In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and on the banks of the James River, Lynchburg, Virginia’s once-dormant downtown now entertains with a quirky mix of old and new: 19th-century warehouses transformed into airy lofts, funky shops, artist studios, and buzzy restaurants. The monthly First Friday is the perfect time to tap into these happening spots.
1. Waterstone Pizza
Start with the fried green tomato and mozzarella stack ($8.95) drizzled with pesto and balsamic and order a sampler of beers ($8.95) from Jefferson Street Brewery, the microbrewery above this pizzeria in the historic Craddock Terry Hotel.
2. Oxide Pottery
This former blacksmith shop now serves as a studio and store known for its collection of wheel-thrown and hand-built ceramics. Buy a cheeky, decal-printed coffee mug (from $28), or go for a pair of upcycled earrings ($15) made from scraps garnered from the local leather company Moore & Giles.
Pro skater Jeff Gray builds bikes out of recycled parts at this colorful shop beloved by locals. Pick up a cutting board or bottle opener made from skateboards.
The Spanish-inspired wine lounge might be known for its paella ($11), but you can’t go wrong with the Virginia cheeses and wines, or tapas such as mussels with green curry and coconut milk ($9).
5. Estates Revisited
Heirlooms get a second life at this new location on Main Street, full of 19th-century antiques. Finds include original art (from $50) and a butcher-block table ($625).
6. Galaxie Modern
Find pieces by Knoll, Herman Miller, and Milo Baughman, as well as furniture by lesser-known designers at this mid-century modern shop. The owner sources many of his Scandinavian finds from ex-military stationed overseas during the fifties and sixties.
Scope out the extensive collection of indie vinyl, including a strong selection of Virginia artists such as the 1960s-style band Ar-Kaics from Richmond. On weekends, you can see local talent sharing the stage in the back of the shop with out-of-town acts.
8. Jimmy’s on the James
Owner Jimmy Dudley croons on his piano while the talented bar staffers stir up cocktails like the Gunpowder ($7), made with green tea-infused vodka at this hometown institution with the feel of a 1950s jazz club.