What is Virginia Known for? Discover Virginia’s Famous Facts, Foods, and Landmarks

Virginia is known for its rich history dating back to 1607, beautiful coastal and mountain landscapes, charming cities, and museums. No matter how long you’ve lived in Virginia, there’s always something new to learn about the state. 

Whether you’re looking to rent an apartment in Richmond or buy a home in Arlington, you may be wondering what else Virginia is known for. Read on to find out what makes Virginia famous and a great place to call home.

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Thriving economy and job opportunities

Virginia is known for its economy and job opportunities, home to technology, defense and aerospace, and healthcare industries. Some of the major corporations that drive the state’s economy include Sentara Healthcare, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Capital One Financial. 

Virginia’s top five employers

  • Sentara Healthcare
  • Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • Capital One Financial
  • Inova Health System
  • University of Virginia Health System
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Historic tourist attractions

  • Colonial Williamsburg is a living history museum that recreates life in 18th-century Virginia. This immersive museum allows you to explore historic buildings, interact with costumed interpreters, and learn about colonial-era crafts and trades.
  • Shenandoah National Park stretches along the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering hiking trails like Old Rag Mountain. You can also enjoy scenic drives along Skyline Drive and areas for wildlife viewing and camping amid the park’s natural beauty.
  • Richmond, the state capital, is home to countless historic sites like the Virginia State Capitol and the Museum of the Confederacy. You can explore the Richmond Canal Walk, visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and tour the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.
  • Virginia Beach is a popular coastal city known for its sandy beaches, boardwalk attractions, and outdoor activities like fishing and water sports. Activities include exploring the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center and enjoying dining and entertainment along the Oceanfront.
  • Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s historic estate near Charlottesville, offers guided tours of the mansion, gardens, and plantation grounds. You can learn about Jefferson’s influence in American history and the home’s architecture while enjoying views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Iconic regional cuisine

Virginia’s cuisine is a reflection of its rich history and regional influences, blending Southern, Chesapeake Bay, and Appalachian flavors. Chesapeake Bay blue crabs, often steamed and seasoned with Old Bay spice, are a beloved delicacy. Virginia ham, aged and smoked to perfection, is another iconic dish. Southern classics like shrimp and grits, country ham biscuits, and Virginia peanut soup are also popular across the state.

Top restaurants in Virginia

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Colonial history and arts scene

Virginia’s heritage is a blend of its colonial history, Civil War legacy, and a vibrant arts scene found in its historic cities and scenic landscapes. The state is home to plenty of museums like the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond and the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk.

Year-round events such as the Richmond Folk Festival and the Virginia Arts Festival draw audiences from across the nation. In cities like Richmond and Alexandria, you’ll find theaters, galleries, and performance spaces like The National and The Birchmere.

Five historic places and museums in Virginia

Did you know? Virginia is known as the “Mother of Presidents,” as eight U.S. presidents were born there, more than any other state.

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Range of landscapes

Virginia is home to a variety of landscapes, from charming coastal towns to scenic mountain ranges. For example, you’ll find the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west, part of the larger Appalachian Range, offering hiking trails, waterfalls, and Shenandoah National Park. The coastal region features the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, providing opportunities for boating and wildlife viewing, while the eastern shore has sandy beaches and barrier islands.

National and state parks in Virginia

  • Shenandoah National Park: Known for its scenic Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail, Shenandoah offers hiking trails, waterfalls, and opportunities for wildlife viewing, including black bears and deer.
  • First Landing State Park: Located on the Atlantic Ocean, this area offers swimming, boating, and hiking trails.
  • Grayson Highlands State Park: Known for its wild ponies and hiking trails with views of Mount Rogers, this state park is home to Virginia’s highest peak.
  • Great Falls Park: You’ll find scenic views of the Potomac River, the Mather Gorge, and hiking trails.
  • Prince William Forest Park: This park is home to lush forests, hiking trails, camping areas, and hidden streams.

Top-notch higher education

Located near Washington, DC, it’s no surprise that Virginia is home to prestigious universities. From research institutions to state colleges and private universities, there are plenty of options in Virginia.

Top universities

Professional and collegiate sports teams

Like many states, Virginia is known for its love of professional and collegiate sports, so there’s always a game to cheer for.

  • Washington Football Team (NFL)
  • Washington Nationals (MLB)
  • University of Virginia Cavaliers (Competing in NCAA Division I sports)
  • Virginia Tech Hokies (Competing in NCAA Division I sports)

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Popular Virginia phrases

In Virginia, you’ll discover expressions that reflect the state’s history and current atmosphere.

  • “Virginia Gold Cup,” the prestigious horse race at Colonial Downs.
  • “Virginia is for lovers,” the iconic state motto.
  • “NoVA,” means Northern Virginia.
  • “DMV,” refers to the DC, Maryland, and Virginia regions.

More things Virginia is known for

  • Old Dominion: Virginia’s nickname, the Old Dominion, reflects its history as one of the oldest English colonies in North America. It represents the state’s historical significance during the colonial and Revolutionary War periods.
  • Civil War History: Virginia played a pivotal role in the Civil War, with sites like Manassas National Battlefield Park, Fredericksburg, and Appomattox Court House preserving significant events and battlefields.
  • NASA Langley Research Center: Located in Hampton, NASA Langley has been at the forefront of aerospace research and innovation, contributing to America’s space exploration efforts and technological advancements.
  • Professional and collegiate sports teams: Like many states, Virginia is known for its love of professional and collegiate sports. You can find the Washington Football Team (NFL), Washington Nationals (MLB), University of Virginia Cavaliers (competing in NCAA Division I sports), and Virginia Tech Hokies (competing in NCAA Division I sports) in the state.

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