Abingdon is a charming town in the picturesque Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. The city has a rich history and a vibrant cultural scene and is known for its warm hospitality and captivating attractions.
Abingdon beckons visitors from far and wide to explore its unique blend of heritage, outdoor adventures, and artistic experiences. The city was initially founded in 1778 and currently boasts a population of over 8,300, according to the census of 2020.
With a history dating back to the 18th century, Abingdon boasts well-preserved historic districts, including the Abingdon Historic District, showcasing its architectural heritage. This town was once a crucial stop along the Great Road and has played a pivotal role in developing the American frontier.
Abingdon is a perennial favorite among tourists, drawing in approximately 1.5 million visitors annually. Its popularity can be attributed to the renowned Barter Theatre, the State Theatre of Virginia, which has attracted theater enthusiasts for decades.
The weather in Abingdon is characterized by four distinct seasons, making it an appealing year-round destination. Summers are warm and ideal for outdoor activities, while fall blankets the region in vibrant foliage, creating a stunning backdrop for exploration.
Winters offer a chance to experience the town’s cozy charm, and spring ushers in a burst of color and renewed outdoor adventures. For those planning a visit, the best time to explore Abingdon depends on your preferences.
Summer and early fall are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, while those seeking quieter moments and lower lodging rates might consider late fall or winter. Abingdon’s allure knows no season, ensuring there’s always something captivating to discover in this Appalachian gem.
Let’s find out about the attractions around the city in detail and know what things to do in Abingdon, Virginia, on your next trip to the city.
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1) William King Art Museum
The William King Museum of Art in Abingdon, Virginia, is a captivating place for art enthusiasts. The museum was founded in 1962 and was named after William James King, who played a key role in its establishment.
This museum is housed in a historic school building that was initially built in 1913, adding to its unique charm. Inside, you’ll find an impressive collection of contemporary and regional art. The museum is dedicated to showcasing the creativity of local and national artists.
One of its most remarkable features is the Panoramic Gallery, which offers breathtaking Appalachian Mountains views. It’s a must-visit spot for its stunning visual appeal.
The William King Museum is known for its educational programs that engage visitors of all ages. These programs include workshops, art classes, and community events, making art accessible to everyone.
As you explore the museum, you’ll discover various artistic styles, from traditional to cutting-edge contemporary art. It’s a place where creativity and culture come to life, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the arts.
415 Academy Dr NW, Abingdon, VA 24210, United States
2) Historical Society of Washington County
The Historical Society of Washington County, located in Abingdon, Virginia, is a treasure trove of local history. This society focusing on history was established in 1936 and is dedicated to preserving and sharing the rich heritage of Washington County.
One of its most significant roles is managing the Historical Society Museum, where you can explore a vast collection of artifacts, documents, and photographs that offer a glimpse into the past.
The society plays a crucial role in educational outreach, organizing lectures, exhibitions, and programs to foster a deeper understanding of the region’s history.
Its headquarters, the Old Abingdon Train Station, is a historic landmark that adds to the charm of the society. It’s a perfect setting for delving into the history of Washington County.
The society’s publications, like “The Bulletin” and various books, serve as valuable resources for researchers and history enthusiasts seeking to uncover the stories of this region.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the Historical Society of Washington County is a must-visit to immerse yourself in the captivating history and culture of this Virginia community.
341 W. Main Street Corner of Main St. and, Russell Rd NW, Abingdon, VA 24210, United States
3) The Barter Theatre
The Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, is a historic cultural gem known for its rich history and exceptional performances. The theatre opened its doors on June 10, 1933, by Robert Porterfield and is one of the longest-running professional theaters in the United States.
Theatre’s unique name comes from its original “barter” system, where patrons could trade produce, livestock, or other goods in exchange for tickets during the Great Depression.
Throughout its history, the Barter Theatre has hosted famous actors like Gregory Peck and Ernest Borgnine, helping them launch their careers.
The theatre offers a diverse repertoire, featuring everything from Broadway-style plays to classic dramas and new, innovative works that cater to a wide range of tastes.
It operates two stages, the Gilliam Stage and the Smith Theatre, both located in historic buildings that add to the theatre’s character.
Visitors can enjoy exceptional performances in an intimate setting, making it a must-visit destination for theater enthusiasts.
Today, the Barter Theatre remains a beloved institution, continuing its tradition of exceptional live entertainment while preserving the charm and history of the region.
127 W Main St, Abingdon, VA 24210, United States
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4) Virginia Creeper Trail Club
The Virginia Creeper Trail Club is a vital organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the famous Virginia Creeper Trail, a picturesque pathway that winds through the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia. Established in 1991, this club has played a pivotal role in the trail’s development and maintenance.
One of its primary missions is trail upkeep, ensuring the path remains safe and enjoyable for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders.
The club actively organizes events and activities for trail enthusiasts and works on initiatives to enhance the visitor experience.
A notable feature of the Virginia Creeper Trail Club is its volunteer-driven efforts, with members and supporters devoting their time and energy to trail conservation.
The trail itself is a former railway route, with a fascinating history dating back to the early 1900s, when it was used for transporting lumber and passengers.
Today, the Virginia Creeper Trail spans 34 miles and attracts over 200,000 visitors annually, making it one of the region’s most popular outdoor attractions.
For outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, the Virginia Creeper Trail Club ensures this scenic gem remains accessible and enjoyable for generations to come.
Abingdon Trailhead, 300 Green Spring Road, Abingdon, VA 24210, United States
5) Abingdon Vineyards
Abingdon Vineyards, nestled in the charming town of Abingdon, Virginia, is a delightful destination for wine connoisseurs and nature enthusiasts alike. This vineyard was founded in 2014 and is a relatively new addition to the region’s wine scene.
The vineyard’s location along the Holston River provides a unique microclimate that benefits grape cultivation and enhances the flavor of the wines.
Abingdon Vineyards specializes in producing European-style wines, focusing on varietals like Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot.
Visitors can enjoy wine tastings in a scenic setting that offers panoramic views of the river and the surrounding countryside.
One of the vineyard’s distinguishing features is its commitment to sustainable farming practices, prioritizing the health of the land and the quality of the grapes.
Abingdon Vineyards also hosts events, including concerts and festivals, making it a vibrant hub for community gatherings.
With its commitment to producing high-quality wines and its dedication to environmental sustainability, Abingdon Vineyards has quickly become a beloved destination for wine enthusiasts in Virginia’s Appalachian region.
20530 Alvarado Rd, Abingdon, VA 24211, United States
6) Sinking Spring Cemetery
Sinking Spring Cemetery, located in Abingdon, Virginia, is a historic burial ground with a compelling history and notable significance. Established in the early 1800s, it stands as one of the oldest cemeteries in the region, serving as the final resting place for many prominent figures in local history.
The cemetery’s name comes from a natural spring that once flowed on its grounds, creating a serene and peaceful atmosphere. It is home to a variety of unique tombstones and monuments, showcasing different styles and artistry from different eras.
Many Confederate soldiers from the American Civil War are buried here, honoring their role in the town’s history. Visitors can explore the cemetery’s pathways and learn about Abingdon’s past as historical markers accompany many graves.
The cemetery continues to be a place of remembrance and reflection, connecting to the town’s rich heritage. Sinking Spring Cemetery is a resting place for the departed and a historical treasure that helps tell the story of Abingdon’s past.
Abingdon, VA 24210, United States
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7) Abingdon Arts Depot
The Abingdon Arts Depot, located in Abingdon, Virginia, is a vibrant hub for arts and culture with a captivating history and an array of engaging activities. This historic building was constructed in 1914 and was initially a freight station for the Virginia-Carolina Railway.
In 1990, it was transformed into the Arts Depot, a creative space for local artists and art enthusiasts, providing studios and galleries for exhibitions. The Arts Depot showcases diverse artistic mediums, from paintings and sculptures to pottery and textiles, highlighting the region’s creative talents.
Visitors can explore the galleries, attend art classes, and even purchase unique, locally crafted items. One of the Arts Depot’s remarkable features is the open studio concept, allowing artists to work on their projects while interacting with the public.
Throughout the year, the depot hosts special events, art shows, and community gatherings, creating a lively atmosphere for both artists and visitors.
With its historical roots and dedication to promoting the arts, the Abingdon Arts Depot stands as a testament to the town’s cultural heritage and artistic vitality.
314 Depot Square SW, Abingdon, VA 24210, United States
8) St. Thomas Episcopal Church
St. Thomas Episcopal Church, a historic place of worship in Abingdon, Virginia, carries a rich history and intriguing facts that resonate with the local community. Established in 1845, the church stands as a testament to the enduring presence of Episcopal faith in the region.
One of its most notable features is its stunning Gothic Revival architecture, characterized by pointed arches and intricate stained glass windows. The church’s beautiful interior boasts detailed woodwork and an impressive pipe organ that enhances the worship experience.
Throughout its history, St. Thomas Episcopal Church has played an active role in the community, providing a place of solace and service.
A particularly remarkable fact is that during the American Civil War, the church was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers, showcasing its role in times of crisis.
Today, the church continues to be a welcoming place of worship, with a congregation that values tradition and community engagement. With its historic charm and commitment to spiritual guidance, St. Thomas Episcopal Church remains a cherished landmark in Abingdon.
124 E Main St, Abingdon, VA 24210, United States
9) White’s Mill
White’s Mill, located in Abingdon, Virginia, is a historic gristmill with a fascinating history and unique characteristics that have made it a cherished local landmark. The mill was built in the mid-18th century and is one of the oldest in the region, reflecting the early agricultural history of Abingdon.
The mill’s original construction was a two-story log structure, which was later expanded and improved to meet the growing demand for flour. The mill continued to operate during the American Civil War, providing a vital service to the community during a turbulent period.
Visitors to White’s Mill can explore its well-preserved interior, where the original milling equipment is still in place, offering a glimpse into the past.
Today, the mill has been lovingly restored and serves as a cultural and educational center, hosting events, art exhibits, and educational programs.
White’s Mill remains a testament to the enduring agricultural heritage of Abingdon, offering a unique opportunity to step back in time and learn about the milling history of the region.
12291 Whites Mill Road, Abingdon, Virginia 24210, United States
10) The Tavern Restaurant
The Tavern Restaurant in Abingdon, Virginia, is a historic dining establishment brimming with captivating history and intriguing facts. The restaurant was established in 1779 and is one of the oldest continuously operating restaurants in the United States.
The restaurant’s history is intertwined with Abingdon’s development, serving as a stagecoach stop and later a hub for travelers and locals alike. One of its most remarkable features is its well-preserved colonial architecture, creating an authentic and charming atmosphere for diners.
Throughout its existence, The Tavern has hosted numerous notable figures, including presidents, authors, and celebrities, adding to its storied past.
An interesting fact is that the restaurant is said to be haunted, with tales of ghostly encounters adding an extra layer of intrigue to its ambiance.
Today, The Tavern Restaurant continues to delight guests with its traditional Southern cuisine and historical charm, offering a unique dining experience that connects diners to Abingdon’s rich heritage.
The Tavern’s enduring legacy and culinary excellence remains a cherished culinary treasure in Virginia.
222 E Main St, Abingdon, VA 24210, United States
11) Charleys Cheesesteaks
Charleys, a well-known American fast-food chain, has an interesting history and some intriguing facts that have contributed to its popularity. Founded in 1986 in Columbus, Ohio, Charleys is celebrated for its mouthwatering cheesesteak sandwiches.
The company’s founder, Charley Shin, initially named the restaurant “Charley’s Steakery”, later rebranding it as “Charleys Philly Steaks” to emphasize its signature dish’s roots in Philadelphia.
Charleys boasts a diverse menu, offering various types of sandwiches, fries, and beverages, allowing customers to customize their meals to their liking., One notable fact is Charleys’ commitment to quality ingredients, including using 100% USDA choice steak and freshly baked bread.
The brand has expanded rapidly, with locations in over 40 countries, making it a global favorite for cheesesteak lovers. Charleys is also known for its philanthropic efforts, supporting causes such as childhood cancer research and disaster relief.
With its delicious cheesesteak sandwiches and a commitment to giving back, Charleys continues to satisfy taste buds while positively impacting communities worldwide.
404 Cummings St Ste 3, Abingdon, VA 24210, United States
12) Wolf Hills Brewing Co.
Wolf Hills Brewing Co., a popular craft brewery in Abingdon, Virginia, boasts a captivating history and offers interesting insights. The brewery was established in 2012 and has quickly become a beloved destination for beer enthusiasts in the region.
The brewery’s name is inspired by the region’s history, where wolves once roamed the hills and valleys of the Appalachian Mountains. Wolf Hills Brewing Co. is renowned for its innovative brews, which include a variety of styles and flavors to cater to diverse tastes.
One unique feature is the brewery’s commitment to sustainability, with efforts to reduce its environmental footprint. The brewery hosts events, live music, and food trucks, creating a lively and welcoming atmosphere for patrons.
One fun fact is that they often collaborate with local businesses and artists, further enhancing their connection to the community. With its commitment to quality craft beer and community involvement, Wolf Hills Brewing Co. continues to be a favorite spot for both locals and visitors alike.
149 Deadmore Street SE, Abingdon, Virginia 24210, United States
13) Keller Interpretive Center at Abingdon Muster Grounds
The Keller Interpretive Center at Abingdon Muster Grounds is a place filled with intriguing history and captivating facts. It was established to showcase the heritage of Abingdon, Virginia, and commemorate its role in the Revolutionary War.
The center is named after Mary and Foy Keller, who contributed generously to its construction, highlighting the importance of community support. One of its most striking features is its design, inspired by 18th-century architecture, creating an immersive experience for visitors.
Inside, you’ll find exhibits and displays that bring the history of the Abingdon Muster Grounds to life, providing insights into the region’s past. The center also hosts educational programs and events, making history engaging and accessible to people of all ages.
Interestingly, the Abingdon Muster Grounds was a significant gathering place for patriots during the Revolutionary War, playing a crucial role in the fight for American independence.
Today, the Keller Interpretive Center stands as a testament to Abingdon’s heritage and the enduring spirit of its community.
1780 Muster Pl, Abingdon, VA 24210, United States
14) Southwest Virginia Cultural Center
The Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace, situated in Abingdon, Virginia, is a captivating destination with a rich history and fascinating attributes. Opened in 2019, this center was established to celebrate and promote the cultural heritage of the region.
The center is housed in a beautifully restored historic building, and its architecture is a blend of the past and present. Visitors can explore a wide range of exhibits and displays, showcasing the diverse cultures and traditions of Southwest Virginia.
Interestingly, the center features a marketplace where local artisans and craftspeople can sell their handmade goods, supporting the local economy. The center frequently hosts events, workshops, and performances, providing opportunities for visitors to engage with the region’s culture.
Southwest Virginia Cultural Center is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the region’s unique traditions, music, crafts, and cuisine, making it a must-visit destination for those interested in experiencing the rich cultural tapestry of Southwest Virginia.
With its commitment to cultural preservation and community engagement, the center is a vibrant hub for locals and tourists.
One Heartwood Circle, Abingdon, Virginia 24210, United States
15) Hidden Valley Lake
Hidden Valley Lake near Abingdon is a tranquil oasis with an interesting history and some captivating facts. This scenic lake was constructed in the 1950s as a water supply reservoir for the town of Abingdon.
Surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills, Hidden Valley Lake offers a serene and picturesque setting for outdoor enthusiasts. One of the most notable features is the lake’s clear, spring-fed waters, perfect for fishing, kayaking, and relaxing by the shore.
Hidden Valley Lake is home to various species of fish, making it a favorite spot for anglers seeking a catch. The lake’s natural beauty and peaceful ambiance have made it a popular destination for picnics, hiking, and wildlife observation.
An interesting fact is that it is a prime location for birdwatching, with a variety of avian species making their home in the surrounding woodlands.
With its rich history and scenic charm, Hidden Valley Lake offers a delightful escape into nature for those looking to enjoy the great outdoors in Southwest Virginia.
800 East Main Street · Abingdon, VA 24210, United States
16) Grayson Highlands State Park
Grayson Highlands State Park, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, is a captivating natural wonder with a rich history and intriguing features. Established in 1965, the park encompasses over 4,500 acres of pristine wilderness.
One of its most notable features is the stunning mountain landscape, with elevations reaching over 5,000 feet, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys.
Grayson Highlands is home to a population of wild ponies, which roam freely throughout the park, creating a unique and memorable experience for visitors.
The park offers an extensive network of hiking trails, including a portion of the iconic Appalachian Trail, attracting hikers and outdoor enthusiasts from near and far.
An interesting fact is that the park has a rich history of farming and logging, which can still be seen in some of the preserved structures and historical sites. Grayson Highlands State Park is a paradise for nature lovers, offering opportunities for camping, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and photography.
With its natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and recreational activities, Grayson Highlands is a beloved destination for those seeking an outdoor adventure in the Appalachian Mountains.
829 Grayson Highland Ln, Mouth of Wilson, VA 24363, United States
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Abingdon, Virginia, offers diverse activities for visitors of all interests. Whether you’re looking for culture, outdoor adventures, or a relaxing getaway, Abingdon has something special. Plan your trip to this charming Appalachian town, and you’ll surely have a memorable experience.