Purcellville Virginia is a small town packed with great places to dine and drink, quirky shopping, easy access to trails, and beautiful countryside perfect for a Northern VA day trip. We’ve rounded up 8 great things to do in Purcellville, whether you’re visiting on a DC day trip, stopping by on a Virginia scenic drive, or enjoying a vacation getaway.
Extend your fun with an weekend getaway in historic Leesburg to fully explore the Loudoun County area.
1. Eat Local at Purcelville Restaurants
From barbecue and burgers to refined dining, Purcellville has a meal for every mood. You can’t beat the brisket, ribs and pulled pork at Monk’s BBQ. They have a great craft beer selection, an enormous whiskey list, and a casual interior and deck perfect for relaxing.
The burgers at Market Burger are locally sourced and can be customized with the standard toppings and some unusual options. Make your burger extra local with a topping of Georges Mill Farm goat cheese from nearby Lovettsville.
For an upscale, but never stuffy, experience head to Magnolia’s at the Mill. This favorite Purcellville restaurant serves lunch and dinner in a historic building right in the center of town. Magnolias also source much of their food locally, and they offer an extensive selection of delicious Virginia wines.
2. Relax with a Local Craft Drink
If you’re in the mood for a drink, Catoctin Creek Distillery has been distilling award-winning spirits since 2009. They create quality whiskey, gin, and brandy from organic ingredients, and offer tastings and tours in their downtown location.
Virginia craft beer lovers will find a lot to love in Purcellville. Sample brews at Belly Love Brewing and Adroit Theory Brewing in the downtown area. Or take a short drive down a dirt road to Old 690 Brewing Company for tasty brews in a relaxed country setting.
B Chord, Bear Chase, and Dirt Farm Brewing are all nearby in Round Hill and Bluemont. Learn more in our complete guide to Loudoun County breweries: Virginia’s LoCo Ale Trail: Explore Craft Breweries in Northern VA
Purcellville is also home to several excellent Virginia wineries including Doukenie Winery, Sunset Hills Vineyard, and 8 Chains North to the north, and Otium Cellars to the west. Hillsborough Vineyards and Brewery, in nearby Hillsboro, now brews a nice selection of beer; a perfect stop for a group of wine and beer lovers. Purcellville is a great jumping-off point for a broader Loudoun County winery tour and some of the best wineries with views in Northern VA.
3. Ride or Walk the Washington & Old Dominion Bike Trail
The 45-mile W&OD trail ends at the old Purcellville train station, and it’s a perfect place for a little exercise on bike or foot. One of the first rail-to-bike conversions in the country, the trail is paved, mostly level, and often shady. A parallel dirt and gravel bridle trail is a nice option for hikers. Across the street from the railroad station, Trail’s End Cycling can help with any tune-ups and gear you might need.
4. Hike and Play In Purcellville Virginia
If you prefer to hike, you’ll find a few trail options in town and close by. The Chapman DeMary Trail provides access to the last stand of old-growth forest in Purcellville and is used as an outdoor learning environment for local students. The mile-long trail includes pollination stations created and maintained by high school students.
At the western edge of town, Franklin Park offers 3.5 miles of perimeter trail for pedestrians and equestrians. The park also includes a pool, sports facilities, a playground, and a pond where visitors can enjoy catch-and-release fishing,
Explore more: 15 Fun Northern Virginia Small Towns to Visit Now.
5. Tackle the Appalachian Trail Near Purcellville VA
Just 8 miles west of Purcellville, the “rollercoaster” section of the Appalachian Trail crosses Route 7. Trailheads on each side of the road begin hikes to two popular overlooks and a scenic hiker hostel.
Just half a mile of moderate climbing leads to Bears Den Overlook. The rock outcropping is fun for careful exploration and to enjoy stunning views to the west. This is also one of the best places to watch the sunset in Northern Virginia.
Just behind the overlook Bears Den Center is a hiker hostel in a beautiful, 1930s stone mansion. The center includes a campground, additional hiking trails, and a day-use parking lot for those looking for a shorter and easier route to the overlook.
Plan your trip with our guide: Bear's Den Overlook Hikes in Bluemont Virginia.
On the north side of Route 7, the AT leads to Raven Rocks, a 5.5 mile fairly strenuous hike to a beautiful viewpoint. The trail is not technically difficult, but it includes 3 steep ascents along the rollercoaster. Park only in designated lots as street parking is not allowed and cars are frequently towed.
6. Shop for Treasures in Downtown Purcellville Virginia
The town center in Purcellville Virginia has a quiet, old-time feel that makes it a fun place to poke around for treasures. You’ll find antique and second-hand shops, home decor, hiking gear, and more. Be sure to stop in quirky Nichols Hardware Store for a trip back in time.
7. Hunt for Art
Purcellville has one of the first LOVEworks in Northern Virginia, and it highlights Loudoun County’s impressive wine scene. Stop by the historic train station to capture a picture of the LOVE.
Be sure to check out the beautiful mural painted by graphic artist Addie Moore. The Welcome to Purcellville sign features levels that highlight scenes and buildings you can see around town. The mural is at the corner of Main Street and South 20th Street, on the side of Purcellville Family Restaurant.
In 2016, the town launched the Painted Barrels initiative, showcasing the work of local artists on beautifully painted wine barrels throughout town. Keep an eye out for barrels as you visit area businesses.
Every July, Purcellville Virginia hosts their annual Wine and Food Festival, lining the streets with tasty food and drink. Check the Visit Loudoun website for the latest on local events.
8. Take a Scenic Country Drive
Head north from Purcellville to drive small paved and dirt roads past beautiful farms and wineries. Along the way, stop in to visit small towns like Waterford and Lovettsville.
A short drive west to Bluemont is the start of the scenic and historic Snickersville Turnpike.
Alternatively, take Mount Weather Road south from Bluemont to Sky Meadows State Park, an excellent destination for hiking and family fun.
Loudoun County has over 300 miles of dirt and gravel roads, more than any other county in Virginia, and this scenic unpaved drive will help you discover them.
Purcellville Virginia is about an hour west of Washington DC, so it’s a nice destination for a day trip. Take a hike or scenic drive, do some shopping, and relax with local food and drink. Purcellville is full of small town charm that calls for an easy pace and a carefree attitude.
Find more local fun in our guide: 15 Favorite Virginia Day Trips from Washington DC.
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This article was published in 2016 and updated in 2019 and 2020.