15 Fantastic (and Historical) Things to Do in Abingdon

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If you are looking for the best things to do in Abingdon, Virginia – we have you covered!

Are you planning your trip to Abingdon last minute?

If you’re traveling to Abingdon last minute, you want to ensure you have lodging ahead of time! Below are some of our top picks in town!

Best Hotels in Abingdon:

  1. Country Inn & Suites by Radisson (3-star hotel located close to I-81)
  2. Comfort Suites Abingdon (mid-range option near the highway)
  3. Timber Frame Cabin with South Holston Lake Views (luxury option 8 miles away from Abingdon)
  4. Alpine Motel (budget lodging 3 miles away from Abingdon)

🚗  Looking for the best way to get around VA? Click here to check rental car rates for Virginia!

This guide talks about what to do in Abingdon and gives some quick tips for those visiting Abingdon for the first time. If you have any Abingdon travel tips, please leave a comment below!

Where is Abingdon, Virginia?

Abingdon, Virginia can be found in southwestern VA in the glorious Blue Ridge Mountains.

It is located in Washington County, close to the border of Tennessee.  It is also a great base for exploring the Jefferson National Forest, one of the top national sights in Virginia (and home of Mount Rogers!)

Things to do in Abingdon Virginia
Things to do in Abingdon Virginia

I used to go there often when I was at university because it was close by and there were some really cool historical things to do in Abingdon that were rather unique.

I also really loved the area because of the Virginia Creeper Trail (which is discussed below!).

Map of the Best Things to Do in Abingdon, VA

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What to Do in Abingdon

This is a list of unique things to do in Abingdon- from the main tourist attractions to one of the best bike trails in Virginia.  Abingdon is a fantastic place to visit and we hope that you add some of these places to visit to your Abingdon itinerary!

1. William King Art Museum

The William King Museum of Art is located in Abingdon, Virginia. It is a museum that was founded in 1980. The building was previously a school in 1913. 

Today, you will find an ever-changing gallery and creative gathering space. The exhibitions vary and you can find local and international art inside of it.

The William King house, built in 1803 was the first brick built house in Abingdon, Virginia.
The William King House

The museum is also home to the Betsy K. White Cultural Heritage Research Archive which documents the arts in SW Virginia and NE Tennessee.

You can find the William King Museum at 415 Academy Drive NW in Abingdon.  Check out their website for more information.

2. Historical Society of Washington County

At the Historical Society of Washington County, historical and genealogical research is conducted. In 1936, the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia (HSWCV) founded a series of books, digital photos, VA historical documents, and more than preserves Southwestern Virginia heritage.

Now located on Main Street, HSWCV initially began as a tiny group of founders’ houses. It is also one of the state’s finest historical and genealogical research centers, recognized for a well-established structure that allows knowledge to be conveniently searched from their archive in more than 7,000 volumes.

Please stop in the shop to buy rare historically replicated books, a digitally reproduced marriage certificate from the Washington County family bible from 1800, and t-shirts.

You can find the Historical Society of Washington County at 341 W. Main Street in Abingdon.  Click here to find out more.

3. Abingdon Vineyards

Abingdon Vineyards was started in 2001 by Bob Carlson and Janet Norlin, two retired engineers. In 2018, a California family moved cross-country to also assist with scaling the winery.

One of the best things about Abingdon Vineyards is that it is a very community-focused place and takes so much pride in local involvement and support which makes visiting it one of the best things to do in Abingdon, not only for wine enthusiasts!


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They have 13 acres of vines with 9 different grape varieties. If you’re unable to head to the winery to enjoy a bottle, you can purchase one from White Birch, Katbirds Gourmet, and SWVA Cultural Center and Marketplace in Abingdon.

You can find Abingdon Vineyards at 20530 Alvardo Road in Abingdon. They are open from Wednesday until Sunday from 12pm until 8pm. Click here to view their website and learn more!

4. Sinking Spring Cemetery

Sinking Spring Cemetery was initially built as a graveyard for members of a local Presbyterian Church that was organized in 1773.

Over the course of history, this 11-acre cemetery, separated by Russell Road, also became the burial ground for enslaved people owned by these same Presbyterians.

While it may not be one of the most upbeat places to visit in Abingdon, it sure offers a small insight into the history of the Virginia town.

You can find Sinking Spring Cemetery on the corner of Valley Street and Russell Road in Abingdon. It is open from dawn until dusk, 7 days a week. Check out the local tourism board’s website for more information.

5. Barter Theatre

The Barter Theatre opened its doors in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression, with the goal of bringing hope and joy back to the American Population through theatrical performances.

To make the theatre accessible to all, founder Robert Porterfield came up with a revolutionary idea that patrons had the option to pay for tickets or give the value of a ticket in unsold vegetables.

Surprisingly, this unique way of paying was a hit amongst the locals, and shows were often sold out during the theatre’s first season! Throughout the year, the theatre puts on a fantastic array of performances from classics such as Shakespeare to musicals such as Cabaret or the Wizard of Oz. 


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A post shared by Barter Theatre (@bartertheatre)

The Barter Theatre holds dear the values of Robert Porterfield and looks to make the theatrical arts available to everyone.

While the days of bartering produce for admission may be over, every June, the theatre continues the tradition where (for at least one show) people can gain entrance by donating food to Feeding America Southwest Virginia. 

You can find The Barter Theatre at 127 W Main Street in Abingdon.

6. Virginia Creeper Trail

The Virginia Creeper Trail offers you an outdoor adventure of a lifetime with the possibility of seeing some amazing wildlife as well as plenty of hiking fun and excitement.

This is one of my favorite bike trails pretty much anywhere in the world. Named after a steam engine that crawled up the mountains like Virginia Creeper (a plant), the trail begins in Abingdon.

Virginia Creeper Trail
Virginia Creeper Trail

You can rent a bike and any equipment you need at places in Abingdon and you can make your way on this gorgeous Virginia trail!

READ ALSO:  The best Virginia biking trails for all skill levels

There are facilities along the trail that is 34.3 miles in length, so pack accordingly. If you can’t start in Abingdon, there are 11 other access points along the trail that you can start on. The trail will lead you all the way to Mount Rogers National Recreation Area where you can camp.

The Virginia Creeper Trail is one of the best things to do in Abingdon and you don’t have to even go the entire route (I didn’t!).

7. Abingdon Arts Depot

Established in 1990, the Abingdon Arts Depot is an association and non-profit community-based arts center that strives to promote and focus on local artists. It has three galleries and seven resident artists that you can stop and see and interact with in their studios.

You can find everything from folk art to clay to jewelry and more here. The center is located in a historic freight station that dates all the way back to the 1860s.

You can find the Abingdon Arts Depot at 314 Depot Square in Abingdon. Check out their website for additional information.

8. St. Thomas Episcopal Church

Okay, so technically this is just a church, however, it is worth stopping by since it is located centrally on Main Street. The Episcopal Church dates all the way back to 1841 and the first building was consecrated by Bishop John Johns in 1846.

It was later destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1925. It contains a Bible gifted by Eleanor Roosevelt inside that was given to replace one burnt in the fire.

You can find the St. Thomas Episcopal Church at 124 E. Main Street in Abingdon. Click here to read more about the church and its history.

9. Abingdon Farmers Market

The Abingdon Farmers Market is located in downtown Abingdon and is a great way to support local businesses and farmers in the city.

It takes place every Saturday and the hours vary throughout the year. There is even a special holiday market that takes place from the end of November until right before Christmas (and it goes on all weekend).

The things that you can buy at this famous Abingdon attraction are seasonal veggies, baked goods, handmade crafts, flowers, and more.

You can find the Abingdon Farmers Market on the corner of Remsburg Drive and Cummings Street in downtown Abingdon, VA.

10. White’s Mill

This famous Virginia grist mill is a historic landmark in Abingdon and has been serving the community since the 18th century, providing locals with meal and flour for farms and kitchens.

White’s Mill also served as a gathering place for sharing news and is one of the top attractions in Abingdon!

The White Mill is the last of it's kind in Wahington County, Virginia. According to a sign inside the building it was built in 1790 and restored in 1866.
White Mill

Not only can you purchase products there, but you can also purchase handmade gifts such as quilts, artwork, books from Appalachian writers, and much more from the local community.

You can find White’s Mill at 12291 Whites Mill Road in Abingdon. Check out their website for more info.

11. The Tavern Restaurant

If you’re looking for a nice, historical place to have dinner, look no further than The Tavern Restaurant in one of Abingdon’s most notable buildings. The building dates back to 1779 and was initially built as a tavern and overnight inn for travelers coming through with stagecoach.

The Tavern has hosted so many prolific guests such as Henry Clay, Louis Philippe (King of France), Pierre Charles L’Enfant, and President Andrew Jackson.

The famous Abingdon restaurant has been passed through several hands throughout the years but in 1994, it landed in the hands of Max Hermann, a retired USAF veteran, native German, and resident of Abingdon.

He now infuses his travels with a slice of local history to keep this one of the best places to visit in Abingdon.

You can visit this cozy spot at 222 E. Main Street in Abingdon.

The historical Tavern built in 1779 in Abingdon, Virginia, now a popular resturant and bar for locals and tourists

12. Keller Interpretive Center at Abingdon Muster Grounds

The Abingdon Muster Grounds are a 9-acre complex that was the premier center for Colonial Backcountry history in the state of Virginia. It has exhibits that are interactive and help visitors understand what life was like in these parts during the American Revolutionary Period.

You can see artifacts there that were left behind after being used at the Battle of Kings Mountain. The Keller Interpretive Center is located on the grounds is the technical name of the museum.

You can find the Keller Interpretive Center at the Abingdon Muster Grounds at 1780 Muster Place in Abingdon. Click here to view their website.

Keller Interpretive Center located on the Mustard grounds a Revolutionary War historical site
Keller Interpretive Center

13. Hiking near Abingdon

There are also several trails near Abingdon that are worthwhile if you’re looking to explore the outdoors a bit.  Here are a few of the top-rated, local hikes for all skill levels:

  • Logan Creek Falls (0.2-mile, easy hike in Saltville)
  • Sugar Hollow (1.3-mile, easy hike in Bristol)
  • Maple Spring Fire Trail (3.6-mile, moderate hike in Bristol)
  • The Great Channels via Brumley Mt (6-mile, moderate hike in Cedar Bluff)
  • Quail Trail and Appalachian Trail (8.8-mile, difficult hike in Shady Valley, TN)

You can find more trail information at my favorite hiking app, AllTrails.

14. Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace

The Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Marketplace is a visitor’s center located in Abingdon and it showcases, sells, and displays homemade crafts, food, arts, and culture from the local area. It is a must for every SWVA itinerary.

It can be located at 1 Hearthwood Circle in Abingdon. Click here to check out their website for additional information.

15. Martha Washington Inn & Spa

If you’re looking to combine history with luxury lodging – look no further than the Martha Washington Inn & Spa in Abingdon.

This beautiful historic hotel dates back to 1832 when it was a private residence for General Francis Preston and Sarah Buchanan Preston (along with their large family of 9 kids)!

The elaborate, yet inviting decor will take you back in time and pieces like the Dutch-baroque grandfather clock will transport you into another world!

This is a fantastic romantic getaway in Virginia for those looking to get deep into history while exploring Abingdon.

You can follow a relaxing day in their spa with a tasty dinner of duck breast with a Bordeaux cherry reduction at their in-house restaurant, Sisters American Grill.

Things to Do Near Abingdon

There are many places to visit near Abingdon and can be combined with a weekend trip from Charlotte or other places.  Here is a list of some of my favorites in southwestern Virginia that make for fantastic day trips from Abingdon.

  • Bristol, Virginia (shares city with Tennessee – click to see the best things to do in Bristol TN and VA)
  • Mount Rogers (the highest peak in Virginia)
  • Devil’s Bathtub (one of Virginia’s best waterfalls, located in Duffield)
  • Little Stony Falls (waterfall hike located in Dungannon)
  • The Channels (a nature preserve located in Rosedale)
  • Hungry Mother State Park (woodland park located in Marion)
  • Whitetop (another beautiful Virginia mountain located in Wilson Creek)
Grayson Highlands State Park Autumn Long Range Views Horizontal
Grayson Highlands State Park

Where to Stay in Abingdon

There are a variety of places you can stay in Abingdon. This next part of the guide is broken down into hotels and camping/glamping options.

If you’re opting for Airbnb and are not a member, be sure to use our code here to receive $41 off of your first booking

If you’re camping and are not a member of Hipcamp, also be sure to use our code here to receive $10 off your first booking!

Hotels in Abingdon

Here is a list of hotels in Abingdon and in close proximity that you can book for your trip to Abingdon:

Camping in Abingdon (and Nearby)

If you’re a nature person (and southwestern Virginia has plenty of it!), you will be delighted to know that the region is brimming with amazing campsites and tenting opportunities.  Here are some of the top campsites in Abingdon (and nearby):

Should You Visit Abingdon, Virginia?

Abingdon is a fantastic Virginia town that you should put on your southwestern VA itinerary.  The town is historic and is situated in one of the most beautiful areas of Virginia.

It is a must-visit destination in VA and you will find so many things to do in Abingdon that you will keep coming back!

More Southwest VA Resources

Pin this Abingdon Travel Guide for Later

Are you planning a trip to Abingdon, Virginia? This guide of the best things to do in Abingdon will help you plan your itinerary- from history to food and more! | abingdon virginia things to do | abingdon va | southwest VA | barter theatre abingdon | abingdon virginia photography | abingdon virginia photos | abingdon virginia main street | abingdon virginia restaurants | virginia creeper trail

11 thoughts on “15 Fantastic (and Historical) Things to Do in Abingdon

  1. Dale M. says:

    I am a relative newcomer to Abingdon but I love the town and (most) of the residents I have met. One small name correction should be in order tho. The man who founded the Barter Theater is Robert Porterfield (not Potterfield), there is a highway named after him also (Route 58/19 North). He was also an owner of The Tavern (which is famous for fabulous offerings).
    The Creeper Trail was turned into a local attraction because of the efforts of the father of my local dentist, French Moore III. He pushed the idea of acquiring the old rail right of way and turning it into a bikers/hikers magnet against the local legislature’s ideas. Today, the Creeper accounts for a huge percentage of town revenue and creates the need for restaurants and B&B lodgings.
    There is also a venue known as “The Barns” at the intersection of Boundary with Chip Ridge Road. Used mainly for weddings or family reunions, it has the very best view of the farmland around.

    • Megan Starr says:

      Thanks for the correction (I fixed it!) 🙂 That is really cool about the history of the Creeper Trail! When I went I never really thought too much about how it would develop Abingdon and other places along the route but it really has been such a fantastic thing for the region and it is great that it puts Abingdon’s name out there! I used to go to Abingdon a lot when I was studying in Wise Co. and always felt it was such an underappreciated place! So glad to know living there is nice too! 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  2. MichaeL Henningsen says:

    The photo on the Muster Grounds is of The Retirement, an antebellum house under restoration. The Keller Interpretive Center is behind The Retirement and is temporarily closed.

  3. Virginia Peterson says:

    I cannot believe anyone would write an article about Abingdon and not mention the Martha Washington Inn! Aside from the lengthy history it’s a beautiful building.

  4. Cindy Patterson says:

    Hi Megan,
    Next time you and Aram are coming to Abingdon please let me know and I’ll try to arrange a visit with me and I’d love to show you around my Bed & Breakfast (Black’s Fort Inn B&B).

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