The Best of Richmond, Virginia
Collected by Will Jackson, AFAR Local Expert
Richmond is absolutely steeped in history. The state capital (and former capital of the Confederacy) has a multitude of museums and its atmospheric downtown includes more than 20 national and state historic districts. The Fan District, home to Virginia Commonwealth University, Monument Avenue, Jackson Ward, Shockoe Slip, Shockoe Bottom, and Church Hill are all worth exploring. And while Richmond may venerate the past, it also celebrates the present with a booming food and nightlife scene.
1000 Bank St, Richmond, VA 23219, USA
In the heart of downtown, Virginia’s impressive capitol building is surrounded by grassy Capitol Square. Thomas Jefferson designed the Roman temple–style building, flanked by later wings. Tours are offered hourly—a highlight is Houdon's heroic...
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...
500 Tredegar St, Richmond, VA 23219, USA
Once the biggest ironworks in the Confederacy, the Tredegar complex now houses the American Civil War Museum’s flagship exhibit. Explore the war’s causes, history, and legacies from the viewpoints of Unionists, Confederates, and African Americans....
Richmond, VA, USA
A stroll, run, or drive along Monument Avenue is an essential Richmond experience. The broad thoroughfare, divided by a shady median, is lined with early 20th-century mansions, townhouses, and apartment buildings. The street’s statues of...
2401 E Broad St, Richmond, VA 23223, USA
Richmond’s Civil War history is everywhere, but its role in the Revolution was important, too. Patrick Henry gave his “Give me liberty” speech at simple clapboard St. John’s. Don’t miss the graveyard, where luminaries including Edgar Allan Poe’s...
412 S Cherry St, Richmond, VA 23220, USA
Sprawled on a bluff above the James River, Hollywood is one of the country’s most historic cemeteries. Victorian-era mausoleums and monuments include the tombs of Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler (and a host of notable Richmonders) along...
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...
623 N 25th St, Richmond, VA 23223, USA
Housed in a cozy former drugstore, the Roosevelt excels at seafood (consistent rave reviews for the mussels, scallops, and rockfish), though everything is well prepared in updated Southern style. Cocktails are taken seriously and the restaurant...
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,...
2603 E Main St, Richmond, VA 23223, USA
A slightly raucous, jukebox-on-the-table diner, Millie’s has had Richmonders lining up for brunch, lunch, and dinner for decades. Creative dishes burst with seasonal and regional flavor. Try the Devil’s Mess, Veggie Mess, or huevos rancheros for...
111 E Grace St, Richmond, VA 23219, USA
Popular all day long, Perly’s has an authentic art deco interior and an equally authentic, slightly updated New York deli menu. Breakfast includes latkes and blintzes, lunch includes a sublime Reuben, and dinner might start with lox or smoked...
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...
217 W Clay St, Richmond, VA 23220, USA
A couple of blocks north of revitalizing Broad Street, GWARbar pays tribute to the renowned (and sometimes reviled) Richmond shock-rock band. Enjoy "gore-may" food and drinks—with names like the Baconecutioner and Lettuce Slay— in a fake blood–...
5009, 101 W Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23220, USA
Located in the gorgeous Jefferson Hotel and named for Thomas Jefferson’s French chef, Lemaire is Richmond’s premiere white-tablecloth restaurant. Its grand, classic setting is matched by refined food and service, with specialties drawing on...
2337 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220, USA
Experience culinary time travel—and classic southern flavors. Box lunches include a chicken salad, Smithfield ham or pimento cheese sandwich (among other choices), potato salad, cheese wafer, deviled egg, and a famous upside down iced...
626 China St, Richmond, VA 23220, USA
This relatively new arrival to Richmond’s booming dining scene is located in Oregon Hill, once home to Civil War–era ironworkers. L’Opossum has a witty menu (“Beef Swellington”, “Darth Grouper”, “Polyamorous Hippie”) and flamboyant, romantic décor...
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