Fredericksburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia located 49 miles (79 km) south of Washington, D.C., and 58 miles (93 km) north of Richmond. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 24,286. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Fredericksburg with neighboring Spotsylvania County for statistical purposes.
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 the commercial hub of a rapidly growing region in northern Central Virginia, and is the largest city between Richmond and the Metro Washington area. Major commercial centers include 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 and Mary Washington Hospital. Many Fredericksburg-area residents commute to work by car, bus, and rail to Richmond, Fairfax, Prince William County, and Arlington, as well as Washington, D.C. This has led to Fredericksburg becoming a part of Northern Virginia not only geographically, but also culturally.