Staunton, Virginia has a wealth of things to do in the small city tucked into the mountain landscape. You don’t need to spend a fortune, though, to have an enjoyable time.
We found 25 free things to do in Staunton, VA that will fill an entire weekend itinerary!
Staunton, VA is known for unique and stunning architecture that was preserved over the centuries. That is why it is considered one of the best small towns in Virginia.
Looking at these gorgeous buildings is a feast for the senses if you love or admire architecture or historic preservation.
You can walk downtown Staunton any time that you would like. We suggest going early in the morning so that you can stop and admire the buildings without crowds on the sidewalk or being worried about traffic.
There is a self-guided architecture tour pamphlet that you can get at the Staunton Visitors Center. When the center is closed, there will be free maps available outside.
Take a Free Walking Tour
Free guided walking tours are given every Saturday from May through October by the Historic Staunton Foundation. Starting at 10 a.m., the tour is around 2 hours and highlights the area’s architecture and historical development.
Meet in the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art, which is across from the Staunton Visitors Center and Garage, and near Reunion Bakery.
Find the Murals
There are several murals throughout town that make stunning backdrops for social media photos or just to admire the talent of the artists. Find these murals:
- “You Belong Here” mural at corner of Beverley and North Central Avenue (just off the main shopping street)
- Inside Redbeard Brewing Company
- Railroad underpass
- Marino’s Lunch
- Previous Firkin Pie Company building
- Staunton-themed mural inside Tru by Hilton
- Black Dog Bikes storefront
- SAW Habitat for Humanity ReStore
- Inside Pampered Palate restaurant
- Jones Community Garden
See Tiffany Stained Glass Windows
There are 12 Louis Comfort Tiffany windows inside the Trinity Episcopal Church downtown. The public is invited to come inside the church and see the windows.
A free brochure describing the windows is available when you enter the vestibule, as well as online.
Trinity Episcopal Church is the oldest church in Staunton, and the windows date between the mid-1800s to mid-1900s.
We stayed at Hotel 24 South when visiting Staunton. Check out our review and room tour!
Watch Glass Blowing
Sunspots Studios is a gorgeous art glass showroom located near the Wharf neighborhood and very close to Redbeard Brewing and Cider from Mars.
Step inside the showroom to be captivated by the blown glass items for sale. (We love the glow-in-the-dark glass!)
During the day, you can see glass being molded, blown and shaped into creations that will be for sale in the gift shop.
See the Trains Arrive at the Train Station
There is an Amtrak station in the Wharf district that feels like it never changed from the mill days of Staunton’s history.
Not only does Amtrak come through, but the Virginia Scenic Railway also makes stops during the day.
Stay on the platform and watch the train come in or leave. Hear the horns blaring. And for a unique viewpoint, climb up the Sears Hill bridge to overlook the train tracks and get a great view of the city.
Play in the Mud
Kids will love the natural playground at the 148-acre Montgomery Hall Park. There is a mud kitchen for imaginative play, as well as a pirate ship and rock quarry, among other fun activities.
See Woodrow Wilson’s Limousine
While most of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library requires an admission fee, his Pierce-Arrow limousine can be seen from outside the museum through the glass windows.
Cannon Hill at Mary Baldwin University
Climb the steep hills and steps of Mary Baldwin University to get to Cannon Hill, an overlook at the top of the campus near the Presidents home. On this hill top you will find a cannon, benches, and a flower-shaped solar panel. In the distance, you will see mountain views and the sunset.
Statler Brothers Monument
The Statler Brothers are a beloved country music group with ties to the city. Find the monument of four stools dedicated to the group located outside the parking lot where the Staunton Farmer’s Market is held.
Enjoy a Private Garden
The Mevluda Tahirovic Memorial Garden is a delightful oasis in downtown Staunton.
Located at the RR Smith Center for History and Art, this public garden has tables and chairs, artwork and lush flowers and plantings.
Walk Through Historic Gardens
Behind Woodrow Wilson’s boyhood home, there are small gardens to enjoy free of charge. (The gardens are part of an archaeological dig in 2023 and could be closed.)
Visit the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art
Inside the center, you can see free exhibits by the Staunton-Augusta Art Center and Augusta County Historial Society.
There are free admission hours from Wednesday to Saturday.
Though it seems strange, the Thornrose Cemetery is pretty place to walk around while looking at the monuments, mausoleums, bridges and stately stone structures.
Enjoy art on display at CoArt Gallery and the Artisans Loft, as well as Mary Baldwin University’s Hunt Gallery.
Gypsy Hill Park
You can spend all day at Gypsy Hill Park and not spend much money at all! Feed the ducks in the duck pond. Bike or walk the 1.3 mile loop trail. Enjoy the playgrounds with kids. Or let your four-legged friends enjoy the bark park.
Do a Scavenger Hunt
Use the free Traipse app to learn about the history of Staunton along with a fun scavenger hunt.
Enjoy free live music at Gypsy Hill Park most nights of the week in the summer.
Though only an acre big, there are some great photo opportunities in front of arched stone columns and benches to enjoy a quiet moment.
Enjoy the Farmer’s Market
In warm months, the Staunton Farmer’s Market is outdoors by the Wharf neighborhood. In the winter time, the market moves indoors to the Emmanual Episcopal Church.
Not only are there so many goodies from area farms to enjoy, there is also live music in the summer-time markets.
Harry Potter-Inspired Festival
In September, the Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival celebrates Harry Potter and other magical things. You will be captivated by the arrival of the train, costumed characters wandering through the streets and other mystical activities.
Staunton Music Festival
A 10-day music festival with some free concerts.
Heifetz Festival of Concerts
Another great chance to hear live music by up-and-coming artists is in June and July, with some free concerts available.
If you don’t mind paying a few dollars, then these best attractions in Staunton, VA are well worth the money!