By now you may have heard: Lynchburg ranked in the nation’s Top 10 cities with the highest sense of well-being. Basically, these are the cities where people are the happiest and healthiest.
Out of 189 communities, the Gallup-Healthways 2016 Community Well-Being Rankings ranked us number eight. Plus, we were one of only two Virginia cities to make it into the top 10; our close neighbor, Charlottesville, came in at #5. Like them, we have a thriving downtown, which we think serves both as an anchor and a litmus test for the well being of a community on the whole.
Here’s why we think Downtown Lynchburg makes us all a bit more “happy, healthy and wise.”
Health Matters—mind, body, & soul
Downtown Lynchburg is a fitness aficionado’s dream come true. Ever tried walking from Jefferson up to Main via 9th Street? You’ll know what we mean (we are the Hill City after all).
And for the truly dedicated, you can keep on going right up the 139 steps of Monument Terrace where you’ll be rewarded with an Instagram-worthy view of the #DowntownLynchburg area.
Rent a bike for the day and take in the views of the James River from the RiverWalk Trail. Or, find out for yourself why Lynchburg’s been nationally recognized as a RRCA Runner Friendly Community and explore the Blackwater Creek trails.
Of course, health is much more than trail running—it’s mind, body and soul. So, challenge your mind with a trip to Amazement Square, our national award winning kid’s museum, or try out one of several yogastudios that are popping up throughout the downtown district.
Fuel your body with some great local fare from the farmers and vendors at the Lynchburg Community Market. Plus, check out our food truck scene, usually housed around 12th and Main. You can even enjoy Downtown Lynchburg’s first and only salad and juice bar at Crisp, newly opened in a larger location at the corner of Church and 12th.
Ever heard of Live Healthy Lynchburg? They contribute to the promotion of races like the Percival’s Island 5 Mile Race produced by Lynchburg Road Runners Club that gives you great views of Downtown Lynchburg and the James River. The list goes on and on, but don’t forget this: Downtown Lynchburg makes it easy to be healthy and active. Find some more ideas to get out and about here.
A Thriving Social Scene—seriously!
With the weather (finally!) warming up, we can’t wait to get back out to some of our favorite Downtown Lynchburg restaurants offering al fresco dining. And since last year, even more restaurants have popped up—grab some drinks and enjoy the expansive view of Riverfront Park at The Water Dog or check out the Emerald Stone Grille—Jefferson Street's newest restaurant, open until midnight during the week and until 2am on the weekend!
Don't miss First Fridays, a one-of-a-kind community experience offering free admission to art exhibits and museums throughout the downtown area, like Riverviews Artspace where you can find exhibits, co-op galleries, artist's spaces, special events, and more! Bring the whole family and gain an appreciation for the finer things in life.
Downtown Lynchburg also offers plenty of cultural options throughout the year, from our Academy Center of the Arts, where classes and shows are available, to the Renaissance Theatre—Lynchburg's oldest community theatre—to the Opera on the James, now going into their second decade of providing high-class entertainment to the entire Southwest Virginia region.
And don’t miss the once a year events that really set us apart—Lynchstock (coming downtown for the first time this spring), the first ever Lynchburg Food Fest, the Riverfront Park Concert Series, and Get Downtown, our largest, annual outdoor festival that fills the streets of downtown with vendors, activities, food, drinks and more.
A Strong Sense of Purpose—people care about their community
History matters here. We know where we come from and take that with us into future endeavors. Take the Lynchburg Museum, for example, housed in our old courthouse and now overlooking all the downtown happenings, acting as a beacon to remind us where we came from.
We love projects that carry weight and purpose. The Virginian is a prime symbol of these efforts, marrying history and business development all in one location. By early 2018, the storied building will once again house community members and visitors alike with boutique hotel accommodations, a restaurant, and a rooftop area.
The community has also rallied to bring other icons back to life like our historic Academy Center of the Arts, a decades-long project finally nearing completion.
Our history permeates the Downtown. You can spend time selecting fresh produce and local wares from our 234-year-old Community Market or strolling the cobblestones of Jefferson Street where you can spot new businesses, lofts and venues popping up all the time.
With all of these great qualities, it’s easy to see why Lynchburg is not just a place for lovers but is also a place so many of us love.
So tell us, why do you love living here? And what are your favorite things about Downtown Lynchburg? Share your discoveries with #DowntownLynchburg—we can’t wait to see them!