12 Best Things To Do In Leesburg, Virginia

This historic town is full of charm, outdoor beauty, and a can’t-miss coffee scene.

<p>Courtesy Visit Loudon</p>

Courtesy Visit Loudon

In Northern Virginia, you’ll find plenty of walkable suburbs and historic villages, including Leesburg, a charming town and county seat that’s less than one hour northwest of Washington, DC. Brick-lined sidewalks, art galleries, coffee shops, and quaint boutiques welcome visitors in town for the day or the weekend. It’s also home to historic stays, like the Leesburg Colonial Inn. Here’s what to do when you’re ready to explore Leesburg, Virginia.

Get to Know Leesburg’s History

<p>Courtesy Visit Loudon</p>

Courtesy Visit Loudon

Brush Up on Loudoun County

Step back in time at the Loudoun Museum. A rich collection of historic artifacts and exhibits bring Loudoun County to life, including exhibitions on the county’s role during the Civil War, the state’s wine industry, and the county’s network of rural roads that span 300 years. A mural on the side of the museum called Journey to Freedom preserves the local legacy of the Underground Railroad.

loudounmuseum.org, 16 Loudoun Street, Leesburg, VA 20175

Visit a Historic Home

The Oatlands Historic House and Gardens is a veritable treasure trove of 19th-century history that’s noted for its garden and architecture tours. This National Trust Historic Site offers a glimpse into the grandeur of days gone by thanks to a well-preserved mansion and lush formal gardens. Book a guided visit with an on-site public historian to go in-depth on the architecture, the gardens, the mansion, and the plantation. Oatlands also has two on-property Airbnbs for weekend getaways.

oatlands.org, 20850 Oatlands Plantation Lane, Leesburg, VA 20175

Explore a Civil War Site

Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park marks the site and commemorates the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, the first Civil War clash to take place in Loudoun County. A small cemetery, an interpretive trail, and historical markers offer visitors a glimpse into events that took place during the day-long Battle of Ball’s Bluff on October 21, 1861. The park offers weekend guided tours from April to November, as well as living history events.

novaparks.com/parks/balls-bluff-battlefield, Balls Bluff Road NE, Leesburg, VA 20176

Celebrate African-American History

The Historic Douglass High School, which opened in May 2023, is the site of a one-time school for African-American students that operated from 1941 to 1968. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features exhibits, artwork, photographs, and oral histories that highlight the significance of this school in Loudoun County. A Hall of Heroes structure celebrates African-American history and culture. Guided tours are available by appointment on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month.

lcps.org/douglass, 407 East Market Street, Leesburg, VA 20176

Where to Eat and Drink

<p>Courtesy Visit Loudon</p>

Courtesy Visit Loudon

Go Wine Tasting

Loudoun County is known as DC’s Wine Country, so naturally it’s a must to sample reds, whites, and rosés, even sparkling and dessert wines, when in Leesburg. Stop in October One Vineyard’s tasting room, which opened on Loudoun Street in 2022 for a glass, a flight, or a bottle. A few other top spots for wine sampling in Leesburg’s historic district include Echelon Wine Bar, Leesburg Gourmet, and The Wine Kitchen.

Enjoy Great Food on King Street

On King Street, you’ve got plenty of delicious options when you’re ready for a meal in Leesburg’s historic district. SideBar boasts a classic bistro menu, as well as light bites and craft cocktails. King Street Oyster Bar is a favorite for raw oysters, crab cake sandwiches, and seared salmon, while Lightfoot is tops for its location within a former bank housed in a Romanesque Revival style building. For breakfast, look to Leesburg Diner and Shoe’s Cup & Cork.

Settle in With a Cup of Coffee

Loudoun County may be better known for its flourishing wine scene, but Leesburg has become a go-to destination for coffee lovers. A three block stretch of King Street in Leesburg is home to at least a half dozen craft coffee shops, including King Street Coffee, SimplyBe Coffee, and Shake & Bops Botanical Café, which opened its doors in November. The county has even dubbed this aromatic stretch the “Leesburg Coffee Corridor.”

Get Outside

<p>Erin Gifford</p>

Erin Gifford

Go for a Hike

Leesburg has a lot to offer history lovers, but it also has a lot for outdoor and nature lovers, including Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park, which has an easy hiking trail that wows with sweeping views across the Potomac River. Leesburg is also a short drive from the iconic Appalachian Trail, as well as Virginia’s newest state park, Sweet Run State Park in Hillsboro.

Ride Your Bike on a Rail-Trail

The paved 45-mile Washington & Old Dominion Trail runs east to west from Arlington to Purcellville, Virginia. The popular trail cuts right across King Street near mile marker 35, making this a popular stop for a cup of coffee, a sandwich, or a glass of wine. A mural of a gray locomotive that was created by muralist Kaeley Boyle in 2021 spans the King Street bridge.

Get Wild with Llamas, Camels, and Zebras

For kids and families, the Leesburg Animal Park is an absolute must for a petting zoo, a feeding barn, pony rides, play structures, and animal encounters. There are plenty of exotic animals too, like zebras, two-toed sloths, squirrel monkeys, and dromedary camels. The giant hill slides and outdoor play houses make the animal park a great destination for kids keen to burn off energy.

leesburganimalpark.com, 19246 James Monroe Hwy, Leesburg, VA 20175

Enjoy the Arts and Culture Scene

<p>Courtesy Visit Loudon</p>

Courtesy Visit Loudon

Enjoy a Walking Art Tour

Leesburg boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene that includes public murals, sculptures, artist studios, and galleries, as well as live music and performing arts spaces. Sign up for a guided tour with Loudoun Public Art Tours to get to know the history and stories behind the works of art across Leesburg and historic Loudoun County. The 75-minute Heart of Leesburg Walking Tour features 15 to 20 works of art all across Leesburg.

See a Show at a Historic Theatre

The historic Tally Ho Theatre has been a beloved landmark in Leesburg since 1932. This iconic venue started out as a movie house, but today hosts an array of live concerts and touring bands. Whether you’re up for rock, country, an 80s night, or a tribute band, you’ll find a memorable evening performance at this historic theatre on Market Street.

tallyhotheatre.com, 19 West Market Street, Leesburg, VA 20176

For more Southern Living news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on Southern Living.