Life in Lexington

The Lexington Area

Lexington, Virginia is a beautiful and historic town located in the Shenandoah Valley just three hours southwest of Washington, D.C. and a forty-five minute interstate drive from Roanoke, Virginia.

A town of roughly 7,000 residents, Lexington is home to Washington and Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute. There are more than 100 culturally and historically significant sites in the Rockbridge County area, and the historic core of the City of Lexington is a Nationally Registered Historic District, as are the Washington and Lee Colonnade and the Virginia Military Institute Post. Lexington and the surrounding area has been the filming location for at least six movies, including, scenes for Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds.

Moving to Lexington with Family/Significant Other

Lexington's small town charm, low cost of living, good schools, and strong sense of community provide a high quality of life for those law students relocating to Lexington with spouses, significant others, fiances, or families. W&L Law even offers a student organization, Law Families, which allows law students, as well as their spouses, significant others or families, to connect with others who are similarly situated. Please visit our Students with Families page for information about this group, as well as resources for job seekers and information regarding school and childcare for those students relocating to Lexington with children.

Campus Recreation

There are two Fitness Centers on-campus to which law students have access, as well as regular Yoga, Hip-Hop, Spin, and other group exercise classes. For more information regarding group exercise courses, please see the University's webpage for group fitness. The Washington and Lee University fitness center is available for use by W&L students, faculty and staff, spouses and children of W&L employees and W&L alumni living in Rockbridge County. Eligible parties may bring one guest with them, but the eligible person must be present.

For other Campus Recreation opportunities, including intramurals and the swimming complex, please see the University's Campus Recreation webpage.

Intramural sports are also a big part of law school life. In fact, the law school has its own intramural league, run by third year law students affectionately known as Sport Czars. Students play a variety of sports throughout the year - football in the fall, floor hockey and basketball in the winter and soccer and softball in the spring. For more information regarding intramurals, please the University intramurals webpage.

There are also a number of outdoor activities available in the Lexington area. Lexington is situated a short fifteen minute drive from the Blue Ridge Parkway; outdoor activities in the area abound. Whether they're sitting by the river at Goshen, swimming at Panther Falls, cycling on one of Rockbridge County's scenic by-ways, hiking House Mountain, running on one of Lexington's many trails, golfing at one of the area's two golf courses, skiing at one of the four nearby resorts or simply working out at the University Fitness Center, our law students are an active group.

Dining and Shopping in Lexington

Lexington is home to many local restaurants. At lunchtime, law students can often be found at the Blue Sky Bakery, Pure Eats, or Macado's. For traditionalists interested in a time-honored Lexington dining experience, there is the Palms, a Lexington institution since 1975.

Heliotrope, one of the more recent addition to Lexington's gastronomic landscape, has become a favorite dinner and social destination for law students.  Right across the street is Sushi Matsumoto and a block north takes you to casual, locally sourced dining at Pure Eats. More upscale fare choices include Haywood's, Bistro on Main Street, and TAPS. For more information about dining options in the Lexington area, please feel free to consult the Lexington, Virginia Lexington Visitors Center's compendium of local restaurants.

Downtown Lexington also features Lexington Coffee which sponsors a regular musical "drop-in" on Wednesday mornings that is free and open to anyone who wishes to participate. There is also a great ice cream shop (Sweet Things) that serves a variety of homemade ice cream flavors (we recommend the Mocha Chip and Oreo), not to be confused with our popular local bakery/eatery, Sweet Treats.

After you've dined, there are also a number of great shops, boutiques, and art galleries throughout the downtown area. In fact, in recent years Lexington has attracted a sizeable community of artists whose work is regularly displayed in a many of the downtown galleries. There is a chocolate shop once recognized by the Wall Street Journal for purveying the nation's best truffle (an honor earned despite competition from industry heavyweights such as Godiva and Harry & David). For those seeking a few items of a more sartorial bend, there are a number of downtown shops that are popular with law students, including Pumpkinseeds, Clover, Alvin-Dennis, and Lexington's Pappagallo. For a full list of downtown stores, please consult the Lexington Visitor Center's listing of downtown shopping.

Activities in the Lexington Area

Washington and Lee law students attend a variety of events on and off campus. From flag football to casual and formal events sponsored by the Student Bar Association and other student organizations, students find opportunities to relax and to enjoy their time in Lexington.

Located a fifteen minute drive from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Lexington also has a great deal to offer the outdoor enthusiast. Our students enjoy the natural splendor of our location and the many outdoor activities available in the area both independently and through W&L's Outing Club. The Maury River provides excellent opportunities for swimming, canoeing, and fishing. Lake Robertson, owned by the Virginia Game Commission, is operated by Rockbridge County as a recreation facility. The secondary roads in the County, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the trails in the National Forests, provide excellent biking.

In addition to outdoor activities, there are a number of cultural opportunities in the area, including a wealth of monuments, sites and places of historical interest. The Lenfest Center for the Performing Arts is located right on campus and regularly holds symphonies, plays, and art showings. Be sure to check out Lime Kiln Theater for an array of live music in a gorgeous natural setting. For movie buffs, the State Movie Theater is right downtown, and Hull's Drive-In is only a few minutes down the road - perfect for watching movies under the stars during the warm Virginia spring and fall. There are also art-house theaters in Roanoke, Staunton, and Charlottesville. For those who prefer classic theater, there is the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, which regularly features productions of works by William Shakespeare. The newly constructed and visually arresting Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, with its more than 16,000 square feet of gallery space, has also become a new favorite attraction. Finally, for music buffs, there are many clubs and concert venues in Charlottesville and Richmond that regularly feature local, independent and national recording artists ranging from Dave Matthews, Jay-Z, and Bruce Springsteen to the National, the Hold Steady, and Lord Nelson.

For a more comprehensive listing of things to do in the Lexington area, please follow this link!

See for yourself!

Our unique location is one of the many reasons for our collegial atmosphere. At W&L Law, you get to know your fellow classmates as friends; these friendships preclude the cutthroat competitive culture so often associated with law school. Plus, where else can you find America's only community owned drive-in movie theater, a 38,000 slab of pink granite dedicated to Lexington-born statesman, politician and soldier, Sam Houston, a Dairy Queen once frequented by Tom Cruise, and the best hamburger in Virginia?

We believe that Lexington is a place like no other, but don't take our word for it. We encourage all interested students to come visit our campus and to see for themselves just what makes W&L Law distinctive.

If you would like to schedule a visit, please consult our Visit Page.

Lodging is readily available in many forms for those visiting Lexington, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, and cabins.

**Portions of this summary were taken from the City of Lexington's website (