Built by George Washington’s youngest brother Charles around 1760 as his home, this frame building became a tavern in 1792 when it was purchased by the Wallace family. It operated for 35 years as a stopover for travelers in the bustling port town of Fredericksburg.
Covid Updates: All unvaccinated guests must wear masks during their visit.
Location: 1304 Caroline St, Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Hours: Mon.- Sat., 10 am – 4 pm/Sun., 12 – 4 pm/Closed Tuesdays
- Adult $7, Student age 6-18 $3, Children age 5 & under FREE
- Heritage Pass: This is a single pass to visit all 3 of our museums! Valid for 3 months after purchase. Purchase online, print your payment receipt and bring with you to whichever site you choose to begin your tour. Adults $18, Student age 6-18 $7
Purchase the above tickets online HERE.
- Timeless Ticket: To save even more, purchase the Timeless Ticket. This gives you a one-time admission to the most frequently visited attractions including Fredericksburg area battlefields. $32 for adults, one free student (ages 6 to 17) ticket to each ticket-purchasing adult. Additional student tickets are $10 each. Children 5 and under are free. The Timeless Ticket has no expiration. The ticket offers admission to these attractions: Fredericksburg Area Museum, Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, Rising Sun Tavern, Mary Washington House, James Monroe Museum & Memorial Library, Historic Kenmore, George Washington’s Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm, Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.
Visit the Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania or Stafford Visitor Center to purchase Timeless Tickets. Addresses are listed HERE.
Please allow 30 min./1 hr. for your visit. (It really depends on your guide. We planned for 30 min., but our guide was really excited and had a lot to share.)
Our Visit: A costumed guide greeted us as we walked in the door, and we were treated as if we had just stepped off our coach into the late 18th-century life. Our guide was very informative and shared so many interesting tidbits about tavern life. She explained much about what went on in the tavern on a daily basis and who stayed there. Whether you were upper class or a common person made all the difference in your sleeping conditions and the food that you were served. Some of the details are really gross and disgusting!
She also explained the period furniture and artifacts within the rooms. We were asked to pick out any item in the room, and she would tell us more about it. She really made the place come alive with all the wonderful stories she had to share.
We were excited to head upstairs as our last tour (free during the holidays) did not include the upstairs. Upstairs was self-guided and you could see three guest rooms, a storage area, and a room for “common folk” who got to sleep on the floor.
A tour bonus was learning the meaning of several common words and phrases. Do you know where the saying “Mind your Ps & Qs” came from? Do you know why the word barkeeper was coined? What about the expression “bottoms up”? You will know all about these and more after this tour.
After the tour, we exited out to the back garden area.
Unfortunately, photography and video are not allowed inside the tavern, so we only have outside pictures to document our visit.
The tavern is definitely worth seeing if you are visiting downtown Fredericksburg. Small children will not do well here as there really is a lot of listening and standing.
- Free Visit: The Rising Sun Tavern also offers a free candlelight open house during the Christmas holiday. During this tour, you’ll learn about tavern life, while enjoying 18th century tunes and seasonal treats, including Glasgow Punch. The tour is at timed intervals. During this visit, you are not allowed to go up to the second floor, and the tours are much shorter. The last time this open house was offered was in 2019 before Covid. I’m not sure when they will be offering this again.
Website: Rising Sun Tavern