Things to Do in Richmond, Virginia

Virginia’s capital has something for everyone. Find unique shops in Carytown, historic mansions along cobblestoned streets and top museums. Go white-water rafting, too, in this city by the James.
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American Civil War Center

Get your Civil War fix at the nation’s first museum of its kind: The American Civil War Center interprets the war from Union, Confederate and African-American perspectives. Find the museum on the grounds of the 22-acre Tredegar Iron Works site.

James River

With views of downtown Richmond just beyond, take a rafting trip down the James River. The 348-mile-long river is the 12th-longest river in America exclusively contained within a single state. We recommend a white-water rafting trip down the Lower James River, arguably one of the best urban white-water experiences in the U.S.

Science Museum of Virginia

The kids will love the Science Museum of Virginia. Housed in a former railroad station, the museum showcases dozens of interactive experiences and exhibits -- the Foucault pendulum on the ground floor is sure to intrigue the kids. So will the live animals -- including the museum’s own rat basketball team (no joke)!

Brown’s Island

Take in a concert on Brown’s Island. This 6-acre island on the James River plays frequent host to free outdoor concerts and festivals in the spring and summer. You’ll want to check out the weekly Friday Cheers concert series; foodies, meanwhile, will love the James River Beer and Seafood Festival.

Edgar Allan Poe Museum

While the tortured, macabre writer died in Baltimore, he lived the early part of his life in Richmond, where he was taken in as an orphan by a family. Learn Poe’s story through pictures, relics and verse (including several rare first printings of Poe’s works) on display at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum.

Maggie L. Walker House

Find inspiration at the Maggie L. Walker House. The home, located in Richmond’s historic Jackson Ward (a historically African-American neighborhood), was owned by the ground-breaking leader who came from humble beginnings: Walker’s mother was a former slave, and her father was an Irish immigrant whom she never knew. Walker went on to become the first woman of any race to charter a bank in the U.S.

Richmond's Church Hill

Savor local cuisine and culture in Richmond’s oldest neighborhood. Also known as the St. John’s Church Historic District, the 100-acre area is where Patrick Henry gave his “Give me liberty or give me death!” speech (at St. John’s Episcopal Church). Book a dinner reservation at The Roosevelt (pictured) for Southern fare like catfish alongside diverse international cuisine (from kimchi to gnocchi).

Hollywood Cemetery

Head to one of Richmond’s major tourist attractions. Spanning 130 acres, Hollywood Cemetery is the final resting place for two U.S. presidents, 25 Confederate generals and the only Confederate States president. The cemetery opened in 1849, and it continues to intrigue with its rich history and gothic landscape.

Maymont Mansion

Step into the Gilded Age at Maymont Mansion. This Victorian estate was built by James H. Dooley, a wealthy Richmond lawyer and philanthropist, and his wife, Sallie, in 1893. After their deaths, the 100-acre property was left to the people of Richmond.

Carytown

Get in some shopping in Richmond’s Carytown. This urban retail district comprises dozens of restaurants and boutiques. Enjoy French cuisine at Can Can Brasserie, and pick up unique specialty items (pizza-shaped chocolate, anyone?) at For the Love of Chocolate. They’re just the start to the unique dining and shopping experiences you’ll find here.

Richmond Canal Tour

Take a relaxing, 40-minute boat tour along the James River and Kanawha Canal. Richmond’s canal system began in 1789, at the behest of George Washington, to facilitate shipments of freight and passengers between the western counties of Virginia and the coast.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

You’ll find world-class art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts -- 365 days a year, with free general admission, to boot. The museum spans African, American, East Asian, European, South Asian and contemporary art. Our personal favorite is the Art Nouveau collection.

Monument Avenue

They don’t call it “Monument Avenue” for nothing. This tree-lined grassy mall divides the east and westbound sides of the avenue; a 1.5-mile stretch of it is punctuated with statues memorializing Confederate figures like J.E.B. Stuart (pictured). In 1996, a statue honoring tennis great Arthur Ashe was added to the street, broadening the scope of what the city holds dear.

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