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Located just an hour and a half away from downtown Washington, D.C., the city of Fredericksburg, Virginia, is not to be missed. The charming, historic town, filled with antique stores, quaint shops, and dazzling eateries, offers plenty of interesting sites, delicious meals, and a walkable downtown. Ahead, we’re sharing the activities you just can’t miss during your visit to this quaint Virginia town. Here’s a three-day itinerary to get you started.
When you arrive in Fredericksburg, check into your room at the Kenmore Inn, a quaint bed-and-breakfast with nostalgic touches that will take you back in time. Note that the restaurant is currently closed until further notice, so you’ll want to make off-site plans for your meals, which couldn’t be easier given all of Fredericksburg’s culinary options.
Before diving into any major dining or shopping, take some time to soak up the town’s history by paying a visit to the Rising Sun Tavern Museum. Built by George Washington’s brother, this former tavern is a must-see for any history buff. Keep in mind that it’s currently open solely on Mondays and Fridays from noon until 4 p.m. Visiting another time of the week? There’s still plenty of historic spots to see, including the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library, the Fredericksburg Area Museum, and Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, among other spots. All of these spots will help you develop a better sense of the town.
After exploring, dine at Orofino, where you can enjoy pizza, pasta, salad, and more. A hearty Italian meal will help you kick off your visit on the right foot, and don’t forget to order gelato or tiramisu for dessert.
Mmm, donuts! Freddy Donuts is the place to go. Who can resist fun flavors like French toast, sea salt caramel, or Fruity Pebbles? Grab one (or two!) of these delightful treats along with a coffee (we recommend the honey lavender latte) and enjoy your casual breakfast outside on one of Freddy’s picnic tables.
When you’re done eating, make your way by foot down William Street into downtown Fredericksburg. Here, you’ll find a variety of charming shops that the city has to offer. Antique lovers, you’re in luck, as Fredericksburg is known for its remarkable selection of secondhand finds. We recommend carving out some time to leisurely stroll through the town’s many antique stores and boutiques. Luckily, they’re all located within one small strip, so you won’t miss any must-sees! Take a peek inside Fredericksburg Antique Mall & Clock Shop, Blue Shark Antiques & Collectibles, and Beck’s Antiques & Books to get started. You’ll find vintage curiosities of all kinds and can enjoy browsing around even if you don’t plan on making a major purchase!
Lunchtime already? Shopping always whets our appetites, and fortunately, Fredericksburg’s many retailers are surrounded by an impressive selection of restaurants, too. For the full Southern experience, we suggest Fork-n-Biscuit, which, of course, features biscuits of all kinds as well as waffles all day. You can also pick up cornbread with pimento cheese, chicken pot pie (served in a biscuit, yum), and other delish, carb-heavy treats. If you’re looking for a less indulgent option following your donut-filled breakfast, J. Brian’s Tap Room is your quintessential Irish pub with a menu boasting everything from salads to wraps and more.
After you eat, recharge with another coffee, this time from Agora Downtown. Here, you won’t want to miss out on the orange cinnamon mocha, which is a perfect mix of chocolaty and fruity flavors and will leave you feeling satisfied for the rest of the afternoon. Not into java? There are plenty of other beverages available, including sparkling lavender lemonade, London Fogs, Italian sodas, and more. Plus, they sell macarons and other sweet treats.
With your beverage in hand, make your way over to the University of Mary Washington’s stunning residential campus. This is about a 20-minute walk from Agora, and you can choose to either stroll through the shopping district once again and make stops along the way or cut around the stores and simply enjoy your surroundings. The university is a public institution, yet it is home to just under 5,000 students. And in case you were wondering, it is indeed named after George Washington’s mother!
Ready to eat again? Wrap up your day’s events with dinner at farm-to-table Foode, which offers a three-course tasting menu for $35. Of course, you can also choose from the a la carte offerings, which range from a classic burger to a Manhattan steak. Order some wine and say cheers to a day well spent!
After checking out of the hotel, kick off your trip home with a stop at the Battlefield Country Store, located a few miles outside of downtown Fredericksburg. This is a spot you will not want to miss, trust us. Part grocery store, part deli, and part ice cream shop, this country store has it all. Their oversized milkshakes are out of this world and are extremely Instagram-worthy. Enjoy a sandwich and some dessert before stocking up on treats to enjoy in the car — you’ll find everything from snack mixes to gummies to old-fashioned candies. If you’re not leaving Fredericksburg feeling satisfied, you’re doing it wrong!
Learn more about Fredericksburg HERE. All photography by Sarah Lyon unless otherwise noted.
When you’re ready to hit the road and explore the South, check out our travel archives.