For those interested in a quaint historical city, Lexington, VA hits that target. Large universities, historical landmarks, outdoor escapes, and tasty restaurants are just a few of the exciting activities awaiting guests. This small town of about seven thousand is home to a rich history and local culture that is often celebrated and sometimes controversial. Restoration projects are always underway, bringing Southern history back to life through community efforts. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Miller's House Museum
© Miller's House Museum
There is no doubt that Lexington has a long industrial and transportation history. Once the home of an industrial complex on Jordan’s point that is no longer around, Lexington has a lot to offer in this area of history. Miller’s House Museum is dedicated to the preservation of this history and does so by displaying and celebrating the many roads, rivers, and rails that once were and those that still area. The museum is housed in a humble home that was built earlier in the 1800s. It is the lone structure that remains of the once-thriving complex established by John Jordan. Learn all about the historic Rockbridge area and about Jordan’s Point through dioramas and other exhibits at the museum.
834 Stono Lane, Lexington, Virginia 24450, Phone: 540-460-3111
2.Lee Chapel and Museum, Lexington, Virginia
© Lee Chapel and Museum
As part of Washington and Lee University, Lee Chapel is the burial place of General Robert E. Lee. Because of this, it is a National Historic Landmark and a great point of interest for tourists. The chapel, once-and-now, named Grace Episcopal Church was where Lee and his family attended church during his Presidency of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University). Lee’s family and favorite horse, Traveller, are also buried here on church grounds. In the basement of the church, a museum looks at the history of the university and houses Lee’s preserved office.
11-17 Letcher Avenue, Lexington, VA 24450, Phone: 540-458-8768
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3.Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia
© Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University has changed names several times over the years. Since its founding in 1749 as Augusta Academy, its name has changed four times, finally settling on a name that recognizes two men who greatly affected the college: George Washington and Robert E. Lee. In 1972, parts of the college were named Historic Landmarks – only the third college in the nation with this distinction. Today’s guests can visit the college and some of the landmarks, such as Lee Chapel and Lee’s home, which was built to his specifications. In all, over 325 acres house the university’s buildings and residencies.
204 West Washington Street, Lexington, VA 24450, Phone: 540-458-8710
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4.Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia
While not as well-known as Annapolis, Virginia Military Institute was the first state-supported military school in the nation. Founded in 1839, today’s students receive liberal arts undergraduate degrees while training for service. Many people of note passed through the doors, including famous general Stonewall Jackson, who taught at the school until the Civil War called him away, and alum WWII General George Patton. During the school season, available tours can be scheduled with one of the current cadets and leaves from the VMI Museum. Guests can peruse through the 15,000 artifacts and chronicles at the library.
319 Letcher Avenue, Lexington, VA 24450, Phone: 540-464-7211
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5.Stonewall Jackson House, Lexington, Virginia
This house is the only one that Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson ever owned. In 1979, the museum restored the home to its formers glory, including period-style furniture to match the era. Tours revolve around Jackson’s life prior to the Civil War, including his domestic life and his tenure as a professor at the Virginia Military Institute. A garden beside the home grows herbs, flowers, and vegetables that Jackson’s wife, Mary Anna, would have grown. Admission to the gift shop and garden is free, though a small fee is required for a general admission ticket to view the home.
8 E Washington St, Lexington, VA 24450, 540-464-7704
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6.Things to Do in Lexington, Virginia: Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company
© Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company
The slogan for Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company is “slow by nature.” This is because they take their time when brewing the beers and lagers at their brewing company. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company was founded by Steve and Heidi Crandall after a trip to the Alps. Using German brewing techniques, Devil’s Backbone beers have won World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival prestige. To go with the eight core lagers, seasonal and specialty creations are available. During Oktoberfest, patrons can purchase the O’Fest Lager. Specialty brews, like Bright (the tangerine sparkling ale) and Hibiscus Hard Lemonade, are available.
50 Northwind Lane, Lexington, VA 24450, Phone: 540-817-6080
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7.Things to Do in Lexington, Virginia: Cyrus McCormick Farm and Workshop
Another National Historic Landmark in Lexington, the Cyrus McCormick Farm was the home and workshop of inventor Cyrus McCormick. McCormick, credited with creating the mechanical reaper, owned 532 acres of land. Today, the museum, which consists of eight remaining buildings, stands on five of those acres. In 1954, the home was donated by the McCormick family to Virginia Polytechnical Institute for an agricultural landmark. For free, guests can visit the farm and take in the history of the farm and McCormick’s daily life by looking at the blacksmith shop, grist mill, smokehouse, schoolroom, slave and housekeepers’ quarters, carriage house, and of course, the main manor.
128 Cyrus McCormick Circle, Raphine, VA 24472, Phone: 540-377-2255
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8.Things to Do in Lexington, Virginia: Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Gardens
For those visitors who wish to spend time outdoors, a stroll through the Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Gardens arboretum is a good start. Over 15 acres, guests can view local and exotic shrub and tree species. But the garden is about more than highlighting plants, the people at Boxerwood have initiated projects to enrich the soil, manage clean water, restore lost habitats to animals, and aid in pollination. All programs use the mission to reduce our carbon footprints and to repair what has already been harmed. Kids are encouraged to get dirty on play trails, and adults can sit in on a workshop or symposium.
963 Ross Road, Lexington, VA, Phone: 540-463-2967
9.Lime Kiln Theater, Lexington, Virginia
© Lime Kiln Theater
For those seeking entertainment, the Lime Kiln Theater offers several concerts and plays throughout the summer months. Visiting groups put on plays, such as Sleeping Beauty or a Shakespearean drama. Local and popular bands put on shows in an intimate setting to give viewers a special experience found nowhere else in Virginia. Though a season pass can be bought in advance, tickets for single shows are available for pre-purchase and at the door. Planning ahead guarantees the shows will not be sold out. Lime Kiln Theater is a non-profit, so all proceeds and donations go to the maintenance and upgrade of this unique outdoor theater.
607 Borden Road, Lexington, VA 24450
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10.Chessie Nature Trail, Lexington, Virginia
Guests can take a stroll through the Chessie Nature Trail, a 7-mile path that connects Lexington to Buena Vista, VA. Originally part of the C & O railway system, the old railbed and Maury River guide visitors along the path as it winds through farmland, forests, and open fields. At one point, the railroad bridge was removed, so hikers need to take a small detour from the trail to cross the river. The Virginia Military Institute often uses the trail for practice marches and a 5K puts marathoners on the trail annually. Along with people, hikers can see everything from minks to bald eagles. At the Buena Vista trailhead, guests find great fishing waters, including trout and bass.
Lexington, VA 24450
11.Southern Inn, Lexington, Virginia
© Southern Inn
A fire in 2010 nearly burnt the Southern Inn Restaurant to the ground. Originally established in 1932, the new owners updated the restaurant with modern conveniences while maintaining the old charm of the building. Today’s patrons can visit during brunch, lunch, or dinner hours for tasty dishes. While brunch showcases morning delights, like French toast and eggs benedict, dinner is when customers find truly unique edibles. Some samplings include a grilled salmon club, roasted duck breast, lamb meatballs, and a lentil & quinoa salad. For the sweet tooth, fun desserts, like the mango coconut bread pudding and Grand Marnier crème brulee, can conclude your meal.
37 S. Main Street, Lexington, VA 24450, Phone: 540-463-3612
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12.Muchacho Alegre Mexican, Lexington, VA
© Muchacho Alegre Mexican
Northern states, like Virginia, do not often offer much Mexican cuisine. This is why Muchacho Alegre Mexican is a rare treat in Lexington. Open seven days a week, patrons find authentic food that brings Mexican culture to America. Muchacho Alegre offers weekly specials to get customers trying different dishes each day. Fajitas, enchiladas, quesadilla rellena, taquitos, and other familiar menu items are made fresh with the meat of your choosing. Those just craving a quick bite might consider one of the Mexican soups or Mexican desserts, like tres leches, xangos, or churros. Patrons can top off the meal with a Mexican soda or cocktail from the bar.
640 N Lee Hwy, Lexington, VA 24450, 540-461-8824
13.Devil's Backbone Outpost Brewery
© Devil's Backbone Outpost Brewery
Founded by Steve and Heidi Crandall, the Devil’s Backbone Outpost Brewery is named after the mountain region that it calls home. The dream was simple, to bring to Lexington a local haunt that would serve European-style craft beers, and to provide the community with a watering hole to spend long hours at while exchanging stories over a great beverage. It’s safe to say that the brewery has accomplished this, as their award-winning beers have drawn visitors from near and far to their taproom. Known for taking things slow, Devil’s Backbone Outpost doesn’t rush the brewing process of their lagers. If you find yourself in the Blue Ridge Mountains, make sure to drop by the brewery’s taproom to sample award winners from their core lineup of beers such as the Vienna Lager, the Backbone Premium Lager, and the Eight Point India Pale Ale.
50 Northwind Lane, Lexington, Virginia 24450, Phone: 540-817-6071
14.Cabin Spring Farm
A unique and interesting place to visit while in Lexington is the Cabin Spring Farm, a wool and fiber-producing farm located on the foggy hills of Rockbridge County. Though the farm is relatively small in operations, there’s a lot to be learned and experienced at Cabin Spring, as they are dedicated to raising healthy fiber-producing animals and producing their specialty yarns themselves. The farm is currently home to five happy sheep, eight spunky geese, and dozens of other wild animals. Learn all about the process of wool making, what it takes to raise healthy and happy animals, and even learn how to spin some yarn yourself when you drop by the Cabin Spring Farm.
70 Cabin Spring Lane, Lexington, Virginia 24450, Phone: 540-784-9404
Tuck into mouthwatering, locally-sourced food in a unique and family-friendly location at Pure Eats. This local favorite is beloved and raved about for their legendary burgers, which start with what they like to refer to as the “best ground beef in the world”. All of Pure Eats’ beef is sourced locally from Rockbridge County, which helps to promote the economy in the area as well. In addition to their staple hamburger, Pure East offers a special burger that changes weekly and can best be described as a gastronomic surprise. Some burger specials of the past have included the California Burger, which has avocado and jack cheese in addition to the regular fixings, and a Caprese Burger, which had tomato, basil, and mozzarella added to it.
107 N Main Street, Lexington, Virginia 24450, Phone: 540-462-6000
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15 Best Things to Do in Lexington, Virginia
- Miller's House Museum, Photo: Miller's House Museum
- Lee Chapel and Museum, Lexington, Virginia, Photo: Lee Chapel and Museum
- Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, Photo: Washington and Lee University
- Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia, Photo: pamela_d_mcadams/stock.adobe.com
- Stonewall Jackson House, Lexington, Virginia, Photo: Chico/stock.adobe.com
- Things to Do in Lexington, Virginia: Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company, Photo: Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company
- Things to Do in Lexington, Virginia: Cyrus McCormick Farm and Workshop, Photo: alexpolo/stock.adobe.com
- Things to Do in Lexington, Virginia: Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Gardens, Photo: innazagorulko/stock.adobe.com
- Lime Kiln Theater, Lexington, Virginia, Photo: Lime Kiln Theater
- Chessie Nature Trail, Lexington, Virginia, Photo: jure/stock.adobe.com
- Southern Inn, Lexington, Virginia, Photo: Southern Inn
- Muchacho Alegre Mexican, Lexington, VA, Photo: Muchacho Alegre Mexican
- Devil's Backbone Outpost Brewery, Photo: Devil's Backbone Outpost Brewery
- Cabin Spring Farm, Photo: byrdyak/stock.adobe.com
- Pure Eats, Photo: maram/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: ablokhin/stock.adobe.com
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