Woodbridge is a census-designated place (CDP) located in Prince William County, Virginia, United States. With a small population estimated to be approximately 44,000 residents, Woodbridge had a lot of history ready to be discovered.
The history of this place dates back to the colonial era. Woodbridge was first settled in the early 18th century and served as a transportation hub due to its proximity to the Potomac River. The story behind the name “Woodbridge” is said to have been derived from a wooden bridge that crossed the Occoquan River. This bridge was constructed during the same period and played a significant role in the community’s development by facilitating trade and transportation.
The main advantage of Woodbridge is its location near major transportation routes has played a crucial role in its development. It is situated along Interstate 95, which provides convenient access to nearby cities and connects the region to Washington, D.C.
Today, Woodbridge is known for its commuter-friendly environment. Many residents commute to Washington, D.C., and other nearby employment centers, taking advantage of the accessible transportation options, including commuter buses and the nearby Woodbridge VRE (Virginia Railway Express) station.
Let’s have a look together at the 15 best things you can do in Woodbridge either as a first-time visitor or a resident.
1. Take a guided tour of Rippon Lodge
Dating back to the 18th century Rippon Lodge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The lodge was built in the mid-18th century by Richard Blackburn, a prominent planter, and merchant. It served as a plantation house and witnessed significant events during the American Revolutionary War.
It is said that George Washington visited the lodge on multiple occasions, and it was also a temporary headquarters for British troops during the War of 1812.
While exploring Rippon Lodge you can learn about the historic house and its surrounding grounds, the architecture, and the lives of the people who lived there.
2. Explore historic churches in the area, such as the Old Woodbridge Church
The Old Woodbridge Church, also known as the Ebenezer Baptist Church has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. The church was established in 1801 by a group of local African Americans who sought a place of worship and community.
Originally, the church was a simple log structure that served as a gathering place for religious services, community meetings, and social activities. Over the years, the church underwent several renovations and expansions to accommodate the growing congregation and changing needs.
3. Enjoy some Caribbean food at The Electric Palm Restaurant
Known for its vibrant atmosphere and delicious food, The Electric Palm offers a diverse menu featuring American cuisine with a touch of Caribbean influence. From juicy steaks and seafood dishes to mouthwatering burgers and salads, there is something to satisfy every palate.
The restaurant also boasts a full bar with a wide selection of craft cocktails, beers, and wines. With its friendly service and lively ambiance, The Electric Palm is a great choice for a memorable dining experience in Woodbridge, VA.
4. Catch a live concert at Jiffy Lube Live
Located approximately 13 miles northeast, the driving distance between the two locations is typically around 20-25 minutes, depending on traffic conditions and the specific route taken.
With a capacity of over 25,000 people, Jiffy Lube Live provides an electrifying atmosphere for concert attendees to enjoy their favorite music in a live setting.
If you are lucky you can catch a concert by one of your favorite singers. Check the events calendar in advance to make the best of your trip!
5. Take a Day Trip to Washington, D.C
To make the best of your visit, start your day early to maximize your time. Begin by visiting the National Mall, the most popular attraction in Washington. Here you can marvel at the majestic monuments and memorials that line this iconic stretch.
From the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool, these landmarks offer a glimpse into the nation’s history and provide picturesque photo opportunities.
6. Have a fun-filled time bowling at AMF Dale City Lanes
When was the last time you played some bowling? Spending a couple of hours here you can have a great time bowling with friends, and family, or even join a league if you’re interested in more competitive play.
If you get hungry, you can grab a bite to eat at the snack bar. They offer a range of delicious snacks, sandwiches, pizza, and beverages to keep you fueled up during your visit.
7. Experience the diverse culinary scene in Woodbridge
While Woodbridge, Virginia does not have a specific local food unique to the city, there are several popular dishes and culinary influences. Here you can find everything from delicious seafood and BBQ to ethnic foods like Vietnamese, Indian, and Mexican.
Northern Virginia is known for its wineries and vineyards so making a couple of hours visit to any of the wineries would be a great idea spending your time on a sunny day.
8. Discover the wildlife and natural beauty of Mason Neck State Park
Located approximately 6 miles away from Woodbridge, Mason Neck State Park is a popular spot for birdwatching enthusiasts. The park is home to a variety of bird species, including bald eagles, ospreys, and herons.
You can observe these magnificent birds and other wildlife in their natural habitat.
9. Shop ’til you drop at Potomac Mills
Potomac Mills is a renowned shopping destination being one of the largest outlet malls in the United States, offering a wide variety of shopping options for visitors. With over 200 stores, at Potomac Mills, you can find an extensive selection of brand-name and designer merchandise at discounted prices.
Some of the popular retailers include Nike, Coach, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Gap, and many more.
10. Check out the Occoquan Craft Shows
If you are not sure whether to visit Woodbridge or when then this autumn festival taking place in Occoquan can be your motivation. Hosted on the streets of the city, the festival showcases the creativity and craftsmanship of talented artisans from the region and beyond.
The shows feature a wide range of handmade items, including jewelry, pottery, woodworking, textiles, glassware, and much more. You will also have the opportunity to browse through numerous booths and shop for unique, one-of-a-kind treasures.
The Occoquan Craft Shows also offer a lively and festive atmosphere, with live music, delicious food vendors, and entertainment for all ages.
11. Spend a day out at the Leesylvania State Park
Leesylvania State Park is a picturesque destination that offers a wonderful escape into nature. Located along the scenic Potomac River, the park provides a range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy.
If you are into hiking the trails or just spending some time outdoors, Leesylvania State Park has something for everyone.
The park’s historic significance, coupled with its serene atmosphere and beautiful views, makes it an ideal spot to spend a day surrounded by the beauty of nature.
12. Dine at the Secret Garden Café
Located in Occoquan Historic District, The Secret Garden Café is a hidden gem offering a delightful dining experience. The menu features a variety of mouthwatering brunch options, ranging from classic favorites to unique creations.
From fluffy omelets and stacks of pancakes to savory sandwiches and fresh salads, the café’s dishes are crafted with care and made with high-quality ingredients.
The Secret Garden Café is a perfect place to indulge in a delicious meal and enjoy a relaxed dining experience.
13. Discover local art at the Workhouse Arts Center
Housed in a former correctional facility, the Workhouse Arts Center has transformed into a creative haven, featuring galleries, studios, and performance spaces. Visitors have the opportunity to explore a diverse range of artistic mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics, and more.
The center hosts rotating exhibitions, allowing visitors to discover new artists and witness the creative process firsthand.
Workhouse Arts Center offers a unique opportunity to engage with the thriving arts scene in Woodbridge.
14. Visit the National Museum of the Marine Corps, located nearby in the Triangle
The National Museum of the Marine Corps is a must-visit attraction located just a short distance away in the Triangle area. This impressive museum provides a comprehensive look into the history, traditions, and achievements of the United States Marine Corps.
Through engaging exhibits, you can gain a deeper understanding of the Marine Corps’ role in American history and its contributions to national security.
The museum’s state-of-the-art design and informative exhibits make it a fascinating destination for both military history enthusiasts and those looking to learn more about the proud legacy of the Marines.
15. Savor authentic Mexican cuisine at Malones of Manassas
Malones of Manassas is a fantastic restaurant in nearby Manassas that offers a delightful culinary experience with a focus on authentic Mexican cuisine.
Malones of Manassas offers a diverse menu that showcases the rich flavors and vibrant ingredients of Mexican cuisine. From traditional favorites like enchiladas and tacos to unique dishes with a modern twist, there’s something to please every palate.
The restaurant’s dedication to using fresh, high-quality ingredients ensures a memorable dining experience for lovers of Mexican cuisine.