Hopewell is an independent city in Virginia, also known as “Wonder City.”
This moniker is sufficient to encourage visits to the city and enjoy the things to see and do here.
In 1613, settlers arrived at the oldest area of Hopewell, named Bermuda City.
Later, they renamed it Charles City Point or City Point.
The DuPont Company of Wilmington, Delaware, later developed the larger 10.83-square miles of Hopewell in 1914 with a dynamite factory.
When Du Pont left the city after World War I, Hopewell drew other big companies.
It also bounced back from a fire in 1915, establishing its resilient reputation as Wonder City.
After more than a century, Hopewell has much to show from Colonial times to the present.
Explore the best things to do in Hopewell, Virginia!
Explore the City Point Open Air Museum
This Hopewell attraction spreads between Cedar Lane and Water Street on a bluff overlooking the confluence of the Appomattox and Jamhis areas.
The City Point Open Air Museum is the oldest part of Hopewell, founded in 1613.
This open-air museum’s Petersburg National Battlefield-City Point Unit commemorates a skirmish of the American Revolutionary War that took place there.
This area features 25 historic houses and structures, one of which is the Appomattox Manor.
Initially built in 1763, the house served as the Civil War headquarters of General Ulysses S. Grant.
General Grant also occupied a cabin on the property, one of the points of interest in the open-air museum.
Outdoor storyboards stand throughout this historic City Point area to enhance the visitors’ walking tour.
Visitors can get a free tour map of the City Point Open Air Museum at St. Dennis Chapel on Brown Avenue or the Hopewell Visitor Center on Oaklawn Boulevard.
Visit the Weston Manor
The Historic Hopewell Foundation has its headquarters at Weston Manor and conducts tours of this historic house.
The Foundation’s staff and volunteers tell stories about the manor and its original residents.
The manor’s main house, constructed in 1789, is a classic rendition of the Virginia Georgian architectural style.
Overlooking the Appomattox River on Weston Lane off North 21st Avenue, the house has period antiques and reproductions.
The families of William and Christian Eppes Gilliam settled in Virginia in the 17th century.
They owned the Weston Mably, Christian’s maternal grandfather descended from the famed Native American princess, Pocahontas.
The Historic Hopewell Foundation offers guided tours of the manor year-round.
Visitors can buy souvenirs and gift items at the boutique shop, All Manor of Things, in an outbuilding of the Weston Manor.
Enjoy Water Views at the Hopewell Riverwalk
Follow the picturesque banks of the Appomattox River via a stroll on this 1,736-foot wooden boardwalk.
Hopewell Riverwalk has received the Environmental Excellence Award from state and county agencies.
It also offers scenic vistas of historic City Point.
You can access the walkway from Hopewell’s City Park featuring several amenities.
The facilities in the park include a sandy beach area, a fishing pier, a covered pavilion, and a nature-inspired playground.
Off-street parking and portable restrooms are available at the Hopewell Riverwalk.
Explore the City with Hopewell Recreation and Parks
Visitors can enjoy the great outdoors in the Hopewell Recreation and Parks system covering 200 acres with several trail networks.
The pathways in Hopewell’s trail map are inside the city’s 15 parks.
One of the popular choices is the Riverside Park Stormwater Greenway.
This 1,000-foot trail is at Riverside Park on North 12th Avenue, linking to an adjoining 1,600-foot creekside path.
Other trails meandering in Hopewell’s parks include the following.
Check out the 900-foot Cattail Creek Nature Trail at the King’s Court Playground on Waverly Street
Then, go to the 850-foot Cabin Creek Nature Trail at Crystal Lake Park on River Road, connecting to Mathis Park.
The 1,200-foot Walking Path of Woodlawn Park on Boston Street also features playground equipment.
Finally, the 825-foot Walking Path of Arlington Park on Courthouse Road allows visitors access to a pavilion and basketball courts.
Visit Hopewell Recreation and Parks to explore the city!
Go Fishing at Old City Point Waterfront Park
Try recreational fishing onshoHopewell'sat the Old City Point Waterfront Park on Pecan pewell.
This park, one of Hopewell’s 15 parks, has a 200-foot fishing deck extending parallel to the river banks.
Anglers casting off from this deck will have their fishing lines directly on the confluence of the Appomattox and James Rivers.
The converging river waters channel catches several fish species, including different types of bass, catfish, sunfish, perch, and bluegill.
Another fishing spot from shore worth trying is the bulkhead at the Hopewell City Marina on Riverside Avenue.
This place is a short distance west of Old City Point Water Park.
Launch a Kayak at Hopewell City Marina
Visiting boaters easily access the Appomattox River and James River via the Hopewell City Marina.
This facility is a kayak launch with a four-lane ramp featuring floating docks and a gradual slope for easy boat boarding.
The marina also provides covered and open boat slips for monthly rentals, with water and power connections and a secure entrance.
There is a store in the marina where you can purchase boating and fishing supplies.
Located west of the Hopewell City Marina, the historic Weston Manor also has a pier providing access to the Appomattox River.
Watch a Concert at Beacon Theatre
Check the lineup of musical acts at the Beacon Theatre on North Main Street.
This event venue is famous for its shows, reasonable concert ticket prices, and drinks.
The Beacon Theatre is one of the historic buildings in Hopewell’s downtown area.
Built in 1928 as a theater for silent movies, the theater features an orchestra and balcony seating.
In 2015, they fully restored the Beacon Theatre in time for Hopewell’s centennial celebration.
Shop at Hopewell Farmers Market
This open-air market opens from May to October every Sunday at a parking lot near the Appomattox Regional Library.
An average of 15 rotating vendors participate in the Hopewell Farmers Market, not only from the city but also from Prince George, Chester, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Chesterfield County, and Richmond.
The family-friendly farmers market allows visitors and locals to mingle while shopping.
The goods in the Hopewell Farmers Market include fresh produce, baked goods, and crafts from regional and local farmers and artisans.
Have Fun at the Third Thursday Street Festivals
The Hopewell Downtown Partnership, the grassroots nonprofit behind the Hopewell Farmers Market, has also initiated lively street festivals.
Hopewell visitors can enjoy these events on the third Thursdays of June, July, August, and September.
Dubbed as Third Thursday Street Festivals, these events happen on the block of East Broadway and Library Street.
These block parties at the Third Thursday Street Festivals feature live band music, drinks, local vendors, food trucks, and kids’ activities.
Try the Soul Food of Lillie Mae’s Kitchen
This small restaurant on the southwest corner of Arlington Road and Boston Street promises big surprises.
Lillie Mae’s Kitchen promises to be its patrons’ “home away from home.”
It has a small but talented staff of cooks who provide unique freshness in their food preparations.
The restaurant’s offerings include flavorful steak and cheese, chicken wings, banana pudding, subs, sandwiches, and salads.
Besides these made-to-order food items, Lillie Mae’s Kitchen draws repeat customers with its comforting atmosphere and friendly service.
Play the Lanes of Hopewell Bowling Center
The family-owned Hopewell Bowling Center is on South 15th Avenue.
From its humble beginnings in 1955, this bowling alley has updated its facilities with automated lanes and a scoring system.
A great sound system is another new attraction, with multicolor lights, laser lights, and a fog machine for the center’s Saturday night cosmic bowling.
The Hopewell Bowling Center also boasts a new air conditioning system and comfortable seating.
The Hopewell Bowling Center has also updated its snack bar with an expanded menu.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Enjoy Solitude at the Appomattox River Regional Park
The Parks and Recreation Department of the neighboring Prince George County, Virginia, maintains the 65-acre Appomattox River Regional Park on Folar Trail North.
The park sits nine minutes from Hopewell.
More than three miles of hiking trails traverse this park’s pristine woodlands, a ten-station fitness trail.
Other facilities at the Appomattox River Regional Park include a fishing pier, an observation deck for birdwatching, picnic pavilions, a kayak/canoe launch, and restrooms.
Take the Family to Swaders Sports Park
This family-oriented amusement park is on Whitehill Boulevard, Prince George, Virginia, 15 minutes from Hopewell.
Swaders Sports Park provides indoor and outdoor facilities for the whole family’s enjoyment.
Its visitors can play mini-golf, ride go-karts, and play bowling and laser tag.
They can also have fun at the amusement park’s batting cages, driving range, and arcade with a virtual reality experience.
Children can have a tamer experience at Swader Sports Park’s indoor KidZone, a supervised playground featuring an obstacle course, a trolley, and multiple slides.
Feel the Rush at Tree Time Adventures
You can find the outdoor aerial obstacle course, Tree Time Adventures, on Courthouse Road in Prince George, about 16 minutes from Hopewell.
Visitors of this facility can choose from several aerial courses, each offering a variety of thrills and experiences.
A self-guided tour of one of the courses takes two to three hours of climbing through obstacles and flying down zip lines.
Before negotiating a course, the guests will undergo a detailed 30-minute safety briefing.
You can use top-of-the-line equipment and safety gear like harnesses, pulleys, helmets, and carabiners.
Bring the family to Tree Time Adventures!
Visit Pocahontas Island
The 66-acre Pocahontas Island is a peninsula in Petersburg, Virginia, 13 minutes from Hopewell.
Pocahontas Island is on the National Register of Historic Places, one of the oldest black communities in the U.S.
The pioneers on the island include some of Petersburg’s first enslaved African Americans, taken there in 1732 to work in tobacco warehouses.
Pocahontas Island is now home to the Black History Museum.
Check out fantastic African-American heritage artifacts and the American Civil War collection.
Discover the Charms of Point of Rocks Park
You can find Point of Rocks Park in Chester, Virginia, seven minutes from Hopewell.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Point of Rocks Park figured heavily in the Civil War.
For example, you can find remnants of Union earthworks in the park; the Confederates also used a vintage house as a signal station.
The park’s other features include a playground, soccer and baseball fields, walking trails, and picnic areas.
Hopewell checks all the boxes for a thrilling visit to Virginia.
This town flaunts many landmarks that helped shape the history of Virginia and the United States.
The local parks also have abundant natural attractions offering many things to do in Hopewell.