Trip Overview: If you’re looking for a quick jaunt out of the city, historic downtown Manassas in Prince William County is calling your name! From the boutiques, to the breweries, to the nearby battlefield, visitors can expect to find an easily walkable small town with some seriously big time charm.
Time needed: 6 hours
Distance from DC: Around 60 miles, roundtrip
Best time to visit: Late Spring through Fall
Best suited for: Friends, Families, Couples… this trip is for everyone.
DC DAY TRIP TO MANASSAS, VIRGINIA
1.) Historic Manassas Farmers Market
This bi-weekly market has 50 stalls that range from the expected farmers market staples to more unique vendors like Loopy Scoops popsicles & ice cream and Monument Coffee Roasters. Open 7:30 am to 1 pm on Saturdays and Thursdays from early April to Thanksgiving, it’s a great way to start your morning in Manassas. But, leave your pooch at home– dogs aren’t allowed inside the market due to state regulations.
2.) Manassas Train Depot
What made Manassas such an important part of the Civil War was its railroad junction, which served as a supply depot and center for military transportation. So, whoever held Manassas held a critical strategic advantage, which led to much of the nearby battle conflict. Today, Amtrak still stops here daily as part of a route that travel from New York to New Orleans. Be sure to pop into the train depot to see some historic artifacts and photos from over the years.
ALSO! Train lovers can’t miss next weekend’s Manassas Heritage Railway Festival. This year, the popular event is June 6th and features a train ride to Clifton, live music, model trains displays and more.
3.) Window Shopping in Historic Manassas
Historic downtown Manassas is about 4 square blocks, with Center Street the main thoroughfare. Spend some time walking throughout downtown, stopping in boutiques along the way. Some local favorites (and my favorites, too!) include Allyssa Bryn at the MarketPlace, Prospero’s Books, The Things I Love, Totally Vintage and Love, Charley.
As you explore downtown Manassas, you’ll likely notice that there are a ton of restaurants throughout the historic district. One local favorite is Katerina’s Greek Cuisine, an always bustling restaurant with authentic Mediterranean specialties. Other good bets include Zandra’s Taqueria, Okra’s Cajun/ Creole and The Bone BBQ.
5.) Brewery Hopping
With not one but TWO craft breweries located within spitting distance of each other, Manassas really makes it easy for local beer aficionados to brewery hop. First, head on over to BadWolf Brewing Company— a nano brewery that features a constantly rotating draft list sure to please even the most serious craft beer drinkers. (You’ll need your car at this point– the breweries are a quick 5 minute drive outside of the historic district.)
Across the street in a warehouse is the larger Heritage Brewing Company, a veteran owned and operated brewery featuring bigger batches and a little more selection.
With both places worth visiting, why pick just one?
6.) Manassas National Battlefield Park
You really can’t visit Manassas without stopping by the Manassas Battlefield. It is the site of the first major battlefield of the Civil War, and it’s definitely worth visiting (whether you’re a Civil War buff, or not.) The battlefield is incredibly scenic and the 1.1 mile Henry Hill Loop Trail provides a good overview of the battle with plaques and other points of interest along the way.