Founded in 1786, Lynchburg is rich in history, yet, the city is growing with forward-thinking economic opportunity, diversity, and a vibrant atmosphere. As the commercial, cultural, entertainment, and retail hub of the region, the city is alive with activity. Lynchburg was selected as one of the Milken Institute’s 2017 “Best Performing Cities,” an index that ranks U. S. metropolitan areas by how well they create and sustain jobs and economic growth.
Strategically located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the banks of the James River, Lynchburg is surrounded with natural beauty. Known as the City of Seven Hills, Lynchburg was originally built on College, Garland, Daniel’s, Federal, Diamond, White Rock, and Franklin hills. Lynchburg currently has 10 recognized historic districts with 40 buildings individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
City of Churches
Due to its large number of houses of worship, Lynchburg has been called the City of Churches. In terms of worship style and faith tradition, there’s pretty much something to meet any organized religious preference. Thomas Road Baptist Church has the largest membership—approximately 24,000. All other Protestant denominations are also represented, as well as Roman Catholic, Green Orthodox, Temple Agudath Sholom, the Unitarian Universalist, and non-denominational churches.
Lynchburg was listed among MSN’s “18 American Towns Every Old House Lover Should See,” citing the city’s “many architectural marvels,” including Queen Anne, Greek Revival, Federal, Second Empire and Colonial Revival architecture from as far back as the 1790s. An ongoing preservation effort has kept historic structures safe, including:
The Academy Center of the Arts
Point of Honor
Quaker Meeting House
Old Lynchburg Courthouse Museum
Carter Glass House
Anne Spencer House
Quaker Meeting House
The oldest church building in the city was built in 1798 on land donated by the Lynch family. Today, it resides on the Quaker Memorial Presbyterian Church grounds, which are also the site of the remains of the city’s founder, John Lynch.
Old City Cemetery
Established in 1806, the Old City Cemetery is an extraordinary 27-acre public garden, “history park,” and wedding venue located in the heart of Lynchburg. In addition to being an active place of burial and remembrance, the cemetery is also one of the busiest and most popular attractions in the city, hosting more than 33,000 visitors annually. A Virginia Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, Old City Cemetery is also an arboretum of historic plants, including more than 200 antique rose specimens.
Monument Terrace in Downtown Lynchburg is a lasting memorial to Lynchburg’s sons and daughters who have died in war. The monument was fashioned after the terrace steps common in France and Italy, with Lynchburg’s iconic “doughboy” standing at the foot of its 135 steps, leading upward to the Old Courthouse Museum.
Lynchburg is an educational hub with a tradition of outstanding public schools. One of the top school systems in the Commonwealth, Lynchburg has 19 public schools as well as 10 private schools. The city is also home to five colleges and universities, both public and private.
Reviews.org ranked Lynchburg as the No. 1 spot for millennials to migrate to in 2019, citing its combination of outdoor and cultural recreation and low cost of living. But the scene is just as attractive to people of all ages; the city has also been rated a top destination to retire.
With hundreds of new loft apartments popping up, created through the adaptive reuse of historic warehouses and mills, as well as new businesses, Lynchburg’s downtown population has increased substantially. Serving the cultural heart of the city are new restaurants, coffee houses, and boutiques, making Lynchburg a trendy, desirable place to live and visit.
The city is in the midst of a downtown revitalization project that has already produced Riverfront Park and a Riverwalk Trail that cuts through downtown, connecting Percival’s Island and the Blackwater Creek trail system.
The renovation of the Historic Academy Theatre has brought a bright marquee to Lynchburg’s downtown arts scene. The city’s local colleges, universities, and high schools offer outstanding music, theater, and art, in addition to several concert venues, art galleries, and production groups.
Variety is the keystone of recreation and sports in the Lynchburg area. The city operates 12 parks, 24 playgrounds, eight community centers, an Olympic-size pool, 34 tennis courts, and 26 baseball diamonds. Among the public parks are:
Blackwater Trail Athletic Area
Peaks View Park
Other recreational opportunities include golfing at public and private courses, hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains or on the Appalachian Trail, skiing and snowboarding at Liberty University’s Snowflex Centre, walking or running on the city’s numerous trails, or attending a minor-league baseball game.