Richmond, Virginia Guide

Richmond, Virginia is an approachable escape. With beautiful architecture, rich history, a buzzing foodie culture, and outdoor escapes dotted across the city, Richmond has something for everyone.

The Basics

When to Visit 

Richmond offers all four seasons and can be enjoyed year round. Spring and fall however, are particularly nice times to visit RVA. Richmond is a city surrounded by nature. Spring blossoms a little earlier here and brings beautiful sunny weather while the winter is still melting off in the Northeast. Fall offers colorful leafy views from this tree-filled city set along the James River.

 

Weather

Flower-filled springs, hot, humid summers, colorful falls and mild winters mark the weather in Richmond, VA. Summer temperatures range from 70 °F to 90 °F and are perfect for spending time outside. The winter brings temperatures from 35 °F to 50 °F, with occasionally snow.

 

Cost

$$

Richmond is a relatively inexpensive city for budget-conscious travelers. You can find inexpensive lodging and plenty of free things to do. 

Richmond VA Pack List

Bring the basics and make sure to throw in: 

  1. Walking shoes. Whether it’s hiking or city strolling, plan to get in lots of steps. 
  2. Layers. The weather in Richmond shifts quickly. Plan to dress in layers so you’ll be ready rain, wind or shine.
  3. A raincoat and umbrella. Showers can pop up unexpectedly.

Richmond VA Tips

  1. Bring quarters! There are tolls on a few of the major roads outside of the city so make sure you have some change in case you find yourself on a toll road. 
  2. Plan to park in a garage if you visit downtown or pay attention to street signs to avoid a ticket. 

Richmond, VA FAQs

Is Richmond, Virginia safe to visit?

Yes! You need to be urban-savvy as you would in any city but it is absolutely a must-visit. Stick to tourist-friendly neighborhoods like the Museum district, the Fan or Downtown for a great experience. Check sites like Spot Crime to get a sense of the relative safety of the neighborhoods you’re considering visiting.

Is Richmond, Virginia worth visiting?

Definitely. It has a rich history, poppin’ food scene, is flush with art and surrounded by beautiful nature. Richmond is both an approachable and vibrant destination.

What is Richmond famous for?

Richmond is the capital of Virginia. It has a rich history and played a significant role in the Civil War. Today, Richmond has a vibrant food and art scene and is known for being an eclectic and interesting place. This beautiful Southern city also has easy access to hiking trails and lush gardens like Belle Island and Maymont.

What should I know before moving to Richmond?

Your neighborhood will impact your experience. Go for historical charm in the Museum District or The Fan. Channel city vibes downtown but expect to pay for monthly parking!

How do I spend a day in Richmond?

Shop ‘til you drop in Carytown, walk to Belle Island, visit the VMFA, grab a rooftop cocktail at The Quirk Hotel, catch a movie at the historical Byrd Theater.

What are the safest neighborhoods in Richmond?

Bellevue, Byrd Park, Museum District, Thee Chopt and Westover Hills are all safe neighborhoods. Check sites like Spot Crime to get a sense of the relative safety of the neighborhoods you’re considering visiting.

Transportation

Walking: The city is super walkable and if you have the time, it’s the best way to enjoy the unique historical homes, interesting architecture, and murals throughout the city.

Car: To check out more of the city, plan to take an uber (many of the in town attractions are close) or rent a car. In the Museum District, street parking is easy to come by. Downtown, budget $15/day to park in a garage or plan to move your car every few hours to comply with parking regulations.

Bike: There are dedicated bike lanes throughout the city and you can grab a short term bike rental at RVA Bike Share. These have motors so you’ll get where you’re going in no time.

Electric Scooters: Bird and Bolt electric scooters are also scattered throughout the city and are a great option if you’re not near a bike hub. 

Bus: The GRTC bus is available for public transportation pros.

    Stay

    Neighborhoods

    Museum District – the Museum District offers beautiful historical houses, walkable shopping and restaurants in Carytown and The Fan, and close access to the VMFA. Stay here for a neighborhood vibe with easy access to everything.

    Downtown – downtown has a classic city feel. Tall buildings, lots of restaurants, bars and shopping, and easy access to the river make this a great place for an urban getaway. 

    The Jefferson Hotel

    The Jefferson Hotel is a Richmond icon. Its grand staircase, stained glass skylight, and rich decor transport visitors as they walk into this historic hotel.

    The Jefferson Hotel opened in 1895 and in the 1930’s, full-sized alligators swam in small pools in the lobby. You can still spot bronze alligators around the property to commemorate the unique hotel mascots.

    Some patrons of this hotel include thirteen of the United States presidents and celebrities like Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton and The Rolling Stones.

    Linden Row Inn

    The Linden Row Inn is one of Richmond’s best kept secrets. The boutique hotel is created from historical row houses and their suites are decorated with lush antique decor.

    The open courtyard, cobblestone alley, and easy access to downtown makes this an excellent stay with old Richmond charm.

    The Quirk Hotel

    The Quirk Hotel in the Richmond Arts District lives up to its name with bright, modern, unique decor.

    Its rooftop bar and easy access to all things downtown make this a fabulous option for your Richmond visit.

    AirBnB

    For a longer term stay, look for AirBnBs in the Museum District. Look for options off of the busier roads (Carytown, Ellwood Ave, Arthur Ashe Blvd) for a quieter neighborhood vibe and easy parking.

    Downtown through Shockoe Slip is also a great option for a long term stay. Franklin, Main Street and Cary offer a few nice, big residential options with easy access to the river and dining.

    Eat

    What to Eat

    1. BBQ
    2. Oysters
    3. Ham
    4. Crab
    5. Pimento Cheese

    Where to Eat

    1. Moussaka from Stella’s
    2. Oysters at Rappahannock
    3. Chili Dumplings at Fat Dragon
    4. Po’ Boy from Mama J’s
    5. Mary Angela’s Special Pizza at Mary Angela’s
    6. Japanese Ramen at Foo Dog
    7. Meatloaf at Comfort
    8. Boathouse crab cakes with views at The Boathouse
    9. Ham Biscuit at Early Bird Biscuit 
    10. Pulled Pork with Slaw at Alamo BBQ
    11. High Tea at The Jefferson Hotel

    What to Drink

    1. Gingerbread Stout (seasonal) from Hardywood Brewing: If you have the afternoon, visit Hardywood’s West Creek location. Their large patio, food trucks, and yard games set in the Virginia countryside make this a great way to pass the afternoon. In November, they introduce seasonal favorites like their Gingerbread Stout and Christmas Pancakes.
    2. Stone IPA from Stone Brewing: This well-known brew is a west-coast style IPA from local beer maker Stone Brewing.
    3. Apple Cider from Blue Bee Cider: Blue Bee Cider is Virginia’s first urban cidery and makes their cider from fresh Virginia grown apples. 
    4. Peanut Butter Porter Beer from Isley Brewing: Isley Brewing’s peanut butter porter is in a league of its own. It was voted as the best beer in Richmond, making it a must try at one of the local pubs. 
    5. Wine from Buckhead’s: The wine list at Buckhead’s has more than 700 labels to cater to any wine lover’s taste buds. And with Virginia having over 300 wineries, you’re able to sample some of the best local bottles even if you can’t make it to the wineries.

    Shop

    Downtown

    Boutiques are scattered downtown but check out Broad street near the Quirk Hotel for uniquely Richmond souvenirs. Visit Richmond has some great suggestions for where to stop.

    Carytown

    Carytown is a street filled with shops and restaurants along Cary Street from Thompson to Arthur Ashe Blvd. This little stretch of the city has quirky shops, luxe shopping, a historic movie theater, and lots of restaurants. Stroll the streets popping into the stores that catch your eye for a lovely shopping day in the city.

    Farmer’s Markets

    Visit one of Richmond’s many markets. The Carytown Farmer’s Market is a great option for shopping local that opens every Sunday from May to November.

    Stony Point

    This upscale outdoor shopping center has recognizable stores including Saks, Vineyard Vines, and Sur La Table. If you’re looking for even more of an outing, catch a movie with cocktails or an app at CineBistro.

    Shop Antiques

    Treasure hunt at Nest Antiques and RVA Antiques. If you’re willing to venture further, there are several small antique malls outside of Richmond.

    Short Pump

    Short Pump is an open-air premier shopping mall that offers a wide variety of restaurants and shopping. Pop by J. Crew, Nordstrom, or Apple as you stroll this two story outdoor mall. It even offers a dog-friendly environment, so bring your pups out for a shop.

    Things to Do

    Things to do in Richmond, VA

    1. See a movie in style at the historic Byrd Theater.
    2. Shop quirky, vintage, unique finds in Carytown
    3. Indulge in upscale cocktails and city views at The Q Rooftop Bar in the Quirk Hotel.
    4. Escape to nature without leaving the city with one of Richmond’s many city hikes. We like Belle Isle and the North Bank Trail. 
    5. Hit a museum – VMFA, American civil war, science museum, edgar allen poe museums are some you can choose from on your visit
    6. Catch a concert at The National or the Canal Club.
    7. Visit James Monroe, John Tyler, and Jefferson Davis at their famous gravesite in Hollywood Cemetary (also one of the best views in the city).

    More things to do in Richmond, VA

    13. Channel your inner kid with old school arcade games and 50 local taps at The Circuit

    14. Stroll through internationally inspired gardens and pet the animals at Maymont.

    15. Channel old Richmond with high tea at The Jefferson Hotel. In its early days, alligators lived in the hotel lobby and you can still see stone gators on the property today.

    16. Grab a classic cocktail in style at historical The Tobacco Company. The restaurant was created from an old tobacco warehouse that dates back to 1866 and is set on a lovely cobblestone street.

    17. Walk the city. Richmond has rich history and diverse architecture. Walk the museum district to see historical homes, the canal walk, or one of the many historic sites in Richmond.

    18. Sample the local beverages at one of the many local breweries (we love Hardywood but there are lots to choose from!) or make a day of it with a brewery, cidery or winery tour. Check out RVA brew crew or Drink Richmond.