Fredericksburg, VA is packed with things to do, especially if you love history. This quaint town is full of historical structures, making you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Here are ten of the best things to do in Fredericksburg, VA to help you plan your next trip.
#1 – Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park
This popular attraction commemorates four significant battlefields from the Civil War. It was established in 1927, and you can still visit and explore these battlefields to this day. While exploring this park, you’ll get to see the Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Stonewall, and Wilderness battlefields. You can walk right across the actual battlefields, go in trenches, and explore about seven miles of trails. You’ll find lots of other historical buildings in the park, including the Chatham Manor, Ellwood Manor, and Salem Church.
#2 – Chatham Manor
The Chatham Manor is one of the attractions inside of the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. This Georgian-style manor was built in 1771 by William Fitzhugh. Like many of the things to do in Fredericksburg, VA, Chatham Manor is full of history. It was used as Union Headquarters and it was the location of a slave rebellion in 1805. Many historical figures have visited this location, including George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Even without the history, the manor and its surrounding gardens are mesmerizing to explore.
#3 – Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop
No, the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop isn’t just a random store. Instead, it’s a pharmacy from the 18th century that has been turned into a museum. It’s owned by the Washington Heritage Museums, which manage three other nearby historic properties in addition to this one. Visiting this museum will give you a glimpse into what a pharmacy from the Civil War would’ve looked like. Inside, you’ll see plenty of unique vials and remedies that were used in history.
#4 – Central Park Funland
Of course, not every attraction in Fredericksburg has to be a learning experience. Funland is an amusement center that will appeal to the whole family. So, take a break from the history and have some fun! At Funland, you’ll find a variety of attractions, including amusement park rides, bowling, lasertag, rock climbing walls, and arcade games. Some activities are event outside, such as go-karts, batting cages, and miniature golf. You could spend all day at this attraction if you’d like, so it’s the perfect family destination.
#5 – Central Rappahannock Heritage Center
The Central Rappahannock Heritage Center is another museum full of fascinating history. It’s a non-profit organization that holds over 120,000 archives of documents. Many of those documents even date back to the 1700s. You’ll find all kinds of unique artifacts, from photos to love letters to court cases. Rather than learning about the big events in history, you’ll find a lot of small aspects of the past there. Many visitors find these small bits of history more fascinating than the bigger attractions.
#6 – Fredericksburg Area Museum
The Fredericksburg Area Museum is located in the old Town Hall and Market House building. The structure was built in 1816, and now it’s the perfect place to learn about the history and culture of the town. The museum is full of artifacts, including portraits, relics, and heirlooms. In addition to the impressive permanent collection, this museum also has rotating temporary exhibits to add to the rich history of Fredericksburg. It’s a fascinating and affordable thing to add to your itinerary.
#7 – Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center
The Battle of Fredericksburg was a big event in 1862. So, the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center is a great place to learn about that battle, along with many others in the town’s history. This center is located in the National Military Park, so it’s close to many other great historical landmarks. In the visitor center, you’ll find two stories dedicated to exhibits and artifacts related to the battles during the Civil War. So, after hiking around the battlefield grounds, this is the perfect place to stop to learn a little more history.
#8 – Old Town
Old Town is one of the best things to do in Fredericksburg, VA because it’s like a step back in time. It’s a 40-block historic district that has many original buildings from the 18th and 19th century. It’s located in the downtown area, right by the river. There are plenty of local shops and restaurants for visitors to stop in along the way. Old Town is the perfect place to walk around and explore while taking in the beautiful architecture.
#9 – Gari Melchers Home and Studio
Gari Melchers was a well-known artist, who painted landscapes, portraits, and murals. He was alive during the late 19th and early 20th century. His home and studio space was a 27-acre estate. He used it to escape the stress of the world and get lost in his artwork instead. Today, the estate is located on the University of Mary Washington’s property, and it still has its original furnishings. The home also contains most of Melchers’ personal art collection, including over 1,500 pieces made by him and his wife. The house available for tours, and the gorgeous architecture will blow your mind.
#10 – James Monroe Museum and Library
Like Gari Melchers’ estate, the James Monroe Museum and Library is also located at the University of Mary Washington. It was once the James Monroe Law Office, which was used by President James Monroe in the 1780s. This historical structure first opened as a museum and library in 1927. It commemorates Monroe’s life and achievements through artifacts and exhibits. At this attraction, you’ll find items like heirlooms, letters, documents, and even plates he used while eating dinner. It’s open to the public, and it’s the largest collection of artifacts related to James Monroe.
Fredericksburg, VA might not be one of the most popular tourist destinations, but it still has lots of fun things to do. It’s full of historical places and beautiful sights. So, if you’re looking for a unique vacation away from the typical big cities and beaches, consider taking a trip to Fredericksburg!