Best things to do in Richmond, Virginia (2024)

Whether you’re in the mood for outdoor adventures, eclectic art or creative cuisine, Virginia’s capital city of Richmond offers something for every style of explorer. This historic town has thoroughly modern sensibilities that first-time visitors are sure to appreciate.

If you’re just visiting for the day or planning a longer stay, here are some of the best things to do in Richmond, Virginia.

Best things to do in Richmond, Virginia (1)

Libby Hill Park

To get a comprehensive view of the city, including its history, head to Libby Hill Park in Richmond’s historic Church Hill neighborhood. Legend has it that William Byrd II stood on this hill in 1737 and was so reminded of his home in Richmond-upon-Thames in England that the name stuck. Now Libby Hill Park is a popular destination for sunset yoga, picnics and the occasional pop-up wedding. Grab a coffee and pastry from nearby critics’ darling Sub Rosa Bakery to savor while soaking in the views of the river and downtown Richmond.

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Best things to do in Richmond, Virginia (2)

Maymont Estate

It’s hard to believe that the pastoral 100-acre Maymont Estate is right in the heart of Richmond. Built by a wealthy railroad tycoon at the turn of the century, the estate is now a free public park and museum. With its sprawling grounds, manicured gardens, historical manor house, nature center and children’s farm, Maymont is widely considered one of the best places for families to visit in Richmond any time of the year.

Best things to do in Richmond, Virginia (3)

Hollywood Cemetery

Known as one of America’s premier garden cemeteries, Hollywood Cemetery offers some of the most dramatic scenic overlooks in the city. Perched on a hill above the James River rapids with views of the city skyline, this expansive cemetery has served as the final resting place for Richmond notables since the late 1800s, including presidents James Monroe and John Tyler. It’s especially popular in the fall, when visitors marvel at the intense foliage and whisper about the legend of the Richmond Vampire who’s been rumored to haunt the grounds since the 1920s.

Fan District

Delve beyond Richmond’s most obvious attractions by taking a walk through the charming historical Fan District. Named for the fan shape created by its streets, this residential neighborhood is populated by stately mansions and rowhouses built at the turn of the century. Stroll the tree-lined streets, marvel at the perfectly maintained gardens and pop into one of the corner cafes (like Kuba Kuba), coffee shops (Ever Better) or fine-dining restaurants (Heritage) that seem to be strategically placed every few blocks.

Best neighborhoods in Richmond, Virginia

Best things to do in Richmond, Virginia (4)

Belle Isle

There’s a good reason Richmond’s nickname is the River City: the James River snakes right through the center of town, offering an easily accessible retreat for nature lovers. Locals especially like to boast about having access to the only Class IV white water rapids in an urban setting in the country. The James River Park System covers a wide swath of the city with multiple parks and trails, and one of the most popular is Belle Isle. This remote island in the middle of the river is accessible via a pedestrian bridge. Used as a Union prisoner-of-war camp during the Civil War, Belle Isle is now a popular spot for hiking, biking, sunbathing on the rocks and (cautiously) swimming in the river.

Shopping in Carytown

To get a taste of the city's distinctively quirky side, make a beeline for Carytown, Richmond's top neighborhood for shopping. This nine-block-long dining, retail and entertainment district is made up almost entirely of locally owned businesses, from bookshops and vintage boutiques to sushi restaurants, ice cream shops and a stellar co*cktail bar at The Jasper. The historic Byrd Theatre anchors the district, offering $4 showings in a palatial setting.

Best things to do in Richmond, Virginia (5)

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Open 365 days a year with free admission for all, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts boasts a world-class collection containing nearly 50,000 works of art. The permanent collection includes everything from ancient and pre-Columbian art to Faberge, photography and modern art. There is an entrance fee for special exhibits, which have drawn national acclaim.

Top 7 day trips from Richmond, Virginia

Drinking in Richmond’s breweries

Richmond is a haven for beer lovers, with more than 30 craft breweries in the city. For the highest density of spots, head to the Scott’s Addition neighborhood, home to local favorites Ardent Craft Ales, The Veil, Vasen, Bingo Beer Co and Starr Hill Beer Hall and Rooftop. Prefer to sip cider? Places like Buskey Cider and Blue Bee Cider have you covered. Scott’s Addition is pretty walkable, but you can book a tuk tuk tour if you’d rather be pedaled around in style.

Best things to do in Richmond, Virginia (6)

Agecroft Hall

This majestic Tudor mansion is impressive in its own right, but even more so when you consider that it was completely dismantled and shipped across the Atlantic from England to Virginia in the 1920s. Today, visitors can tour Agecroft Hall and its gardens to get a taste of life in 16th-century England. Every summer, the annual Richmond Shakespeare Festival brings the Bard to the estate’s grounds.

Science Museum of Virginia

Curious minds will find plenty to explore at the family-friendly Science Museum of Virginia, housed in a grand former train station. The museum features permanent and rotating interactive exhibits like Speed, which invites visitors to feel hurricane-force winds and challenge a robot as they learn about motion and time. Downstairs, the kid-favorite Boost exhibit encourages patrons to test their creativity, memory and strength through hands-on activities. In addition to the exhibits, the Science Museum has an IMAX dome, labs, makerspaces and special events year-round.

Best things to do in Richmond, Virginia (7)

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Just a couple of miles from the center of Richmond, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden encompasses more than 50 acres of spectacular gardens. This includes more than a dozen themed gardens like the Rose Garden, Asian Valley and the Children’s Garden, and you’ll find a cafe, tea house and shop on site. Flowers After Five is a regular event that features live music plus wine and beer, and the garden opens up to furry friends at Fidos After Five. Around the holidays, the Gardenfest of Lights is a beloved local tradition with thousands of lights and festive attractions.

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Best things to do in Richmond, Virginia (2024)

FAQs

What is Richmond best known for? ›

But let's get into some fun facts about what Richmond, Virginia is known for!
  • Richmond Was the First City to Get Electric Streetcars. ...
  • Richmond Was the Confederate Capital. ...
  • Richmond Is Named After a Town in England. ...
  • One of Richmond's Sons Is a World-Famous Poet. ...
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. ...
  • Virginia State Capitol.

How to spend a day in Richmond, Virginia? ›

  1. RVATukTuk Sightseeing Tour of Richmond. ...
  2. Richmond Downtown Walking Tour. ...
  3. Church Hill Chillers Ghost Tour. ...
  4. Hiking the James River in Richmond, VA. ...
  5. Richmond Landmark Segway Tour. ...
  6. Arts District Food Tour in Richmond. ...
  7. Scavenger Hunt in Downtown Richmond / Capitol Square.

Is Richmond, Virginia worth visiting? ›

Richmond is the capital city of the state of Virginia. It's one of the country's oldest major cities and it is filled with history and culture. The are historical buildings, museums, and many parks that are fun to explore. It also has a growing food scene and fun nightlife.

Is Richmond VA a walkable city? ›

Walk Score: 51

Richmond, one of the largest cities in Virginia, is the seventh most walkable city in the state. Particularly walkable areas in Richmond include The Fan, Carytown, and Shockoe Bottom. These places are home to amenities like the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Carytown Cupcakes, and the Canal Walk.

What food is Richmond, VA known for? ›

8 Foods to Try in Richmond, Virginia
  • 01 of 08. Pimento Cheese. dbvirago / Getty Images. ...
  • 02 of 08. Oysters. Denise Panyik-Dale / Getty Images. ...
  • 03 of 08. Beer. ...
  • 04 of 08. Crab. ...
  • 05 of 08. Pizza. ...
  • 06 of 08. Wine. ...
  • 07 of 08. Northern Neck Ginger Ale. ...
  • 08 of 08. Apples.
Nov 17, 2020

Is Richmond a historically black city? ›

Rich with Black History, Visit Richmond for a Weekend Well-spent. It's not an exaggeration to say that Black history exists around nearly every corner in our capital, Richmond. It's said that as many as 1 in 4 Black Americans can trace their roots back to this city due to its place as a hub during American slavery.

Why is Richmond Virginia famous? ›

For history enthusiasts, it doesn't get much better than Richmond! Richmond has been pivotal in many of America's most important historical events, from the first permanent English settlement in nearby Jamestown to the Civil War to important sites in the struggle for civil rights.

What is the best street to walk in Richmond VA? ›

Riverside Drive. Beloved by Richmond runners, this street stretches nearly 12 miles total south of the James. The flat stretch between Huguenot Flatwater and Pony Pasture is by far the most popular among walkers, runners, and cyclists.

Is it worth visiting Richmond? ›

During the 20th century, Richmond became a hub for commerce and tourism, and it has since become known for its stunning parks and gardens, as well as its rich cultural heritage. Today, Richmond is a thriving and vibrant area, with a strong sense of community and a rich cultural scene.

Is it safe to walk in downtown Richmond VA? ›

During the daytime, downtown Richmond is fairly safe. Tourists and locals can feel confident exploring the area when following common sense practices (e.g. locking your car doors, walking in groups). However, in the evening hours, the neighborhood is one of the city's more dangerous places to walk around.

What is the nicest part of Richmond VA? ›

These places are best for neighborhoods in Richmond:
  • Fan District.
  • Church Hill Neighorhood.
  • Jackson Ward.
  • Museum District.
  • Shockoe Bottom District.

Is Richmond VA a foodie town? ›

Richmond named 1 of top 10 destinations in the country for food, by Yelp. Yelp ranked the top 10 cities in the country for foodies and Richmond made the list.

Is Richmond Virginia flat or hilly? ›

Geography of Richmond

Characterized by low, rolling hills, the Piedmont Region lies between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the low, flat Tidewater region.

Do you need a car in Richmond? ›

The Richmond Region is walkable. Whether you're staying at a downtown hotel or walking from your hotel to shopping at Short Pump Town Center, this is a pedestrian-friendly place.

Is Richmond Virginia a nice town? ›

Thinking about moving to Richmond? With an affordable cost of living, strong job market, great restaurants, and so much more, it's no wonder Virginia's capital city is one of the best places to live on the East Coast! Check out these 14 things to know about living in Richmond!

Why is Richmond, Virginia famous? ›

For history enthusiasts, it doesn't get much better than Richmond! Richmond has been pivotal in many of America's most important historical events, from the first permanent English settlement in nearby Jamestown to the Civil War to important sites in the struggle for civil rights.

What makes Richmond special? ›

Richmond is a city of culture, nature, food, and more! There are infinite things to do in RVA, from dining at James Beard-nominated restaurants to white water rafting down the mighty James River, from visiting world-class museums to attending incredible ethnic festivals.

What is the city of Richmond CA known for? ›

The City of Richmond is located 16 miles northeast of San Francisco on the western shore of Contra Costa County. Richmond was incorporated on August 7, 1905 and became a charter city on March 24, 1909. Richmond is best known for its unique history and role in the World War II home front effort.

What is interesting about Richmond? ›

“Give me liberty or give me death”

Richmond is the birthplace of one of the most iconic speeches in American history: Patrick Henry's “Give me liberty or give me death.” Delivered at St. John's Church in 1775, these impassioned words stirred the flames of revolution and became a rallying cry for independence.

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