20 Best Things to Do in Fredericksburg, VA

Fredericksburg, VA
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Fredericksburg is one of the most impressive historic places you can visit.

Serving as one of the most important battlegrounds for the Civil War, the place has no shortage in its richness both in heritage and history.

It teems with parks dedicated to soldiers, Civil War museums, and Victorian buildings, making it interesting for the history buffs.

Now let's look at the 15 best things to do in Fredericksburg:

Visit Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania National Military Park

Richard Rowland Kirkland Monument in Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania National Military Park
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Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania National Military Park offers many informative trails to teach you about its town, war era, battles, and historical events.

You might not know about these things, so it's time to unveil American history to you in different forms.

It can be cool to take a trip over here with kids and learn the history together.

At this park, you have a wide variety of activities to choose from.

If you want to come and see the battlefields during the day, you'd better arrive before sunrise because the grounds close at sunset.

A Cannon in Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania National Military Park
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To get a snack or some stuff for your trip here, stop by the store behind the visitor center, which is available every day from 9 am - 5 pm (the store is not open on Mondays & Fridays).

If you're looking for picnic areas, campsites, or information on visiting Chatham Manor, stop by the Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Center, which is open from 9 am - 5 pm (not available on Tuesdays & Thursdays).

The availability of Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania National Military Park depends on the season.

Don't come here on Thanksgiving Day (26th November), New Year's Day (1st January), 24th of December, Christmas Day, and 31st of December because the park buildings may not be available.

Visit Fredericksburg National Cemetery

Fredericksburg National Cemetery is a significant landmark in history, as it is the final resting place for 15,000+ Union soldiers who took part and died in one of the final battles between Richmond, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Founded in 1865, it's one of the most famous national cemeteries in the country.

Candle-lighting in Fredericksburg National Cemetery
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You'll find it at 1013 Lafayette Blvd. in Fredericksburg, VA, just a couple steps away from the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center.

Now, the cemetery is an integral part of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park, which the National Park Service manages.

The battle sites have visitor centers with films, exhibits, and guided tours that help interpret and commemorate the battles in a larger historical context.

Graves in Fredericksburg National Cemetery
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If you visit the place, you'll also see one of the fourteen national cemeteries preserved by the National Park Service.

Fredericksburg National Cemetery is open for visitors seven days a week.

Try Fredericksburg's Trolly Tours

Fredericksburg might be one of the few towns that genuinely think about its tourists.

It plans how the tourists can go on a nice trip, see all the best places, and return home with happy memories.

For this very reason, you can now tour the whole of Fredericksburg or the main tourist attractions on a trolley.

The tour takes about 75 minutes, and the trolley takes you to places.

Also, you will get a guide along with your trolley.

You might feel like a guide is not the most essential thing, but guides are a must in a historic town like Fredericksburg.

Embark on this unique way of seeing the city on the first day of your trip.

Mary Washington's home, Kenmore Plantation, Fredericksburg Civil War Battlefield, James Monroe Museum are just some of the essential things you will see on this trip.

Bring Your Appetite to Eileen's Bakery & Cafe

Sometimes, what you need is just a sweet treat to reward yourself for a day well done.

Thanks to Eileen's Bakery & Cafe, you get to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Eileen's Bakery & Cafe in in Fredericksburg
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At Eileen's Bakery & Cafe, you can order tasty meals, such as breakfast and sandwiches.

Their menu has a great selection to choose from.

Whether you're craving a hearty sandwich or an artisan quiche, they have what you need.

Plus, they offer various beverages like espresso and coffee.

To top it off, their menu includes homemade bread, pastries, pies, cakes, cookies, and cupcakes in different sizes.

Learn About the Area in Fredericksburg Area Museum

Fredericksburg Area Museum
Billy Hathorn, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the major attractions of Fredericksburg is the Fredericksburg Area Museum.

If you want to know more about the people, the Fredericksburg Area Museum is the best way.

Yes, you can hire a guide to know the town's history, but will he be accurate enough?

Not as much as Fredericksburg Area Museum.

The museum works its hardest to preserve everything about the town.

Most people focus on the Civil War's history, but not the Fredericksburg Area Museum!

Their information dates back to the era even before the war happened.

They also have documents about the things that happened after the war.

From Native American history to as recent as the ‘Black Lives Matter Movement -- everything can be discovered at this phenomenal Fredericksburg Area Museum.

Explore Washington Heritage Museums

You might be wondering why we used ‘museums’ instead of ‘museum’?

Well, the answer is simple: four properties make up the Washington Heritage Museums.

Fantastic, right?

Four properties mean more places to explore!

Washington Heritage Museums are in the top five tourist attractions of Fredericksburg.

The tour operators might go by the name of Mary Washington Museum, but these are the same thing, and these four houses are all somehow related to the Washinton Family.

Let us get into some details now.

First comes the St. James’ House.

This is the house of Mary Washington and still has all of her belongings and furniture preserved inside.

Then at Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, we see the place where doctors worked.

Mary was a patient here too.

After that comes to the original Mary Washington House; President Washington gifted this to his old mother, which contains the belongings of the last days of her life.

Finally, in the Rising Sun Tavern, tourists see the house constructed by the President’s brother.

Some intricately detailed ancient pieces of furniture can be seen here.

Gaze at the Architecture of Chatham Manor

Chatham Manor
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Chatham Manor is not just any ordinary mansion.

If we have any architecture students here, they will surely appreciate the efforts and designs behind this gorgeous artwork.

Even if you aren’t an expert, you can tell how beautifully different this house is from the others.

But what is so unique about the property other than its design?

This property has seen more ups and downs than you could ever imagine.

The main reason is its age; the property was constructed back in 1771, making it one of the oldest homes in Fredericksburg.

Did you know it was not only affected by the terrible Civil War?

It also took part in a rebellion involving the slaves that occurred way before any wars did.

But then came the main Civil War.

It is said that wars have been fought here too.

The evidence?

You can see the damaged walls of the house and the burnt grounds.

They have tried to do renovations to this piece of history, and now it stands there proudly.

By the way, you cannot enter inside the house as it is prohibited.

However, you can check out the gardens and the porch.

Be sure to click a whole lot of pictures.

Visit Liberty Towns Art Workshop

If you think that Fredericksburg is not a place of art, then you are wrong here.

To prove you wrong, we are taking you to the Liberty Towns Art Workshop.

It was once a warehouse used for various plumbing stuff, but now the people renovated it and turned it into a beautiful gallery.

They represent the works of all local artists.

You can find several oil paintings, water paintings, glass paintings, various crafts, and even jewelry.

Check Out George Washington Ferry Farm

George Washington Ferry Farm
Aamarcian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After the horrors of the Chatham House, we have a fascinating piece on our hands now.

You might have guessed it by now, but let us remind you once more: Fredericksburg has played an immensely important role in shaping American History.

For this very reason, all of the places here are significant in one way or another and reek of that rich historical heritage.

Well, all that is clear, so let us hop on to check out the George Washington Ferry Farm!

President George Washington lived in this gorgeous location for 14 years!

The site is just on the other side of the Rappahannock River and is a visual treat!

But it was not long ago they found this place, as it was only in 2008 that such a location was known to people.

You will begin the tour just to find out that archaeologists are still trying to save what remains!

Check Out the Collection of James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library

James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library
Billy Hathorn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When we talked about the trolley tour of Fredericksburg, we did mention one of the vital spots to be the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library.

Now, it is time for us to go and check that out personally.

Fredericksburg not only housed President Washington, but it was also home and the workplace of the fifth president of the States, James Monroe, and this museum is dedicated to his works and lifestyle entirely.

Another quite interesting fact about the museum is that the next generation of Monroe built it themselves.

This was the office of Monroe, and he practiced law here.

Do check out the museum to find all of the letters, works, and heirlooms of the Monroe family.

Know About Heritage at Central Rappahannock Heritage Center

Central Rappahannock Heritage Center is mainly about the rich culture of Fredericksburg.

The town has a rich history that no one can question.

Even the areas nearby play a big part in this vast history.

Central Rappahannock Heritage Center celebrates that history by trying to preserve what’s left of it.

You can find a lot of more minor details here.

Love letters, heirlooms, photographs - anything that holds meaning to life associated with the time around the war can be found here.

Get Amazed by the History of Fredericksburg Battlefield

Fredericksburg Battlefield
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By now, we have let you know that Fredericksburg is entirely a military town.

This town of history was deeply impacted by the Civil War.

Fredericksburg and its surrounding areas still reek of that war's remnants.

However, if you want to see the central area, head over to Fredericksburg Battlefield.

In December 1862, the Union Army tried to confiscate Richmond by crossing the Rappahannock River.

But, the attempt was not successful.

It was this horrible battle in the Fredericksburg Battlefield that stopped all the attempts of the Union Army.

The battlefield saw massive bloodshed.

This is why tourists treat this as one of the major attractions of the town.

History still moves people and brings tears to many.

Taste Some Spirits at A. Smith Bowman Distillery

A.Smith Bowman Distillery has some of the best spirits in town.

Plus, it has been for ages, making A.Smith Bowman Distillery one of the prime places to check out in Fredericksburg.

A.Smith Bowman was just an ordinary man with average dreams.

At the time of Prohibition, no one could even think of selling alcohol, so like other people, he bought a normal farm to earn his living by making it a granary and selling dairy products.

But it so happened that he had too many grains that he tried making the dream into a reality, and after the Prohibition was lifted, he started selling liquor out of those grains.

What started as a small business in 1927 is now one of Fredericksburg's major attractions and distilleries.

Take a Tour of Kenmore Plantation

Kenmore Plantation House
Cowpie21, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Washingtons practically ruled Fredericksburg!

You can tell this by looking at how many historic sites are after them and all the deeds they have done for the betterment of this town.

Kenmore Plantation just happens to be also related to the Washington family somehow.

Originally the property of Fielding Lewis, the Kenmore Plantation is a marvel in itself.

Now, you’d ask who is he to President Washington?

He was married to Washington’s sister: Betty Washington Lewis!

The man was a wealthy businessman who wanted to build the house of his dreams.

The elegant house was designed in a Georgian structure that does not fail to turn eyes even today!

Watch Shows at Riverside Center

Locals, as well as tourists, love watching shows at the Riverside Center.

It has been there for a few decades now but has never failed to amaze people.

If you want an evening filled with fun, opt for a show here, as it is known to present some of the best performances.

There is also a dinner system, so you can easily catch up with your dinner over there.

Visit the Neighboring Civil War Battlegrounds

Chancellorsville Battlefield
olekinderhook, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you think Fredericksburg is the only place to have Civil War history, then you are wrong, for there are many places that reek of bloodshed and war.

You need to check these out right on your trip to Fredericksburg.

Now, let us have a look at everything they have to offer us.

Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania, and Wilderness are the three other places decorated with Civil War's rich heritage.

These are all the areas that were hit by the war, and thousands of men gave away their lives in the war.

It is also reported that a lot of men were almost injured to death.

You can organize the tour for yourself or just hire someone.

We recommend the latter as they tell you about all the wars and the casualties in detail.

Have Some Fun at Central Park Funland

Enough with the sad history of Fredericksburg; it is now time to have some fun time with your family.

It is no less than an amusement park, but the entire set is indoors.

Having a massive space of 40,000 square feet, Central Park Funland has everything you need to have fun.

From laser tag and go-kart to golf and all sorts of games, the park is for all ages.

Do check out this place on your trip.

Other Things to Do Nearby

See the Infamous Belmont Estate

Belmont Estate
Morgan Riley, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You might have heard of the famous Gari Melchers.

But do you know where he lived and painted the world from?

It was here in Fredericksburg.

All through 19 and 20 centuries, paintings of Melchers were famous in the market.

After he attained his fame, he bought this Bellmont Estate in Fredericksburg.

He came here to get rid of the horrors of WWI.

The paintings he did here are pretty famous, but after both he and his spouse died, the house was given away to the government.

Now, you can go on a tour and enjoy the estate!

Final Thoughts

Let’s Wrap This Up: Fredericksburg is a great place to call home, and it has so much to offer.

No matter what you enjoy, there is something for everyone here in Fredericksburg.

You get to enjoy the beautiful parks, festivals, and activities, not to mention the historical buildings that provide you with a glimpse into days gone by.

There is no doubt that anyone can find something they will like about staying forever or for a while in Fredericksburg, VA.

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