Just outside of Washington, D.C., lies a small city that feels like home – the City of Manassas. It’s 10 square miles of homes, the arts, entertainment and community events. With 37,821 residents, the City serves as a transportation and business hub that offers great restaurants and shops and fun community events. Incorporated in 1975, the City of Manassas is thirty miles southwest of the Nation’s Capital and surrounded by Prince William County.
Manassas, Virginia is best known for its unforgettable role in American history – In July 1861, Union and Confederate forces faced off near the railroad community of Manassas Junction for the first major battle of the Civil War. Second Battle of Manassas (or the Second Battle of Bull Run) was fought near Manassas during August 28–30, 1862. At that time, Manassas Junction was little more than a railroad crossing, but a strategic one, with rails leading to Richmond, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and the Shenandoah Valley. Despite these two Confederate victories, Manassas Junction was in Union hands for most of the war.
Following the war, the crossroads grew into the town of Manassas, which was incorporated in 1873. In 1892, Manassas became the county seat of Prince William County. The Manassas Historic District, Cannon Branch Fort, Liberia, and Manassas Industrial School for Colored Youth are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Steeped in history and tradition, the city center has an old town feel with a “city square” type event pavilion – the Harris Pavilion. Residents and visitors can watch a band or attend an ice cream social in the summer and ice skate in the winter. The city also offers a museum rich in Civil War and local Virginia history. The City invests in history and the arts at Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory and the Hylton Performing Arts Center. The City of Manassas also offers many other kinds of artistic endeavors; coffee with the curator of the museum, art studios, writing groups, and a ballet company, to name a few. The City of Manassas has a diverse population of involved residents. The city operates water, sewer and electric utilities for residents, and has been recognized for excellence in service and customer satisfaction
The City of Manassas Ice Rink at the Loy E. Harris Pavilion is an out-door skating facility, within one minute walking distance from the Manassas commuter train station located in Old Town Manassas. Great shopping and food within a two minute walk in any direction. The Loy E. Harris Pavilion is available for rent for a variety of public and private events. This pavilion is the home for public ice-skating during the winter season. From April to November, the pavilion has a variety of entertainment and events.
The James & Marion Payne Memorial Railroad Heritage Gallery exhibits artifacts and historic photographs representing the 150 years of railroad history in Manassas.
At the Manassas Museum, The region’s storied past is preserved through award-winning videos, permanent and changing exhibits and special events.
Old Courthouse in Manassas The Old Manassas Courthouse was the site of the 1911 Peace Festival where President Taft stood on the grounds of the courthouse to kick off the week-long festivities. The 1911 Peace Festival marked the 50th anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas.
In 2001, restoration and rehabilitation were completed and the Courthouse was reopened to the public. It is
used today to house the offices of W. S. Wally Covington III Brentsville District Supervisor. Upstairs visitors will find the original courtroom has been rehabilitated to an elegant ballroom which the public can rent for meetings receptions and other special events.
Manassas National Battlefield Park preserves the site of two major American Civil War battles: th
e First Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861, and the Second Battle of Bull Run which was fought between August 28 and August 30, 1862. The peaceful Virginia countryside bore witness to clashes between the armies of the North and the South and it was there that Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson acquired his nickname “Stonewall.”
Today the National Battlefield Park provides the opportunity for visitors to explore the historic terrain where men fought and died more than a century ago. More than 900,000 people visit the battlefield each year As a historic area under the National Park Service, the park was administratively listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966
Old Town Manassas offers many annual events to include Civil War Weekend, Summer Sounds Concert Series, Spring Gallery Walk, Railway Festival, Celebrate America (4th of July), Farmers Market (All year round), Old Fashioned Sidewalk Sale, Fall Gallery walk, Fall Jubilee and Merry Old Town including tree lighting, Christmas parade and Old Town merchants open house.
From sidewalk cafes to elegant highly rated restaurants; fine cuisine and good cheer are Old Town traditions. Italian, Greek, Thai, Portuguese, Cajun-Creole, and All-American fare are all within an easy stroll. On weekend evenings, the atmosphere is alive with music at many of the Old Town Manassas restaurants and pubs.
With three galleries full of local and international artistic talent, you can experience the arts in Old Town. Browse through the large selection of pottery created on location by approximately 30 potters at Manassas Clay, or observe oil paintings in progress and see “behind the scenes” of an art studio at Creative Brush Studio. Enjoy everything from live music performances to full stage productions at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. If you love the arts, Old Town Manassas is a great place to see talent in several mediums showcased.
The City of Manassas is served by the Manassas City Public Schools. There are five elementary schools in Manassas, one middle school, and one high school. In 2006, Mayfield Intermediate School opened, serving students in fifth and sixth grade.
Also in the vicinity of Manassas are branch campuses of American Public University System, George Mason University, Northern Virginia Community College, ECPI College of Technology and Strayer University. Despite that some of these may in fact be just outside the city limits in Prince William County, NVCC and Strayer call these branches their “Manassas Campuses.”
Public Schools in Manassas include Baldwin Elementary School, Dean Elementary School, Haydon Elementary School, George C. Round Elementary School, Weems Elementary School, Joseph B. Johnson Learning Center, Mayfield Intermediate School, Grace E. Metz Middle School, Osbourn High School
Amtrak and the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) provide both regular and commuter service to the city and surrounding area on the tracks owned by the NS. Three Amtrak routes, the Cardinal, the Northeast Regional and Crescent, provide service. The Cardinal terminates in Chicago, the Northeast Regional in Boston, while the Crescent ends at New Orleans. VRE is a very popular commuting option to Alexandria and Washington, D.C.. VRE has two stops located in the City of Manassas, one in downtown Manassas and one at the Manassas Regional Airport.