With a collection of art that spans more than 5,000 years, plus a wide array of special exhibitions, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is recognized as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States. Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org
The VMFA is, well, something else. For a city the size of Richmond to have such an amazing art museum is kind of incredible, and for it to be free to the public is even better. In addition to the diverse permanent art collection spanning Egyptian to postmodernism, the traveling collections, which range from Picasso to Chihuly to Fabergé eggs, are worth repeat visits. And the gift shop is filled with super fun art projects for kids that I can’t help buying for my niece and nephew. But my favorite part? Strolling around the sculpture garden on a nice day, and then sitting outside in the cafe or the restaurant with a carafe of wine and taking in the view (and knowing that I’ll inevitably run into someone I know, who is also playing hooky at the museum).
Cocktail Hour at the Museum
Friday night happy hour at the VMFA is a great way to end the week and begin the weekend. With an eclectic group of patrons ranging from young VCU hipsters to aging fine art enthusiasts, people watching is ideal on the deck as the sun sets. In the summer lounge on the porch surrounded by koi meandering through reeds, while during the cooler months the modern indoor architecture and huge glass walls are equally engaging. Start your evening here and absorb creative vibes with a bottle of wine and your friends.