of this lovely town.
Start planning your trip to Fredericksburg, Virginia for an unforgettable vacation with your loved ones, and consult this guide to create a checklist of the best and most fun things to do in Fredericksburg.
Have a great day.