8 Great Things To Do in Richmond Virginia

Richmond, Virginia is steeped in American history but today is blossoming as an adventure and foodie destination. Traditionally known as the capital of the US South (including the capital of the Confederate States during the 1860s), Richmond is also the hometown of Arthur Ashe, Shirley Maclaine, Warren Beatty, Fran Tarkenton, D’Angelo, and Bill Robinson (Bojangles).

Monument Avenue—a bonus to my 8 great things to do in Richmond Virginia list below—recognizes Confederate heroes (like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson) but in 1996 the Arthur Ashe monument was dedicated.

Yes, you can say that there are at least two sides to Richmond—the traditional, historic Richmond and the Civil Rights, progressive, and cosmopolitan Richmond. Richmond is only a 90 minute drive from Washington, DC and well worth a multi-day visit so that you can experience all sides yourself.

Before your next Richmond VA visit, read 9 Divine Secret Places to Eat in Richmond Virginia

8 Great Things To Do in Richmond Virginia

Patrick Henry and other reenactors at St. John's Church
St. John’s Church (Patrick Henry) in Richmond, Virginia

1. St. John’s Church

One of the most important events in US history occurred at St. John’s Church in Richmond Virginia. In front of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and more than 100 other prominent leaders, Patrick Henry gave his “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech. That saying became a rallying cry during the American Revolution, which began only one month later. Today you can tour the historic church and graveyard, and perhaps catch one of the reenactments of the events from March 1775.

Stroll around the graveyard on your own, especially if you have never seen table top cemetery stones.

graveyard at St. John's Church in Richmond Virginia
Historic St. John’s Church, Richmond, VA

2. Virginia State Capitol Building

The Virginia State Capitol Building in Richmond was named the #1 building that changed America. Thomas Jefferson envisioned and help design the building, specifically as a statement of USA’s independence from Britain. The Virginia State Capitol is modeled after an ancient Roman temple in southern France and countless USA buildings (including the US Capitol) are modeled after it.

Virginia State Capitol building
Virginia State Capitol Building in Richmond VA

This plaque inside the Virginia State Capitol shows how far back Virginia history extends.

plaque at Virginia State Capitol
Virginia State Capitol Building

3. Edgar Allan Poe Museum

Edgar Allan Poe spent most of his early childhood in Richmond Virginia. The Poe Museum houses the most comprehensive collection of Poe’s writings in the world. The museum building is not one that Poe lived in but is the oldest building in Richmond.

things to do in Richmond Virginia: Edgar Allan Poe Museum
places to visit in Richmond Virginia: Poe Museum

The Poe Museum rooms have period furnishings and decorations and Poe’s Enchanted Garden is a highlight. Watch out for the Black Cat.

things to do in Richmond Virginia: Poe Museum
Edgar Allan Poe statue at Poe Museum in Richmond VA
things to do in Richmond Virginia: Poe Museum, Enchanted Garden
the resident black cat, Poe Museum, Richmond VA

4. Hollywood Cemetery

Impress your friends with this trivia: Hollywood Cemetery is the only US cemetery where three Presidents are buried. Two US Presidents are buried here—James Monroe and John Tyler—along with Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America. OK, you might groan, but I did not say “three US Presidents.” Other important Hollywood Cemetery burials include six Virginia governors, two Supreme Court justices, and over 18,000 Confederate soldiers (including 22 Generals).

great things to do in Richmond virginia: Hollywood Cemetery
places to visit in Richmond Virginia: President John Tyler grave, Hollywood Cemetery

No doubt, Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia is very historic, but it is also gorgeous. The cemetery encompasses the native nature and features beautiful walking paths and majestic trees. Its setting on a hill overlooking the James River makes visiting Hollywood Cemetery a popular great thing to do in Richmond Virginia.

great things to do in Richmond Virginia: Hollywood Cemetery
visit the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond VA

5. Belle Isle

Belle Isle is an island in the middle of the James River with wonderful hiking and biking trails. During the Civil War, Belle Isle housed the largest Confederate prison and later Belle Isle was home to various industrial pursuits. A pedestrian bridge from Tredegar Street is perhaps the easiest way to access Belle Isle.

things to do in Richmond Virginia: Belle Isle
pedestrian bridge to Belle Isle in Richmond VA

From Belle Isle, you can see the Hollywood Cemetery, downtown Richmond, and more.

things to do in Richmond Virginia: Belle Isle
Belle Isle in Richmond Virginia

6. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is open every day of the year and charges no admission fee. When I last visited, major displays included equestrian art, art deco furniture, and Tiffany glass lamps.

things to do in Richmond Virginia: Museum of Fine Arts
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia
things to do in Richmond Virginia: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond VA

7. Richmond VA Street Art

Over 100 street art murals can be found throughout the neighborhoods of Richmond Virginia. Here is a listing of street art by neighborhood and years. RVA Street Art Fest, a 3 day festival in April, draws artists from around the world to create these amazing murals.

things to do in Richmond Virginia: street art murals
explore the street art mural scene in Richmond Virginia
things to do in Richmond Virginia: street art murals
seeing street art murals is a great thing to do in Richmond VA
things to do in Richmond Virginia: street art murals
Richmond Virginia street art mural,

8. Richmond Virginia Food and Drink

The local food and craft beer scene in Richmond is crazy. So many creative chefs and brewers are opening places in Richmond and environs, and they strongly integrate with and appeal to the expanding adventure crowd.

I had these amazing pork cheek tacos for lunch at Vagabond.

things to do in Richmond Virginia: Vagabond restaurant
pork cheek tacos at Vagabond, Richmond, Virginia

The roast pork omelet at Kuba Kuba is phenomenal.

things to do in Richmond Virginia: Kuba Kuba
roast pork omelet, Kuba Kuba, Richmond, Virginia

Capital Ale House is in the downtown area and serves many local brews.

artsy photo of beer pint in front of tap line
Capital Ale House, Richmond, Virginia

For lunch one day, we explored Carytown for awhile and then selected Weezie’s. They make very good sandwiches and interesting side dishes.

things to do in Richmond Virginia: Weezie's Kitchen
Weezie’s Kitchen, Carytown, Richmond, Virginia

On Thursday evenings from April through October, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery hosts a food truck court. During our visit there were over a dozen food trucks onsite. Oh, and Hardywood has incredible craft beer.

food truck at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
places to eat in Richmond Virginia: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

What are some of your favorite things to do in Richmond VA?

Note: We—Julie at FuninFairfaxVA.com and I—were hosted by Richmond Region Tourism (Visit Richmond VA) as an opportunity to explore and learn about Richmond, Virginia and share our favorite findings with our network.

Where to Stay in Richmond Virginia

The Jefferson Hotel is an ultra luxury hotel in downtown Richmond. It is a member of Historic Hotels of America and Preferred Hotels & Resorts. The Jefferson Hotel is one of only a few dozen USA properties to earn 5 diamonds from AAA and 5 stars from Forbes Travel Guide.

visit the lavish lobby of The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond Virginia
visit the lavish lobby of The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond Virginia

Another lodging option in Richmond Virginia is vacation rentals, including condos, apartments, and houses. >>> To receive $40 off your first Airbnb rental, use this Airbnb discount code.

8 Great Things To Do in Richmond Virginia was first published for McCool Travel  on 29 December 2016.

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36 thoughts on “8 Great Things To Do in Richmond Virginia”

  1. It’s funny that I’ve traveled to so many other countries but some places in my own haven’t been visited — especially the historic ones like Richmond. I’d go just to see the street art!

    Reply
  2. Thanks for sharing and introducing Richmond. It’s great to see there are some exciting things to see and do in the city and I wish to be there myself some day! @ knycx.journeying

    Reply
  3. I love Virginia! Can’t wait to go back and take a look at some of the places you went- especially Kuba Kuba, that omelette looks amazing! Thank you for a great read!

    Reply
  4. These spots are really cool!!!
    seriously have to think about this place, well having a list of travel destinations to visit this year, have to put Richmond Virginia on my list for sure.
    Keep posting such amazing places
    Cheers 🙂

    Reply
  5. There’s an Edgar Allen Poe museum? How cool! I’d love to check that out. I have a friend that lives near Richmond, I think I should make a visit soon so we can check out some of these spots.

    Reply
  6. I love Richmond and used to visit quite a bit when I lived in MD. The Richmond Science Center has Rat Basketball, where rats play…basketball! Ha! Betcha didn’t even know it was a thing! Thanks for the great ideas for when I go back!

    Reply

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