Lynchburg, Virginia, is a great place to consider for a long weekend getaway. At the eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lynchburg has fascinating historical attractions, over 100-year-old churches, excellent art offerings, delicious food, and plenty of places to get outdoors. Something interesting I learned on my visit is that Lynchburg was a huge shoe manufacturing and tobacco-growing town. This, and the successful railroad, contributed to the wealth it experienced at the turn of the century, which resulted in the gorgeous antebellum mansions around town.
You’ll love Lynchburg’s friendly locals and great Southern hospitality. Here are suggestions for what to see and do, where to eat, and where to stay during your long weekend in historic Lynchburg, the “City of Seven Hills,” based on my press trip experience hosted by Visit Lynchburg, VA. All opinions remain my own.
Things To Do In Lynchburg
Lynchburg runs the gamut from cool street murals and art galleries to picturesque walking trails and river adventures. There is no one type of traveler that will prefer Lynchburg, it is a one-size-fits-all place. Lynchburg is home to Randolph College (originally Randolph-Macon women-only college), Virginia University of Lynchburg, Liberty University, and Lynchburg College.
Lynchburg Community Market
Explore one of the oldest markets in Virginia (circa 1783) at the Lynchburg Community Market. This interesting open-air market offers space (Heritage Crafters Gallery and Artist Alley) for local artisans, vendors, and farmers selling their wares. It’s a reliable place to find souvenirs, home accessories, pottery, jewelry, or even a meal or cup of coffee. While there is a huge indoor space, the market really thrives at the outdoor stalls on Saturdays when the weather turns favorable.
Point Of Honor
History buffs will love walking through Point of Honor, an early 1800s Federal-style historical home, now turned museum. Point of Honor belonged to a prominent local physician who was friends with Thomas Jefferson. He is thought to be the doctor who killed one of his patients on accident -- patriot Patrick Henry. The views of the James River from Point of Honor alone are worth the visit. The antiques and rooms are well preserved and classy.
Academy Center For The Arts
Academy Center for the Arts is the premier center for the arts in Lynchburg. It has been a staple in Lynchburg for 110 years. Besides offering touring and local performances and live music, the Academy Center for the Arts also hosts youth, online, and adult classes and has rental space.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss the eye-catching mural on the side of the building!
Lynchburg runs along the photogenic James River. Here, you’ll find Percival’s Island, a perfect place to get outdoors and enjoy a brisk walk or run in a scenic setting. Once an old railroad bed, the 1.5-mile paved trail is a Lynchburg landmark. You can get out on the water of the James River, as well, via kayak, canoe, inner-tubes, bateau (light flat-bottomed riverboat), or standup paddleboard. Rent these items or sign up for a guided tubing or paddling tour with James River Adventures. Be on the lookout for herons and other waterfowl.
Lynchburg’s history is great and wide. You’ll find the burial site of 20,000 Confederate soldiers, European immigrants, and tobacco farmers at Old City Cemetery. At Monument Terrace, see the Doughboy statue and tribute to Lynchburg citizens who fought and died in WWI, WWII, the Civil War, Spanish-American War, Korea, Vietnam, and present-day citizens. Courthouse Hill affords picturesque views of the beautiful City Court House. Then, at the Lynchburg Museum, history comes alive through costumed interpreters, artifacts, and old photos.
While driving around town, you will notice colorful and creatively painted pianos. These public artistic gifts are sponsored by Hill City Keys and are available for anyone to sit down and hammer out a tune. The five perfectly tuned pianos (with overhangs to protect them from the weather) make for great fun. Occasionally, you’ll hear some fantastic musicians showing off their talents.
Anne Spencer House
Stroll through the historic house museum and cozy gardens of Virginia’s landmark poet, Anne Spencer. Anne was especially famous during the Harlem Renaissance and was a known Civil Rights activist. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Maier Museum Of Art
Lynchburg has quite a few art galleries, but the most impressive to me is the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College. This venue houses a fascinating collection of 19th- through 21st-century paintings, with impressive works by Audubon, Hopper, and O’Keeffe. Best of all, admission is absolutely free!
Lynchburg has a prevalent arts and culture scene and a cool roadside public art installment featuring “LOVE” displays all around the state. They were created to honor the “Virginia is for Lovers” 50th birthday and were so popular that they keep growing. Ones to look for in Lynchburg include the celebration of the great outdoors at the trailhead of Percival’s Island, a high-heeled shoe near the Craddock Terry Hotel, and at the University of Lynchburg.
Located 20 minutes from Lynchburg are two pretty impressive places to visit: Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest and DeVault Family Vineyards. Poplar Forest is a National Historic Landmark and UNESCO World Heritage Site. House tours run $18 and focus on the site’s architecture and award-winning restoration as well as the enslaved community that once lived there and Thomas Jefferson’s story.
At DeVault, in Concord, Virginia, sip on your choice of red, white, or blend wines in their tasting room, open Thursday through Saturday. Unlike most wineries, this one offers amenities right on the property, such as an indoor swimming pool, volleyball and basketball courts, and a stocked fishing pond.
Best Restaurants In Lynchburg
Lynchburg has so many tasty places to eat, but you may not be able to cram them all into a weekend trip. From impressive farm-to-table eats to a retro diner with an original breakfast offering, I found Lynchburg to be absolutely delicious.
Market At Main
I recommend Market at Main for breakfast. This old-timey eatery has counter and table service, with breakfast available all day. I don’t know about you, but that is a real thrill for me. A super cool menu item at Market on Main is the Flight of Pancakes. It comes with one each of the corncake, buttermilk, and sweet potato varieties. Red velvet is another option. The Eggs Virginia, with Virginia sage sausage patties, is another great option. For lunch, Market at Main’s burger and sandwich selections are impressive.
My Dog Duke’s Diner
My Dog Duke’s Diner serves up comfort food dishes in a casual setting with indoor and outdoor dog-friendly seating. The Freebird sandwich is wonderful, with crispy chicken, pimento cheese, bacon, and remoulade. For breakfast, consider the avocado toast, hash skillets, or breakfast tacos. While the menu has been scaled back a bit since I visited, I remember an awesome selection of adult grilled cheeses.
Grey’s is another popular dining spot for lunch and dinner. They pride themselves on stellar hand-crafted cocktails, delicious house-made Burrata, and one-of-a-kind dinner entrees. Popular dishes are the Korean chicken, shrimp and grits, and chicken fried cauliflower. The restaurant was formerly a historic Greyhound bus station. If Grey’s happens to have the fried green tomato stack with pulled pork and fresh peaches on the menu, you are in for a real treat!
Ploughcroft Tea Room
You can treat yourself to a proper English afternoon tea or a plate of pastries and sweet treats at Ploughcroft Tea Room, also offering an a la carte menu. Ploughcroft’s Canterbury Chicken and Mushroom Pie and Notting Hill Chicken Salad both make excellent lunch choices. This authentic British tea room is cute as can be and the pastries are almost too pretty to eat.
The William And Henry
The William and Henry Steakhouse at The Virginian Hotel is one of the finest dining establishments in Lynchburg. Tableside Caesar salads, chops, steaks, and seafood, plus impeccable service and a warm, welcoming dining room, are what make this restaurant so desirable. Also at the hotel is Skyline Rooftop, the only rooftop restaurant and bar in downtown Lynchburg. Stop in for tapas and signature cocktails, and of course, the views.
Best Hotels In Lynchburg
Two hotels in Lynchburg are standouts: The Virginian Lynchburg and the Craddock Terry Hotel. The Virginian is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton and offers a great location, beautiful luxury rooms, and fantastic hotel amenities. The sitting area (library) off the lobby, 24-hour fitness center, and Marigold Cafe (Starbucks coffee and grab-and-go items) are other highlights of the stunning property.
The Craddock Terry Hotel is a boutique luxury waterfront hotel that was converted from a previous shoe warehouse. Lynchburg was once quite the leader in the shoe industry, and this hotel pays tribute to those days in the 44 eclectic rooms with whimsical decor. The Craddock Terry Hotel has a beautiful lobby, gift shop, and Penny Loafer, the cute hotel mascot. If you are traveling with your pet, check out the hotel’s Pampered Pet Package.
Pro Tip: Both self-parking and valet are $10 per day at The Virginian Lynchburg. It is a great place to park and explore the downtown area.
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