The Virginia American Revolution 250 Commission (VA250) will commemorate the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution, the Revolutionary War, and the fight for independence. Virginia had a defining role in the creation of our nation. Virginia’s history is America’s story. Special exhibits and events are planned through 2024, 2025 and 2026.

Central and Southern Virginia

The Virginia Museum of History & Culture, Richmond – upcoming special exhibits:

  •  Julia Child: A Recipe for Life, a new exhibition, that will be on display from March 16-Sept. 2, 2024, will tell the story of culinary icon Julia Child through sight, sound, and smell. This exhibition will feature video, audio, photographs, memorabilia, recreated scenes from the chef’s life, and a special section exclusive to VMHC that highlights Julia Child’s impact on generations of Virginians.
  • A Better Life for Their Children: Julius Rosenwald, Booker T. Washington, and the 4,978 Schools That Changed America. This exhibition features eighty-five duotone images and an introduction by the late Congressman John Lewis, who attended a Rosenwald school in Alabama. Exhibit runs May 25, 2024 – April 20, 2025
  • Traveling Bricks, one of the largest exhibitions of LEGO® models in the world. Themed on the evolution of transportation, visitors will explore installations by master builders in four distinct sections for air, land, sea, and space. With more than 1,000,000 LEGO® bricks and 120 LEGO® models, visitors will learn about record breakers and the history of transportation innovation in this fun and interactive experience including a play zone to practice your own master building techniques. The exhibit runs October 19, 2024- January 5, 2025.

The Library of Virginia in Richmond is debuting a new exhibit highlighting Virginia’s Indigenous history and how the tribes remain a vital part of Virginia’s culture today. The exhibit titled Indigenous Perspectives will run from Dec. 5, 2023 – Aug. 17, 2024 and showcases video interviews with Virginia tribe citizens, archival records from the Library’s collections, and tribal objects such as eel pots, regalia, and quilts that reflect their traditions and culture.

Glass Hollow, projected to open in Nelson County in September 2024, will be a unique destination where visitors can watch the magic of glass blowing, and peruse a gallery featuring celebrated local and national artists along the 151 Wine Trail. The venue is located on a beautiful 8-acre property with mountain and river views.

The Omni Charlottesville underwent a complete renovation in 2023. A $15 million investment has transformed the hotel from top to bottom with updated guest rooms, public spaces, dining venue and the addition of three new meeting spaces.

Bloomsbury, the 18th century Taylor family home in Orange County, has recently become available for tours, by appointment only, through the James Madison Museum of Orange County Heritage. The original wing of the home was built by Capt. James Taylor, III between 1729 and 1740.  Dendrochronology will be performed in October this year to clarify the construction date. The addition was added by the Quarles family circa 1797.

Nestled in the center of Historic Old Towne Petersburg, the reimagined Hotel Petersburg will open its doors in Summer 2024. A century in the making, the upscale boutique hotel will include 68 sleeping rooms with a restaurant, rooftop bar, and outdoor courtyard.

Coastal Virginia – Chesapeake Bay, Hampton Roads, Eastern Shore

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach will welcome guests into the newly renovated and expanded South Building in January 2024. Holding nearly 20,000 gallons of water and more than a dozen species, the South Building’s renovated spaces will have immersive experiences with interactive exhibits, kid’s play areas, touch pools, an observable veterinary care center, interactive water quality lab, outdoor play areas, and more.

Loch Ness Monster, the iconic, registered landmark interlocking loop roller coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg celebrates 46 years as Busch Gardens’ most iconic attraction with a full restoration in 2024, including all-new thematic and experiential elements. Anticipated opening Spring 2024.

2024 marks the 50th anniversary for the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival. Celebrate the 50th Annual Boardwalk Weekend, September 27-29, with concerts scattered along 30+ blocks of the Virginia Beach  boardwalk, an Art & Craft Show with 200+ vendors, magnificent sand sculptures created by world-renowned international sculptors, an 8k race, a grand parade, and more.

After recently breaking ground on a $4.3 million expansion to its 23-acre campus, the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News is constructing a 5,000 sq. ft. Wild Care Center along the museum’s outdoor boardwalk trail. The Care Center will create a literal window into the world of veterinary and preventative animal care, nutrition, and the connection between humans and the environment. Expected opening Summer 2024.

One of Virginia’s beloved coastal resorts, The Tides Inn, completed a $3.6 million shoreline restoration project featuring a “living shoreline” and boardwalk. New ecology tours have been added highlighting the Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab and Eastern oysters.

Hampton Roads Harbor Tours on the Hampton Queen offer daily narrated sightseeing history cruises and private events.

The Norfolk Botanical Gardens has started construction of the Garden of Tomorrow. Slated to be finished in 2024, the Garden of Tomorrow focuses on accessibility, sustainability and improving the gardens green impact. With a new expanded parking garden, new entry pavilion and state-of-the-art conservatory, and new water education and rowing center on the waterfront.

Rivers Casino Portsmouth - Rivers Casino Portsmouth is a world-class $300 million investment. The complex features a casino, event and conference venues, premier restaurants, a movie theater and more. A hotel is planned in future years.

Hackers at Hilltop is a new restaurant concept in Virginia Beach that opened this fall featuring eight golf simulator rooms, private event space, a cigar lounge and outdoor dining area.

Great Wolf Lodge has fully renovated and redesigned guest suites and conference center with new digital equipment, flooring, wall paint and furnishings.

Colonial Williamsburg will be hosting special events and programming in 2024 tied to important events in our nation’s history. Here are just a few of the events you can learn about at Colonial Williamsburg in 2024.

  • Winter: Colonial Williamsburg commemorates 100 years celebrating the opening of the Capitol building in February 1934 and the Governor’s Palace in April 1934, some of the first sites to open as public exhibition spaces for guests.
  • Spring: Commemorate pivotal moments in our shared American history including local reactions to the Boston Tea Party, calls for the First Continental Congress, and closer to home, Lord Dunmore dissolving the House of Burgesses. Guests can enjoy new experiences at the Raleigh Tavern and the Governor’s Palace in spring.
  • Summer: Experience our Historic Trades in action with new and refreshed experiences at trade shops throughout the Historic Area, including the Tailor and Weaver shops.
  • Fall: In September, the Williamsburg Bray School will open as a public site for the very first time. Learn more about Ann Wager, the headmistress of the school, hear stories of her students, and learn about Colonial Williamsburg’s process to preserve and restore this original 18th-century building. We’ll launch our new 100th anniversary walking tour, Power of Place, sharing an insider look at our 1930s restoration.

Northern Virginia

Opened in September 2023, Sweet Run State Park is Virginia’s newest state park, an 844-acre greenspace nestled between the Blue Ridge and Short Hill mountains in far western Loudoun County. The park features 11 miles of hiking trails, nine miles of equestrian trails, two streams, dense forest and a rugged stretch of the world-famous Appalachian Trail. There is also a picnic pavilion, a “nature play area” for children and a fishing pond stocked with sunfish and largemouth bass.

Senator John Warner Maritime Heritage Center, Home of Tall Ship Providence – Opened in Spring of 2023 on the Alexandria Waterfront – Visit the floating museum and education center. Experience the first warship, Providence, authorized by the Continental Congress for the Continental Navy. STEM workshops include Navigation, Knot Tying and Mechanical Advantage.

Slated to open in the heart of Old Town Alexandria in May 2024, Hotel Heron is Aparium Hotel Group’s flagship adaptive-reuse development, located steps from the bustling King Street mile. Originally occupied from 1926 to 1971 by the George Mason Hotel, the new space includes 134 guest rooms and 30,000 square feet of hotel amenities, including a hearth-inspired restaurant offering Mid-Atlantic cuisine, a cozy cocktail bar, and a seasonal rooftop bar, as well as meeting space and ground floor retail

From March – November 2024, the newest temporary public art installation at Alexandria’s waterfront explores the impact of an asteroid that hit the earth 35 million years ago near what is now Alexandria. Created by artist/architect duo Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang, Interstellar Influencer (Make an Impact) utilizes metal, water and light to create a 1:1000 scale representation of the asteroid and the 85-kilometer wide, 1.5-kilometer deep crater it left behind, which helped to shape the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed and the flow of water through its rivers and tributaries in the process.

In mid-summer 2023, Springfield Town Center in Northern Virginia welcomed the opening of LEGO Discovery Center, a 32,000 square foot indoor LEGO attraction that features millions of LEGO bricks and multiple attractions. Billed as the ultimate indoor LEGO playground, this will be the very first location in Virginia.

George Mason’s Gunston Hall is restoring its magnificent river-side garden, which will enhance the authenticity of the historic property, reveal much about the Founding Father himself, and provide an educational setting as distinctive as Mason’s original garden design for the signature landscape feature of his home – the Home of American Rights. The restoration is the culmination of more than four decades of archaeological research. 

FXBG Civil Rights Trail: Freedom, A Work in Progress driving and walking tour launched in spring 2023.  Timeline for the tour begins at the end of the Civil War in 1865, through the Jim Crow era segregation and up until the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.

Opening soon, The Rose Gaming Resort Dumfries is a $372 million dollar gaming and entertainment complex destination, located alongside I-95 in Dumfries. The Rose Gaming Resort will include a luxury hotel, eight bars and restaurants, a cultural venue, 15,000 sq. ft. of space for meetings and events, and over 80 acres of green space with miles of hiking and fitness trails, athletic fields, playgrounds and more. The Rose will not have table games or traditional slot machines but will have historical horse racing (HHR) games.

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions is opening in 2026 in Spotsylvania County (south of Fredericksburg). The property will feature 907 guest rooms, a 175,000 sq. ft. indoor water park, adventure park, outdoor pools, 12 restaurants and more!

Shenandoah Valley and Virginia Mountains

The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs completed a $150+ million-dollar property-wide renovation project. The extensive renovation project began in October 2021 with the $4.6 million rehabilitation of the Warm Springs Pools, which reopened in December 2022. The full renovation encompasses 483 guest rooms, a brand-new 4,000 square foot event pavilion, 72,000 square feet of meeting space, an array of fine and casual dining options, and more.

The Virginia Scenic Railway debuted to the public in Fall 2022 in Staunton. Travelers can sit back and enjoy the modernized ambiance of a 1940s passenger car through some of Virginia’s prettiest scenery, including the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Due to the immediate popularity during its inaugural season, the railway provided expanded service and more passenger cars for the 2023 season. Two route options offered Thursday – Sunday. Tickets for the 3-hour tour includes meal, dessert and beverage in souvenir glass. Group and private charters available.

Caesars Virginia, a premier destination resort casino, is coming to Danville in fall 2024. Property plans include a 500-room hotel and a world-class casino gaming floor with over 1,300 slots, 85 live table games, 24 electronic table games, a WSOP poker room and a Caesars Sportsbook. In addition, the resort will feature a full-service spa, pool, high-quality bars and restaurants, a 2,500-seat state-of-the-art live entertainment theater and 40,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.

The Holbrook Hotel opened November 2023 in a former doctor’s office on Danville’s Main and Holbrook streets. The property offers 45 luxury suites with kitchenettes and a mid-century aesthetic.

Southwest Virginia - Blue Ridge Highlands/Heart of Appalachia

With a projected opening in Summer 2024, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol will feature a 300-room hotel (additional 350 rooms will added later in tower 2), five restaurants, four bars and lounges, new entertainment options, 50,000 sq. ft. of wedding and convention facilities, top-notch retailers, and an indoor and outdoor concert venue that will further solidify Bristol as the true “Birthplace of Country Music.” The casino will feature 1,500 slots, 55 tables, and a sportsbook.

Squabble State Farms is coming to Washington County in Spring 2024. Three miles from the new Bristol Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the vision is a 68-acre agritourism destination featuring an apple orchard, hard cidery, distillery, nature trails, music venue, and scenic views for miles.

The newly opened Damascus Trail Center is a regional hub for outdoor recreation uniting visitors and volunteers with a wide range of natural resources in the region. The Trail Center is ideally positioned to greet visitors of three of the area’s most renowned National Trails: the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT), the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, and the Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail.

The Highlander Hotel opened in Radford in April 2023 and overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains. The new hotel features 120 hotel rooms and 4 luxury living suites, more than 6,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 4,000-square-foot ballroom, a rooftop restaurant and bar and complimentary parking.