Moving to the Fredericksburg area– what you need to know
So you’re moving to the Fredericksburg area? Well, get excited because there is no shortage of amazing things to see, do and eat! With the Fredericksburg area consisting of the City of Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania County, Stafford County, King George County and Caroline County, there’s an entire region’s worth of excitement. Regardless of what your interests are, you’re in for a fun-filled next chapter of your life!
Where to live in Fredericksburg
First things first, where to live? The Fredericksburg area has a diverse set of neighborhoods that can accommodate just about any pace – and stage – of life.
Fredericksburg and its surrounding counties are some of Virginia’s most historic and charming areas – and that’s saying something! This small town charm draws millennials who might work in D.C. or Northern Virginia but don’t mind a long commute in exchange for the extra local character. Amid the Civil War battlegrounds, museums and antique shops are a slew of amazing restaurants, breweries and outdoor activities that can cater to nearly every young person’s interests.
Fredericksburg’s housing market attracts both homeowners and renters alike, with popular choices for millennials to include the following:
- Cobblestone in Fredericksburg
- Downtown Fredericksburg
- Abberly Waterstone
- Aquia Terrace
- Aquia 15 at Towne Center
- Abberly at Southpoint
- Silver Collection at Cosner’s Corner
- Station Square at Cosner’s Corner
Fredericksburg is a wonderful place for young families to flourish, with a lifestyle at a slightly slower pace compared to D.C. There are all kinds of food and music festivals held throughout the year, many of which are family-friendly. Fredericksburg’s rich history and close proximity to Washington, D.C., Richmond and Williamsburg also provides young families the opportunity to immerse themselves in the early history of our country without traveling far.
School performance can vary between the area’s different localities, so it is important to do your research before deciding on a school district. Popular neighborhoods for young families include the following:
- Aquia Harbour
- Leeland Station
- Lee’s Hill
- Hopyard Farm
Fredericksburg is a history lover’s playground, which is a tremendous draw for many empty nesters. Even if battlefields aren’t your thing, the area’s mix of small town charm, outdoor activities and delicious restaurants keeps older individuals occupied. You can find acres and acres of single family homes in the surrounding counties, but if you want to be more centrally located with less maintenance, luxury condos and brownstones in downtown Fredericksburg gives empty nesters all the benefits of city living.
Empty nesters may want to consider homes in these neighborhoods:
- Celebrate by Del Webb
- Falls Run
- Regency of Chancellorsville
- Lee’s Park
- Asbury Manor
What to do in Fredericksburg
The question in the Fredericksburg area isn’t what to do, -it’s what to do first.
Fredericksburg Area Museum (The FAM)
The FAM tells the history of the Fredericksburg community and regions. It is housed in historic Town Hall/Market House. The FAM teaches and protects the history and culture of the Fredericksburg region and serves a diverse community through a commitment to inclusion and honesty. For hours and information, visit: https://famva.org/about/.
Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop
Hugh Mercer was a doctor in Fredericksburg whose patients included Mary Washington, mother of George Washington. His old apothecary shop is now a museum with a mix of medicine, military and political highlights. For information about admission and hours, visit https://www.washingtonheritagemuseums.org/museums.
The National Museum of the Marine Corps
The National Museum of the Marine Corps is open 364 days a year (closed on Christmas Day) and is free to the public. You can find over 230 years of Marine Corps history and over 1,000 artifacts ranging from vehicles, artillery, medals, uniforms and more. For more information on current and upcoming exhibits, visit http://www.usmcmuseum.com.
Chatham Manor is a large Georgian-style mansion, overlooking the Rappahannock River. It was built in the late 1700s by William Fitzhugh, a Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress. The home had many famous visitors including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Today the mansion is a part of the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. For more information, visit https://www.nps.gov/frsp/learn/historyculture/chatham.htm.
Civil War Battlefields
Fredericksburg and the surrounding areas are home to the sites of many significant Civil War battlefields. In fact, they were some of the most brutal battles leading up to the end of the war. The Battles of Chancellorsville, Wilderness, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania are called America’s Battleground by the National Park System. For more information, visit https://www.nps.gov/frsp/index.htm.
Ferry Farm was home to George Washington during some of his most formative years. Today this historical site is open to the public. Amazingly enough, archeologists only just found the exact site of his home in 2008. Visitors can tour the gardens and grounds (approximately 80 acres), learn more about Civil War artifacts found on the property and take advantage of the farm’s hiking trails. For more information, visit https://kenmore.org/visit-ferry-farm/.
Historic Kenmore Plantation
Kenmore Plantation, a Georgian-style mansion, was built by George Washington’s sister, Betty Washington Lewis, and her husband, Fielding Lewis, in the 1770s. The plantation home, located in downtown Fredericksburg, survived the Battle of Fredericksburg, and today visitors can enjoy guided tours of the first floor of the house and explore the gardens and grounds which span approximately 3-acres on the property. For more information, visit https://kenmore.org/visit-kenmore/.
The Fredericksburg area has many historical churches, such as Aquia Church, built in the 1750s and operates as one of the oldest active colonial churches still being used today, and St. George’s Episcopal Church, which doubled as a hospital during the Civil War. Both of these churches, along with several others throughout downtown Fredericksburg, are rumored to be haunted if you’re looking for a dash of fright with your history! For more information, visit https://aquiachurch.org/ and https://www.stgeorgesepiscopal.net/.
Theaters and Music Venues
Riverside Dinner Theater
A great way to entertain friends and family over a meal is to bring them to a performance at the Riverside Dinner Theater. The theater is known for its Broadway-like quality musical productions, such as Grease and Annie. Amenities include a full bar, dinner service and meeting rooms. For a list of current shows, pricing and schedule, visit www.riversidedt.com.
After Hours Concerts – Marks & Harrison Amphitheater
Each May, this seasonal venue kicks off its summer concert series of popular artists from Boyz II Men and ZZ Top to country artists like Cole Swindell and Lady Antebellum. Buy a season pass for guaranteed admission each show or tickets for just your favorite artists. To see the lineup of this upcoming season and pricing, visit https://afterhoursconcertseries.com/.
On the historic and beautiful campus of the University of Mary Washington is the multi-use performance space Dodd Auditorium, where hundreds of events are held each year, including UMW’s philharmonic concerts, live lectures and more. The auditorium seats 1,273 and includes balcony and orchestra level seating. For a schedule of upcoming events and performances, visit https://adminfinance.umw.edu/dodd/about/.
A nice dinner out isn’t hard to come by in Fredericksburg. Restaurant Row on William Street alone features acclaimed destinations like Fahrenheit 132, La Petite Auberge and Ristorante Renato. Foode, also located in downtown Fredericksburg, has an inviting and modern atmosphere in an old bank building, and its head chef, Joy Crump, appeared on Top Chef. Orofino is an Italian restaurant owned by Danilo Orofino, a native of Palermo, Sicily; his dishes are authentic and delicious for those looking for true Italian fare! For a comprehensive list of some of the region’s best restaurants, visit https://www.visitfred.com/restaurants/.
A more casual meal around town does not compromise on taste. Castiglia’s Italian Restaurant, locally owned and operated by the Castiglia family from Naples, Italy, offers a daily selection of Italian and American cuisines such as brick oven pizza and specialty pasta in a newly renovated dining room. Mason-Dixon Café offers all kinds of salads, sandwiches and wraps with a southern flair, and it has locations in both downtown Fredericksburg and in Stafford. Right next door to the Fredericksburg location of Mason-Dixon Café is Carl’s, arguably the best soft serve in America, as demonstrated by its numerous awards. Other casual dining options include Sedona Taphouse, Umi (a local sushi restaurant), Allman’s Bar-B-Q and Parthenon Pizza, offering authentic Greek cuisine.
A great drink is easy to come by for Fredericksburg area residents. First up is Spencer Devon Brewing, which is seriously committed to local ingredients. Located in downtown Fredericksburg, the restaurant brew pub reports that about 80 percent of the restaurant’s dish budget goes directly to farmers from whom they purchase local ingredients. A. Smith Bowman Distillery produces a range of hand-crafted spirits using the finest ingredients to honor the legacy and groundbreaking spirit of Virginia’s pioneers, and they offer complimentary tours! Red Dragon Brewery is one of Fredericksburg’s newer breweries with 20 tap lines of craft beer. The brewery is inspired by the owner’s ancestral roots in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales, whose national flag prominently displays a red dragon. If you’re more in favor of wine, look no further than Potomac Point Vineyard and Winery. Designed to make you feel like you’ve stepped into Tuscany, Potomac Point offers tastings, facility tours and a full bistro.
Downtown Fredericksburg represents the heart of the city’s history. The 40-square blocks are home to a wide range of retailers, restaurants, art galleries, craft breweries, boutiques, and local businesses. If perusing storefront windows and shelves gets tiring, enjoy Fredericksburg’s Olde Towne Carriage Tours to learn more about the history and sites of the downtown area. For a list of stores, visit https://www.visitfred.com/shopping/.
The Central Park development, just outside of downtown Fredericksburg, boasts one of the largest power shopping centers on the East Coast. Located along I-95 on Route 3 (Plank Road), it features over 200 restaurants, fashion retailers and friendly services. Here you can find a Regal Cinema, retailers like LOFT and DSW, along with an array of restaurants including The Melting Pot and Carrabba’s Italian Grill. For more information, visit https://www.shopatcentralpark.com/directory/.
Stafford Marketplace is one of Stafford’s largest shopping centers, with all the stores needed for your shopping list, including the likes of Best Buy, Target, PetSmart and TJ Maxx. Located right off I-95, it’s hard to miss and even harder to leave.
Spotsylvania Towne Centre
Spotsylvania Towne Centre is Fredericksburg’s one-stop shopping destination for everyone’s favorite stores. Bring the family to shop and dine at stores like Macy’s, Aveda, White House Black Market, Arhaus, BRAVO! Cucina Italiana, Firebirds and more. Visit the new, elegant outdoor shopping and dining lifestyle center behind the mall called The Village at Towne Centre, which includes Paragon Village 12, an upscale movie theater with a bar, and Splitsville, a restaurant and bowling alley combo. Featuring a Residence Inn by Marriot, the shopping hub invites you to shop, dine, and stay awhile. For more information, visit https://www.spotsylvaniatownecentre.com/directory/ and https://www.cafarocompany.com/properties/the-village-at-towne-centre/.
Fredericksburg City Dock
The City Dock is located on the Rappahannock River, located near Downtown Fredericksburg’s train station and at the end of Sophia Street. The historic dock dates back to when George Washington was president and is a perfect spot for fishing, boating, river views, and water sport rentals. For more information, visit http://www.fredericksburgva.gov/facilities/facility/details/City-Dock-4.
Virginia Central Railway Trail
Originally a 38-mile railway line that connected Fredericksburg and Orange County and was operational from 1877 to 1984, this trail is being renovated for walking and biking. The trail currently offers more than four miles of trail across two disconnected segments: one from downtown Fredericksburg to the Idlewild neighborhood and the other to nearby Chancellor area in Spotsylvania County. For more information, visit https://www.traillink.com/trail/virginia-central-railway-trail/
Canal Path/Heritage Trail
The Canal Path and Heritage Trail together form a paved loop perfect for biking and walking. The Canal Path is 1.8-miles long and winds along the Rappahannock Canal from Fall Hill Avenue to Princess Anne Street. The Heritage Trail is a 1.6-mile stretch that connects the pathway. For more information, visit https://www.fredericksburgva.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Canal-Path-Rappahannock-River-Heritage-T-3.
Virginia Outdoor Center
Virginia Outdoor Center is run by a group of outdoor enthusiasts on a 35-acre riverfront beach site on Fall Hill Avenue. The center prides itself on being as hidden as possible from the stress and sounds of the real world, and it invites you to relax and explore along the Rappahannock River. The Virginia Outdoor Center offers an array of classes and activities like kayaking and tubing on the Rappahannock River or hiking and backpacking through Shenandoah National Park, if you want to get out of Fredericksburg for the day. For information on upcoming events, classes, trips, and rental rates, visit www.playva.com.
Motts Run Reservoir Recreation Area
Motts Run is an 860-acre natural area that offers over four miles of hiking trails, fishing, kayaking and canoeing (kayak and canoe rentals are available). The recreation area is open everyday, except Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For more information, visit http://www.fredericksburgva.gov/facilities/facility/details/Motts-Run-Reservoir-Recreation-Area-10.
Memorial Day Weekend Luminaria at National Cemetery
What better way to commemorate our veterans than to honor them in the Fredericksburg National Cemetery where Union soldiers from the Civil War are laid to rest. Each May, thousands visit the historic site to participate and watch the lighting of candles during the three-hour ceremony. To plan your visit, go to https://www.nps.gov/frsp/planyourvisit/luminaria.htm.
Capital Ale House Oktoberfest
Each Fall, Capital Ale House hosts the annual Oktoberfest in downtown Fredericksburg on Caroline Street. The event includes delicious German cuisine paired with Virginia craft beers and imported German style beers.Oktoberfest is a family friendly with a Kinderplatz zone for children to enjoy located at the Fredericksburg Area Museum.
Fredericksburg Christmas Parade
Voted the No. 1 best community event in the area, you won’t want to miss this annual parade. In the heart of Old Town Fredericksburg, people of all ages fill the sidewalks of Caroline Street and Princess Anne Street to watch the parade and wait for Santa’s debut. For information on parking, timing and this year’s participating groups, visit www.fredericksburgchristmasparade.com.
Candlelight Tour at Christmas time in downtown Fredericksburg
For about half a century, residents, tourists and travelers have participated in the annual Candlelight Tour during the holiday season. Take a date or make it a group event! Evening tour tickets include a cocktail party! For this year’s schedule and ticket pricing, visit https://hffi.org/holiday-candlelight-tour/.
Fredericksburg First Night
Welcome the new year on the streets of downtown Fredericksburg with music, performers, carnival-type activities, vendors and more while waiting for the “ball drop.” The celebration is held on multiple streets and is family-friendly for all ages.
Just a few miles north of Fredericksburg, Stafford County also offers similar holiday celebrations like its Christmas parade, New Year’s Eve festivities and Independence Day celebration. Visit http://www.tourstaffordva.com/events to find out more.
Are you excited yet? You should be! Whenever you’re ready to start planning your move to the Fredericksburg area, we’re here to help! Visit Hilldrup.com to schedule a free in-home or virtual move estimate.