15 Best Things to Do in Fredericksburg, VA

15 Best Things to Do in Fredericksburg, VA

The town of history- Fredericksburg is one of the most amazing historic places that you can visit. Serving as one of the most important battlegrounds for the Civil War, the place has no shortage of rich heritage and history. Parks dedicated to soldiers, museums of the Civil War, Victorian buildings decorate this place making it interesting for the history buffs. Let us have a look at the top 15 things Fredericksburg has to offer us.

Go on a tour of Fredericksburg in a trolley!

Fredericksburg might be one of the very few towns that genuinely thinks about its tourists. It plans how the tourists can go on a nice trip, see all the best places, and go back home with happy memories only!

For this very reason, you can now tour the whole of Fredericksburg or the main tourist attractions in a trolley! The tour takes about 75 minutes, and the trolley takes you everywhere the history lies. Also, you will get a guide along with your trolley. You might feel like a guide is not the most essential thing, but in a historic town like Fredericksburg- guides are a must!

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.

Get amazed by the history of Fredericksburg Battlefield

Fredericksburg Battlefield
Cynthia Farmer / Shutterstock.com

By now, we have let you know that Fredericksburg is completely a military town. This town of history was deeply impacted by the Civil War. Fredericksburg and its surrounding areas still reek of the remnants of the horrible war. However, if you want to see the main 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 as it should be. History still moves people and brings tears to many!

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. Let us face the facts- if you want to know more about the people, the Fredericksburg Area Museum is the best way.

Yes, you can hire a guide and get him to tell you all about the town, 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 history of the town, 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 here 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 earlier taking care of patients. Mary was a patient here too. After that comes to the original Mary Washington House- President Washington gifted this to his old mother and this 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
Felix Lipov / Shutterstock.com

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 will easily be able to tell how beautifully different this house is from 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 a lot of renovations to this piece of history, and now it stands there proudly showing visitors its hard life! P.S- 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.

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 very interesting 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 historic 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!

Do 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 quite famous in the market. After he attained his fame, he got to buy this Bellmont Estate in Fredericksburg. He came here to get rid of the horrors of WWI.

The paintings he did here are quite 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!

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 work-place of the fifth president of the States- James Monroe, and this museum is dedicated to his works and lifestyle completely. 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.

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 an incredibly rich businessman who wanted to build the house of his dreams, and let us tell you he was very successful for it takes 45 minutes to roam around the house! The elegant house was designed in the Georgian structure that does not fail to turn eyes even today!

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 which makes A. Smith Bowman Distillery one of the prime places to check out in Fredericksburg. A. Smith Bowman was just a normal man with normal dreams. At the time of Prohibition, no one could even think of selling alcohol, so he, too like other people, bought a normal farm to earn his living through making it a granary along with 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 the major attractions and distilleries of Fredericksburg.

Watch shows at Riverside Center

Locals, as well as tourists, love watching shows at the Riverside Center. It was been there for a few decades now, but has never failed to make people go, ‘WOW.’
If you want an evening filled with fun as well as art, opt for a show here as it is known to present some of the best performances as well as musicals. It is a huge space of 36,000 square feet. There is also a dinner system so you can easily catch up with your dinner over there.

Visit the neighbouring 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 my friends, you are quite wrong for there are a lot of 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 that are decorated with the rich heritage of the Civil War. These are all the areas where the war-hit hard, and thousands of men gave away their lives in the war. It is reported a lot of men were almost injured to death too. 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.

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

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 huge space of 40,000 square feet- Central Park Funland has everything you need to have fun. From laser-tag, go-kart to golf, and all sorts of games- the park is for all ages. Do check out this place on your trip.

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 that was 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.

With this, we bid goodbye to the lovely town of Fredericksburg. You all will have some of the best time of your lives here as the place happens to be one of the most interesting tourist spots in all of the States. Bon Voyage!