Things to Do in Abingdon, VA: A Guide to History, Culture, & Outdoor Adventure

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  7. Things to Do in Abingdon, VA: A Guide to History, Culture, & Outdoor Adventure

Looking for exciting things to do in Abingdon, VA? Nestled in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, this charming town offers a delightful mix of history, outdoor adventures, and a vibrant arts scene. Whether you’re seeking historical immersion, thrilling outdoor experiences, or artistic inspiration, Abingdon will captivate you with its diverse attractions.

Hiking & Biking the Virginia Creeper Trail in Abingdon, VA

Imagine a trail where tranquility reigns, and the gentle rhythm of nature sets the pace. The Virginia Creeper Trail is precisely that—a 34.3-mile haven for those seeking outdoor adventures in Abingdon, VA. Bikers, hikers, and nature lovers will enjoy this scenic trail, stretching from Abingdon through Damascus and reaching the North Carolina border. This former railroad line provides stunning scenery and a unique way to explore the Appalachian landscape.

  • Activity Type: Biking, hiking, walking
  • Location: Starts in Abingdon
  • What to Bring: Comfortable shoes, water, camera, snacks, bike (if cycling)
  • Why It’s a Must-Visit: The trail’s gentle grade welcomes all fitness levels. As you journey, expect picturesque landscapes, historic trestles, cascading waterfalls, and maybe even a glimpse of local wildlife.
  • Best time to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall (for optimal weather and foliage)

Barter Theatre Abingdon VA: Experience History & Live Performances

The Barter Theatre holds a special place in American theater history. Born during the Great Depression, this stage became a lifeline where patrons could exchange produce or livestock for an escape into the world of storytelling. Today, it continues to be a cornerstone of Abingdon’s cultural scene, offering a unique blend of history and top-notch performances.

  • Activity Type: Cultural experience
  • Location: Downtown Abingdon
  • What to Expect: A world-class theater with a diverse lineup of plays and musicals, performed by a talented company of actors.
  • Why It’s a Must-Visit: The Barter Theatre is not only a historical landmark but also a beacon of artistic excellence. Attending a performance connects you to Abingdon’s spirit and celebrates the enduring power of live theater.
  • Ticket Information: Visit the Barter Theatre website for showtimes and to purchase tickets.

Discover Abingdon’s Historic District: A Step Back in Time

Strolling through the Abingdon Historic District is a journey through time. From the grand Martha Washington Inn & Spa to quaint shops housed in 19th-century buildings, the past whispers at every turn. Explore cobblestone streets and architectural gems, uncovering the town’s rich heritage.

  • Activity Type: Walking tour, history exploration
  • Location: Central Abingdon
  • What to See: Martha Washington Inn & Spa, The Arts Depot, Abingdon Muster Grounds, historic homes.
  • Why It’s a Must-Visit: The district allows you to feel the pulse of Abingdon’s past. History buffs and architecture admirers will delight in its preserved beauty. It’s a photographer’s paradise!
  • Self-guided walking tour brochures available at the visitor center.

Abingdon, VA Art Lovers: Explore the William King Museum of Art

A former school building transformed into an artistic haven—that’s the William King Museum of Art. This gem showcases a diverse array of works that span artistic genres, periods, and origins. From regional artists to international masters, the museum’s galleries offer a captivating journey through the world of art.

  • Activity Type: Cultural Experience
  • Location: 415 Academy Dr NW, Abingdon, VA
  • What to Expect:
    • A thoughtfully curated permanent collection highlighting artists with connections to the region alongside works of global significance.
    • Rotating exhibitions that introduce contemporary artists, delve into historical themes, or present unique artistic installations.
    • A beautiful outdoor sculpture garden with stunning mountain vistas.
  • Why It’s a Must-Visit: The William King Museum of Art offers a delightful surprise for art enthusiasts and anyone seeking things to do in Abingdon, VA. Explore its galleries for a dose of inspiration and leave with a deeper understanding of art’s expressive power.


  • Visit the museum’s website for the latest information on exhibitions and special events.
  • Plan enough time to explore both the indoor galleries and the sculpture garden at a leisurely pace.
  • If you’re interested in a deeper dive, consider joining a guided tour of the collection.

South Holston Lake: Outdoor Adventures Near Abingdon, VA

Escape the bustle and immerse yourself in the natural splendor of South Holston Lake. This picturesque reservoir, nestled amidst the Cherokee National Forest, offers a playground for outdoor enthusiasts seeking things to do near Abingdon, VA. Whether you seek a day on the water, a scenic hike, or a quiet spot to cast a line, South Holston Lake delivers.

  • Activity Type: Boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, wildlife watching
  • Location: South Holston Lake extends from Abingdon towards Bristol, along the Tennessee-Virginia border
  • What to Bring: Swimwear, hiking gear (if applicable), fishing equipment, kayak or paddleboard (or rentals), sunscreen, plenty of water
  • Why It’s a Must-Visit: The lake’s clear waters and mountain backdrop create a breathtaking setting. Its diverse shoreline provides opportunities for everything from a leisurely boat ride to challenging hikes with rewarding views. Avid anglers will find a great spot to reel in smallmouth bass or trout.


  • Visit one of the marinas along the lake to rent boats, kayaks, paddleboards, or other gear.
  • Explore the various hiking trails and scenic overlooks surrounding the lake.
  • Birders and wildlife enthusiasts, keep an eye out for eagles, herons, and other creatures that call this area home.
  • Best Time to Visit: Consider visiting during warmer months for optimal water-based activities.

Best Restaurants in Abingdon VA: Discover Local Flavors

Abingdon’s culinary scene is a delightful surprise, proving that small towns can pack big flavors. From cozy cafes to upscale dining, the town’s independent restaurants showcase local ingredients and Southern hospitality. Savor the charm and discover why Abingdon is becoming a foodie destination, offering everything from classic comfort food to global flavors.

  • Activity Type: Culinary exploration
  • Location: Various locations throughout Abingdon
  • What to Expect:
    • Farm-to-table cuisine highlighting fresh Appalachian ingredients.
    • Diverse menus offering everything from classic comfort food to global flavors.
    • Friendly service and a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Why It’s a Must-Visit: Dining in Abingdon is an essential part of understanding the town’s character and community spirit. Support local businesses and treat your taste buds to something memorable.


  • Explore the downtown area for several popular restaurants within walking distance.
  • Check restaurant websites or social media for menus, specials, and hours.
  • Make reservations for popular spots, especially during peak season or on weekends.

Restaurant Suggestions (to get you started):

  • The Tavern: Established in 1779, blends historic charm with Southern-inspired comfort food.
  • 128 Pecan: Lively atmosphere and menu ranging from casual lunch fare to elegant dinner options.
  • Rain: Elevated cuisine with innovative, globally-inspired dishes and a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Abingdon Vineyards & Winery: Taste Southwest Virginia’s Wine Country

Discover the burgeoning wine scene in Southwest Virginia with a visit to Abingdon Vineyards & Winery. Nestled on a scenic property, this family-owned operation offers a taste of the region’s unique terroir. Sample handcrafted wines, enjoy the peaceful surroundings, and learn about the art of winemaking during your explorations of things to do in Abingdon, VA.

  • Activity Type: Winery tour, wine tasting, outdoor experience
  • Location: Short drive outside Abingdon (check website for directions)
  • What to Expect:
    • Guided tours of the vineyard and winery facilities (may require reservations)
    • Wine tastings featuring a variety of reds, whites, and specialty blends.
    • Beautiful views and a relaxed setting for picnics or a stroll through the vines.
  • Why It’s a Must-Visit: The winery adds a unique dimension to Abingdon’s appeal. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply enjoy scenic settings, it’s a delightful way to experience the region’s agricultural heritage and growing wine culture.


  • Check the winery’s website for their hours, tour availability, and special events.
  • Consider purchasing a bottle (or two!) of your favorite wine to take home.
  • If the weather permits, pack a picnic to enjoy on the winery grounds.

Creative Workshops at The Arts Depot: Explore Your Inner Artist in Abingdon, VA

Unleash your inner artist at The Arts Depot, Abingdon’s creative hub housed in a historic train station. More than just a gallery, this dynamic space offers hands-on workshops in various art forms, inviting you to express yourself and discover new talents while exploring things to do in Abingdon, VA.

  • Activity Type: Creative exploration, skill development
  • Location: Downtown Abingdon, within the historic train depot
  • What to Expect:
    • A diverse schedule of workshops covering mediums like painting, ceramics, jewelry-making, and more.
    • Classes tailored to different skill levels, from beginners to experienced artists.
    • A welcoming environment where creativity and community thrive.
  • Why It’s a Must-Visit: The Arts Depot offers a unique opportunity to delve into the creative process. Whether you want to try a new art form or hone your skills, these workshops spark inspiration and provide a fun and social experience.


  • Visit the Arts Depot website for the latest workshop schedule and registration information.
  • Sign up for workshops in advance, as popular ones can fill up quickly.
  • Embrace the spirit of experimentation – no prior art experience is necessary!

Sinking Spring Cemetery: Discover Abingdon’s History

Take a contemplative walk through time at the Sinking Spring Cemetery. This historic site, dating back to the 1700s, serves as a peaceful resting place for pioneers, soldiers, and notable figures who shaped Abingdon’s story. Wander along its winding paths, admire intricate headstones, and feel the weight of history beneath your feet.

  • Activity Type: Historical exploration, quiet reflection
  • Location: Central Abingdon
  • What to Expect:
    • Centuries-old headstones with intricate carvings and inscriptions.
    • Burial sites of Confederate soldiers, Revolutionary War veterans, and influential townspeople.
    • A serene and park-like setting that promotes contemplation.
  • Why It’s a Must-Visit: The Sinking Spring Cemetery provides a tangible connection to Abingdon’s past and offers a unique historical experience for those seeking things to do in Abingdon, VA. It’s a place to honor those who came before and to reflect on the passage of time.


  • Allow yourself time for a leisurely stroll and quiet reflection.
  • For history buffs, consider researching some notable figures buried in the cemetery before your visit.
  • Be respectful of this sacred space and those who rest there.

Experience the Virginia Highlands Festival in Abingdon, VA

Immerse yourself in the vibrant Appalachian spirit at the Virginia Highlands Festival. This iconic summer celebration showcases the region’s rich heritage through a tapestry of arts, crafts, music, food, and storytelling. Experience the warmth of the community and discover why this festival is a beloved annual tradition in Abingdon, VA.

  • Activity Type: Cultural festival, family-friendly event
  • Location: Various locations throughout Abingdon
  • What to Expect:
    • Juried arts and crafts market featuring talented artisans.
    • Live music performances highlighting Appalachian traditions and contemporary sounds.
    • Culinary events showcasing regional flavors.
    • Historical demonstrations, workshops, and other engaging activities.
  • Why It’s a Must-Visit: The Virginia Highlands Festival offers a vibrant and immersive experience. Celebrate Appalachian culture and connect with the creative energy of Abingdon.


  • Check the festival website for a detailed schedule of events, ticket information, and any updates.
  • Plan your visit around specific performances, demonstrations, or workshops that pique your interest.
  • Prepare for warm summer weather with comfortable clothing, sunscreen, and a hat.

Family Fun in Abingdon, VA: Kid-Friendly Adventures

Abingdon offers plenty of ways to keep the whole family entertained. From scenic parks and kid-friendly trails to rainy day diversions, you’ll find something to create lasting memories with your loved ones.

  • Outdoor Fun:
    • Explore the kid-friendly trails at the Channels Natural Area Preserve.
    • Visit a local playground.
    • Plan a picnic beside South Holston Lake.
  • Rainy Day Activities:
    • Check out the Harry L. Coomes Recreation Center.
    • Take a pottery class at The Arts Depot.
    • Catch a family-friendly movie at a local cinema.
  • Why It’s a Must-Visit: Abingdon’s blend of outdoor beauty and small-town charm makes it a welcoming destination for families seeking fun and creating lasting memories.

Discover Antiques in Abingdon, VA: A Treasure Hunter’s Paradise

Embark on a treasure hunt through Abingdon’s antique stores and markets. Discover hidden gems, unique collectibles, and pieces that whisper stories of yesteryear. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or simply enjoy browsing, Abingdon’s antique scene promises delightful surprises.

  • Activity Type: Shopping, historical exploration
  • Location: Antique shops concentrated in downtown and surrounding areas
  • What to Expect: A mix of vintage furniture, home décor, jewelry, memorabilia, and unexpected finds.
  • Why It’s a Must-Visit: Antiquing in Abingdon adds a touch of adventure to your visit. It’s a chance to uncover treasures, connect with the town’s past through its material culture, and find unique items for those seeking things to do in Abingdon, VA.


  • Dedicate a morning or afternoon to explore the various shops; each has its own character and specialties.
  • Be ready to negotiate; part of the fun of antiquing is discussing the price and learning the history of your finds.
  • Keep an eye out for local flea markets and estate sales for additional unique finds.

Explore Haunted Abingdon: Ghost Tours & Spine-Tingling Tales

With a history as rich as Abingdon’s, a few ghost stories are bound to linger. Explore the town’s haunted side with a guided ghost tour, or delve into local legends that spark the imagination. If you enjoy a touch of the spooky, this adds a unique and memorable dimension to your experience of things to do in Abingdon, VA.

  • Activity Type: Historical exploration, spooky fun
  • Location: Ghost tours typically depart from downtown locations
  • What to Expect:
    • Guided walks highlighting sites with rumored hauntings.
    • Spine-tingling stories and historical context shared by knowledgeable guides.
    • A chance to see Abingdon’s familiar landmarks in a new, eerie light.
  • Why It’s a Must-Visit: Ghost tours offer a blend of history, folklore, and a dash of the supernatural. Whether you believe in the paranormal or simply enjoy a good tale, it’s a memorable way to experience Abingdon.


  • Check online or with the visitor center for information on available ghost tours and their schedules.
  • Some tours may be more suitable for older children or adults, so consider the age of your group when booking.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and bring a flashlight for evening tours.

Abingdon, VA: Accommodation & Getting Around

Planning your trip to Abingdon is a breeze. With a variety of accommodation options and easy navigation, you can focus on enjoying everything this charming town has to offer.

  • Accommodation:
    • Historic Inns: Experience a slice of history at the Martha Washington Inn & Spa or other charming B&Bs.
    • Chain Hotels: Familiar brands offer convenient locations and amenities.
    • Camping: For outdoor enthusiasts, consider campgrounds near South Holston Lake or the Grayson Highlands State Park.
  • Getting Around:
    • By Car: Abingdon is easily accessible from Interstate 81, and attractions are within a short drive.
    • On Foot: The historic downtown area is very walkable, making it easy to explore shops, restaurants, and cultural sites.


  • Book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak seasons or festival weekends.
  • If you plan on exploring the surrounding region extensively, having your own car would be ideal.
  • Abingdon’s visitor center is a great resource for additional information, maps, and recommendations.

Whether you came for outdoor adventures, the vibrant arts scene in Abingdon, VA, historical immersion, or irresistible small-town charm, Abingdon leaves a lasting impression. From its picturesque setting to its warm hospitality, this Southwest Virginia gem invites you to return. Start planning your Abingdon getaway today, discover more of its hidden treasures, and fall in love with its unique spirit.