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The way to Plan a Journey to Richmond, Virginia

The way to Plan a Journey to Richmond, Virginia


“There’s not one story of Virginia, however many,” reads the doorway to one of many long-standing exhibitions on the Virginia Museum of Historical past & Tradition in Richmond. It’s a message that resonates throughout the state, however it’s particularly poignant right here within the capital, the place the historical past is complicated, the residents are passionate, and there’s an unmistakable dedication to conservation, schooling, artwork, and entrepreneurship. 

Preservation stays central to Richmond’s character, notably in terms of museums and structure, however that is additionally a vacation spot that continues to push for change and help new concepts. “It’s not the identical Richmond,” says Kelli S. Lemon, a social entrepreneur, group activist, and proprietor of City Dangle Suite. She encourages guests to “include an open thoughts of seeing one thing new” and perceive that Richmond is “not what we have been identified for [in the past], however what we are actually.” It’s this multi-faceted, dynamic nature, perpetually rooted in a way of place, that makes the town so attractive — and much more transformative. “Watch out,” warns Invoice Martin, director of The Valentine, “Richmond… may change you.” 

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As Martin tells Journey + Leisure, Richmond is “stuffed with the highly effective tales of people that created our nation and with a wide range of experiences the place you’ll find your individual story.” Whether or not your journey features a stroll alongside the James River, a day shopping the reveals on the Virginia Museum of Superb Arts (VMFA), or a number of hours laughing with a buddy over dinner in Church Hill, you’re certain to depart with a newfound appreciation of this storied Southern metropolis. Or it’s possible you’ll not need to depart in any respect — Richmond is likely one of the greatest locations to dwell in Virginia, in line with actual property consultants.

Eager about planning a visit, however not fairly certain the place to start? Learn on to find T+L’s information to Richmond, Virginia.

Prime 5 Can’t Miss

  • E-book a room at The Jefferson, the grandest lodge in Richmond. 
  • Stroll the Pony Pasture Rapids Path alongside the James River — or float down the waterway on a tube. 
  • Uncover the person personalities of Richmond’s neighborhoods, together with Church Hill, Jackson Ward, The Fan, and Scott’s Addition. 
  • Take pleasure in afternoon tea at Floris, the VMFA’s elegant tearoom that opened on the finish of 2023. 
  • Plan your go to for the autumn, when many of the Virginia humidity has departed.

Finest Lodges

Courtesy of The Graduate Richmond

The Jefferson

“There’s nothing like staying at The Jefferson,” says Lemon. The 181-room historic property is probably the most regal lodge in Richmond, with a historical past that dates again to 1895. Upon getting into the Palm Court docket foyer, your eyes are instantly drawn upward to the colourful stained glass ceiling; the spectacular structure continues all through the frequent areas, most notably into the Rotunda. One of many eating areas for the favored Champagne Sunday Brunch (which requires reservations made nicely prematurely), the Rotunda is outfitted with Corinthian columns, a resplendent staircase, and decor that harkens again to the Gilded Age.

There are touches of this design type within the historically embellished visitor rooms and suites, however they don’t really feel overly heavy or outdated, because of a full-scale renovation that occurred from 2013 to 2017. To finish the expertise, friends will need to dine on the lodge’s restaurant (and native favourite) Lemaire. “Make sure you order the peanut soup or the pimento cheese for a style of Richmond,” says Jeanita Harris, The Jefferson’s director of visitor providers.   

Quirk Lodge 

Advisable by each Lemon and Martin, Quirk Lodge is the youthful, extra fashionable lodging possibility on the town. Opened in 2015, the property goals to be a vacation spot “the place artwork and historical past intersect.” Meaning you’ll discover unique paintings all through the property (which was constructed because the J.B. Mosby & Co. Dry Items Retailer in 1916) —  from the intense visitor rooms to the on-site gallery. Earlier than an enormous day of exploring Richmond, gas up at The Espresso Bar, then return to The Foyer Bar or Q Rooftop Bar for pre-dinner cocktails. 

Graduate Richmond

Richmond could also be an enormous metropolis, however it’s additionally a university city. The College of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth College, Virginia State College, Virginia Union College, and Randolph Macon Faculty are all positioned inside the larger Richmond space, so it is sensible that the Graduate Lodges model would have an outpost within the metropolis. Together with its cozy rooms and a health heart, Graduate Richmond has an outside pool, a rooftop cocktail bar, and an all-day café and bar. 

Finest Issues to Do

Try a number of the metropolis’s top-tier museums.

Visiting Richmond’s museums is on the high of Martin’s must-do checklist. “In fact, begin with The Valentine in your introduction to the area’s historical past,” he says, “Then the choices are limitless: the Virginia Museum of Superb Arts, Virginia Museum of Historical past & Tradition, Maymont, Science Museum of Virginia, Kids’s Museum of Richmond, The American Civil Warfare Museum, and Agecroft Corridor & Gardens.”

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Spend a day alongside the fantastic James River.

“The James River runs proper by way of downtown,” says Harris, who provides that guests can select from the “pleasure of sophistication 4 rapids, a leisurely float down the river in a tube, or a hike alongside the miles of nature trails.” For rafting, tubing, and kayaking journeys, try Riverside Outfitters. Martin additionally suggests a extra enjoyable exercise of merely “packing a lunch and discovering a rock;” you’ll discover various massive picnic-perfect rocks round Belle Isle.

Take a tour of the Virginia State Capitol.

Free one-hour excursions are provided all through the week on the Virginia State Capitol, positioned within the aptly named Capitol District. “The excursions are about 45 minutes lengthy, and the educated docents present a beautiful introduction to Richmond and Virginia historical past,” says Harris. Plus, she notes, it’s house to a life-size statue of George Washington, which is claimed to be one of the correct depictions of the historic determine. 

Uncover native artists and musicians. 

Richmond’s creativity isn’t simply relegated to at least one neighborhood or one class. Slightly, it takes on a wide range of shapes all through the town. To admire and store for domestically made paintings, try Artwork Works, Iridian Gallery (which focuses on works by LGBTQ+ artists), Arts within the Park (a free outside occasion that takes place in Could), Eric Schindler Gallery, or the Crossroads Arts Middle. Richmond’s music scene is equally various and spectacular. To see which performances align along with your travels, comply with native venues — like The Camel, The Canal Membership, or The Broadberry — and native bands and performers — together with Cleophus James, Butcher Brown, and The Shack Band.

Finest Eating places

Courtesy of The Roosevelt

The Roosevelt

Whereas Martin says pinpointing only one or two high Richmond eating places is “not possible,” he does point out The Roosevelt (together with Grisette) is certainly one of his neighborhood favorites. Right here, Chef Leah Department brings her personal contact to Southern delicacies, with a menu consisting of delicacies like cornbread with whipped maple butter, fried catfish, and tobacco-smoked pork butt. 


There are common cheese and charcuterie boards, after which there are the expertly curated cheese and charcuterie boards at Grisette. The considerate, cozy house is open for dinner Tuesdays by way of Saturdays, and reservations are really helpful. Honest warning, although: You’ll need to keep away from filling up on meats and cheeses. It’s essential to avoid wasting a little bit of room for the fan-favorite profiteroles.  


“Positioned within the charming Church Hill neighborhood, it is a favourite advice for friends excited about seafood. The cocktails are tasty as nicely,” says Harris. Alewife’s signature sampler platter, the Siren’s Track, is a basic, though the menu does change weekly. 

Floris at VMFA

After making your rounds by way of the VMFA’s reveals — don’t miss the intensive Fabergé assortment — it’ll be time for afternoon tea at Floris. The museum’s tearoom incorporates a rotating menu that takes inspiration from the neighboring collections, and the environment and construction are akin to a British afternoon tea. It’s elegant with out being stuffy, and the $45 tea service comes with pastries, candy treats, and savory bites. 

Mama J’s

You’ll need to come hungry to Mama J’s, a family-owned restaurant within the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood. Suppose fried rooster, crab desserts, pork chops, brisket sandwiches, and a complete host of scrumptious sides — macaroni and cheese, candied yams, and seafood salad included. 

Finest Buying


Carytown is a favourite space for native procuring,” says Harris. The mile-long stretch of Cary St. is stuffed with numerous one-of-a-kind eating places and outlets — and you possibly can spend hours popping out and in of the storefronts. “Visitors all the time come again with plenty of procuring baggage from World of Mirth, Ten Thousand Villages, For The Love of Chocolate, Touring Stylish Boutique, and GlassBoat,” she explains. 

Outlets at Libbie and Grove

In Richmond’s West Finish neighborhood, you’ll discover a assortment of boutiques and connoisseur eateries all positioned alongside Libbie, Grove, and Patterson Avenues. To replace your wardrobe, there’s Nellie George, Peter-Blair, the Outlets at 5807, and Jean Concept. To refresh your private home, browse the choices at Fraîche, Gild and Ash, and Beckon House.

Finest Time to Go to

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In line with Harris, the very best time of yr to go to Richmond is the autumn: “The climate is ideal for going to the river, [or] exploring the town by bicycle, Segway, or on foot.” Plus, she says, “The cooler temperatures additionally make for nice evenings out to get pleasure from Richmond’s vibrant nightlife.” Spring can also be a lovely time to go to; the daffodils, cherry blossoms, tulips, magnolias, and azaleas are blooming at Lewis Ginter Botanical Backyard — and also you’ll have the ability to keep away from summer time’s muggy climate and bigger crowds.

The way to Get There 

Richmond Worldwide Airport (RIC) is likely one of the bigger airports within the state of Virginia, and it’s served by 9 main air carriers — together with Delta, American Airways, JetBlue, and United. The airport is simply about 10 miles from downtown Richmond, so vacationers ought to consider a couple of 15- to 20-minute drive between the 2. Uber and Lyft rides are available for pickup. Alternatively, Richmond is house to 2 Amtrak stations; the Most important Road Station is positioned downtown whereas the Staples Mill Street Station is eight miles northwest of downtown (you’ll must take a cab to get into the town). 

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Neighborhoods to Go to

“Richmond is a metropolis of neighborhoods,” says Martin, and Lemon provides that it’s necessary for vacationers to “go into the native neighborhoods, speak to the individuals [who] have lived there for a very long time, see the structure, [and] see the native companies which have been there for years.” 

Church Hill

“Church Hill is house to St. John’s Church, the place Patrick Henry gave his well-known ‘Give Me Liberty or Give Me Demise’ speech, and the structure and points of interest take you again in time,” says Harris. When you’re hungry whereas within the space, snag a freshly baked deal with at Sub Rosa Bakery

Jackson Ward

Jackson Ward, a traditionally Black neighborhood in Richmond, is stuffed with necessary cultural and historic markers — together with the house of Maggie L. Walker (the nation’s first Black feminine financial institution president), the Black Historical past Museum and Cultural Middle of Virginia, and a statue of American faucet dancer Invoice Robinson. Delicacies within the space can also be first-rate, so positively add Adarra, Mama J’s, and Penny’s Wine Store to your journey itinerary. 

Scott’s Addition

When you’re excited about a brewery crawl, there’s just one place to go: Scott’s Addition. The realm is filled with taprooms, cideries, and distilleries — most of that are positioned in repurposed warehouses. Think about beginning your tour at Bingo Beer Co., Starr Hill Beer Corridor & Rooftop, or Three Notch’d Brewing.

The Fan District

“The Fan, given its title by the streets that ‘fan out,’ is stuffed with eating places, bars, outlets, and museums,” says Harris. It’s on this a part of the town the place you’ll discover the Virginia Commonwealth College campus, in addition to Monument Avenue, the picturesque boulevard that includes gorgeous houses and the Arthur Ashe Monument (Ashe was a local of Richmond.)


“One other space to discover is Manchester alongside Hull Road. This neighborhood has its personal distinctive historical past and is likely one of the fastest-growing components of the town with native meals favorites like Croaker’s Spot,” says Martin. 

Brookland Park Boulevard

“I might additionally advocate exploring the Brookland Park Boulevard (Barton Heights and Highland Park) space,” says Martin. “In these early streetcar neighborhoods, you’ll find nice structure, historical past, and small native companies and eating places — don’t miss Ruby Scoop’s Ice Cream!”

The way to Get Round

There are just a few methods to discover Richmond. Having a automobile is useful, notably for those who plan to cowl numerous floor in someday (simply be ready to check your parallel parking abilities). Biking can also be a good way to get across the metropolis; Riverside Biking and The Kickstand each supply half-day and full-day leases. 

There’s additionally the native bus system, operated by the Larger Richmond Transit Firm, and the GRTC Pulse route is a superb possibility for guests. The “high-capacity bus speedy transit system,” because it’s referred to as, serves an almost eight-mile route alongside Most important Road and Broad Road. It stops at 14 key locations, like Scott’s Addition, the Science Museum, and VCU. Discover the total route and schedule right here. It’s at the moment free to trip.



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