Abingdon is a small town with a lot to offer in southwest Virginia! Voted one of the coolest small towns in America, there is no shortage of things to do in Abingdon, VA.
Where you’re interested in going for a hike, seeing a play, visiting an art gallery, or spending a holiday at a romantic inn, you’ll find no shortage of great things to do in town!
Abingdon is located near the Virginia-North Carolina border in southwestern Virginia. It’s about 134 miles southwest of Roanoke, 241 miles southwest of Charlottesville, and 344 miles southwest of Northern Virginia.
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(Top photo courtesy Abingdon Visitor Center.)
25 Best Things to Do in Abingdon, VA
25 Best Things to Do in Abingdon, VA
Abingdon is a major cultural, historical, and nature destination in southwestern Virginia. Below are my top recommendations for the best things to do in Abingdon, VA.
1. Barter Theatre
Catching a show at the historic Barter Theatre is definitely one of the top things to do in Abingdon, VA. The theater has the distinction of being the first named The State Theatre of Virginia.
The renowned theatre featured its first known performance all the way back in 1876. Appropriately enough, it was a production of The Virginian! The interior includes furnishings from the Empire Theatre of New York City, which dates back to 1875.
Through the years, the theater has featured many famous actors and actresses who later went on to great acclaim, including Gregory Peck, Ernest Borgnine, Hume Cronyn, and Ned Beatty.
Today, Barter Theatre regularly presents plays throughout the season. Some recent productions have included Macbeth and To Kill a Mockingbird. You can find a full schedule of upcoming performances online.
2. Virginia Creeper Trail
Abingdon has no shortage of amazing trails and outdoor activities. At the top of that list is the Virginia Creeper Trail.
The trail is 34.3 miles in length and was constructed over former railway tracks. The trail begins in Abingdon, VA, travels through two counties, and ends in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, which is near the Virginia-North Carolina border.
The trail also has the honor of being one of the top rail-to-trails in the country.
The trail is popular among bicyclists, but it is also great for walking and running. Along the trail, you can also find places to go fishing, horseback riding, and even go cross-country skiing.
One of the great characteristics of the Virginia Creeper Trail is that it passes through some of the most gorgeous landscapes that Virginia has to offer, including farmland, fields, forests, streams, and more.
Parts of the trail also intersect with the Appalachian Trail.
You can learn more about the Appalachian Trail and more of the best National Parks in Virginia!
For an awesome downhill bike ride, you can start the trail at Whitetop Station, which sits at about 3500 feet in elevation. It’s located near the top of the second-highest mountain in Virginia!
From there the trail is mostly downhill until reaching the trailhead at Abingdon.
3. The Martha Washington Inn & Spa
After hitting the trails, you can indulge in a relaxing stay at The Martha Washington Inn & Spa!
The gorgeous, sprawling building is filled with historic charm and luxurious amenities. It is a perfect way to spend a vacation in Abingdon.
Each room is decorated in a unique and classic style. You can book a luxury room or a larger specialty suite, depending on your needs.
For a truly luxurious experience, you can reserve Martha’s Residence, which features two fireplaces and multiple spacious, opulent rooms!
The Inn also features plenty of top-tier amenities, including a beautiful indoor swimming pool and jacuzzi, Fitness Gym, Tennis and Pickleball courts, an 18 Hole Putt Putt Golf Course, Town Bicycles to borrow, a Children’s Play Area, and a private library filled with American Literature.
You’ll definitely want to make sure to book an appointment at the full-service spa, which offers Swedish and Deep Tissue Massages, Facials, Manicures, Pedicures, Body Treatments, and much more.
Guests can even enjoy a complimentary glass of port each night at the front desk!
4. The Arts Depot
Visiting The Arts Depot is another one of the top things to do in Abingdon, VA. The historic building was once the site of the Abingdon railroad freight station dating back to the 1860s.
The original depot was burned during Stoneman’s Raid but rebuilt after the Civil War. In 1990 it was transformed into art galleries and studios.
Today, The Arts Depot is dedicated to supporting regional arts and providing educational programs to local residents. The depot is home to three galleries and seven resident artists.
There are many kinds of art on display at The Arts Depot, including pottery, sculpture, jewelry, folk art, acrylic, oil, and watercolor paintings.
When visiting, you can stroll among the gallery exhibits, get a unique opportunity to meet some of the artists and take classes on subjects like acrylic painting and basic drawing.
5. William King Museum of Art
The William King Museum of Art is another destination you won’t want to miss in Abingdon.
The art museum features an eclectic collection that includes contemporary art from local Appalachian artists. They also feature classic works from around the world.
The museum also honors the rich history of the region with special exhibits like “Black History in Appalachia and Beyond.”
The permanent collection is devoted to art from Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee, including historic furniture, pottery, and decorative art like quilts.
You can also explore the outside Sculpture Garden, which features modern and abstract art pieces.
6. The Tavern Restaurant
During your visit to Abingdon, you’ll definitely want to stop for a meal at The Tavern Restaurant.
The restaurant dates all the way back to 1779 and combines fine dining with historical charm. The Tavern began its history as an actual tavern for overnight travelers in the 18th century.
Some of the famous people who have stayed there in the past include Henry Clay; Louis Philippe, King of France; President Andrew Jackson; and Pierre Charles L’Enfant, who designed Washington D.C.
Throughout its long and storied history, the Tavern also served as a bank, bakery, post office, barber shop, and Confederate hospital during the Civil War.
Today, The Tavern is the most popular restaurant in town. Their upscale menu includes an eclectic mix of dishes like Oysters Rockefeller, Wienerschnitzel, Stuffed filet mignon, Scallops au Gratin, and Baked Salmon. They are also open for Sunday Brunch.
You will definitely also want to grab a drink at the bar, which has the unique distinction of being the oldest bar in Virginia and the 8th oldest bar in the United States!
7. Grayson Highlands State Park
Grayson Highlands State Park is about 40 miles southeast of Abingdon, but it’s well worth the visit when you are visiting the Abingdon region in southwest Virginia!
You may even see some wild ponies while visiting! They were introduced to the area back in 1974.
The park is located near the two highest mountain tops in Virginia: Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain.
Grayson Highlands State Park is a popular hiking destination, with 13 trails ranging in length from 0.5 miles to 2 miles. Many of the trails feature gorgeous panoramic views and waterfalls.
The Appalachian Trail and Jefferson National Forest can also be accessed through the park.
The park is also considered one of the best places to go bouldering, particularly in the summer when temperatures are typically in the 70s.
You can also stay overnight in the park. There are four yurts on site, each of which includes a large wooden deck, picnic table, and rocking chairs. You can also book a camping site or stay in the Camping Lodge.
8. Abingdon Vineyards
Abingdon Vineyards is a noteworthy winery located near Abingdon.
The winery is uniquely situated just a half mile from the Virginia Creeper Trail (near Alvarado Station) and the South Fork Holston Road. In fact, you can actually reach the vineyard by kayak!
The lovely grounds have river views, which makes it the perfect setting to relax and enjoy a wine flight and a picnic while soaking in the beautiful nature of the southwestern Virginia highlands!
The winery features a wide selection of wines, including Riesling, several varieties of Rosé, Steel Strings (with notes of pineapple and honeydew), and Game Changer, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, and Norton.
There are often food trucks on-site. You can also purchase light snacks, including cheese and crackers.
Abingdon Vineyards also frequently hosts special events, like art showcases and live music. You can find a list of upcoming events online.
Dogs are also welcome!
9. Wolf Hills Brewing Company
If you’re looking for excellent craft beer in the heart of Abingdon, then look no further than Wolf Hills Brewing Company!
They feature beers that are made from locally-sourced ingredients. Some of their rotating beers on tap include a Pale Ale, Hazy IPA, Kolsch, and Pecan Porter.
Year-round favorites include the flavorful White Blaze Honey Cream Ale, Creeper Trail Amber Ale, and Troopers Alley IPA.
The brewery also features regular events, including Trivia Nights, Open Mic Nights, and Live Music performances.
10. Sinking Spring Cemetery
Sinking Spring Cemetery is one of the major historic sites in Abingdon. The cemetery dates all the way back to the Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church, which was organized in 1773.
Visitors can take a tour of the cemetery grounds during daylight hours to learn more about the long history of the town. Members of the church were buried in the cemetery for over 200 years.
The cemetery also features the burial grounds for those who were enslaved in Abingdon, dating back hundreds of years.
11. Abingdon Farmers Market
Abingdon Farmers Market is another major attraction in town that you won’t want to miss!
The market is open year-round and features locally grown products, including fresh meat, eggs, seasonal vegetables, baked goods, fresh flowers, sweets, juices, and much more.
The vendors on hand include local farms, bakeries, apothecaries, and more.
You can also find handmade arts and crafts at the Farmers Market.
You can find an updated schedule online to plan your visit.
12. St. Thomas Episcopal Church
St. Thomas Episcopal Church is a beautiful historic church in Abingdon that is definitely worth a visit. The original church dates back to 1846.
The design is inspired by the 14th-century English Tudor Gothic chapel.
A fire destroyed the church in 1924, but it was rebuilt soon after. The church is adorned with ornate stained glass. The altar is adorned with a large oil painting of Jesus.
13. White’s Mill
White’s Mill is another historic site that sits near the top of any list of the best things to do in Abingdon, VA!
White’s Mill dates all the way back to the 18th century, during which time it served as a major mill in southwestern Virginia, providing meal and flour for the community.
The mill has recently undergone a major restoration, during which time its roof, siding, and windows were all replaced.
When visiting, you’ll want to stop by the Mercantile shop, which features products ranging from grits and cornmeal to CDs of local artists, and handmade quilts, fabric art, and wall decorations.
The Mill frequently hosts special events, including BBQs and live music performances.
14. Abingdon Muster Grounds
The Abingdon Muster Grounds is the historic site where local men first gathered in 1780 to join their fellow Patriots in the Revolutionary War.
The grounds are located along the Overmountain Victory Trail, which is a 330-mile historic trail that runs through Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The trail marks the path taken by the patriot militia as part of the Kings Mountain campaign of 1780.
You can pick up a map on the website and travel along the trail by car, with markers along the way to tell you more about the history of the trail. The trail also includes over 87 miles of walking paths along the way.
When visiting the Abingdon Muster Grounds, you can make a stop at the Keller Interpretive Center, which teaches visitors about life back during the Revolutionary War in southwestern Virginia. You can also walk part of the Overmountain Victory Trail, or just stop for a relaxing picnic.
There are also Revolutionary War Reenactments that take place throughout the year.
15. Veterans Memorial Park
Veterans Memorial Park is a great outdoor spot in Abingdon. The park is 13 acres in size and is dedicated to the Veterans who served our country.
The park contains several memorials dedicated to veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
One of the major monuments in the park is the Bronze “Yellow” Ribbon Monument, which is dedicated to those who served in the armed forces. It is made from a large piece of granite that comes from Culpepper, Virginia.
The park also has a program in place that allows people to have a tree planted in honor of a veteran.
Veterans Memorial Park includes several sheltered picnic areas, restrooms, and a playground.
16. Fairview Historic Homestead
Fairview Historic Homestead gives visitors the unique opportunity to see how life was lived back in the 1800s. The home itself dates back to the late 1700s. It includes additions from the 1800s.
The homestead includes tools and equipment used in the 1800s. You can explore the main cabin, barns (including a barn that is over 100 years old), as well as the Blacksmith shop, the antique running sawmill, and the corn crib.
17. Historical Society of Washington County
The Historical Society of Washington County is an important resource of historical records from the region. Their mission is to preserve and share the rich history of Abingdon and Washington County.
The society began in 1936 and has grown to include an incredible 7,000 books; 200,000 digital images; and over 1 million indexed records relating to the history and genealogy of southwestern Virginia.
Visitors can search through this wealth of information either in person or online via the historical society website.
You can visit the Historical Society and see their collection of historic artifacts, records, pictures, books, and more.
18. Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Marketplace
The Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Marketplace is a unique space where you can find artwork from regional artists.
There are over 5,000 works on display and for sale, including traditional pottery, quilting, modern paintings, glasswork, jewelry, and much more.
The center focuses on the special place that Southwest Virginia holds in the history of America. It was the “original frontier of America.” This unique heritage is on vibrant display at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Marketplace.
Many of the artists featured at the marketplace have been passing down their artistry through the generations. You can learn more about the stories and crafts when you visit.
The Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Marketplace is also home to The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, which honors traditional acoustic string music, including old-time, bluegrass, and gospel music from the region. You can see live performances and purchase CDs and DVDs of the music.
19. Tumbling Creek Cider Company
You can make a stop at Tumbling Creek Cider Company to try some award-winning, locally-made hard cider!
The cidery is conveniently located near the Barter Theatre and Marth Washington Inn & Spa.
They feature some unique and flavorful ciders, such as Smoked Apple Whiskey Barrel Aged Cider, High Trestle Cherry (made with cherry wine), and the classic Springhouse Semi-Sweet, made from Virginia apples!
The cidery also features a cozy, wood-beamed taproom, where you can enjoy regular live music performances and trivia nights!
20. Rain Restaurant & Bar
Rain Restaurant & Bar is another excellent destination for food in the heart of downtown Abingdon.
They earn high praise for great service and food. The restaurant specializes in American food. Some of their dishes include unique creations like Nantucket Bay Scallop ceviche w/ crispy wonton; Hawaiian Walu w/ tomato bacon butter, carrot parsnip purée, broccoli risotto cake, and grilled asparagus; and Red wine braised short rib, cauliflower parsnip yogurt purée, sourdough crouton, golden raisin, and crispy fried Brussel sprouts.
21. 128 Pecan
128 Pecan is another great restaurant in downtown Abingdon. It is a fun and quirky spot where you can find simple, delicious food and great service. They’re open for both lunch and dinner.
128 Pecan serves a wide variety of American food to meet any taste, including Low Country Shrimp and Andouille Sausage, Crispy Crab Cake, Blackened Snapper, and Baked Italian Chicken. You can also find quesadillas, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and tacos on the menu.
22. Holston Mountain Artisans
Holston Mountain Artisans is a great place to find locally made arts and crafts from southwestern Virginia and eastern Tennessee.
It is a great destination to shop for one-of-a-kind gifts and home decor.
There are over 100 local artists represented by the group. Their works are on display at the craft shop.
Holston Mountain Artisans also features workspaces for the artists, as well as classes taught by the artists to help keep Appalachian culture and art traditions alive.
The arts and crafts available in the craft shop include toys, baskets, furniture, books, paintings, clothes, jewelry, quilts, and much more.
23. The Antique Barn
The Antique Barn, as the name suggests, is a great place to find antiques in Abingdon.
The distinct red barn is home to two stories of antiques, which include vintage collectibles, furniture, glassware, jewelry, clocks, art, stained glass, and much more.
You can walk through the barn and see all of the unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that The Antique Barn has to offer.
24. South Holston Lake
South Holston Lake is a great natural destination near Abingdon. The massive reservoir spans both Tennessee and Virginia.
The lake is a perfect destination for relaxing on the water or fishing. The landscape is beautiful, with the Cherokee National Forest surrounding a large portion of the lake.
The lake is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, green herons, ducks, northern water snakes, turtles, and muskrats.
When visiting the lake, you can go boating, fishing, or even scuba diving to discover even more that this region has to offer.
25. Wolf Hills Coffee
During your time in Abingdon, make sure to stop at Wolf Hills Coffee, which makes excellent single-origin coffees and handcrafted espresso drinks.
You can find all of your favorite coffee beverages, including Espressos, Capuccinos, Americanos, and Lattes. They also serve cold brews.
If you’re in the mood for tea, Wolf Hills has you covered. They serve many specialty teas from local Appalachian Teas and Botanicals.
Some of the locally inspired flavors include Wolfs Run (Black Tea, with Bergamot, Local Lavender, and Cornflowers) and Appalachian Immunitea (with Elderberries, Rosehips, Tulsi, Lemon Balm, Echinacea, Wild Nettle, and Appalachian Ginseng Leaf.)
They also serve baked goods and pastries from local bakeries.
Free Things to Do in Abingdon, VA
One of the best things about visiting Abingdon, VA is that many of the best things to do are free!
Below are some of my top picks of the best free things to do in Abingdon, VA. You can learn more about these activities in the list above:
- Hike or Bike the Virginia Creeper Trail.
- See the wild ponies at Grayson Highlands State Park.
- Enjoy a picnic at Veterans Memorial Park.
- Visit the historic St. Thomas Episcopal Church.
- Learn about the rich history of the region at the Historical Society of Washington County.
- Window Shop at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Marketplace, The Antique Barn, and Holston Mountain Artisans.
- Walk in the footsteps of history at the Abingdon Muster Grounds.
- See the works of local artists at The Arts Depot.
- Learn more about the history of Abingdon at Sinking Spring Cemetery.
Where to Stay in Abingdon, VA
Abingdon, VA has a number of excellent and affordable hotels that you can book on your next visit.
Below are some of my top picks. You can also learn about even more of the best Abingdon, VA hotels.
Hampton Inn Abingdon
Hampton Inn Abingdon earns top marks from guests in Abingdon! The decor is bright, clean, and modern. It offers a free hot breakfast every morning.
The hotel also has a fitness center, pool, and on-site laundry services. The hotel also has an excellent location: it is just 0.7 miles from major attractions like the Barter Theatre.
|🛏️ Book your stay at the Hampton Inn Abingdon by clicking here! 🛏️|
Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Abingdon
The Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Abingdon is another great hotel option in town. They feature a free hot buffet breakfast and have an indoor swimming pool and fitness center. It’s also located just 0.5 miles from major attractions like the Barter Theatre.
|🛏️ Book your stay at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Abingdon by clicking here! 🛏️|
FAQs About Abingdon, VA
Is Abingdon, VA worth visiting?
Abingdon, VA is definitely worth visiting! The town has something for everyone, including historic sites dating back to the 1700s, museums, art galleries showcasing local artists, and outdoor activities like hiking and biking on the Virginia Creeper Trail. The town is also home to The Tavern, one of the oldest bars in the country, as well as excellent local breweries, wineries, and coffee shops.
What is Abingdon, Virginia known for?
Abingdon, Virginia is a town in southwest Virginia that is best known for its rich cultural, historical, and artistic attractions. The town is home to the Barter Theater, which is the state theater of Virginia, and The Tavern, which is the oldest bar in Virginia. Abingdon also marks the beginning of the Virginia Creeper Trail, which is one of the premier rails-to-trails destinations in America.
What is the closest city to Abingdon, VA?
The sister cities of Bristol, VA and Bristol, NC are two of the closest cities to Abingdon, VA. They are located about 16 miles southwest of Abingdon near the North Carolina border.
Is Abingdon, VA a good place to live?
Yes, Abingdon, VA is a good place to live. It has a wide variety of attractions, including historic sites dating back to the 1700s, a vibrant art scene, parks, biking and hiking trails, shopping, restaurants, breweries, wineries, and more. The town also has a low crime rate and it is more affordable than many other parts of Virginia.
Conclusion: 25 Best Things to Do in Abingdon, VA
As you can see, Abingdon, VA is the little town with lots to do! Whether you’re interested in the great outdoors, art, history, wine, beer, antiques, or theater, you’ll find the perfect destination in Abingdon, VA!
Check out even more things to do in nearby Bristol, VA and Floyd, VA!