We can’t wait for you to visit Lynchburg and get a taste of what we’re all about here. But, before you come, let’s get some details out of the way so all you have to do is show up, hang out and have a great time. Here are the top six things you need to know before visiting Lynchburg:
How Lynchburg Got Its Name
Lynchburg was founded by John Lynch who, at the age of 17, started a ferry service across the James River in 1757. In 1786, the Virginia General Assembly granted Lynch a charter for a town, which encompassed the 45 acres of land that Lynch owned. Lynchburg was officially incorporated as a town in 1805, and as a city in 1852.
John Lynch was also responsible for Lynchburg’s first bridge across the river, which replaced the ferry in 1812.
Lynchburg is also often called the City of Seven Hills, and for good reason. When you visit Lynchburg, you’ll be greeted by a city that has rolling hills that weave throughout the landscape of the city. Each of the seven primary hills has an interesting history behind its name.
White Rock Hill: Named for the beautiful white rocks one could see on the drive up to the hill
Franklin Hill: Named for Benjamin Franklin, who was a frequent visitor to Lynchburg
Diamond Hill: Named for the lots on the turnpike that were triangular shaped
Federal Hill: Named for the Federalist party, who were influential during the early years of Lynchburg’s development
College Hill: Named for the military college sponsored by the Methodist Protestants
Garland Hill: Named for the Garland family that lived here for more than 100 years
Daniel’s Hill: Named for Judge William Daniel, who owned and sold most of the land on the hill
In the early years of Lynchburg, tobacco and iron where the primary outputs. Through John Lynch’s ferry system, Lynchburg quickly became one of the largest tobacco markets in the United States.
The James Calloway Furnace, which operated from 1770 until 1779, and the Davie Ross Furnace, which operated from 1781 until 1837, supplied the Continental Army with pig iron and cannon balls during the American Revolution. Lynchburg served as a major storage depot during the Civil War, as well.
How to Get Around Lynchburg
Lynchburg is easy to navigate. The gridded downtown makes finding streets simple, and the smaller footprint of our downtown makes it completely walkable (something we recommend, because the architecture is beautiful!). From free transportation around downtown Lynchburg to easily navigated streets for driving, learn how to get around Lynchburg.
Where to Find the Best View
The seven hills in Lynchburg alone create a gorgeous backdrop for the city—but they’re not the only parts of our landscape that will create an incredible view. From art deco and industrial era architecture to the James River, which borders the city, you won’t be hard pressed to find a great view in Lynchburg:
Skyline Bar: Situated on the 7th floor of The Virginian Hotel, the Skyline Bar is a rooftop bar that offers nearly a 360-degree of the city. The open air vibe, plush lounge furniture and delicious cocktails will transport you instantly to a sense of relaxation. From the roof, you will be able to overlook the James River, the city landscape and the mountains in the background.
Liberty Mountain Trail System: On the opposite side of the city is the Liberty Mountain Trail System. For more of a rustic experience, you can hike up the mountain or throughout the 65 miles of trail and emerge to a breathtaking view of Lynchburg and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Lower Bluffwalk: To situate yourself right in the middle of the city, walk down to the Lower Bluffwalk where you’ll find views of the James River and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance, with the stunning architecture of Lynchburg at your back.
Where to Stay
From boutique, historic hotels to well-known brands, you won’t have a hard time finding a place to stay in Lynchburg. Lynchburg’s unique knack for repurposing industrial spaces means that hotels like the Craddock Terry and The Virginian Hotel not only situate you right in the middle of downtown Lynchburg, but they will offer an eclectic, distinct aesthetic. And with the national chains setting up shop to offer affordable, luxury accommodations, you’ll find the perfect place to rest at the end of the day.
What the Pianos are All About
If you walk around downtown, or even come into the city via the airport, you’ll notice that we have quite a few pianos sitting around. The Hill City Keys initiative was started in 2014 as a way to introduce creativity and music into everyone’s daily lives. There are seven pianos (for the seven hills) posted throughout the city and each have been distinctly painted by local middle and high school students.
If you walk throughout the city, you’ll hear the faint sounds of pianos being played.
Plan a Visit to Lynchburg
We’re so excited for you to come visit Lynchburg! For more help finding out where to go and what to see while you’re here, check out our itineraries, stop by our Visitor Center or look through our events calendar. We can’t wait for you to get here!