A Day Off in Petersburg

Editors’ picks for 24 hours in the capitol’s sister city. 

If you haven’t stopped in Petersburg recently, you’ve been missing out. Beyond its famous battlefield and historical sites are quirky antique shops and cool new restaurants and bars. Here are some of our favorite stops in this under-the-radar gem of a city.


8:30 a.m. Fuel Your Fire

Get started with breakfast at Demolition Coffee. Besides having an extensive menu of coffee and tea drinks, such as Mary’s Sweet Breve, iced mocha latte and the London Fog, Demolition offers a full breakfast menu (much of which is served all day). Load up on waffles made to order, biscuits and gravy, the Scram-Bowl or the Hombre Burrito, which includes scrambled eggs, cheddar, pico de gallo and your choice of protein. DemolitionCoffee.com

10:00 a.m. Everything Old is New Again

North Sycamore Street is home to a handful of antique stores packed to the brim with bygone treasures, such as a working 1962 Royal typewriter, wrought-iron Singer sewing tables, a late 19th-century pram, beautiful wood furniture from various centuries and thousands of other curios. Be sure to visit the Oak Antique Mall, which has more than 10,000 square feet and wares from more than 50 vendors, as well as Trading Post and Signature Style Antiques, which offer an assortment of home décor—such as cabinets with dovetailed drawers and mid century coffee tables—at surprisingly low prices. PreservationPetersburg.org

1:00 p.m. Break for Tea 

Housed in a 19th-century Federal-style townhouse, Blue Willow Tea Room offers a varied menu of tea service, from a cuppa for one to a full afternoon tea complete with fresh-baked scones, Devonshire cream and assorted sandwiches to share among friends. You can even add some wine to the mix with the Full Grande Tea. Also on the menu are handcrafted root beer and unfiltered ginger ale. BlueWillowTeaRoom.com

2:30 p.m. Siege the Day

The Union’s siege of Petersburg was the longest military event of the Civil War, and among the most important tactical moves prompting Gen. Robert E. Lee to surrender, so you can imagine there are some interesting historical sites around town. For an afternoon diving deep into history, head over to the National Battlefield, where you can tour outdoor exhibits, visit the crater left by 400 tons of exploded gun powder, or enjoy miles of natural trails suited to hiking and horseback riding. For an indoor experience, check out the Siege Museum, housed in a Greek-revival former exchange building, or the Centre Hill Mansion, which overlooks Old Town Petersburg and features 19th and 20th century furniture and decorative arts. NPS.gov/Pete, PreservationPetersburg.org

5:30 p.m. A Drop in the Bucket

Wind down with a sampling of beer, wine or cider from the 24 self-serve taps at Bucket Trade. Here, you can build your own flights and try as little or as much of each variety as you like. Smart tablets installed above the taps keep track of your pours so you only pay per ounce. And if you fall in love with a particular brew, take it home by the bottle, can or growler. TheBucketTrade.com

7:00 p.m. Dine Al Fresco 

The dining room at Maria’s Old Town 21 is designed to look like a sidewalk café nestled in the heart of an Italian city. For starters, choose from an extensive antipasti list, including Bang Calamari and Antipasto Rustico, a selection of marinated vegetables, salami, provolone and fresh Parmigiano. Then, take your time (you’ll need it!) to choose from among the many classic Italian plates: lasagna, eggplant Parmesan, penne puttanesca, risotto al funghi, chicken pesto pizza and more. For dessert, don’t miss the homemade Tiramisu. Some dishes available gluten-free. MariasOldTown21.com

June 11, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
July 9, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
August 13, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum