Looking for the best and fun things to do in Staunton, VA?
Staunton is is the perfect base from which you can explore the Blue Ridge Mountains, the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and a lot of cool places in the region.
It also boasts one of the best Historic Main Streets in America and is known for its booming Arts and Culture scene.
Check the American Shakespeare Center from a replica of William Shakespearean plays, interact with the locals, and purchase goods at the Staunton Farmer’s Market, amongst more activities to engage in.
Where you are interested in architecture, art, history, music, outdoor recreation, or fine dining, Staunton is a great place to visit.
Here are the top things to do in Staunton, VA.
Things to Do in Staunton
1. Staunton must-visit: Frontier Culture Museum
Another exciting thing to do in Staunton is visiting the Frontier Culture Museum. It is an interesting and educational attraction that fits the whole family.
Frontier Culture Museum tells her visitors the story of the early immigrants and settlers and their day-to-day lifestyle through 11 permanent exhibitions. These exhibitions are housed in original structures and were brought to America, England, Germany, Ireland, and West Africa.
You will meet costumed docents who are available to provide answers to all your questions, and you can take a self-guided tour of the museum in no hurry – shuttles are running to and fro for your convenience.
There is something to the kids, too, with the museum offering fun and educational five-day Summer Camp programs. These programs are available for the age brackets 5 to 8 and 9 to 12, of the diverse skills which were important to survival for the pioneer settlers.
Addrees1290 Richmond Ave, Staunton, VA 24401
2. See wonderful arts at the Artisans Center of Virginia
Over the years, Staunton and the neighboring Shenandoah Valley have drawn in numerous artists and artisans.
With many of them dependent on the Artisans Center of Virginia to boost their crafts and implement systems to upgrade their economy, it does not lack presence.
The Artisans Center of Virginia has its headquarters in Staunton, where it inspires artists and crafters to display and refine their talents through exhibitions, courses, workshops, and other arts and crafts events.
They have various events scheduled per season, so you can check their website to find out what is on the ground.
Get a comprehensive list of the various Craft Trails you can follow to visit Antique centers, Open Door Studios, Agri-artisan farms, Art-related venues, and much more.
Address: The Artisans Center of Virginia, 1290 Richmond Ave, Staunton, VA 24401.
3. Observe amazing views at Betsy Bell and Mary Grey Wilderness Park
It is pretty easy and available if you desire to capture some of the best-ever views from the Shenandoah Valley towards the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Betsy Bell and Mary Grey Wilderness Park provides that opportunity and is one of the best things to do in Staunton.
The park has an Observation Platform (at an elevation of 1,959 feet) that is hard to beat, and even getting there is part of the fun.
And if you have a high-clearance SUV, there is access to the Observation Platform by road, but you have to be wary of a series of sharp bends, scary heights, and narrow tracks.
Other means of getting to the viewpoint include a fairly steep hike or a challenging mountain bike ride. You can come with a picnic to enjoy while absorbing the amazing views.
Address: Betsy Bell Wilderness Park, 525 Betsy Bell Rd, Staunton, VA 24401
4. Bruce A. Elder Antique and Classic Automobiles
Bruce A. Elder Antique and Classic Automobiles is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Stauton, especially those who have been interested in the evolution of the automobile over the past century.
In the center of historic downtown Staunton, Bruce A. Elder Antique and Classic Automobiles are housed in the legendary Beverley Garage building.
Beverley Garage building was built in 1911, and it is iconic for being the finest Ford dealership in the South. So, getting to this place means you are going down history – a plus, you know!
Schedule your visit to this attraction for the weekend because professionally guided tours are only available on Saturdays and Fridays.
In this place, you’ll see several vehicles, limos, race cars, and a few trucks as part of the amazing collection. Interestingly some of these vehicles on display are for sale.
Address: Bruce A. Elder Antique and Classic Automobiles, 114 S. New Street, Staunton, VA 24401.
5. Enjoy delicious ice cream at Kline’s Dairy Bar
Your visit to Staunton would be incomplete without a visit to Kline’s Dairy Bar. Tasting their ice cream of the day is sure to arouse a feeling of nostalgia.
The initial Kline’s was established in 1943 in Downtown Harrisburg and was well-known such that the owners set up another three outlets, including the Staunton venue.
You can taste the difference at Kline’s Dairy Bar when you try their delicious ice creams, which still today are hand-made daily using only the finest and freshest ingredients.
They also serve food and have space to accommodate private functions. Locals and visitors of Staunton can order delectable take-out food for private events, and soon made-to-order ice-cream cakes will also be available.
You can check their website to see the special flavors available for each day.
Address: Kline’s Dairy Bar, 906 Greenville Ave, Staunton, VA 24401
6. Catch performances at Oak Grove Theater
For more than sixty years, both residents and visitors of Taunton have been treated to a summer season of beautiful plays produced by the Oak Grove Theater group.
The performing arts group at Oak Grove Theater annually produces a five-play season which commences in late March and runs to Late September.
It holds at the pleasant Oak Grove outdoor theater, unique ambiance. The five plays have varying subject matter and usually include a reasonable amount of humor and even an odd parody or two.
Theatre guests are encouraged to arrive early and come with a picnic to enjoy in the grove before starting the play.
Each play runs for seven nights, with the schedule changing each Thursday until the five plays are completed. So, it is always exciting!
Address: Oak Grove Theater, 845 Quick’s Mill Rd, Staunton, VA 24401
7. Taste fine wine at Ox Eye Vineyards
Located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, Ox Eye Vineyards takes its name for the disparate wild daisies that carpet the farm every year.
The property provides scintillating vine production conditions with cool-climate breezes, deep limestone soils, and just the right fall temperatures to grow full-flavored grapes.
This business was started by owners John and Susan Kiers, who started producing their single-estate wines in 2010. They previously sold their grapes to area wineries for several years, but now, they produce a range of tasty food-friendly wines, including Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, Lembergers, and Rieslings.
You can have a taste of their wines at their Tasting Room in Taunton’s historic Wharf district; it is open every day.
Address: Ox Eye Vineyards Tasting Room, 44 Middlebrook Ave, Staunton, VA 24401
8. Queen City Brewing
Opened in 2003, Queen City Brewing stands as the first brewery to do so in Staunton since the prohibition. Fifteen years on, they have amplified their on-site brewing capacity and now have over 30 on-tap beers.
You would see their vast range, including a selection of lagers, porter, fruity blends, several ales (including Belgian, British, and Irish ales as well as IPA’s), and much more.
Even if you are not enthusiastic about wines, you can try their fruity Ruby Sangria, some of their homemade sodas, and alcoholic ginger beer.
There is always a food truck on Friday nights (or you can come with your meals), and you would certainly enjoy the live music played every Wednesday and Friday night.
Address: Queen City Brewing, 834 Springhill Rd, Staunton, VA 24401
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9. Be part of the Staunton Music Festival
Although Staunton is not lacking in musical entertainment, the Staunton Music Festival is the talk of the summer season for all music lovers.
Staunton Music Festival runs for ten days in mid-August of the year, and within that short space of time, you can grace up to 30 concerts.
The good news is that this festival delivers the excitement of classical music to everyone in the city by hosting one or two free concerts each day and even an extensive evening performance which requires you need tickets.
If you are a serious music enthusiast who intends to visit lots of concerts, you can purchase a summer or annual pass which offers discounted tickets.
Another plus is the concerts held at various venues throughout historic downtown Staunton, allowing visitors to see other places.
10. Sunspots Studios Glassblowing
Located in Staunton’s historic downtown shopping and dining district, Sunspots Studios Artisan Center also known as Sunspots Studios Glassblowing offers visitors the opportunity to learn all about the fascinating art of glass blowing.
You can check out the studios any day of the week to watch a live glass blowing exhibition and purchase a special piece of glass art as a souvenir to take home.
You can even make your glass masterpiece with the assistance of glass artists. This experience is open for anyone above the age of seven.
You will see a wonderful agglomerate of superbly crafted glass vases, plates, ornaments, and more displayed in the gallery.
Address: Sunspot Studios, 202 S. Lewis Street, Staunton, VA 24401
11. Buy Fresh daily at Staunton Farmer’s Market
For Staunton locals, the Staunton Farmer’s Market is always a weekly highlight as it offers the opportunity to purchase fresh, wholesome food products directly from the cultivators.
This market holds on Saturdays, starting from the beginning of April, and runs until the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The Wednesday market commences from the beginning of May and runs to the end of September.
Everything sold at the market is produced by stall-holders who take pride in their products, and most times, they harvest fruit and vegetables the night before bringing them for sale to ensure you get the freshest produce.
You will see everything from artisan bread to free-range eggs and fresh herbs to home-make pickles and preserves.
Address: Staunton Farmer’s Market, the Wharf Parking Lot, Downtown Staunton, VA 24401
12. The BY&BY
Nestled conveniently between the Mary Baldwin University and the Blackfriar’s Playhouse, the BY&BY is a popular and favorite Staunton coffee shop.
The shop was opened in 2003, and since then, has gone from strength to strength, making it one of the top things to do in Staunton.
BY&BY currently serves various great fair-trade coffees and espressos, iced coffees, local teas, and more.
You are invited to come and have a chat with the team while you enjoy your favorite beverage coupled with any of their tasty cakes or pastries.
In addition, BY&BY just recently opened a beer garden where they serve fine craft beers alongside delicious grilled sandwiches and all-day breakfasts.
On Monday nights (depending on the weather), you can enjoy outdoor movies in the beer garden.
Address: The BY&BY, 140 E. Beverley St, Staunton, VA 24401
13. Eat good food at Zynodoa Restaurant
Staunton is famous for having amazing restaurants, and Zynodoa is one of the city’s most popular meetings and eating places.
Zynodoa stands as a great example of the real Shenandoah Valley farm-to-fork eatery as it offers the freshest of locally-sourced ingredients.
Here, they meticulously prepared their food to offer delicious and innovative Southern cuisine.
Most of the meats served at Zynodoa come from the Piedmont area and the Shenandoah Valley, while their fish and seafood are justifiably sourced from the Chesapeake Bay.
The restaurant is open every day for dinner, and on Sundays, it hosts a wonderful brunch package. They have an extensive wine list that features the best produce of Virginia, California, and the entire world.
Address: 115 East Beverley St, Staunton, VA 24401
14. Staunton must-see: The Camera Heritage Museum
If you are interested in photography, then The Camera Heritage Museum is a must-visit attraction for you while in Staunton.
This wonderful museum is home to a unique collection of vintage cameras that follows the trend of photography development from the early 19th century till today.
The majority of the cameras displayed come from precious private collections and are backed by wonderful stories to tell, and many have historical relevance.
The museum has compiled an informative self-guided stereo audio tour which helps you explore the museum at your own pace while learning about its fascinating collections.
The collections are changing by the week as more vintage cameras are donated from all parts of the world.
Address: 1 West Beverley Street, Staunton, VA 24401
15. Staunton Military Academy MuseumThe Staunton Military Academy Museum is located on the campus of the Mary Baldwin College and strives to unveil the story of Staunton’s famous Military Academy, which used to own a large part of the current day college campus.
The museum shares the same demesne with the VWIL (Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership) Museum, with the former embracing the past and then the latter looking to the future.
You will see medals, uniforms, and other artifacts in the museum, with most of them donated by former alumni, many of whom joined the armed services and served their country in WWII or the Vietnam War.
Do well to visit as the museum is open from 1pm to 4pm on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and access is free-of-charge
Address: Mary Baldwin College, 227 Kable St, Staunton, VA 24401
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16. Fields of Gold Farm Trail
Shenandoah Valley has wonderful fertile soil responsible for the production of a massive one billion dollars worth of agricultural products every year.
While in Staunton, allocate a day or a week to exploring the Fields of Gold Farm Trail, and you will get to see and learn about what goes into producing that tasty meal on your plate.
The Farm Trail takes you through dozens of valley farms where you can interact with the farmers, take a tour of a working farm, watch the children feeding the animals or pick your fruit.
You can also visit the local Farmers’ markets, relish a delicious fresh farm-to-fork dinner or go winetasting. There are several trails to choose from – check out a trail map from the website.
17. Take a free Guided Walking Tour
What about walking some areas on a free tour? Sounds pretty nice, and it is indeed one of the best things to do in Staunton.
Every Saturday morning between May and October, you can join a free guided walking tour of Historic Downtown Staunton.
You would explore four of the city’s six historic districts, and that would make you understand why Staunton is admired for having one of the best historic downtowns in the country.
There is a volunteer tour guide who will make the history of Staunton more real with descriptions of how the city has developed from an early pioneering settlement to become a prosperous commercial center in the 19th century.
Lovers of architecture will particularly enjoy learning about the history of the gorgeously restored historic buildings.
There is no need for reservations. You just need to be at the R. R. Smith Center (opposite the Visitor’s Center) at 10am.
Address: 20 South New Street, Staunton, VA 24401
18. Explore the Wharf Historic DistrictTaunton’s Historic Wharf District may never have been in existence if not for the railroad’s arrival in 1854. The railroad brought a rave of booming businesses to Staunton and the springing of warehouses all over the Wharf District.
One of the top things to do in Staunton, VA, especially for architecture enthusiasts, is taking a self-guided tour of the Historic Wharf District.
There are many interesting buildings to admire, and you can obtain maps of the area from the Staunton Visitor’s Center or several retailers.
While strolling through the district, you will note several different architectural styles, including the Federal style, Greek-revival American Hotel, and Queen Anne style.
The original C & O train station (currently The Depot Grill) was built in the Bungalow style (out of curiosity), which seems a little odd for a station building.
19. Visit Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum
Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum showcase the life and times of America’s twenty-eighth president.
This museum is housed in the birthplace of the late president in Staunton’s Gospel Hill Historic District. It is a beautifully restored former Manse and stands as a fine example of Greek revival architecture. The building is well furnished with original period pieces and many personal effects owned by the late president.
Taking a self-guided tour here will allow you to learn about his early life as you pass through the seven galleries.
Some of the high points of this museum include an eerily realistic World War I trench exhibit, a 1919 Pierce-Arrow limousine, and the younger folks will enjoy the scavenger hunt held in the historic gardens.
Address: 20 N. Coalter St, Staunton, VA 24401
20. The Yelping Dog Wine and Cheese Shop
If you desire a sublime selection of both gourmet kinds of cheese and wines under one roof, then the Yelping Dog is the perfect place to head for in Staunton.
Not only does it stop at cheese and wines, but the Yelping Dog also offers a nice selection of craft beers that you can enjoy on the premises or even take home with you.
Visitors can chill out in the evening by enjoying craft beers, wines-by-the-glass, and a cheese platter or delicious sandwich.
At Yelping Dog, they are always willing and ready to help if you need a piece of advice on selecting the perfect wine for your planned dish. They also provide food and wine pairing suggestions as well as tasting notes.
Address: 9 East Beverley Rd, Staunton, VA 24401
21. Black Raven Ghost Tours
Black Raven Ghost Tours are operated by Black Raven Paranormal and provide an innovative way of learning about the ghouls, history, and legends of historic Downtown Staunton.
Joining the Black Raven Ghost Tours is one of the best things to do in Staunton and should not be missed by any visitor.
Joining the popular Queen City Ghost Tour will take you on a lantern-lit trip back in time to the ancient days in Staunton. You would learn everything about the cryptic people who constituted the city’s history as you visit six haunted sites.
The month of October comes with several tours from you to choose from, including the Dark Staunton Tour and the Haunted Depot Tour.
22. Have some Beer at Skipping Rock Beer Co.
Visiting Staunton will definitely be a nice move if you are a beer lover. Skipping Rock Beer Co. is a wonderful place to stop by for a rejuvenating craft beer while in the city.
The locals of Virginia can proudly boast of making good craft beer, and Skipping Rock is proof of that. The beer company has a taproom in Staunton and an extensive menu containing everything from a Rye IPA to NEIPA and more.
They are inspired to create beers of phenomenal quality, even down to the smallest detail.
You can fill your growler, sit around and interact with other people while holding a pint in your hand.
You would enjoy their pastural views and the accompanying relaxing feel. Worry less and live more! This is the perfect place to bring your family and friends.
Operating hours are: Monday – Thursday (4:00 PM – 10:00 PM), Friday (2:00 PM – 11:00 PM), Saturday (12:00 PM – 11:00 PM) and Sunday (12:00 PM – 8:00 PM).
Address: 414 Parkersburg Turnpike Staunton, VA
23. Drink Coffee at Crucible Coffee Roasters
One of the best things to do in Staunton is tracking down the delicious Crucible Coffee Roasters, a top local cafe in the city.
The coffee company was birthed out of love for coffee and human connection.
It was established by Brandon Bishop, a former international businessman, and Kean Ivey, his high school friend and military veteran. Both of them have amassed great experience in coffee from various parts of the world.
Crucible Coffee Roasters sell their beans to take home. You will find different single origins and blends ranging from El Regalito from Guatemala to Yirgacheffe.
So, this is the perfect coffee shop for those looking for an extraordinary cup of joe in Staunton.
This shop is open every day of the week from 7 am to 5 pm.
Address: 300 Church St #201, Staunton, VA 24401, United States
24. Staunton must-see: St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
If you desire to visit a popular sight in Staunton, stop by the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. It would be more fulfilling if you were a Catholic as it is one of the most iconic places in the city.
Catholicism was not very eminent in Virginia until the French Revolution, and it spread dramatically when Irish Catholics started moving to the region.
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church was founded in 1845 and named after one of the most distinguished saints in the Catholic faith, St. Francis of Assisi.
While in Staunton, you can do well to worship in the church. There are the morning and afternoon masses amongst the many activities to attend.
The church is lovely inside and outside, with the structures, marble, and other lovely amongst the beautifying elements. You can admire both its interior and exterior.
Address: 118 N New Street Staunton, United States.
25. Transcend into another world at the Grand Caverns
The Grand Caverns is located in the town of Grottoes, Virginia, and it adds up to our list of things to do in Staunton.
Grand Caverns is a place you cannot miss on your trip as it is the oldest show cave in America and a National Natural Landmark assumed by the National Park Service.
You will observe some of the cave’s unique features, including the shield formations, stalagmites, stalactites, and flowstone.
All these make it a stunning place to visit, especially for those interested in geology.
People can take a tour of Virginia caverns or indulge in any of the activities available on-site, including biking and hiking trails, mini-golf, picnic centers, and the swimming pool.
It is one place to be in, especially on a hot summer’s day!
Address: 5 Grand Cavern Rd, Grottoes, Virginia, United States.
26. Stop by the American Shakespeare CenterThe world-renowned American Shakespeare Center has been recreated just once, and that is right in the heart of Staunton, Virginia!
Also known as the Blackfriars Playhouse, American Shakespeare Center aims at recreating the plays of William Shakespeare.
This theater is based on similar ones from the period. So, if you are a person that loves literature, particularly the works of Shakespeare, you need to check the theater out on a trip to Staunton.
The theater hosts performances in all 52 weeks of the year using 16 different titles and two rotating ensembles, so there is always something to see.
They are also land offered during these programs to know more about the plays.
Performances are hosted all 52 weeks of the year using two rotating ensembles and 16 different titles, so there always will be something to see. The program also offers labs for anyone interested in learning more about the plays.
Address: 10 S Market St, Staunton, VA 24401, United States
27. Ride on Horseback at Star B. Stables
If you love riding horses and even exploring new trails, then a visit to Star B. Stables should be on your list of things to do in Staunton.
These trail rides are located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley and provide the escape you need! Here, visitors can enjoy a guided horse trail ride for an hour.
The most exciting part of this is that you don’t need to have any horse-riding experience. There are available guides to help you along the tour, so this is your chance to try horseback riding if you have ever thought of it.
Star B. Stables offer rides all year round for anyone over the age of six looking to escape into the countryside. Just book a tour and enjoy the beauty of nature on horseback!
Address: 2926 Barterbrook Rd, Staunton, VA 24401, United States
28. Admire Folly Mills Falls
Folly Mills Falls is one of the coolest hidden gems in Staunton. It is famous amongst the locals and even some Virginians for being one of Virginia’s beautiful waterfalls.
All you need is a short walk from the parking lot to the falls. Though it can be relatively muddy after the rain, it is one place you can witness at any time of the year!
Getting there is simple, just turn west onto Cochran’s Mill Road from Rt 11 (south of Staunton). There is a parking lot on the left just before you cross Folly Mills Creek.
You would have to be cautious of the rocks near the falls, and they can be slippery and would require you to wear proper shoes.
Overall, seeing Folly Mills Falls is an attractive thing to do in Staunton.
29. Visit the Gospel Hill Historic District
And lastly, on our list of things to do in Staunton is visiting the Gospel Hill Historic District. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and contains grandeur homes and old trees.
The street takes its name from the pleasant sounds emanating from Sampson Eagon’s blacksmith shop.
This district has 180 buildings that add up to Staunton’s residential section, with the homes here in abundance ranging from cottages to mansions, all of which date between 1840 to 1930.
Some of the distinguished buildings in the Gospel Hill Historic District include the Effinger House, Capote, the Temple House of Israel, Kalorama, and more.
Address: Staunton, VA 24401, USA, United States.
Take to exploring other cities of Virginia, check out our list of things to do in Wytheville, things to do in Lexington, and things to do in Richmond.
Plan your trip to Staunton
Staunton is an interesting city to visit as a tourist. The wonderful museums, the amazing local markets, historic landmarks, fine vineyards, natural bodies, scenic topography, and more make it a top pick for a vacation experience.
You will cherish every moment in Staunton, so why not start making plans to make it memorable. Don’t forget to include your family and loved ones too.
And if you need some guidance, this piece is readily available for you to check back on, so pin it.