Walking Tours in Virginia are Ideal for Experiencing the Culture

Outdoor & Adventure, Virginia Group Tour Guide

Learn all about Virginia’s art, history and culinary offerings on these fabulous tours

By Dave Bodle

Listening to authentic, entertaining stories told by a local guide expands your group’s knowledge of many Virginia communities you visit. There are so many advantages to a walking tour. Your group can venture through narrow streets, they don’t need to fight for the best seat on the bus and they’ll get some exercise while seeing the sights. Here are just four examples.

Mending Walls RVA in Virginia 

Once the best kept secret on I-95, Richmond has morphed into a great destination for packaged group travel. The city’s museums tell the story of the Commonwealth and nation’s history. There’s always something blooming in its wonderful gardens and the culinary scene is nothing short of fabulous. Then there’s world-class art, both indoors and outside.

Mending Walls is a collaboration of 32 talented artist creating 16 community engaged murals aimed at advancing social justice. They’re connecting community members and visitors from different backgrounds to engage in conversations of understanding. The best route for a group is the downtown walking tour led by an artist with intimate knowledge of the murals.

Groups should allow two hours for the tour that covers 1.5 miles and requires a minimum of 10 guests. One artist can accommodate up to 25 people. Larger groups will need to be split. There is a fee that covers the artist and small administrative costs. Learn more about Mending Walls RVA at mendingwallsrva.com, or reach out to schedule your group experience at mendingwallsrva@gmail.com.

Walking tours in Virginia

Walking tours in Virginia

Virginia’s Manumission Tour Company

Just across the Potomac River from our nation’s capital sits Alexandria. With its rich history and unspoiled 18th and 19th century architecture, it’s perfect for walkable tours. Manumission Tour Company is bringing the legacy of Africans and African Americans in Alexandria through guided cultural and heritage tours. Manumission is defined as the act of freeing or the state of being freed from slavery, servitude, etc. Led by their local guide, groups travel the streets of Old Town Alexandria to hear little known stories of people and events.

The 90-minute “Freedom’s Fight in Alexandria” walking tour takes visitors through the streets of Old Town. Participants gain insight into Alexandria’s pre-Civil War history of urban slavery and highlights the stories of runaway slaves, free African Americans and a pharmacist who questioned the “peculiar institution” of slavery. Another 90-minute guided tour is “Duke Street Black History” that follows the Duke Street corridor in Old Town Alexandria. Sites will connect you with the early Alexandria slave trade. You’ll visit the site of the Franklin & Armfield Office, the largest and most powerful slave traders. Entry into the Freedom House Museum is separate from the tour. The tour continues at the former Bruin Slave Jail site and connects your group to the early African American faith at Shiloh Baptist Church and the Alexandria National Cemetery. A third option is the “Stills Underground Railroad” Walking Tour. Another 90-minute guided tour following the King Street corridor and based on an 1872 non-fiction by abolitionist William Still, “The Underground Railroad.” The stories of escaped slaves and the sites they are associated, along with their journey are highlighted.

Manumission Tour Company fits groups of 25-30 quite nicely, but are no stranger to larger groups. Having handled student groups of up to 300, they are adapting at breaking up into smaller groups and staggering their tour with each its own guide. Learn more at manumissiontours.com, or call 703-719-2150.

Ghost Tours in Virginia

Ghost Tours in Virginia

The Ghost Tour in Williamsburg, VA

There are so many ways to fill your days when visiting Williamsburg. Rides, amusements and entertainment, or zipline high above the treetops. Delve into our nation’s history spanning more than four centuries, including archeological digs, historical re-enactments and gallery exhibits from art to history. Treat your palate with a tasty craft beer, or enjoy a tasting at one of the storied Virginia vineyards. It’s only natural that with all the history surrounding the Williamsburg area that the 2nd oldest ghost tour in the United States would be a popular evening choice.

Established in 1892, “The Ghost Tour” offers a variety of experiences, each led by a knowledgeable guide. “The Original Ghost of Williamsburg Candlelight Walking Tour” is a journey through the city’s history and folklore. It’s 90 minutes of narrative connecting the listener to the past along with some ghostly entertainment. This is an unforgettable experience that seamlessly blends the supernatural with history. If you’re serious about your ghost experience, join a seasoned paranormal investigator on a two-hour walk, “The Extreme Ghosts of Williamsburg Candlelight Walking Tour.” You’ll work with paranormal investigation equipment, while learning about different techniques and experiments. This walk is best suited for smaller groups.

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Join the Ghost Tour for “The Yorktown Hallowed Ground Candlelight Walking Tour,” a guided 90-minute journey through the dark streets of historic Yorktown. More than 230 years after the siege that effectively ended the American Revolution, locals still report hearing musket and cannon fire. “The Murder Tour and Pub Crawl” is popular with adult groups taking you through the dark streets and Williamsburg’s infamous crimes. Your ticket does include one drink. “The Lingering Spirits of the Williamsburg Winery Tour” is offered on select Mondays to limited size groups. The two-hour tour is a wine tasting along with a blend of ghost and paranormal stories that include the on-site Wedmore Hotel and Wine Cellar. October features the “Boos and Booz Haunted Pub Crawl,” hile December brings “The Williamsburg Christmas Spirits Candlelight Walking Tour” and “The Williamsburg Winery Spirits of Christmas: A Journey through the Ages.”

Begin planning at theghosttour.com, or send a message from the website. Groups can call or text 757-707-7144, or 757-936-1201. Ideal group size is 33 with a guide. Larger groups can be staggered.

Peanut Soup credit The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center - Visit VBR

The Peanut Soup is an iconic dish that has been served by the Hotel Roanoke for decades and is unique to Virginia. You’ll get to try it on the Downtown Roanoke Food & Cultural Tour.

Roanoke Downtown Food, History and Culture Tour

Roanoke and Virginia’s Blue Ridge have so many group-friendly things to see and do, from its railroad history and heritage to an exciting art and culture scene. Performance venues keep an annual calendar full of entertainment. Local artisan centers share the Bluegrass roots of the region, while there are amazing wineries and breweries to enjoy. If outdoor adventure is your group’s thing, you’ll be delighted to know that Blue Ridge Outdoors was awarded 2023 Top Adventure Towns winner. Before departing the region do make time for a visit to the Roanoke Star & Overlook. It’s a photo opportunity your group will remember.

Led by a passionate local tour guide the “Roanoke Downtown Food, History & Culture Tour” is a wonderful blend of food, local history, landmarks, culture and fun. Your journey will visit local eateries that feature delicious tastings. Along the way and back-alleys you’ll discover some hidden gems and landmarks that are part of the city’s lively history. Enjoy six food tasting locations in the downtown historic district. These locally owned restaurants will serve delicious samplings that together are enough for a generous meal. The food is the primary feature of the tour, but architectural information, historical facts and local culture combine for a special tour experience.

The tour lasts about three hours with walking at a moderate pace. Aside from regular tour dates listed in the online calendar, private tours can be arranged for a maximum of 14 participants. Tours begin at 11 a.m. at the Hotel Roanoke lobby. Although limited in the number of participants, the tour is an ideal option when combined with other tour alternatives, i.e. outdoor, railroad history or, art experiences. Visit online at roanokefoodtours.com, or reach out via e-mail at info@TourRoanoke.com, or 540-309-1781.

For more Virginia travel information, be sure to Download the Virginia Tour Guide and Subscribe to Leisure Group Travel for FREE

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