24 Things to Do in 24 Hours in Fredericksburg VA

Back in the day — colonial days, that is — Fredericksburg was an important port on the Rappahannock River. At the time, it was at the farthest point navigable by large ships laden with treasured items from Europe and beyond. The city soon became a key trading center for the plantation owners and farmers nearby, although it never reached the commercial traffic that Richmond and Alexandria enjoyed.

The city also was in the center of the Civil War in Virginia, and changed hands numerous times between Union and Confederate forces. During the battle in Fredericksburg, Union General Burnside repeatedly marched his troops across the Rappahannock River and up Marye’s Heights, where Confederates picked them off easily from their positions high up on the hill. Today you can visit the site of the sunken road, stroll up the hill to where the Confederates enjoyed a superior strategic position, and then visit the National Cemetery where the Union casualties were interred.

But Fredericksburg is most known for its colonial buildings, including the homes of George Washington’s siblings and mother.

There is so much to see and do in the historic town of Fredericksburg, VA! Take the “24 in 24 Challenge,” below. 24 hours… can you do them all?*
  1. Travel on the Sunken Road Walking Trail and learn about the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg
  2. Pay your respects to the mom of the Father of our country and visit Mary Washington’s Monument
  3. Check out Fredericksburg’s murals
  4. Grab coffee and a freshly baked sticky bun at Eileen’s Bakery and Cafe
  5. Visit the Apothecary Museum to learn what makes a leech happy
  6. Browse the antique stores lining Caroline Street 
  7. Get a malt or a shake at Goolrick’s Modern Pharmacy
  8. Grab a mid-day pick-me-up at Hyperion Espresso
  9. Visit the Fredericksburg National Cemetery and pay your respects to the men who fought to preserve the Union
  10. Learn about the perils of 18th century travel at the Rising Sun Tavern
  11. Have an after-dinner caipirinha at Curitariba Art Cafe
  12. Eat in an old bank vault at FoodE
  13. Learn about the sit-in civil rights protest that finally integrated the lunch counters at Woolworths, Peoples and Grants Department Store on Caroline Street
  14. Take the trolley car tour and learn about the interesting history of Fredericksburg
  15. Take a selfie at Fredericksburg’s very own LOVE sculpture
  16. Follow the footsteps of Mary Washington and walk down Rocky Lane down to the Rappahannock River
  17. Shop the world at Latitudes
  18. Buy your dog a bone at Dog Krazy 
  19. Learn about George Washington’s mom at the Mary Washington House
  20. Check out a craft beer brewery, like 1781 Brewery
  21. Have a hot slice of pizza at Benny Vitalis
  22. Cross the Rappahannock River to visit George Washington’s childhood home at Ferry Farm
  23. Check out some regional wineries such as Potomac Point Winery and Wilderness Run Vineyard
  24. Learn about our fifth president at the James Monroe Museum

Look for articles in the coming months about these daytrip destinations. Fredericksburg is a quaint town just brimming with Revolutionary War, colonial, and Civil War history. With some interesting restaurants, a growing number of distilleries and craft beer breweries, and lots of antiques stores and boutiques, there’s something for everyone!

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Beginning in March, I started a series of posts about Fredericksburg, VA. To see others in this series, click on the label “Fredericksburg” below this post.

* Nah. It took me three days!

Updated April 2019