Located between the quaint county of Arlington and tourist-friendly Virginia Beach, Richmond tends to get lost in the conversation; however, the state’s capital is overflowing with options for things to do. Unlike overly crowded destinations, you won’t have to deal with massive crowds, but you will still get a feel for a city that has a unique personality. From indoor to outdoor events, arts to history, there’s something for everyone to get into in RVA.
The Virginia Capital Trail is just under 52 miles and spans four jurisdictions, with one of them being Richmond. You can run, walk, or bike the trail, which is marked with educational plaques should you want to stop and learn more about the area. Of course, you can take a break for a bite to eat and take in the scenery, too. Depending on how far you’d like to travel, there are itineraries based on your needs and skill level.
Comprising a park, winery, and restaurant, Brambly Park in Scott's Addition offers a little something for everyone, whether you're looking to brunch, picnic, or simply enjoy fresh air with a beautiful backdrop. Since opening in 2020, the two-acre open space has also occasionally welcomed food trucks and local bands. Brambly Park is both kid- and pet-friendly, making this a must-visit destination for the whole family.
Dance and Unwind with UnlockingRVA
UnlockingRVA has quite a few events, including silent dance parties and outdoor brunches, but it’s their Cocktails and Choreo that really stands out. It's just like it sounds: Guests learn a full choreographed dance routine and end the evening with a few cocktails. The event is held indoors or outside, depending on the weather. All ages are welcome, but only those 21 and up can partake in the cocktails portion.
Stroll Broad Street for First Fridays
Art is pretty much everywhere you turn in VA’s capital city, and there’s no better time and way to explore the scene than with First Fridays. The first Friday of the month sees galleries within the city, especially along Broad Street, open their doors after-hours for food, drinks, shopping, and more. A few top picks include the Institute for Contemporary Arts, Quirk Gallery, and Elegba Folklore Society.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, or VMFA, has been a Richmond staple since 1936. While general admission is free, consider purchasing a ticket to the VMFA After Hours event. In addition to exploring the galleries, you can partake in fun events like karaoke and scavenger hunts. Strictly for the 21-and-over crowd, the ticket includes hors d'oeuvres and one drink.
Bike and Brunch
Add an active component to your laid-back weekend meal with a Bike and Brunch tour. The tour focuses on the history of Richmond, specifically the Jackson Ward neighborhood, through significant landmarks and murals. The overall tour is less than 10 miles, and as the name suggests, ends with brunch at a neighborhood eatery. You can bring your own bike or rent one.
Head to a Rooftop for Drinks and Views
With no massive skyscrapers in the way, you can head to a nearby rooftop to truly take in the vibe of the city lights and the James River. Stunning views and tasty cocktails can be had at Quirk Hotel’s Q Rooftop bar and the nearby Graduate hotel, the latter of which features a pool and an impressive panorama of the city. For a glimpse of Richmond 20 stories up, Kabana has what you’re looking for, plus a dinner and brunch menu complete with fries, sliders, and options from popular Soul Taco.
The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden provides more than 50 acres with over a dozen themed gardens to explore. While the garden map will help you determine which spots you want to visit, the website breaks down what plants are in bloom each month. The standout feature of the garden has to be the Conservatory; 11,000 square feet in size, it's home to some of the most beautiful plants from around the world, including orchids and succulents. Classes and programs are also available for everyone in the family, from the youngest to the oldest.
If you’re brave enough or just curious, Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery should be on your must-visit list. Established in 1847, it's the second most visited cemetery in the country, as the grounds are the final resting place for six Virginia governors, two Supreme Court justices, and two U.S. presidents. Whether you want to explore the 135 acres by car, trolley, or foot, there are quite a few tour options; see if you can spot a few standouts like President James Monroe’s tomb or a cast-iron statue of a Newfoundland dog.
Sip on a Brew in Scott’s Addition
Formerly an industrial neighborhood, Scott’s Addition is now home to some of Richmond's best breweries. Visiting at least one is a must, but we recommend hopping from one to the next as many are located within walking distance. Start with Vasen Brewing for a sour ale before heading to the flagship location of Veil, less than a five-minute walk away. During weekends, taco and pizza vendors are usually outside—perfect for post-drink nibbling.
Surrounded by the James River, Belle Isle is easily accessible by a pedestrian bridge. While you won't want to necessarily swim here, it is a relaxing spot; when the weather permits, the flat rocks are the perfect place to lay out, sip a cold drink, and watch the kayakers go by. Go solo or gather up your friends to enjoy the natural beauty.
Also known as the “mile of style,” Carytown has boutiques and vintage shops to satisfy every style palate, and you can easily spend an entire day (and your entire wallet) here exploring what the neighborhood has to offer. If you love the look and eco-chic style of thrift, then check out Ashby’s for secondhand gear along with locally-made accessories and gifts. Carrying the work of artists from more than 30 countries, Ten Thousand Villages offers fair trade home goods, kitchen products, and wellness items.
People Watch at 17th Street Market
The neighborhoods of Shockoe Bottom and Church Hill—where enslaved Africans arrived at the waterfront and Patrick Henry gave his "Give me liberty, or give me death" speech respectively—looks a lot different than it did hundreds of years ago. Today, you'll find restaurants like Havana 59 (great for mojitos and paella) and C’est le Vin (a wine bar with excellent tapas). Both have outdoor dining so you can enjoy the breeze and the scene. And on select weekends, the 17th Street Market hosts vendors selling local goods from jams to candles and stationery items.
It’s hard to describe Maymont other than a magical place of exploration. The 100-acre estate is great for everyone in the family (minus pets) and has gardens, a mansion, and even an animal habitat with hawks, owls, deer, and black bears. Explore at your own pace, or take a golf cart or carriage ride through the grounds. Open daily, Maymont hosts popular annual events like the Richmond Jazz and Music Festival and the Beer & Wine Classic.