Abingdon, Virginia, is a lovely town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains that provides a unique blend of history, culture, outdoor activities, and art. There are numerous possibilities to explore and discover in this gorgeous Virginia town, whether you’re a local or a guest. Abingdon has something for everyone, from hiking trails and historic residences to museums and art galleries. We’ve produced a list of the top must-do activities in Abingdon to help you make the most of your visit in this post. So, whether you’re searching for an adventure or a quiet retreat, keep reading to learn about everything Abingdon, VA, has to offer!
#1. Explore the Historic Downtown Area
Abingdon, VA, is a charming town with a rich history dating back to the 18th century. The historic downtown area offers quaint brick-lined sidewalks, charming storefronts, and a warm atmosphere. Visitors can explore unique shops, boutiques, galleries, and antique stores, catering to different shopping preferences. The Barter Theatre, renowned for its exceptional performances, has been entertaining audiences since 1933. For history buffs, the Abingdon Historical Society offers interactive exhibits and informative displays.
A guided walking tour provides a deeper understanding of the town’s history. The town is also known for its culinary delights, with charming cafes, bakeries, upscale restaurants, and cozy pubs. Don’t miss the opportunity to try locally sourced ingredients and regional specialties that showcase Virginia’s flavors.
#2. Visit the Famous Barter Theatre
The Barter Theatre, also known as the State Theatre of Virginia, is a must-see activity in downtown Abingdon, VA. Founded in 1933 during the Great Depression, the theater was named after the practice of bartering, where patrons exchanged goods for tickets to see a play. Today, the Barter Theatre continues to provide exceptional performances to audiences of all backgrounds. The theater features two stages: the Main Stage and the intimate Stage II, showcasing a diverse range of productions throughout the year.
The talented actors bring characters to life, providing an unforgettable experience for both theater enthusiasts and newcomers. The Barter Theatre also offers educational programs and workshops for aspiring actors and theater enthusiasts, nurturing talent and inspiring a love for the arts.
#3. Take a Stroll on the Virginia Creeper Trail
The Virginia Creeper Trail is a popular and scenic activity in Abingdon, VA, offering an immersive experience of the region’s natural beauty. The trail, stretching 34 miles from Abingdon to Whitetop Station, follows an old railway line, providing a flat and well-maintained surface for walking, jogging, or biking. The trail is surrounded by lush forests, picturesque farmlands, and stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains. It caters to all skill levels, making it suitable for families with young children or individuals with limited mobility. Along the way, you’ll encounter charming towns, historic sites, and scenic overlooks.
You can take a break at trailside cafes or picnic areas to refuel before continuing your journey. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, biking the Virginia Creeper Trail is an absolute must-do. Numerous rental shops in Abingdon provide bikes and equipment, allowing you to embark on an exhilarating downhill ride from Whitetop Station to Damascus. The descent offers an unforgettable experience with breathtaking views and thrilling twists and turns.
#4. Indulge in Local Cuisine at Abingdon Farmers Market
Abingdon Farmers Market is a vibrant and diverse culinary experience in Abingdon, Virginia, offering fresh, locally sourced produce, homemade goods, and unique culinary delights. The market’s aroma of freshly baked bread, handcrafted cheeses, and locally roasted coffee fills the air, while colorful displays of seasonal fruits and vegetables tempt taste buds. Farmers and artisans passionately bring their goods to the market, sharing their knowledge and love for their craft.
The market also hosts food trucks and pop-up stands, offering gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, barbecue platters, and international flavors. Beyond food, Abingdon Farmers Market is a hub of community engagement and cultural exchange, featuring live music performances, cooking demonstrations, and special events that bring locals and visitors together, fostering a sense of connection and celebration.
#5. Discover the Rich History at the Abingdon Muster Grounds
Explore the Abingdon Muster Grounds, a historical site in Abingdon, VA, where the Overmountain Men were trained during the American Revolution. The grounds offer a sense of time travel with meticulously preserved buildings and artifacts, connecting visitors with the brave men who fought for freedom. Guided tours by knowledgeable docents share stories of the Revolutionary War era, including the Overmountain Men’s journey to victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain and their pivotal role in the fight for independence.
More so, the picturesque grounds, surrounded by lush greenery, offer a truly immersive experience for history enthusiasts, allowing them to gain a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made by the forefathers and appreciate the bravery and resilience that shaped the nation. Don’t miss this opportunity to step into the footsteps of the Overmountain Men and discover the rich history of Abingdon, VA.
#6. Explore the Arts Depot and the Local Art Scene
Abingdon, Virginia, is a hidden gem in the arts, with a vibrant and thriving scene that is sure to captivate any visitor. One must-do activity is exploring the Arts Depot, a historic building transformed into a dynamic hub for the arts. The Arts Depot showcases the work of local artists, offering a diverse range of artistic expressions from paintings and sculptures to photography and mixed media. The Arts Depot also serves as a community center, hosting classes, workshops, and events throughout the year. Whether you’re a seasoned artist or a beginner looking to unleash your creative side, there are plenty of opportunities to learn and grow.
One highlight of visiting the Arts Depot is the chance to meet the artists themselves, as many have their studios within the building. Engage in conversations with these talented individuals, learn about their inspiration, and gain insights into their creative process. Abingdon’s art scene extends throughout the town, with numerous galleries showcasing a wide array of styles and mediums. If you’re lucky enough to visit during an art event or festival, you’ll be treated to live performances, interactive exhibits, and hands-on workshops celebrating the rich artistic heritage of the region.
#7. Attend a Live Music Performance at the Abingdon Music Experience
Abingdon Music Experience is a must-do destination for live music enthusiasts in Abingdon, VA. The vibrant town hosts various events throughout the year, catering to various genres and tastes. The Abingdon Music Experience showcases local talent and renowned artists from around the country, offering intimate acoustic sets and lively outdoor concerts. The Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, an annual festival, attracts thousands of music lovers and showcases the best of Americana, bluegrass, and roots music.
Regular concerts and performances are held at various venues, such as the historic Barter Theatre, which often features live music performances. Attending a live music performance not only provides great music but also allows you to immerse yourself in local culture and connect with the vibrant arts community. Surrounded by like-minded music enthusiasts, the experience creates an atmosphere of camaraderie and shared appreciation for the power of live music.
#8. Take a Scenic Drive on the Back of the Dragon
The Back of the Dragon is a thrilling and breathtaking scenic drive in Abingdon, VA, known for its thrilling twists and turns, stunning vistas, and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. This 32-mile stretch of Route 16 offers an unforgettable driving experience, with lush green forests, cascading waterfalls, and the majestic Appalachian Mountains as the backdrop. The road is a marvel of engineering, with hairpin turns and steep inclines providing an adrenaline rush for drivers.
Whether a seasoned rider or a novice, the Back of the Dragon offers a unique opportunity to test your skills and immerse yourself in the natural splendor of the region. Along the way, there are scenic overlooks and rest stops where you can capture memorable photos and observe wildlife sightings, such as deer, foxes, and black bears. For those seeking a more leisurely pace, there are several charming towns and roadside attractions to explore, including art galleries, craft shops, and cozy cafes and restaurants serving regional cuisine.
#9. Visit the William King Museum of Art
The William King Museum of Art, located in Abingdon, Virginia, is a must-see for art and culture fans. The museum, which is housed in a restored historical structure, exhibits a broad collection of modern art, regional works, and thought-provoking installations. The displays are expertly organized, integrating local, national, and international art to reflect the region’s rich cultural past.
Additionally, the museum is dedicated to promoting Appalachian artists’ abilities by producing exhibitions that celebrate unique artistic styles and storytelling. In addition, the museum provides educational programs and workshops for adults and children, such as guided tours and hands-on art activities. The peaceful surroundings are ideal for introspection and reflection.
#10. Explore the Beautiful Gardens at the Fields-Penn House
Nestled in Abingdon, Virginia, the Fields-Penn House is a hidden gem offering a tranquil and enchanting experience for nature lovers and history enthusiasts. The gardens surrounding the historic house are adorned with vibrant and colorful flowers, creating a picturesque scene. The gardens are meticulously curated, with each plant and shrub thoughtfully placed to create a visually captivating landscape.
Visitors can relax on benches, enjoy the serene ambiance, and enjoy a leisurely picnic with loved ones. The gardens also feature charming features like fountains and sculptures, adding an artistic touch to the surroundings. This harmonious blend of art and nature makes the Fields-Penn House gardens a truly unique destination.
#11. Learn About the History of the Region at the Historical Society of Washington County
Experience the rich history of Abingdon, VA, at the Historical Society of Washington County. This hidden gem offers a treasure trove of artifacts, exhibits, and stories that transport visitors back in time. The knowledgeable staff is eager to share the region’s history with visitors. The museum showcases the evolution of Abingdon and its surrounding areas, including early settlers, local industries, and key historical events.
Visitors can explore the archives and delve deeper into specific topics of interest, guided by knowledgeable staff. The Historical Society also hosts engaging events and educational programs throughout the year, including lectures, workshops, guided tours, and special exhibits, to enrich understanding of the region’s history.
#12. Take a Tour of the Abingdon Vineyard & Winery
Abingdon Vineyard & Winery in Abingdon, VA, offers a unique experience for wine enthusiasts and tourists. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the winery provides a guided tour of its vineyards, showcasing on-site grape varieties and the winemaking process. Expert guides share fascinating details about the history, techniques, and craftsmanship behind each bottle of wine. After exploring the vineyards, guests can enjoy a wine-tasting session, sampling a diverse selection of handcrafted wines that showcase the region’s unique flavors and characteristics.
Moreover, the tasting room offers a serene ambiance with panoramic views and is open to conversations with fellow wine enthusiasts or staff. In addition to wine-focused experiences, Abingdon Vineyard & Winery hosts events and live music performances, creating a vibrant atmosphere. From wine release parties to seasonal celebrations, there’s always something exciting happening at this beloved winery.
#13. Experience the Thrill of Racing at the Bristol Motor Speedway
Experience the thrill of racing at the Bristol Motor Speedway, also known as the “Last Great Colosseum,” in Abingdon, VA. This iconic NASCAR short track has been hosting thrilling races since 1961, offering heart-pounding action and close-quarters racing that leaves you on the edge of your seat. The atmosphere is electrifying, with engines roaring, crowd cheers, and the smell of burning rubber creating an electrifying atmosphere. Whether you’re a die-hard racing fan or a casual spectator, there are various options to enhance your experience.
General admission tickets and premium seating options are available, and purchasing pit passes grants access to the pits, allowing you to get up close and personal with teams and drivers, witness behind-the-scenes action, and even snag autographs from your favorite drivers. Beyond the races, the Bristol Motor Speedway hosts other exciting events and activities throughout the year, including music concerts and car shows. Be sure to check the schedule before your visit to see if there are any additional events or attractions that pique your interest.
#14. Visit the Birthplace of Country Music Museum
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Abingdon, Virginia, is a captivating attraction that takes visitors on a journey through the rich history of country music. Located in downtown Abingdon, visitors are transported back to the early 1920s, a pivotal period in the recording industry. The museum features exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays, allowing visitors to explore the roots and legacy of country music.
Visitors can listen to recordings of legendary artists such as the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers, participate in interactive displays, and step into a recording studio to experience the magic of producing a country music hit. The museum also hosts live performances, workshops, and educational programs, ensuring visitors can truly experience the music firsthand.
#15. Explore the Natural Beauty of the Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail
Nestled in Abingdon, Virginia, lies the Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail, a 34-mile trail that offers a captivating journey through the Appalachian Mountains’ natural beauty. The trail follows the route of an old railroad, weaving through picturesque forests, charming farmland, and tranquil streams. Visitors can witness the vibrant colors of the changing seasons, such as wildflowers and songbirds in spring, lush greenery in summer, fiery hues in autumn, and serene beauty in winter.
The trail is accessible for all skill levels and offers a gentle incline, making it accessible for all skill levels. Along the way, visitors can encounter charming towns and communities, perfect for taking breaks, eating, or browsing local shops. For those seeking adrenaline-pumping activities, the trail offers zip-lining and whitewater rafting, creating unforgettable memories.
#16. Attend a Live Performance at the Abingdon Olive Oil Company and Tasting Bar
The Abingdon Olive Oil Company and Tasting Bar in Abingdon, VA, offers a unique and flavorful experience with its delicious olive oils and vinegar. The intimate setting creates a sense of warmth and community, making it an ideal venue for live entertainment. The diverse performances, including local musicians, bands, spoken word artists, and storytellers, add to the sensory experience. The aroma of freshly poured olive oil fills the air, adding to the sensory experience. The bar caters to different tastes and interests, offering opportunities to discover local talent and support the arts community in Abingdon.
During intermission or after the show, guests can explore the olive oils and vinegars available for tasting, guided by knowledgeable staff. This unforgettable combination of entertainment and culinary delight creates a memorable experience.
#17. Relax and Unwind at the Martha Washington Inn and Spa
The Martha Washington Inn and Spa, located near Abingdon, Virginia, offers a tranquil respite from the rush and bustle of daily life. The 1832 historical landmark has been lovingly restored to its former splendor, keeping its architectural grandeur and charm. The rooms and suites are elegantly designed, blending modern conveniences with classic elegance to ensure warmth and comfort. The exquisite spa provides a variety of rejuvenating treatments and therapies that are tailored to each guest’s specific needs, leaving them feeling pampered and invigorated. The calm gardens provide a serene setting for leisurely strolls or relaxing in the tranquil ambiance.
The exquisite restaurant uses locally sourced products that are skillfully prepared to highlight the flavors of the region. The attentive service and exquisite ambiance provide an unforgettable dining experience for both romantic evenings and celebration meals with friends.