WHAT'S NEW FOR GROUPS
After years of construction, three Metro Silver line stations opened in Loudoun in late 2022, connecting the county with direct public rail to Washington DC. The three stops are Dulles International Airport, Loudoun Gateway, and Ashburn Station. For the first time since Dulles Airport opened in 1962, travelers will have a fast, easy, inexpensive rapid transit option for getting from Dulles to points throughout Northern Virginia and downtown DC.
The Garden Club of Virginia is celebrating its 90th Anniversary of Historic Garden Week in 2023. The statewide event runs from April 15-22 and includes 30 unique tours hosted by 48 clubs across the Commonwealth.
Albemarle County will welcome two new wineries in 2023, Southwest Mountains Vineyards and Paradise Springs Winery. This will be Paradise Springs’ third location and its second location in Virginia. This will push the number of wineries in the Charlottesville area to nearly 45.
The Darden Business School in Albemarle County will open The Forum Hotel, managed by Kimpton Hotels, in April 2023. The new hotel will feature 199 hotel rooms and suites, more than 19,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 6,500-square-foot ballroom, a pub, sports bar and coffee shop as well as five acres of natural green space featuring an arboretum and botanical gardens.
Holiday Inn Express opened a new location in early 2022 in the Pantops area of Charlottesville along US Rt. 250.
Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest - The beautiful Poplar Forest Parkway, the two-mile entrance road and accompanying trail system to the historic house, is open and an impressive start to every visit. Historical wayside exhibits will be added in the future offering opportunities to learn more about the plantation and its enslaved residents.
Woodspring Suites opened in the City of Lynchburg April 2022 and is located near Liberty University. Woodspring Suites is a collection of extended stay hotels where guests can find affordable rates, smartly designed suites, and in-room kitchens.
The Virginia Foothills Distillery, owned and operated by Craig Hartman – owner of BBQ Exchange and Champion Ice House, will open in summer 2023 and will be the first distillery in Orange County.
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.
Richmond’s brand-new entertainment and food venue, The Park RVA, features a number of activities including indoor mini golf, duckpin bowling, and karaoke. The Park RVA will be a one-stop-shop entertainment venue for adults and families to enjoy.
The Moxy Hotel, located in downtown Richmond, opened August 2022 with 100 guest rooms. Moxy Hotels provide a fun, lively atmosphere for guests to work and socialize. Everything about the Moxy experience is tech-enabled: keyless entry to guest rooms, smart TVs to stream favorite shows, and USB outlets keep guests effortlessly connected to their digital lives.
Kings Dominion has expanded to year-round operation, with weekends added to the operations calendar in January, February and early March, with regular park operations continuing throughout the rest of the year. Virginia’s first 4D Spin Coaster, Tumbili, debuted in spring 2022. This 4D Spin Coaster gives riders the feeling of weightlessness as they cruise along the track tumbling and spinning head over heels in the rainforest tree canopy.
Virginia Museum of History & Culture, Richmond – Newly renovated ($30 million) and reimagined. It’s a Virginia history museum, research library, and educational facility all wrapped in one. The renewed museum complex includes multiple new exhibition spaces; an immersive orientation theater; an interactive learning space; new education/meeting rooms; a new café, museum store and other amenities.
Breeze Airways expanded air service from Richmond to Phoenix, AZ. One of nine non-stop destinations served.
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.
COASTAL VIRGINIA/HAMPTON ROADS/EASTERN SHORE
400 Years Forward welcomed new heritage tours in 2022. The 400 Years Forward mobile tour or driving tour are available.
Hampton Roads Harbor Tours on the Hampton Queen will offer daily narrated sightseeing history cruises and private events starting in April 2023.
Downtown Newport News, branded The Yard District in a nod to Newport News Shipyard, is quickly evolving into a scenic and vibrant hot spot. A restaurant row has popped up along 23rd Street, where Ironclad Distillery and Coastal Fermentory have already established roots. During this revitalization effort, plans are also being made for a coffee and wine bar, retail shops, and a large full-service restaurant in 2023.
The Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center at Christopher Newport University – A stunning new gem among Virginia's visual arts organizations, the Torggler Center features a magnificent rotunda topped by cascading glass domes; a spacious main gallery presenting art by nationally and internationally-recognized artists; a community gallery devoted to the work of local and regional artists; a microgallery for experimental projects; and an academic gallery displaying the work of students and faculty. The Torggler also offers year-round classes, workshops, and other educational programs for all ages. Admission is FREE.
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.
Breeze Airways expanded air service from Norfolk to Los Angeles, CA. One of fifteen non-stop destinations served.
HeadWaters Resort & Casino Norfolk (2024) - The Pamunkey Indian Tribe planned casino resort alongside Norfolk’s Harbor Park is set to be a $500 million resort and casino with a 300-plus room hotel, attached parking deck for about 2,000 cars, a spa, sports bar and grill, steakhouse, rooftop event space and multi-purpose event center.
Rivers Casino Portsmouth (Opening late Jan. 2023) - Rivers Casino Portsmouth is a world-class $300 million investment—planned for the new Entertainment District along Victory Boulevard. The complex will feature a casino, event and conference venues, premier restaurants, a movie theater and more. A hotel is planned in future years.
Embassy Suites by Hilton opens February 2023. Its 157 luxury hotel suites plus 10,000 sf. of meeting and event space feature a host of first-class amenities. Indoor and outdoor pools, a 24/7 fitness center, and a pair of new eateries – Arbuckle’s Bar & Grill and beachfront dining at the Taco & Tequila Shack – make it a destination all its own.
Hackers at Hilltop is a new restaurant concept in Virginia Beach that opens this fall featuring eight golf simulator rooms, private event space, a cigar lounge and outdoor dining area.
Chesapeake Bay Pedal Club - Hop aboard the new 20-passenger Cycleboat pub with your group and explore the waters of Rudee Inlet from April through October. Two-hour cruise tickets are sold by the seat for several daily sailings including the popular sunset cruise. Each pontoon boat is stocked with ice-filled coolers, bottled water, and room for your favorite beer/wine and picnic additions. Pedalboat captains are USCG certified, and the vessels also are available to rent for private outings and special events.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg debuted DarKoaster in 2023. Billed as North America’s First All-Indoor Straddle Coaster, riders will travel on snowmobiles across 2,454 feet of track and race through total darkness while changing course to avoid the elements. As the weather strikes, riders encounter four accelerating launches on this family-friendly dark ride experience.
Water Country USA debuted Riptide Race in Summer 2023. Virginia’s First Dueling Pipeline, this adrenaline-pumping water slide pits teams against each other as riders take their mark atop a 54-foot tower before racing through 520 feet of slide, with low walls to keep an eye on the competition.
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.
Beale’s Brewery Yorktown Taproom is slated to open in winter 2023 on Route 17. The draft list will feature a variety of Beale’s most popular brews as well as small-batch, Yorktown-only releases. Plans also include a kitchen (think local seafood and American eats), outdoor patio seating, two full-service bars, and a private dining room for parties and events.
The Duke of York Hotel has a new name—Yorktown Beach Hotel—new ownership, and a new look for 2022! The improvements largely focus on the infrastructure of the hotel, bringing a beach aesthetic with more modern conveniences, including state-of-the-art wireless internet service.
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center underwent a $10 million renovation, including enhancements to meeting spaces, guestrooms and more. The property reopened in May 2022.
Senator John Warner Maritime Heritage Center, Home of Tall Ship Providence – Opening Spring 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.
Doyle’s Outpost – A 16,000 sq/ft destination with elevated service, sports bar/restaurant and event space. Featuring a 5,500 sq/ft 2 story Battle for DC themed laser tag arena, Hologate virtual reality stations and popular arcade games. Gaming and group catering packages.
Freedom House Museum Reopening and More Black History Experiences: Following extensive renovations, the museum reopened in 2022 with a brand-new multi-room exhibit elevating the stories of the thousands of men, women and children who were held in the headquarters of the nation’s one-time largest domestic slave trading firm. Also in 2022, the City debuted a southern route of the self-guided walking waterfront African American Heritage Trail.
Reopening of DEA Museum: The Museum, which originally debuted in 1999, has been reimagined by staff and partners to engage and educate the public in a colorful, contemporary space. Interactive exhibits featuring hands-on activities, artifacts, and diverse, personal histories make the Museum a modern and compelling exploration of the long, dynamic history of drug use, misuse, and law enforcement unlike any other.
Astro Beer Hall will be expanding from DC and opening its second location, a 14,000 square-foot concept in Shirlington. Targeted for opening in early 2023, this location will include local beer along with Astro’s famous fried chicken and donuts, as well as over-the-top sandwiches and more. Astro Beer Hall Shirlington will feature seating for up to 500 guests inside and 80 guests on the large outdoor patio.
Black Heritage Museum of Arlington held its grand opening in its home along Columbia Pike in September 2022. The Black Heritage Museum of Arlington celebrates the African American Journey to Freedom, providing a focal point exhibit on Arlington’s Freedman’s Village and contributions made by its residents and their descendants to local and national history.
Tysons Corner Marriott recently completed a $25 million floor-to-ceiling renovation. Some of the enhancements included a new lobby, 400 fully transformed guest rooms, over 12,000 square feet of reimagined event space and two additional event spaces, a state-of-the-art fitness center with Peloton bikes, a refreshed dining space inspired by a sophisticated Gastropub, and the addition of a 24-hour M Club for Marriott Bonvoy members.
In mid-summer 2023, Springfield Town Center in Northern Virginia will welcome 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.
The Archer Hotel Falls Church, is located in the innovative retail and entertainment district, Mosaic. This property features chic new interiors, dramatic lighting, locally curated art, a new lively bar under the AKB brand, redesigned suites and guest rooms, complimentary amenities and thoughtful touches.
Sheraton Reston has completed its massive renovation of the 302-room hotel with a new contemporary focus that draws inspiration from the history of Northern Virginia, and the unique planned community history of Reston itself.
The Watermark Hotel is a 300-key, all-suite elevated residential-style property located at Capital One Center, the new entertainment complex at the corporation’s headquarters in Tysons, Virginia. The hotel has been thoughtfully designed with oversized suites, upscale furnishings and convenient access to Northern Virginia & Washington, DC’s amenities. The property’s lobby opens up to The Perch, a breathtaking village green soaring 11 stories above street level (which features a Biergarten, amphitheater, dog park, food truck experience, and mini-golf course). The Perch sits atop Capital One Hall, the region’s newest performance venue, which already has an impressive lineup of concerts, Broadway, holiday shows, and more.
In central Fairfax, VA, Honor Brewing Co. has announced a collaboration with the Cordero Brothers to open Honor Brewing Kitchen, a brewpub serving up delicious American cuisine, Honor brews among other local breweries, and a selection of wine and spirits.
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.
The Conche Chocolate & Cake Studio opened in October 2022, which allowed Chef Santosh Tiptur to expand hist chocolate emporium beyond his original Village at Leesburg location. The studio is able to host birthday parties, summer camps and an exciting amount of chocolate making classes.
The brand-new Tru by Hilton Ashburn has 125 modern and efficient sleeping rooms and is located at One Loudoun in Ashburn, which is a shopping/restaurant hub just about 25 miles from Washington, D.C.
Flying Ace Farm Brewery continues to expand. Located on a 55-acre working farm of a former Air Force pilot, Flying Ace is the county’s first farm brewery and distillery. In 2023, a restored barn on the premises is set to serve as an outpost of Purcellville-based Monk’s BBQ. Beer, bourbon and brisket – what more could you possibly need?
The National Botanic Garden is a 250-acre garden in Chantilly set to open to the public in 2024. East Coast’s largest water-borne Xeric gardens – also known as water-wise gardens.
Prince William County
The Rose Gaming Resort Dumfries (fall 2023) is a $400 million dollar gaming and entertainment complex destination, located alongside I-95 in Dumfries. Along with exciting gaming action, The Rose Gaming Resort will include a luxury hotel, eight bars and restaurants, a cultural venue, a 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 Virginia Scenic Railway debuted to the public in Fall 2022. 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 will provide expanded service and more passenger cars for the 2023 season. Two route options offered Thursday – Sunday. Tickets include meal, dessert and beverage in souvenir glass.
Caesars Virginia (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.
Blevins Family Vineyard opened May 2022. This vineyard will make the third active winery in Halifax County. In addition to the tasting room and beautiful vineyard, the property will also serve as an events space in the County.
Apocalypse Ale Works has opened Apocalypse Cidery & Winery in the building located next to the brewery. Wines will include a bourbon-barrel Chardonnay, bourbon-barrel Cabernet, an Australian Shiraz that has been aged with Hungarian oak, as well as Pinot Grigio, Moscato and. All the ciders will be made 100% from local apples from farms within a 50-mile radius. Both venues will offer live music.
SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA - BLUE RIDGE HIGHLANDS/HEART OF APPALACHIA
Summers Roof and Cellar opened to the public in Abingdon’s historic downtown. The newly renovated space houses one restaurant with two welcoming spaces, including a remarkable rooftop venue.
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Bristol, which opened their temporary casino during Summer 2022, recently broke ground for their new permanent property with 750 guest rooms in Bristol with plans for a Summer 2024 grand opening. The destination resort will have something for everyone: world-class dining, new entertainment options, 50,000 sq. ft. of wedding and convention facilities, top-notch retailers and indoor and outdoor concert venues that will further solidify Bristol as the true “Birthplace of Country Music.”
Birthplace of Country Music has a learning center space that accommodates up to 50 people that can be used for groups and a theatre that seats up to 100 people. Open to groups with some capacity limitations. The museum will be expanding in 2-3 year. Special group pricing for Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion – Sept. 8-10, 2023.
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.
Sugar + Flour, a coffee shop, bakery, and boutique event space, opened in Pearisburg in 2022.
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.
The Millwald Theatre opened in late 2022 and debuts its first full season in 2023. The newly restored theatre is located in the heart of Downtown Wytheville and was originally built in 1928. The theatre will host live musical performances, movies, comedians, concerts, workshops, and free community events.
FOR MORE EXCITING DEVELOPMENTS SEE WHAT'S NEW IN VIRGINIA