We’ve collected Virginia’s top experiences full of history and culture that are all waiting for you. Now’s the time to book your long-awaited trip to Virginia and take a culinary tour, so what are you waiting for!?
931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Charlottesville, VA
No other home in the United States more accurately reflects the personality of its owner than Monticello. Monticello is the autobiographical masterpiece of Thomas Jefferson—designed and redesigned and built and rebuilt for more than 40 years—and its gardens were, and still are, a botanic showpiece, a source of food, and an experimental laboratory of ornamental and useful plants from around the world.
Construction began in 1769 according to Jefferson’s first design, which was completed (except for porticoes and decorative interior woodwork) when he left for Europe in 1784. So inspired by a particular building in France Jefferson changed the plans, and work on a new design began in 1796, then complete in 1809. There are a total of 43 rooms in the entire structure: The first design of Monticello had 14 rooms total. About 60 percent of the furnishings on display at Monticello are or may be items original to Jefferson. Other items are period pieces or reproductions of original pieces.
Guided tours of the house are offered daily throughout the year as well as specialty tours discussing the lives of the plantation’s inhabitants; outdoor gardens and plantation tours are offered daily April-October. Children under 5 are free. Reduced rates for adult and student groups are available. Hours vary throughout the year.
George Washington’s Distillery
5513 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy, Alexandria, VA
In 1799, George Washington’s distillery produced nearly 11,000 gallons, making it one of the largest whiskey distilleries in America and one of the most profitable enterprises at Mount Vernon. Today, a fully functioning reconstructed working distillery and gristmill produces small batch spirits on site using 18th-century distilling techniques and George Washington’s recipe, from seed to barrel. Tours are offered Saturdays & Sundays, April – October and are included with your Mount Vernon grounds pass or can be purchased separately for $10
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
200 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard, Richmond, VA
With acclaimed holdings in American, British Sporting, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist, and Modern and Contemporary art – and additional strengths in African, Ancient, East Asian, and European – VMFA ranks as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States. The museum’s permanent collection encompasses more than 35,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of world history. Open 365 days a year and admission to permanent collection gallery is always free.
Manassas National Battlefield Park
6511 Sudley Road, Manassas, VA
Established in 1940 to preserve the site of the first two major U.S. Civil War battles, the Manassas National Battlefield Park comprises more than 5,000 acres of terrain where visitors can walk in the footsteps of the Union and Confederate soldiers who fought and died there. Make sure to start your visit by going in the visitor center to ensure you see all the iconic sites the park offers such as the Stone House, the Stonewall Jackson Memorial, and the Stone Bridge.
National Museum of the United States Army
1775 Liberty Drive, Fort Belvoir, VA
This is the first national museum to capture, display and interpret the Army’s history through the eyes of soldiers. Its displays and interactive-learning exhibits illustrate the Army’s role in building and defending America, as well as Army humanitarian missions and technological and medical breakthroughs. The museum also features a multisensory 300-degree theater, a tranquil rooftop garden and hundreds of historic treasures rarely or never-before-seen by the public. Open daily with free admission.
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA
Discover the real George Washington at Mount Vernon. In addition to being America’s most visited historic home, the estate now includes 25 interactive galleries and theaters. The Ford Orientation Center and the Donald W. Reynolds Museum & Education Center feature artifacts, original movies, hands-on exhibits, and an immersive Revolutionary War “snow” experience. Learn about Washington’s life, from his boyhood to his wartime service, agricultural entrepreneurship, and his presidency. Tour the beautifully restored mansion, four distinctive gardens, and get a glimpse of Mount Vernon’s working farm. The estate, gardens, and farm of Mount Vernon totaled some 8,000 acres in the 18th century. Presently, an estimated 500 acres of this historic property have been painstakingly preserved along the banks of the Potomac River. The historic footprint also includes the tomb of George and Martha Washington and a memorial dedicated to the enslaved people who lived and worked on the estate. Interpretive spaces such as the Farm and George Washington’s Gristmill & Distillery provide a rich understanding of Washington’s enterprising and profitable business ventures.
Historic Jackson Ward
Discover one of the country’s foremost African-American communities, Jackson Ward, known as “The Harlem of the South” and “Birthplace of Black Entrepreneurship.” While there, visit the Home of Maggie Walker, the first female bank president in America, and see a newly unveiled bronze statue of Walker. Also, visit the Black History Museum and Cultural Center which celebrates the rich culture and moving histories of Black people in Virginia.
Virginia Museum of History and Culture
428 N Arthur Ashe Boulevard, Richmond, VA
Founded in 1831, the Virginia Museum of History & Culture is the oldest cultural organization in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and one of the oldest and most distinguished history organizations in the nation. The museum also serves as the state history museum and houses a collection of more than 9 million items, including John Brown’s Bowie knife from Harper’s Ferry; Arthur Ashe’s tennis equipment; and a complete WAVES uniform from World War II worn by Nancy E. Bailey.
Virginia’s Historic Triangle is full of living history and fun for the whole family. The area encompasses historic sites from the first English settlement at Jamestown to the end of the Revolutionary War at Yorktown. Colonial Williamsburg is the nation’s largest living history museum, with the entire colonial town staying in character 24 hours a day. The re-created Constitutional Army encampment and Revolution-era farm at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown are a must see. Historic Jamestowne features an active archaeological dig of the first permanent English colony and Jamestown Settlement portrays 17th-century Virginia history and culture through film, immersive galleries, and outdoor re-creations including three English ships that first brought settlers.