From paddling to cocktails, mountain biking to fine dining, the Southside Virginia city of Danville offers plenty of attractions for a long weekend escape.
Nestled along the Dan River in the foothills of Piedmont Virginia, Danville is the perfect place to pursue a weekend of outdoor adventure, leisurely exploration, and delicious food and beverages.
Here’s just one itinerary for a Friday-Sunday visit.
Whether you arrive in Danville by train, bus, or car, head straight to Di’lishi for an espresso, nitro coffee, frozen yogurt smoothie, or customized frozen yogurt dish with a hot muffin bowl or cookie crust.
From there, settle in with a walk or bike ride along Danville’s Riverwalk Trail, which links parks, historic sites and businesses along 9 miles of trail that run alongside the beautiful Dan River. You can access the Riverwalk Trail from Dan Daniel Memorial Park and Anglers Parks, the Carrington Pavilion, the Danville Science Center and historic downtown Danville.
By this time, you’ve probably worked up an appetite, so head over to Me’s Burgers and Brews, “where every burger tells a great story.” Me’s excels for burgers and craft beer, of course, but it’s also got eclectic desserts, including its house favorite glazed doughnut bread pudding. Its owners have worked to create a neighborhood hang-out with a local vibe. Me’s website even offers a glimpse at what its owners are currently reading.
Cap off the night with an exploration of Danville craft beer at Ballad Brewing. Ballad’s owners saturated the brewery in local history, building it in an 1891 warehouse once at the forefront of the regional tobacco industry. The brewers have fused their love of local history and lore—such as the Wreck of the Old 97, a 1903 train derailment that happened nearby and inspired a country-music classic—with their love of beer for an experience unique to Danville.
We’re packing a lot into our Saturday, so start early with breakfast at Links Coffee House Cafe, which opens at 7 a.m. Links combines the best of a coffeehouse environment with a wide variety in gourmet coffee drinks, desserts, pastries and breakfast & lunch menus. Its coffee drink selections are based on fresh-roasted organic beans from a local roasting house.
With food in your belly and caffeine in your veins, it’s time to hit the trails on a mountain bike. You can find several epic rides within a short radius of Danville, but the best known is Angler’s Ridge, a 35-mile network of single-track trail built to IMBA specs. These trails offer nicely flowing runs with technical features such as roots, rock gardens and steeper switchbacks. Some sections also feature log pyramids, berms and bridges. You can attack Angler’s Ridge several different ways, depending on your skill level and what kind of ride you want to build.
To cool down, visit the Danville Farmers Market, open every Saturday from May through October. Here you can find farm-fresh produce, meats, eggs, baked goods, coffee, wine, crafts, and more. You might even hear some music or catch a local event.
For lunch, we’re visiting another building in the historic Tobacco Warehouse District and exploring the tastes of the Golden Leaf Bistro. The bistro celebrates local seasonal ingredients throughout its signature dishes and classic favorites, all in an elegant atmosphere rich in local heritage.
After lunch, choose your own adventure from three options. One, you can visit the Danville Science Center, a great option for kids of all ages (even grown-up ones). The science center runs season exhibits as well as permanent exhibits, such as the train-themed Crescent Crossing for pre-schoolers, a small-scale town perfect for 3- to 7-year-olds, and a science fundamentals exhibit that showcases the secrets of biology, gravity, friction, force, light and magnetism.
Second, take a tour of Danville. Choose from taking one of three historic walking tours: the magnificent Millionaires Row; the Holbrook-Ross District, the professional African-American neighborhood created after the Civil War; or the Tobacco Warehouse District, where you’ll see the best of industrial architecture built in the late 1880s. For something a little different, book a history tour with Bright Leaf Segway Tours.
Third, enjoy the retail shopping to be found in the River District. Whether fashion, antiques, consignment clothes, handcrafted items, or even watches, find a store to meet your desires in Danville.
We hope you worked up an appetite, because it’s time for supper at King Cropp Food. King Cropp employs fresh, local ingredients to make both well-loved tradition dishes as well as new tastes and cultures. King Cropp also runs a food truck that stops in Danville neighborhoods and at local festivals and special events.
Wrap up the evening at Mucho Taqueria, which specializes in tacos and tequila. Located in the River District, the taqueria features a restored and repurposed building. It also offers your choice of 85(!) tequilas, available in short or long pours. Pro-tip: Find a seat by the fire pit on the outdoor patio.
It’s time to finish strong. Begin your Sunday with breakfast at Crema & Vine, located along Millionaire’s Row in a former Exxon gas and service station. The setting is awesome, and so is the food.
Wrap up your time in Danville with an active Sunday morning. Explore the Dan River by canoe or kayak. Weekend rentals are available at the boat house in Abreu-Grogan Park on Saturdays, or bring your own. Fishing is a year-round option on the Dan River, or just enjoy a day on the water.
Then check out Danville’s zipline and adventure course. Danville also has a high ropes course with a heeby jeeby/multi-vine, an island hop that connects platforms with a walking bridge, a rope swing with multiple foot swings, and of course the 400-foot zipline that concludes the course.
Before heading out of town, fill your belly one more time with lunch at Cotton at Riverside Mill. Your eyes will enjoy the vintage advertisements and retro chic furnishings and fixtures. And your mouth will thrill to fire-roasted pizza, a weekend brunch, and premium burgers and bourbon.
And that’s our weekend in Danville. Hmm. Now that we’re looking back at this itinerary, maybe you’d book an extra night and stay over into Monday.