Marion is situated in the scenic landscapes of Southwest Virginia and stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of the Appalachian region.
This quaint town has its roots dating back to the early 19th century and is a treasure trove of history and culture, evident in its well-preserved historic district featuring landmarks like the Lincoln Theatre and the General Francis Marion Hotel.
Marion annually draws thousands of visitors and has become a sought-after destination for those seeking an authentic taste of Southern hospitality. The town’s rich cultural scene showcases the vibrant traditions of Appalachian music and arts.
The town’s moderate climate, characterized by warm summers and crisp winters, offers a welcoming backdrop to its year-round attractions. Marion has an average of over 300 sunny days per year.
Marion beckons travelers to explore its outdoor wonders, from the Back of the Dragon’s thrilling scenic drive to the tranquility of Hungry Mother State Park.
The best time to visit Marion is during the spring and fall months when temperatures are mild, and nature is at its most vibrant. Marion invites you to discover the magic that lies within its historical streets and natural wonders.
Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor passing through, Marion has something to offer for everyone. Here are the 10 most fun things to do in Marion, Virginia.
1. Historic District
Marion boasts a well-preserved historic district with beautifully restored buildings dating back to the 19th century. Take a leisurely stroll through Main Street and discover the town’s rich history, including the Lincoln Theatre and the General Francis Marion Hotel.
Marion’s Historic District was established in 1832 and whispers tales of a bygone era. Named after Revolutionary War hero General Francis Marion, the district paints a vivid picture of the town’s evolution.
Stroll down Main Street is adorned with structures dating back to the 19th century, such as the iconic Lincoln Theatre, a beacon of cultural significance since 1929.
The General Francis Marion Hotel has been a cornerstone since 1927 that beckons visitors with its timeless charm. A walk through this district is a journey through history, with each building telling a unique story of Marion’s past.
The district hosts events like the Wayne C. Henderson Festival that adds a modern chapter to its historical narrative. Marion’s Historic District isn’t just a place; it’s a living testament to the town’s enduring spirit and the stories etched in its cobblestone streets.
222 W Main St, Marion, VA 24354, United States
2. Hungry Mother State Park
Nature enthusiasts will find a haven at Hungry Mother State Park which is named after a Native American legend. Enjoy hiking trails, picnicking by the lake, and water activities such as canoeing and paddleboarding. The park offers a serene escape for those looking to connect with nature.
Hungry Mother State Park in Marion was founded in 1936 as a serene retreat nestled amid the Appalachian Mountains. The park’s unique name traces back to a Native American legend of a mother and child escaping an enemy attack and finding refuge by a lake.
Today, the park spans over 2,000 acres and offers a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Explore hiking trails, meander through lush forests, or enjoy a day by the 108-acre lake, perfect for fishing and boating.
The park’s charming cabins, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, provide a rustic lodging experience. Hungry Mother State Park captivates visitors with its natural beauty, providing a tranquil escape for those seeking a connection with the great outdoors.
Whether it’s a family picnic, a fishing expedition, or a peaceful hike, the park’s diverse offerings make it a cherished destination that offers the opportunity to explore new things to do in Marion.
2854 Park Blvd, Marion, VA 24354, United States
3. Park Place Drive-In
Park Place Drive-In in Marion, Virginia, stands as a testament to the enduring allure of classic American entertainment. This iconic drive-in theater was established in 1954 and has been a beloved cultural cornerstone for locals and visitors alike.
Park Place Drive-In was originally a solo screen venue, however, it expanded in the 1960s to accommodate a second screen and enhanced the cinematic experience for patrons.
The drive-in’s enduring popularity lies in its commitment to nostalgia and provide an escape to a bygone era of outdoor movie magic. Families gather under the starlit sky and relish the simplicity of enjoying films from the comfort of their cars.
Park Place Drive-In isn’t just a movie venue; it’s a time capsule preserving the essence of community and shared experiences. It continues to evoke the charm of a classic era, making it a cherished destination for moviegoers seeking a touch of vintage Americana in Marion.
301 Park Blvd, Marion, VA 24354, United States
4. Back of the Dragon
Experience the thrill of riding or driving the Back of the Dragon. It is a famous 32-mile stretch of winding mountain road. With breathtaking views and challenging curves, it’s a must-visit for motorcycle enthusiasts and anyone seeking an exhilarating scenic drive.
The Back of the Dragon was established in 2011 as a stretch of highway that winds through the majestic Appalachian Mountains. This iconic road, officially known as State Route 16, offers a breathtaking journey with 438 curves which makes it a haven for motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts seeking an adrenaline-packed adventure.
Originally conceived as a way to revitalize the region’s tourism, the Back of the Dragon has become a sought-after destination, attracting riders and drivers from far and wide. The route’s name pays homage to the dragon-like twists and turns that characterize the exhilarating ride.
Surrounded by stunning scenery, this winding mountain road provides not only a thrilling experience but also panoramic views of the Virginia Highlands. Visit the location to explore new things to do in Marion.
Whether you’re an avid motorcyclist or simply seeking a picturesque drive, the Back of the Dragon promises an unforgettable journey through the heart of Marion’s natural beauty.
Park Blvd, Marion, VA 24354, United States
5. The Henderson School of Appalachian Arts
Immerse yourself in the local arts scene by visiting The Henderson School of Appalachian Arts. This creative hub showcases the work of talented artists and offers workshops and classes for those interested in honing their artistic skills.
The Henderson School of Appalachian Arts stands as a beacon for artistic expression in the heart of the Appalachian region. This creative hub was established in 1994 and was named after the renowned luthier Wayne C. Henderson.
The Henderson School was originally founded to preserve and promote the rich cultural heritage of the area and provides a platform for local artists to showcase their talents. The school offers a range of classes and workshops, inviting individuals of all ages to explore and develop their artistic skills.
The Henderson School is housed in a historic building and is not only a place of learning but also a cultural landmark, contributing to Marion’s vibrant arts scene.
Aspiring artists and seasoned creators alike find inspiration within its walls which makes it a cherished institution that continues to play a vital role in the community’s cultural tapestry.
203 N. Church Street, Marion, VA 24354, United States
Marion boasts a variety of dining options, from cozy cafes to upscale restaurants like Macado’s. Macado’s was established in Marion in 1978 and has been a local favorite that captivates diners with its unique blend of eclectic decor and mouthwatering menu offerings.
Macado’s was originally envisioned as a deli and has evolved into a beloved restaurant that is recognized for its diverse menu featuring sandwiches, salads, and an array of comfort foods.
The restaurant’s quirky and vibrant atmosphere, adorned with memorabilia and whimsical decorations, adds to the overall dining experience. Macado’s commitment to providing a fun and laid-back environment has made it a go-to spot for families, friends, and students from nearby colleges.
Beyond its welcoming ambiance, Macado’s is known for its signature “Madness” sandwiches and generous portions. This local gem has its roots firmly planted in the heart of Marion and continues to be a gathering place for both locals and visitors seeking a delightful culinary adventure.
142 E Main St, Marion, VA 24354, United States
7. Art On 16 Contemporary Gallery
Art On 16 Contemporary Gallery in Marion, Virginia, stands as a dynamic showcase for local and regional artists. This gallery was founded in 2013 with the vision of promoting contemporary art in the community and has become a cultural hub for those seeking a diverse range of artistic expressions.
The gallery is housed in a historic buil provides a welcoming space for artists to exhibit and sell their work. With a commitment to fostering a thriving arts scene, Art On 16 hosts regular exhibitions, workshops, and events, engaging both artists and the community.
The gallery’s eclectic collection includes paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media creations, offering a rich tapestry of visual experiences. Visitors to Art On 16 can explore and appreciate the talent of emerging and established artists, which makes it a vibrant center for artistic appreciation in Marion.
324 S Commerce St, Marion, VA 24354, United States
8. Jackson Handmade Designs
Jackson Handmade Designs in Marion, Virginia, is a testament to the artistry and craftsmanship of handmade goods. This boutique was founded in 2015 and has its roots firmly planted in the heart of Marion.
The establishment offers a unique shopping experience for those seeking one-of-a-kind, handcrafted items. The store was established by local artisan Sarah Jackson and showcases a diverse range of handmade products, including jewelry, home decor, and accessories.
Jackson’s commitment to quality craftsmanship and attention to detail is evident in each piece which makes the store a go-to destination for those who appreciate the beauty of handmade creations.
As a supporter of local artists and artisans, Jackson Handmade Designs not only provides a platform for showcasing talent but also contributes to the town’s creative community.
Visitors to the store can explore and purchase unique, locally crafted treasures that add a touch of handmade charm to their lives. You can visit the destination and get a chance to explore unique things to do in Marion.
201 E Main St Suite 110, Marion, VA 24354, United States
9. The Lincoln Theater
The Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia, is a historic landmark with a rich history deeply intertwined with the town’s cultural fabric. The theater was established in 1929 and was originally built as a venue for live performances and silent films.
The theater has stood the test of time, becoming a cherished icon in the community. The Lincoln Theater was renovated in the 1990s and retained its vintage charm while incorporating modern amenities.
This historic venue has hosted a diverse array of events, from classic movie screenings to live performances by renowned artists, musicians, and local talents.
The theater’s distinctive Art Deco architecture and marquee contribute to the nostalgic ambiance of downtown Marion. Today, The Lincoln Theatre continues to serve as a cultural hub, offering entertainment and fostering a sense of community.
The Lincoln Theatre stands as a living testament to Marion’s enduring commitment to the arts while offering a place to enjoy charming things to do in Marion.
117 E Main St, Marion, VA 24354, United States
10. The Past Time Antique Emporium
The Past Time Antique Emporium in Marion, Virginia, beckons visitors on a nostalgic journey through the annals of history. This charming emporium was founded in 2001 with a passion for preserving the past and offers a treasure trove of antique delights spanning various eras.
The emporium is housed in a historic building and boasts a diverse collection of antiques, vintage items, and collectibles curated by local vendors. From classic furniture to retro memorabilia, every corner of The Past Time Antique Emporium tells a story of days gone by.
The emporium serves as more than just a shopping destination; it is a living museum where visitors can explore the rich history of Marion and its surrounding regions.
The Past Time Antique Emporium has a warm ambiance and friendly staff and invites patrons to step back in time and discover the timeless allure of antique treasures.
228 E Main St, Marion, VA 24354, United States
In conclusion, Marion, Virginia, offers a diverse range of activities for visitors of all interests. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or simply seeking a weekend getaway, Marion’s unique charm and vibrant community make it a destination worth exploring.