Are you planning a road trip to Lynchburg, Virginia, but need help figuring out what to do once you get there? Don’t worry! This charming city has fantastic attractions for families, history buffs, and outdoor enthusiasts alike. From world-class museums to scenic parks, there’s something for everyone in Lynchburg. This blog post will share our top picks for the top things to do in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Visit the Museums
Art lovers will definitely want to visit the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College in Lynchburg. With over 10,000 works of art, including art from the 19th through 21st centuries, the Maier Museum of Art offers an impressive collection that spans several periods, art movements, and styles. And it is free.
Notable artists featured in the museum include Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, James Audubon, and Andy Warhol. Additionally, the museum hosts several exhibitions and educational programs throughout the year.
If you’re a history buff or just curious about the Civil War, then the Lynchburg Museum is a must-see attraction. The museum boasts an extensive collection of artifacts that tell the city’s story from its beginnings to the present day.
Visit the Old Court House Civil War Museum to learn more about the Civil War from a local perspective. If natural history is more your style, don’t miss the Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum. This charming museum honors one of the most celebrated poets of the Harlem Renaissance.
At Point of Honor, this beautiful Federal-style historic mansion, now a city museum, provides a window into the life of one of Lynchburg’s wealthiest residents in the early 19th century, Dr. George Cabell. Step inside and experience the opulence and elegance of the period in this property on the National Register of Historic Places.
I found it interesting that Dr. Cabell was personal friends with Thomas Jefferson and the personal physician to patriot Patrick Henry.
Fun Fact: Did you know Lynchburg has oodles of 19th-century Queen Anne-style mansions and enormous homes due to the tobacco tycoons and the large influx of doctors and lawyers there?
Take a tour of the Anne Spencer House & Garden. This cultural landmark pays tribute to one of Lynchburg’s most influential African American poets of the Harlem Renaissance.
Lynchburg played a significant role in the Civil Rights movement. Take a self-guided tour and explore the landmarks and sites that played a part in the movement.
Discover Lynchburg’s rich history with a visit to the Old City Cemetery, established in 1806 and considered the oldest municipal cemetery in Virginia. Explore the final resting place of over 20,000 people, including European immigrants, tobacco factory workers, and Confederate soldiers.
A separate Confederate section houses 2,200 graves of soldiers around the country who died before 1925. Beyond the fascinating history, the cemetery offers a 27-acre public garden perfect for walking, hiking, or tracking your steps with a Fitbit.
Don’t miss the stunning rose garden! Designated as a National Historic Landmark, the Old City Cemetery is a must-visit destination for any history lover or outdoor enthusiast.
Explore the Outdoors
Lynchburg has many beautiful parks and trails perfect for fresh air and majestic scenery. Hike the James River Heritage Trail, which runs through Downtown, or the Blackwater Creek Trail, a pedestrian and bike path that’s over four miles long.
Or the Lynchburg Riverwalk Trail — a scenic 3.5-mile trail that follows the James River. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the river and the surrounding mountains, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a bike ride.
Lynchburg is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, so there are plenty of hiking trails to explore. The Appalachian Trail is just a short drive away and offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.
Enjoy a stroll in the city’s largest park, Riverside Park, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the James River and the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. Pack a picnic, bring your dog, or hop on a bike and explore the trails.
Take your family to Amazement Square, where your kids can engage in hands-on, interactive exhibits that explore science, math, and art. Experience taking a mini-batteau boat down the James River on a 40-foot-long diorama, exploring the housing and daily life of the Native Americans, building structures with a crane, and discovering life on a farm by harvesting and selling crops, and milking “Milky,” the cow at this adventurous venue.
Other fun spaces include Kaleidoscope Gallery, Bee in the Know, and Shipwreck Cove.
You won’t want to miss Riverfront Park Sprayground on the James River, where there’s a water feature and pavilion perfect for barbecues and events and keeping cool during the summer months. Dumping buckets and spraying frogs will be two of the kids’ favorites.
There is also an extensive playground for kids only steps away.
Take your family to explore the unique outdoor recreation opportunities at Legacy Park, which features an amphitheater, disc golf courses, and more.
Enjoy the Arts
If you love art, check out the Academy Center for the Arts. This historic building and multi-venue complex, which dates back to 1905, has been meticulously restored and now serves as the cultural hub of Lynchburg. It offers a wide range of artistic performances, from theatre to music and cinema.
The theater closed in 1958 and sat dormant for 60 years until it was nursed back to its grandeur and reopened in December 2018.
Academy Center for the Arts offers many events such as concerts, plays, dance performances, and art installments. Even if you’re not into art, the building’s beautiful architecture is worth seeing. The 2023 season performances include:
- Taylor Swift Laser dance party
- The Platters and Drifters concert
- Disney’s The Little Mermaid
Fun Fact: The capital of Virginia was relocated to Lynchburg in 1865 for a short time when Richmond fell to the Union forces.
Experience the Lynchburg Farmers Market
Every Saturday, the Lynchburg Farmers Market is open from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM, offering fresh produce, baked goods, and handcrafted items. It’s the perfect place to start your day exploring Lynchburg. At the same location is the Community Market, open Tuesday through Saturday, 7 AM to 2 PM.
Take Selfies at the Virginia LOVE Collection
The Virginia LOVE collection is a must-visit attraction for anyone visiting Lynchburg. The collection features four-foot-tall letters spelling out the word “LOVE” that have been installed in various locations throughout the state of Virginia.
The letters are made of aluminum, and each letter features designs that showcase the attractions and landmarks of the communities where they are located.
Lynchburg has its own Virginia LOVE letters, found at the Riverfront Park. This is a great spot to take some memorable photos for your trip.
Visit Poplar Forest: A Presidential Site
Discover the amazing architecture and design of the past at Thomas Jefferson’s stunning Poplar Forest! Located just a quick 20-minute drive from Lynchburg, this historic octagonal house was once the personal retreat of Jefferson himself.
Jefferson spent many happy years working on his beloved landscape and architectural designs and even made cherished memories with his grandchildren. Today, you can explore this unique piece of history for yourself and see the first-ever octagonal house built in the county!
Restorations and exciting architectural excavations are ongoing, so make sure to take the tour and visit the gift shop for a perfect day out.
Lynchburg for the Win!
Lynchburg, Virginia, is a gem waiting to be explored. It has something for everyone, from its rich history, stunning nature, thriving art scene, and delectable dining.
Whether on a road trip or a family outing, consider seeing these popular and best things to do in Lynchburg, Virginia. I guarantee you will be impressed!
Thanks to the Lynchburg CVB for hosting my visit and all expenses. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
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