The best time to visit Richmond is in the spring, during the months of March, April, and May. The sun is shining, daylight hours are getting longer, and the city truly has something amazing to experience everywhere you turn, from annual festivals that draw thousands of people to colorful art. But don’t let that deter you from visiting Richmond any other season. As there isn't a lot of precipitation here, there's no rain or snow showers to dampen your plans, and even the tail end of fall can still see unseasonably warm temperatures.
Popular Events and Festivals
You most likely won’t utter the words “I’m bored” while in Richmond. With year-round festivals that take place both indoors and on the James River, there's something for everyone here, from sports enthusiasts to watermelon lovers. Even when temperatures are at their most extreme, however, major crowds always attend the summer Jazz and Music Festival and the Christmas parade.
Thanks to longer daylight hours, the breeze off the James River, and average temperatures sitting comfortably in the high 60s or 70 degrees F, spring in Richmond is full of festivals, rooftop drinks, and outdoor brunch. Summer days may not have the 100-plus degree weather some Southern states experience, but the humidity can feel intense. For those who want to soak up the sun, there are plenty of opportunities to lay out at Belle Isle on the river or hop from brewery to brewery in Scott’s Addition.
Though slightly cooler, fall has a similar feel to spring days, seeing an occasional high of 70 degrees F. Winter doesn’t get much snow, with December and January averaging just 1.5 inches each month.
Though the temperatures average in the 40s, the festivals this time of year make it worthwhile. Just be sure to bundle up.
Events to check out:
- The Dominion Energy Christmas Parade is a decades-long tradition that attracts up to 100,000 visitors of all ages. (Paul Simon, Chevy Chase, and Steve Martin even filmed a music video at the parade in 1991.) Come see the floats, bands, and balloons take over Broad Street and start the festive season off the right way.
- Richmond Black Restaurant Experience is a week-long celebration of the city’s Black-owned restaurants, food trucks, and independent chefs. The participating restaurants range from soul food staples to newer additions to the culinary scene. There’s even a fun passport checklist to keep tabs on the locations you’ve visited.
The days are getting longer and the temperatures are starting to warm up—without the unwanted summer humidity. The spring season brings a vibrancy and tons of opportunities to enjoy the city.
Events to check out:
- Riverrock has, well, a bit of everything. The outdoor festival highlights music and sports with mud pits, kayaking, hiking, and more. Spread out over a few days, you can watch from the sidelines for free or even participate in some of the activities. A lot of the free musical performances take place once the sun goes down.
- A visit to Richmond will quickly make one thing clear: This city loves its murals. There are more than 100 that range from colorful, whimsical, and entertaining to socially poignant. The RVA Street Art Festival highlights areas in the city that may have been neglected, transforming them through art with the help of local and international artists.
- It’s not Cannes or Tribeca, but the Richmond International Film Festival is one of the largest competitive film fests in the mid-Atlantic. The festival has been taking place since 2011 and features six days of movies, panels, and music. Movie buffs will absolutely want to purchase screening tickets in advance as some shows can sell out, but there are also some virtual screenings.
- With more than 300 wineries in the state, it's only fitting that the Virginia Wine Expo takes over Richmond for six days every spring. You'll get the opportunity to sip on hundreds of wines, attend educational events, and see top chefs dish out cuisines that perfectly pair with vino.
The Richmond temperatures average 80 degrees F in the summer months and humidity can feel stifling, but some events make braving the heat or venturing outdoors worthwhile.
Events to check out:
- Bring a picnic basket and your own chair or lawn blanket to enjoy everything the Richmond Jazz and Music Festival has to offer. Past artists have included Jill Scott, Gregory Porter, and Bobby Caldwell. You can purchase a single day or weekend pass. Before or after soaking up all the jazz, funk, and soul, tour the grounds of Maymont, a 100-acre garden with more than 200 exotic species of plants and trees.
- Since it started in 2005, the weekend-long Filipino Festival in late August has been highlighting Filipino culture through food, entertainment, and education. There’s no shortage of affordable eats that will be dished out, including pancit, lechon, and halo-halo—a welcome treat on a hot August day.
- Early August ushers in the sweetness of the Watermelon Festival to Carytown. Past events have dished out thousands of watermelons to more than 100,000 guests, with performances and a kids' zone for added entertainment.
The temperatures can still be relatively mild in the fall, even hovering in the 70s in November. The added bonus is that summer's humidity has disappeared.
Events to check out:
- Jackson Ward has a rich history of Black ownership and entrepreneurship, and the 30-year-strong 2nd Street Festival celebrates the neighborhood’s past and present with performances, a marketplace to support local vendors, and tons of food.
- In this artsy city, the Afrikana Film Festival highlights global Black narratives through movies. Launched in 2015, it has attracted the likes of Angela Davis, Sonia Sanchez, and Dapper Dan. You can purchase an individual event ticket, or a single day or all access pass to enjoy all of the screenings and lectures.
- A foodie's dream, Fire, Flour & Fork describes itself as “four days of putting Richmond on a plate...and in a glass.” With a focus on local talent and stories about culinary artists who shaped the foods you love, there are demos and talks with optional meal add-ons.