Thinking about a visit to Richmond? While theme park attractions draw lots of families with kids and NASCAR has its fans, sophisticated couples can find a few romantic spots if they pursue the arts, museums, better restaurants, and Richmond's outdoor garden and riverfront attractions. Here's the roundup of our 12 favorite places for couples to experience in Richmond.
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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a real treat for art lovers. From its ancient Indian art collection to its priceless Fabergé eggs and Bijoux to its British sporting paintings to the modern art, sculpture, and photography, the collections inside this marble-clad museum are first-rate. And if you want to bring home a souvenir of your trip to Richmond, the museum shop has an excellent selection of gifts, prints, and books.
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The James River cuts through Richmond, and in recent years the riverfront has been revitalized. Today, it's a place where couples can stroll the mile-long corridor that's home to shops and restaurants, attend a concert or other event on Brown’s Island and the Turning Basin on the Canal Walk, or ply the waters on a narrated Richmond Canal Cruise. The Richmond Riverfront is also where the city's Civil War Visitor Center is located.
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Thanks to enlightened curators, historians, and the public, the Museum of the Confederacy has taken a back seat to a more balanced perspective on the Civil War. The mission of this Richmond attraction "is to be the preeminent center for the exploration of the American Civil War and its legacies from multiple perspectives: Union and Confederate, enslaved and free African Americans, soldiers and civilians." One of three locations part of the museum, the White House and Museum of the Confederacy has been restored to how it looked mid-19th century when the South came close to seceding. A 40-minute guided tour explains its history.
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Richmond Magazine dubbed Julep's, located in the historic Shockoe Bottom district, one of the “top seven sensations of Richmond.” Even if you start your meal with one of the eatery's Southern Delight Mint Juleps, you may be tempted to order from the inspired wine list, which features vintages from Virginia along with other domestic and international choices. Try dishes like fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits, but don't skip dessert: Banana Foster cheesecake with caramel topping, anyone?Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Has the heat got you down? Richmond can be a bit warm in the summer for those not accustomed to Southern climes, so relax in the air-conditioning during a drive down the scenic and well-planted Monument Avenue. As the name implies, the avenue is punctuated with monuments of Confederate and other southern heroes set alongside some distinguished Beaux-Arts, Tudor Revival, Georgian, Roman Revival, and even Mediterranean-villa style architecture.
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Built in England in the late 15th century then disassembled, crated, sent across the Atlantic Ocean, and reassembled on the banks of the James River, Agecroft Hall welcomes visitors to tour the Elizabethan house and gardens. Pause for a romantic walk through the latter; among the elaborately clipped shrubs of the knot garden, you'll feel as if you're strolling back in time.
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Despite being born in Boston, Edgar Allen Poe's real home was Richmond, and his namesake museum is housed here. It was in Richmond where he came to maturity, married, and attracted a literary following. The Poe Museum provides insights into the Richmond where Poe resided and worked in the early 19th century. The museum documents the life and career of Edgar Allan Poe with images, poems, and relics. On the last Thursday of every month from April through October, the museum stays open until 8 p.m., and there's music, hors-d'oeuvres, and a cash bar. Couples can also rent the Museum's Enchanted Garden to hold a wedding ceremony.
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Shop at One of Richmond's Great Malls
Like to shop on vacation? Richmond has a handful of great malls with a wide variety of stores. Those seeking luxury with get the most bang for their buck at Stony Point Fashion Park, which has Saks Fifth Avenue as its flagship, while Regency Square has a more approachable selection of stores, including JCPenney and Forever 21.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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If Edgar Allen Poe's museum didn't spook you, you might be ready for a visit to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. Although two U.S. presidents (James Monroe and John Tyler) are buried here, the real draw is the setting itself. Walkers can stroll past fascinating monuments and epitaphs in this garden-like environment. Scenic paths wind over hills and beneath mature trees. The cemetery is open from 8 a,m. to 5 p.m. daily and until 6 p.m. during Daylight Savings Time.
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You may enjoy strolling through (or lodging in) this historic hotel, which opened in 1895 and reflects the sensibilities of the age. For instance, there were once separate parlors for men and women. While guest rooms have been modernized, public spaces are decorated with historic tapestries, reproduction paintings, antique replica furniture, and faux-marble columns. Those with environmental sensitivities to mold, mildew, dust, and other pollutants are advised to avoid this attraction.
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Walk the James River Park Pipeline Walkway
Richmond's unique Pipeline Park is only accessible from a small catwalk, hovering over the James River right in the middle of downtown. From the catwalk, you can access a small island where Great Blue Herons raise their chicks. At the end of the park, there's a nice wide swath of beach, perfect for picnicking or just relaxing.
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Go Out on an Ice Cream Date
Beat Richmond's seemingly unavoidable heat by going out on a date for a sweet, frozen treat. Bev’s Homemade, considered by many to be Richmond's best ice cream, is a must-visit. While Bev's offers your usual array of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors, you can also try their unique daily flavors, like basil or avocado.