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The Top 10 Must-Sees Every Visitor Should Explore in Staunton

National Travel and Tourism Week is happening from May 19-25, 2024. Whether you’re planning a trip to Staunton from somewhere else or you want to make the most of your staycation, Staunton has so many things that make it shine. We’ve rounded up our top 10 must-sees and must-experiences!

1. Postcard Scenery

You can’t create a list of must-sees without starting with Staunton and the surrounding area’s postcard-worthy scenery. If you’re driving along the Skyline Drive or hiking on the hundreds of miles of trails, the natural scenery can’t be beaten. It’s no wonder that 1.4 million people visit Shenandoah National Park each year. Closer to home, Montgomery Hall Park offers peace and beauty and chances to see birds and wildflowers. Make memories (and take photos) as your little ones feed the ducks at the Gypsy Hill Park duck pond. For more views, take a ride on the Virginia Scenic Railway, which departs from the Staunton train station.

2. Live Music Scene

You’ll know it’s summertime when you see the Staunton community gathering for live music at the Gypsy Hill Park bandstand. Staunton’s live music scene bursts with extraordinary talent, and as the weather warms there’s a chance to listen almost every night! Heifetz Institute’s annual Festival of Concerts features both seasoned and rising stars. Staunton Music Festival brings ten days of chamber music concerts to downtown. Groove to roots music under the towering limestone Natural Chimneys at the annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival. Visit businesses like Ciders from Mars, Redbeard Brewing, Queen City Brewing, and Shenandoah Pizza for more live music sounds.

3. Historic Places

You can’t miss seeing evidence of Staunton’s rich history as you explore downtown and the nearby historic districts. Connect with the past as you join The Historic Staunton Foundation for a Saturday-morning walking tour or explore the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum to delve into the life of the 28th president. Tour reconstructed farmsteads at the Frontier Culture Museum to see how the area’s early settlers lived and worked or learn about 150 years of camera technology at the Camera Heritage Museum.

4. Staunton’s Remarkable Art Community

Whether you visit for Staunton’s annual Art on the Town or Art in the Park, browse local and regional works in the CoArt Gallery, or explore the streets looking for urban art and sculpture, you’ll enjoy Staunton’s vibrant art scene. Join in the creative spirit with a workshop at the Art Hive, Staunton’s new art and reuse space or take a class at the Beverley Street Studio School.

5. Farm-to-Table Bounty

Staunton’s thriving culinary scene emphasizes the farm-to-table food movement. Many of our restaurants create dishes featuring fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Additionally, the Staunton Farmers’ Market helps residents and visitors access fresh, seasonal produce and forge connections with local farmers and producers. Stroll through the market on a Saturday morning to see (and purchase) mounds of brightly colored fruits and veggies. Also, check out the Shenandoah Fields of Gold trail for agri-tourism opportunities like pick-your-own farms and vineyards or breweries with views! 

6. Big-City Menus

Follow up your agri-adventure with a meal at one of Staunton’s locally owned restaurants that serve up big-city flavors. Many participate in the Shop and Dine Out in Downtown and Beyond program, which creates a walking mall on Beverley Street each weekend. Enjoy seafood and cocktails at BLU Point Seafood Co. or Belgian waffles at Sweet Addie’s. Aioli specializes in Mediterranean tapas, Shenandoah Pizza has gourmet pies, and Cosette Cafe puts a European flair on all its food. You can’t go wrong with Salvadoran pupusas at Gloria’s Pupuseria or some curry at Taste of India. If you’re into steak, order a big meal at Mill Street Grill or the Depot Grille.

7. Talent on the Stage

Check out a performance by the American Shakespeare Center in the Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s performance space. Current performances include Julius Caesar, Pride and Prejudice, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Stick around after the show for tours of the playhouse, educational sessions, and chances to meet the performers. Staunton also has chances to see local talent onstage at community-run ShenanArts, and Silver Line Theater puts on productions and provides theater opportunities for children.

8. Small City, Big Festivals

Staunton’s free, family-friendly Independence Day Happy Birthday America celebration brings the city together to enjoy 4th of July fun. The multi-day event includes a vesper service, a 5K race, a lively parade, concessions, and live music from local acts and homegrown country group Wilson Fairchild. This community party ends with a fireworks show and it will have you singing patriotic songs and wearing red, white, and blue for the rest of the summer. Once fall comes, it’s time to trade in the stars and stripes for the official colors of your Hogwarts house at the Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival. Wizards and muggles alike fill Staunton’s streets for a weekend-long, one-of-a-kind festival celebrating all things magical and mystical.

9. Unique Shopping Experiences

Take the time to browse the offerings in Staunton’s wide selection of downtown boutiques and artisan shops. Surprise the kids with a game or toy from Pufferbellies Toys and Books. Feather your nest with plant-themed home decor from Burrow & Vine. Make it smell good with candles, bath, and body products at Essentially Zen Artisan Body & Bath Co. If you’re shopping for gifts, Foxtails, Queen City Games and Gifts, Words Matter Gift Shop, Harmony Moon, Made; By the People, for the People, and The Foundry Pop-Ups all carry items created by local makers. Don’t skip Staunton Antiques Center for that retro-cool treasure you’ve been hunting!

10. Beerwerks Trail

The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail leads to 19 craft breweries all within an hour’s drive of each other. Staunton’s central location makes tasting your way to a new favorite brew a cinch. Start at Redbeard Brewing or Queen City Brewing, which are located in Staunton. Next, grab a Beerwerks Passport and venture out. Get it stamped at eight breweries to earn a new shirt. While on the trail, enjoy views, live music, and fun like trivia and movie nights at the breweries.

We hope this list will help you start enjoying all Staunton has to offer!

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