A Local's Guide To The Capital of the Confederacy
Collected by Kerry McGee, AFAR Local Expert
One person's thoughts on the best things to do while in Richmond, VA. Richmond is a mash-up between an East Coast city and Southern Culture. The arts and food scenes are exploding here, while prices remain much more reasonable than cities further North. At the same time, Richmond continues to embrace the food, music, and lifestyle associated with Southern tradition. It's a weird mix, but somehow Richmond makes it work.
2408-2410 Ownby Ln, Richmond, VA 23220, USA
Richmond's favorite brewery! Regularly hosting events featuring farmers markets, food trucks, and live local bands, Hardywood Brewery has been embraced by the locals in a big way. And it certainly doesn't hurt that the beer is pretty great, too....
2908 W Cary St, Richmond, VA 23221, USA
Two-dollar second-run movies, cheap popcorn, and on weekend nights The Mighty Wurlitzer rises up from the orchestra pit to play a few songs on the organ before the feature presentation, complete with disco lighting that would make any roller rink...
101 W Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23220, USA
The Jefferson Hotel has been the gold standard for discerning visitors to Richmond (including 13 U.S. presidents) since 1895. Not content to rest on their laurels, the hotel completed a renovation in 2016, restoring its landmarked public areas and...
Carytown, Richmond, VA 23221, USA
For visitors, Carytown, located near the downtown hotels and the Museum District, is the preferred place to shop. This several-block stretch of West Cary Street is full of independently owned shops and restaurants, as well as the historic Byrd...
421 E Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23219, USA
Penny Lane is my favorite pub, by far. Local legend has it that pub owner Terry O'Neil worked as a bouncer for a club in Liverpool in the 60's, and kicked out John Lennon one night. Whether it's true or not, who knows, but it's one heck of a...
Shockoe Bottom, Richmond, VA, USA
In an attempt to bring a little color and interest to the attention-starved night club district in Richmond and the river front, numerous local and National artists were commissioned to create giant street art murals on many of the buildings and...
200 N Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220, USA
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...
1727 E Main St, Richmond, VA 23223, USA
Tucked away in Shockoe Bottom between the seedy night clubs and trendy restaurants, you'll find a little hole-in-the-wall called Wonderland. It's the kind of place that seems a little too insane to be true, with a decor that could be considered a...
116 S Addison St, Richmond, VA 23220, USA
Lamplighter is a local coffee shop done right. With indoor, outdoor, and screen porch seating, a delicious menu of sandwiches, breakfasts, and creative sides, and a friendly, laid-back atmosphere, it's the perfect place to get a cup o' joe....
2202 Jefferson Ave, Richmond, VA 23223, USA
BBQ is a part of Southern culture, and every state has a specific way of doing it. Different meats and styles of sauces are worshiped in different locations. Richmond has plenty of really incredible BBQ joints that do Virginia-style BBQ right, but...
Monument Ave, Virginia, USA
I couldn't resist taking a picture of Robert E. Lee in a rare Richmond snowfall—it was too beautiful. That being said, Monument Avenue is gorgeous in any season. Walk or drive down the avenue and take in the giant statues of Confederate heroes...
Belle Isle, Richmond, VA, USA
Over the years, Belle Island has been a hydroelectric plant, a 19th-century iron works, and a Confederate prison during the Civil War. Today it's a park with running and biking trails, access to the James River, and plenty of scenic remnants of...
4305 Sulgrave Rd, Richmond, VA 23221, USA
Agecroft was an English estate that existed in the time of Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth. In the 20s, the estate was in trouble and the entire house was moved brick by brick to Richmond. The tour of the house is really interesting, and the...
Canal Walk, Richmond, VA, USA
The Canal Walk follows the path of the James River, in downtown Richmond. Enjoy great views of both the river and the city, historical sites, and giant art murals. Or opt to take a boat tour and experience it all while floating down the James.
1 S Mulberry St, Richmond, VA 23220, USA
Everyone has their favorite neighborhood bar. Mine is Bamboo Cafe. Bamboo is located in the upper Fan district, has great food (open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch), a nice beer selection (draft and bottles), the same bar and waitstaff for...
2913 W Cary St, Richmond, VA 23221, USA
Used books, new books, local authors, and a live-in cat. It’s the perfect place to waste away a couple of hours perusing all the books you should own, if you only had that much shelf space. My favorite section? Counter-culture authors. Kerouac,...
1725 E Main St, Richmond, VA 23223, USA
Not only is the food incredible - that's worth mentioning since this is, after all a sushi restaurant - but dinner at Sumo San is as much an event as it is a meal. Ask for Chef Victor, the owner and chef, who always has a huge grin on his face,...
3118 W Cary St, Richmond, VA 23221, USA
Carytown, Richmond's hip center for local shopping, eating, and drinking now has not one, but two consignment clothing stores that are well worth the visit and the price. Clementine, a Carytown fixture since 2003, has long been the place to go for...
3306 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23230, USA
This Carytown eatery satisfies even the most massive of taco cravings. The dishes are served a la carte, either traditionally, or "gringo" style (which means, smothered with cheese and the usual fixin's). There are vegetarian options for the...
1213 Summit Ave, Richmond, VA 23230, USA
Ok, so they serve dinner and brunch too, but as the name if the restaurant is Lunch, it's fitting that it's my favorite meal there. The place is cozy, like a neighborhood diner, and the food is a perfect example of standard fare done well. Really...
23 W Marshall St, Richmond, VA 23220, USA
Saison, located in Richmond's Jackson Ward neighborhood, is a real treat. The menus are pasted inside hollowed out library books, and the drinks are served in eclectic antique glassware. On the food side of things, the bone marrow appetizer is...
1621 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220, USA
There are so many different aspects to truly experiencing a place. Sometimes, what a city sounds like can get forgotten. This isn't an issue in Richmond. 97.3 WRIR (on the FM dial) is an independent station run out of the city. It hosts talk radio...
825 W Cary St, Richmond, VA 23220, USA
821 Cafe was one of the places to hit up for brunch in Richmond before brunch was cool. Before everyone was doing it. Before a plate of eggs cost $15. Yeah, it's just that cool. The decor is that of a hip diner, with booths and counter seating,...
1601 Park Ave, Richmond, VA 23220, USA
On a quiet corner of Richmond, across from a park and among hundred-year-old homes, sits Virginia's own piece of bustling Havana, Kuba Kuba. World famous for their Tres Leche cake, my favorite time to stop in is for brunch on the weekend. The...
2401 E Broad St, Richmond, VA 23223, USA
"Give me liberty, or give me death!" Proclaimed Patrick Henry. Few know that St. John's Church is where that speech was delivered. During the spring and summer there are live re-enactments on site—a must-see for history lovers.
2603 E Main St, Richmond, VA 23223, USA
Millie's Diner has become somewhat of a Richmond institution. This small diner in what used to be a bad part of town, draws epic crowds on the weekend who come for their famous Mess-dishes. When you put your name on the list (because you will...
320 E Grace St, Richmond, VA 23219, USA
Seafood is the star at Rappahannock Restaurant in downtown Richmond. This is the third venture of the Croxton family, which has played a major role in the Chesapeake Bay oyster resurgence. The restaurant's raw bar features four oyster varieties,...
618 N 1st St, Richmond, VA 23219, USA
Want something refreshing? Sweet? Maybe a little weird? Hopefully you'll feel lucky when you order the Dealer's Choice, a sort of Mad Libs-inspired cocktail at Rogue Gentlemen. Choose two descriptive words along with the liquor of your choice, and...
500 Tredegar St, Richmond, VA 23219, USA
The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar intertwines stories from the perspectives of African Americans, Unionists, and Confederates. The educational experience includes interactive films, exhibits, and timelines, as well as indoor and...
1627 W Main St, Richmond, VA 23220, USA
Happy houring at Heritage is a guaranteed good time because of their delicious speciality cocktails and frequently changing small plate menu. The last time I was there I ordered a Bitter About My Hot Friend ($9), which includes lunazel reposed...
416 E Grace St, Richmond, VA 23219, USA
This city is a new destination for food pilgrims. At Pasture (shown above), nibble from small plates of creamy pimento cheese on Ritz crackers; at the Roosevelt, try the rutabaga gratin with peanut sauce; then pick up some Rappahannock River...
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