Fredericksburg is known for its civil war history and being kind of a sleepy town, but the students of Mary Wash know that it has a lot more to offer. There are some incredible restaurants, outdoor attractions and shops to visit. The downtown area is a short walk from campus and students also have free access to the Fred Bus (Fredericksburg's public transportation system). On campus there will be an overwhelming number of great events including cheap movies, free live music, club-sponsored events like BBQS and sports tournaments but when even with all that activity you'll want to get off campus from time to time. Here are a few UMW favorites that you'll want to explore in your freshman year:


Located on the main drag downtown, Benny's is famous for their enormous slices of pizza, conquering one of these monsters is a rite of passage for all UMW students.

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Sammy T’s-

My favorite restaurant in downtown Fredericksburg was originally opened by a former UMW geography professor. The menu is a creative collection of sandwiches, burgers soups and salads with great vegan and vegetarian options.



One of the newer restaurants downtown that serves an entirely pescatarian/vegetarian/vegan cuisine. The restaurant also hosts live music performances as well as events ranging from beer tasting to taco Tuesdays.


Capital Ale House

Students love Cap Ale for its incredible beer selection and tasty burgers, but you'll see most of your UMW cohorts there on Monday nights when they have a three dollar burger special.


Soup & Taco-

It's cheap, it's authentic, it's delicious and it's got two locations! One on the main drag downtown and one on Williams street, you barely have to stray from your dorm room to grab some of the great offerings from this classic Fredericksburg establishment


Sugar Shack-

Arguably the best donuts in Fredericksburg, sugar shack serves up lots of great options ranging from classic jelly filled to more adventurous options, occasionally they even serve a vegan donut. Follow their Facebook page for notifications about the many free donut giveaway days!


Home Team Grill-

Located right next door to the upperclassmen apartment complex, Eagle Landing, home team grill is an awesome place to eat a cheap and delicious burger, and the burgers are half priced on Tuesdays.



If you're into fresh ingredients and healthy food, this is the place for you. Foode boasts an adventurous menu that changes weekly based on whatever fresh and local ingredients they have that day.



On campus we have Blackstone, but if you're looking for an extra kick in your coffee, this downtown coffee shop has a great selection of espressos, blended coffees, pastries and teas, along with a really unique interior design.

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Castiglia's -

Benny's may have the biggest slices of pizza but Castiglia’s is known for making some of the best pizzas in all of Virginia, be prepared for a wait though, the line is usually out the door.



Rumored to sell the best milkshakes in town, Goolrick's is an old-fashioned pharmacy complete with an authentic soda shop. This is a must-see in Fredericksburg, and it even shares its namesake with our campus gym. 



This ice cream shop is famous to more than just Fredericksburg, it's been featured on several TV shows and people come from all over to try the amazing soft serve. Carl's closes down for the winter though, so you better visit early in the semester!



If you're looking for a typical shopping experience you'll want to catch the Fred bus and head over to Central Park, the world's largest outdoor mall, which has just about every store you can think of along with some of your favorite chain restaurants. Downtown Fredericksburg offers more unique shopping options including thrift stores and antiques.



Home to hipsters, this store has cool graphic tees, jackets, hats and jewelry along with vinyl records, Polaroid cameras and film, retro video games and a lot more. There's also a really cute bulldog that hangs out in the front window.


Antique Shops-

Almost every other store downtown is an antique shop, which may sounds lame but there are some extremely cool treasures to be found in these shops. If you’re looking for old records, books, posters or jewelry, you’re bound to find something awesome in any of these antique shops.


Riverby Books-

This quirky bookstore is a favorite of Fredericksburg residents, and UMW students get a discount. You can spend hours lounging in the overstuffed chairs reading books from their eclectic collection.


The River-

The Rappahannock River runs through Fredericksburg and is a short walk from campus, it’s paralleled by the Canal Path which is a great place to run or ride your bike. The path will lead you to various overlooks of the river and if you explore diligently you'll even manage to find some old civil war relics. A number of marinas in town can set you up with canoes, kayaks or even tubes for a leisurely float during the warmer months.