Fredericksburg County, Virginia
Fredericksburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2013, the population was 28,132. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Fredericksburg with neighboring Spotsylvania County for statistical purposes.
Located 47 miles (76 km) south of Washington, D.C. and 53 miles (85 km) north of Richmond, Fredericksburg is part of the Northern Virginia region and is included in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Located near where the Rappahannock River crosses the Fall Line, Fredericksburg was a prominent port in Virginia during the colonial era. During the Civil War, the town, located halfway between the capitals of the opposing forces, was the site of the Battle of Fredericksburg and Second Battle of Fredericksburg, preserved in part as the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Tourism is a major part of the economy, with approximately 1.5 million people visiting the Fredericksburg area annually, including the battlefield park, the downtown visitor center, events, museums and historic sites.
Fredericksburg is home to several major commercial centers including Central Park (as of 2004, the second-largest mall on the East Coast) and Spotsylvania Towne Centre, located in Spotsylvania County adjacent to the city line. Major employers include the University of Mary Washington, Mary Washington Healthcare, and GEICO. Many Fredericksburg-area residents commute to work by car, bus, and rail to Washington DC and Richmond, as well as the counties of Fairfax, Prince William, and Arlington. There has been continuous debate about whether or not Fredericksburg is culturally a part of the rest of Northern Virginia.