20 Things To Do In Lynchburg VA

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Lynchburg was originally settled in 1757 by John Lynch, the brother of politician and American revolutionary Charles Lynch, and is the third-oldest city in the state of Virginia. The city is named in honour of John, while the act of lynching is believed to be named for his brother.

It was the capital of Virginia for five days in April 1865, in the last days of the American Civil War, after the Confederacy abandoned Richmond until General Lee surrendered and ended the war 20 miles (32 km) east of the city. The eighth largest and 11th most populous city in Virginia, Lynchburg is known by the nicknames “City Of Seven Hills” and “Hill City” due to the seven prominent hills throughout the city and its position in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Best known for its historic past, specifically the era during the “War Between The States”, Lynchburg has 10 historic districts and 40 individual buildings on the United States National Register Of Historic Places. It’s also been home to legendary figures like former United States President Thomas Jefferson and is where he ate a tomato and called it a “love apple” to convince local farmers to grow it in their crops. Keen to know more? You’ll find the best things to do in Lynchburg VA, below.

Lynchburg, VA

20 Things To Do In Lynchburg VA

1- See The Memorials In Monument Terrace

Monument terrace statue of soldier
Most of the best things to do in Lynchburg va involve delving into history, and one of the top places is Monument Terrace.

Monument Terrace is a beautiful stretch of 139 steps separated by terraces that stretches up to the Old Court House.

It is lined with historical markers, sculptures and monuments like the Lynchburg Confederate Monument.

Dedicated to those who lost their lives in conflicts, including the American Civil War, Korean War and Spanish-American War as well as Vietnam War, World War I and World War II.

It’s a fabulous place to learn about the city’s history and its people or to honour those who served during those wars.

Monument Terrace is at 313 9th Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24504.

2- Admire The Architecture Of The Anne Spencer House

The Anne Spencer House & Garden Museum is a beautiful building with Queen Anne architecture that served as the home of Harlem Renaissance poet and civil rights activist Anne Spencer from 1093 until she died in 1975.

It was added to the Virginia Landmarks Register and the United States National Register Of Historic Places and converted into a museum within two years of her passing in 1977.

Boasting manicured gardens, historic furniture, various personal possessions, and artefacts and exhibits dedicated to Anne Spencer, it is a fabulous place to learn about a legendary Lynchburg figure while appreciating the evolving styles of the city over the last 100 years.

Anne Spencer House & Garden Museum is at 1313 Pierce Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24501.

3- Enjoy A Day Out In Percival’s Island Natural Area

Percival’s Island Natural Area is a beautiful river destination ideal for those wanting to experience the region’s natural side.

Flanked by the James River, visitors will see native plant life, animals and a range of migrating waterfowl.

With hiking and biking trails that offer views of all this and the surrounding waters, you can let yourself get lost in nature for a little while.

Percival’s Island Natural Area is at 1600 Concord Turnpike, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24504.

4- Learn About The City’s History At The Lynchburg Museum

Located in the Old County Courthouse building, the Lynchburg Museum houses a collection of artefacts and exhibits revolving around the city’s history.

With ceramics, documents, ephemera, furniture, military objects, photographs, textiles, tools, toys, and works of art, it is perfect for those wanting to understand the city’s past completely.

The Lynchburg Museum is at 901 Court Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24504.

5- Catch A Show At The Academy Center Of The Arts

The Academy Center Of The Arts is a stunning performing arts theatre that hosts some of the city’s biggest and best events.

With musicals, dramas, dances, performances by symphony orchestras, drag shows, game shows, and even local art exhibits, it is the place to go in Lynchburg for some excellent evening entertainment.

The Academy Center Of The Arts is at 600 Main Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24504.

6- Have A Walk Around The Garland Hill Historic District

things to do in lynchburg city skyline at dusk
Most of the best things to do in Lynchburg are in one of the city’s historic districts.

The Garland Hill Historic District is one of 10 such districts spread through the city and is located on one of its seven hills.

One of the oldest parts of the city, it was home to many of Lynchburg’s most distinguished families, many of whom were linked to the tobacco industry.

With architecture covering the popular styles in the city across more than a century, you will see buildings displaying Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, and Victorian.

Added to the National Register in 1972, it is a great place to stroll and experience the life of the city’s historical elite.

The Garland Hill Historic District is on 3rd Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24504.

7- Visit The Legacy Museum Of African American History

Established in 1995, the Legacy Museum Of African American History is dedicated to preserving and sharing African American culture, artefacts, documents, and memorabilia, in a city with the largest free black population in the Confederacy.

Its collection includes business, civil rights, employment, entertainment and education displays.

Learn about health, medicine, politics, art, family, religion, sports and social organisations.

The Legacy Museum Of African American History 403 Monroe Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24504.

8- Explore The Federal Hill Historic District

The Federal Hill Historic District contains several historically significant buildings covering 33 acres (13 ha) in the centre of the city.

Named after the Federal-style townhouses that fill the area, it also has a range of Edwardian and French Second Empire freestanding brick or frame houses.

The whole district was listed on the National Register Of Historic Places in 1980.

The Federal Hill Historic District is on Federal Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24504.

9- Pay A Visit To Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest

Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest is a historic plantation built between 1806 and 1826 by former US President Thomas Jefferson as a retreat.

It’s an excellent destination to experience how one of the nation’s most important historical figures once again lived.

The plantation house boasts stunning architecture and a vast collection of historic furniture and exhibits, while the grounds boast cabins, a lab, and the poplar forest itself.

It’s a US National Historic Landmark on the Virginia Landmarks Register and National Register Of Historic Places.

Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest is at 1776 Poplar Forest Parkway, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24502.

10- Take The Kids To Amazement Square

Amazement Square is a children’s museum that offers a range of fun and educational exhibits.

With a climbing tower, slides, zip lines and hands-on displays covering history, nature, and science, it’s a top spot for families who want their kids to learn as they play.

Amazement Square is at 27 9th Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24504.

11- Be Amazed By The Exhibits At The Point Of Honor

lynchburg va aerial view of the river
For outdoorsy things to do in Lynchburg, you can hike or bike along the river.

Built in 1806 in the Federal style, the Point Of Honor is a historic home named after the duelling ground on which it is located.

Added to the US National Register Of Historic Places in 1970, it was converted into a museum in 1978.

With regular daily tours, visitors can experience one of the city’s most iconic buildings first-hand, learn about the residents who lived in the house and appreciate its architecture, d├ęcor, and stunning views of the James River.

The Point Of Honor is at 112 Cabell Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24504.

12- Enjoy The Works At the Maier Museum Of Art

The Maier Museum Of Art At Randolph College houses a collection of art spanning over 200 years, from the early 19th century to the present day, while also hosting workshops and classes.

With thousands of pieces by notable artists, including drawings, paintings, photographs, and prints, covering styles such as impressionism, Realism, and Contemporary art, there is something on offer for art fans of all tastes.

Maier Museum Of Art is at 1 Quinlan Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24503.

13- Study The Architecture Of The Daniels Hill Historic District

Set on a hill by the James River, the Daniels Hill Historic District is named after two different Virginia judges named William Daniel and was listed on the National Register Of Historic Places in 1983.

It is a can’t-miss destination for architecture fans with a collection of around 180 buildings displaying Federal and Georgian Revival styles, including some of the city’s most stunning and sophisticated mansions.

The Daniels Hill Historic District is at Cabell Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24504.

14- Experience The Atmosphere Of The Old City Cemetery

The Old City Cemetery is the oldest municipal cemetery still in use in the state and one of the oldest anywhere in the United States, having been built in 1806.

Covering 27 acres, it is filled with beautiful graves spanning more than 200 years.

Also featuring a chapel and four house museums, including the Hearse House & Caretakers Museum, Mourning Museum, Pest House Medical Museum and Station House Museum, it is a great place to learn about history, architecture, or burials, or simply go for a stroll in peace and quiet.

The Old City Cemetery is at 401 Taylor Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24501.

15- Relax And Enjoy The Views In Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park is a beautiful park and garden opposite Percival Island, on the banks of the James River.

With wide open green spaces, boardwalks, trails, and even seasonal attractions like festivals, events, and a splash pad, it is a great place to relax, go for a walk, and embrace the great outdoors.

Riverfront Park is at 1100 Jefferson Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24504.

16- Discover The Past In The Diamond Hill Historic District

lynchburg map
Looking for things to do in Lynchburg va? Here are 20.

The Diamond Hill Historic District is known for its imposing Colonial Revival and Georgian Revival buildings home to the upper middle classes in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The district was expanded four years after making the National Register Of Historic Places in 1979.

You will also find the historic Diamond Hill Baptist Church here, known for its distinctive Gothic Revival architecture and as an African American church at the heart of the Lynchburg Civil Rights movement.

The Diamond Hill Historic District is on Grace Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24504.

17- Go For A Hike Along The James River Heritage Trail

The James River Heritage Trail is a 10.1-mile (16.25 km) hiking and biking trail that runs between the Allegheny Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay along the banks of the James River.

Weaving through Lynchburg’s historic districts, natural areas, and riverside attractions, fans of hiking have the perfect chance to get out and appreciate both the natural and man-made sides of the city.

James River Heritage Trail is on Park Avenue, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24501.

18- Examine The Works Of Art In Art Alley

Art Alley is a wonderful pedestrian throughway that connects 11th Street and Jefferson Street.

Decorated with brightly coloured murals, lights, and works of art, it is a short yet enjoyable spot for a stroll, where you can appreciate the city’s popular modern street art styles.

Art Alley is on 11th Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24504.

19- Appreciate Nature And History In Riverside Park

Riverside Park is a park and garden along the banks of the James River in north Lynchburg that has plenty to help people of all interests enjoy the great outdoors.

Sports fields and hike and bike trails will keep active visitors entertained, the Miller-Claytor House, Riverside Park Historical Pool, and Riverside Park Historic Train Exhibit will keep history buffs happy.

There is something for everyone here: a playground for the kids and regular festivals.

Riverside Park is at 2238 Rivermont Avenue, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24503.

20- Visit The Lower Basin Historic District

The Lower Basin Historic District is home to the city’s historic industrial core.

Filled with late 1800s and early 1900s warehouses that contained factories and businesses linked to the city’s rail and waterway networks, its 60 buildings will help you see how the commercial side of the city evolved.

It won its place on the US National Register Of Historic Places in 1987 and expanded in 2002 and 2008.

It’s also where you will find the Lynch’s Ferry Monument, commemorating the business run by the city’s founder on its original site.

The Lower Basin Historic District is on Commerce Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24504.

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Steve Burden is an avid traveller and experienced writer. As a former pro wrestler, Steve used to travel frequently for work throughout the USA and Europe. Having spent the last decade travelling all over the world in search of new sights and experiences, he has turned his love for travel into a new career helping others decide on the best places to visit, as well as what to see when they get there.