I discovered on the streets of Richmond, Virginia, that I could live here indefinitely. It’s a healthy city with a lovely mix of flora, history, waterfalls, and the vast James River, which embraces Richmond’s ethereal beauty.
For great thinkers and art fans, the city boasts a plethora of museums, art galleries, and street murals.
Richmond offers several real and historical museums, such as the famed Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Black History Museum & Culture Center, and many more, that emphasize local history via monuments, interpretative art, and street culture.
Picture by Eric Scott
A James River cruise near Richmond will fill you with pleasure when the sun dips and tints the sky in exquisite shades of vivid pinks and violets. The magnificent riverboat cruise will immerse you in the essence of the city.
This town is completely enveloped in nature, and there will be greenery wherever you look. Richmond has a plethora of natural attractions, including the tranquil Maymont Japanese Garden, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Powhite Water Park, Buttermilk Trail, and more!
Of course, Richmond is for history buffs. The city is rich in history, with well-known museums and renovated historic residences such as the Virginia House, St. John Church, Virginia Executive Mansion, and the famed Hollywood Cemetery.
Yet history isn’t everything, and Richmond understands how to energize visitors with adrenaline and pleasure. As the moon rises in the black sky and darkness falls over the city, Richmond transforms into a haunted town and summons a terrifying adventure with the ghost tour. Get prepared to have your breath stolen away!
Richmond boasts the largest amusement park, Kings Dominion, Metro Richmond Zoo, Kids Museum Park, Bogey Kids Park, and much more for children.
Where should you begin your Richmond tour? Here’s a comprehensive list of things to do in Richmond and where to begin your journey.
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- 1 Things To Do In Richmond VA That Are Serene Outside
- 1.1 Botanical Garden of Lewis Ginter
- 1.2 Maymont
- 1.3 Forest Hill Park’s Buttermilk Trail
- 1.4 Canal Cruises on the Mississippi River
- 1.5 Island of Belle Isle
- 2 Things To Do In Richmond VA That Are Daring
- 3 Richmond, Virginia Art and History Sites
- 4 Additional Historical Attractions in Richmond, Virginia
- 5 Finishing Up Richmond VA Attractions
Things To Do In Richmond VA That Are Serene Outside
Before venturing on strange escapades, join Richmonds walking tour or meander across the city on a bicycle Discover a diverse selection of street art, historic buildings, great food, and beer trails. Richmond is well-known for its gastronomic and cultural establishments.
If you are a morning person who enjoys lengthy hikes in nature, the Buttermilk Trail linking Forest Hill Park will recharge your batteries with peaceful surroundings, a glistening lake, and the forest.
In the early evening, pay a visit to the Maymont Japanese Garden, a 100-acre Victorian estate with a historic home, fauna, a waterfall, and carriage exhibitions.
When nightfall approaches, Richmond will provide you with a plethora of nightlife clubs to dance away your concerns.
Botanical Garden of Lewis Ginter
Lakeside Avenue, 1800
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a beautiful paradise on Earth, including nine massive floral gardens, an Asian valley, a conservatory, and hundreds of flower varieties. The garden is a sprawling storybook coming to life over 50 acres of scenery.
I was surprised by the diversity of hues and millions of blossoms in the gardens and around the neighborhood when I visited Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in May, particularly the cherry trees.
This botanical park is a haven for those searching for a tranquil morning or evening. Nothing beats a stroll along the forest trail or the cherry canopy. The pavilions, water reservoirs, fountains, and waterfall among the hundreds of flower plants add to the overall ethereal splendor.
Botanical Garden of LG Famous Wedding Locations and Date Nights
For the same reasons, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a well-known wedding site for lavish, fantasy weddings. Every curve around the corner is breathtaking.
Not only that, but the garden also holds events, exhibitions, and educational tours. You may enroll in an in-depth study of the trees, flowers, and other horticulture right in the garden.
The garden offers a distinct playground zone for children with entertaining water activities. During the year, the garden offers a variety of educational programs, summer camps, volunteer organizations, and school trips.
There is a wonderful Model Train exhibit for youngsters to enjoy throughout Christmas and GardenFest.
Food and shopping
In the evening, relax on the terrace with music, an alfresco meal, and tea.
There is a tea house, a café, and a charming garden store at the LG botanical garden. In reality, it is open beyond 5 p.m. on Thursdays. The sunset and the whole garden in golden and orange tones are ecstatic.
GardenFest of Lights presented by Dominion Energy
When Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is illuminated with lights throughout the holiday season, not a single tree or stone is left untouched. The area is lit with thousands of colourful lights each November.
At night, the garden sparkles with beautiful decorations that highlight and emphasize the overall splendor of the trees, flowers, water, gazebos, and everything else. LG Botanical Garden is one of the most beautiful places to spend Christmas since it seems like a lovely home.
+180435871661700 Hampton Street
Spend a day exploring the different splendor of nature in this utopia, Maymont. Maymont Garden is spread over 100 acres and has four continental gardens, a large Victorian Mansion, modest historic cottages, carriage exhibition, antique displays, protected fauna, and farms.
Maymont’s motif is an eclectic combination of several continents. Traditional lanterns, native Asian flora, and infrastructure may be seen in the Japanese garden. Via Florum, the Italian Garden, has traditional Renaissance architecture with long pergolas, symmetry, a dome, less flowers, but always greenery.
Weddings and celebrations are often held under the Via Florums Pergola. The Japanese Garden, on the other hand, is an appealing Asian location for traditional Asian parties.
The Marie Butterfly Trail, which is accompanied by hundreds of butterflies and floral splendor, is another specialized attraction. The Grotto, a unique Roman facility lost in time, is also part of the Maymont garden.
- The carriage house garden
- Vegetable farm
- Maymont Mansion’s lawn
- Native Virginia landscape displaying trees, shrubs, and plants native to Virginia.
Maymont provides antique carriage excursions around the grounds. Wear anything Victorian-style and immerse yourself in the ancient young age.
Maymont also hosts a variety of activities throughout the year. The festive feast at the end of the year will make your visit to the Japanese garden more enjoyable. Mansion tours, horticultural workshops, Christmas decorations, and volunteering are among the other activities.
Forest Hill Park’s Buttermilk Trail
The Buttermilk track, which is four miles long, is ideal for experienced hikers, daring cyclists, and nature enthusiasts.
This Buttermilk track will be a terrific ride in the city if you like early runs, sunrises, forest canopy, and muddy roads. The track, however, is not for the faint of heart; it is one of the town’s oldest and scariest loops, with bikes rushing up and steep alleyways tugging you down.
If you want to unwind, go on a day when there are less motorcycles and riders to ensure a safe and risk-free excursion. It is advised to avoid this route if traveling with family and children.
Despite its low height, the Buttermilk route has several little wooden surfaced trails and is within a short distance from Forest Hill Park. Every season will provide breathtaking vistas along the walk.
Forest Hill Park is a wonderful scenic break with a shimmering lake, a stone cottage, a children’s playground, and several other little walks. Picnic shelters, gazebos, and seats are available in the park.
Forest Hill Park is ideal for families seeking for a pleasant picnic spot and a place to relax!
Other Richmond Trails
- Belle Isle Trails: Crossing some huge stones and steep pathways, Belle Isle is a river-side trail giving you scenic views of the massive James River crossing by.
- RVA Pipeline Trail: There’s a narrow trail bridge above Belle Isle island and the James River. In the end, the bridge connects to the river’s shore and allows you to relax for a couple of minutes near the water. You can witness activities like kayaking and boating at the site.
Canal Cruises on the Mississippi River
Richmond, Virginia +18046492800139 Virginia St
With the Riverfront Historic Canal Tours, you may sail over Richmond’s historical attractions while resting in the shade.
These canal cruises, located near Virginia Street, run throughout the town and ride along the famed triple crossing railroad, James River fauna, gardens, Virginia Capitol paths, old tobacco warehouse, and so on.
If you’re a history geek like me, take one of these canal tours while in Richmond. It’s a joy to sit quietly, listen to music, and watch history unfold on the lake.
Additional options for city tours on wheels are RVAtuktuks and RVA Trolleys.
After walking and biking about town, it’s time to pick up the pace and explore the city on wheels. Richmond offers two genuine rides for visitors: the RVA tuk-tuk and the RVA trolleys. These rides have a vintage feel to them and tell the 400-year history of Richmond.
RVA tuk-tuks are open-air electric limousines that are ideal for city excursions, weddings, and ghost tours. Moreover, the group offers a variety of personalized trips across Richmond.
Private history excursions, ghost city tours, bar hops, and scavenger hunts are all available (for families).
TVA trolleys are historic (air-conditioned) trolleys that provide a genuine ride. The tours are two hours long and cover the whole city of Richmond. I took all of these rides to get a sense of Richmond, and oh, was it fun!
Island of Belle Isle
The address is 4001 Riverside Drive. Richmond
Belle Isle is a 54-acre landscaped rock-bed park located in the James River. It is one of Richmond’s most popular places to enjoy the sunset, the river, sunbathing, strolling, biking, and playing.
Belle Isle provides a stunning perspective of Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery and skyline. The public park is free to use, and you will see many folks just relaxing by the river. Belle Isle Island is ideal for family picnics, large group gatherings, and nightlife.
I sat there for an hour, admiring the city at night. It’s a relaxing area for restless evenings. The suspension footbridge under the Robert E. Lee bridge leads to the island. After the water level has dropped, you may walk to the island.
Things To Do In Richmond VA That Are Daring
Richmond is much more than museums, parks, and the James River; it is also a lot of fun! So set aside a day to visit Kings Dominion Amusement Park and have the time of your life on the roller coasters and special water attractions.
Take the Canavaha boat ride trip around downtown at night. After seeing Richmond on RVA tuk-tuks, canal cruises, and RVA historic Trolleys, travel to the James River and get right in for some adrenaline-pumping sports.
Within the water, the James River provides kayaking, whitewater river rafting, paddleboarding, tubing, and a variety of other fun sports.
Richmond never sleeps, and these haunting tours at night are proof of something sinister. Visit the city ghost tours during Halloween months if you have a strong heart and willpower; it becomes terrifying after 8 p.m.
Dominion of the Kings
+1804876500016000 Theme Park Boulevard
Kings Dominion will provide you with the experience of a lifetime, with over ten roller coaster rides, twenty acres of gigantic water park, hundreds of thrill rides, and a vast kids play area.
Whether you want to scream your lungs out on the Dominator or Intimidator roller coasters or enjoy a less-scary ride (Great Pumpkin coaster and Woodstock Express) with your kids, Kings Dominion features a variety of thrill levels for all ages.
Although the roller coasters will twist and flip you over water bodies and beyond your wildest vision, Kings Dominion’s other attractions are just as entertaining. The option is yours, whether it’s moving with gravity on the drop-down ride or becoming tipsy on the delirium (frisbee).
Fortunately, there are hundreds of rides to select from at this amusement park.
Call me sensitive, but my favorite rides will always be the Ferris Wheel (Americana) and the Merry Go About (carousel) at night, when the vivid neon lights all throughout the amusement park are practically surreal.
The top view from the Ferris Wheel will capture your attention and provide you with a panoramic picture of the whole city!
My second favorite attraction was Soak City, a twenty-acre water park with several water slides and wavy thrills.
The Aqua Blast (water loop), Lazy River (slow current river on rafts), Sand Dune Lagoon, White Water Canyon, Tidal Wave Bay, and other water slides are available in the amusement park.
Ghost Tours in the Dark
+18045979379100 N. 17th St.
Did you know Richmond is the country’s scariest ghost town, with thousands of wandering dead, a scary past, and unsolved murders that make the city feared?
For my buddies and me, Eerie Night Ghost Tours exposed this side of Richmond in the most spine-chilling theatricals.
Eerie Nights Tours guides portray the city in the most dramatic ways, dressed as eerie Victorian ghouls with blood smeared all over. Whether you select a walking tour or a ghost trolley tour, the excursion will take you through the city’s quiet and several of Richmond’s haunted spots.
The trip will take you from the 17th Street Farmer Market (Main St. side) to the governor’s home, massive church, Main St. Station, Canal stroll, and so on. Along the intriguing voyage, these ghouls dressed as Victorian people will narrate the most terrifying tales tamed by history, with an emphasis on the 1800-1900 century.
During my visit, the lonely, dark-shielded streets seemed strange, almost frightening. Under low-light golden lights, the town seemed terrible and frightening. Moreover, the costume ghouls never abandoned their personalities, allowing us to immerse ourselves in the sinister atmosphere, where everyone shared their eerie experiences.
The one-and-a-half-hour walking tour left everyone wanting more! The scary trolley journey was similarly terrifying. These eerie events begin in Richmond around October.
LLC James River Runner
Hatton Ferry Road +1434286233810092 Hatton Ferry Rd
The James River, which offers 20+ miles of canoeing, kayaking, and rafting, is a gem for adventure seekers in this ancient city. James River Runner provides a variety of water activities such as smooth tubing, solo kayaking, group canoeing, fishing, and night camping.
The group provides a variety of day tours, including a half-day adventure encompassing three to nine miles of water with different lunch places. The team also organizes one-two day water adventures that include camping, lengthy canoeing, rafting, fishing, and everything else!
The raging James rapids will shower you in raging water and provide you with the bumpiest ride of your life.
I liked my two-day vacation with the crew since it featured relaxing beneath the stars following hard canoeing and group rafting workouts. In addition, the camping, campfire, and stargazing chances made me appreciate the services even more.
At night, the James River Runners offer fields for football, DJ events, basketball and volleyball courts, and other activities. The rural base of the James River provides a refuge from contemporary mayhem.
Richmond Metro Zoo
Beaver Bridge Rd. +180473956668300 Beaver Bridge Rd.
Metro Richmond Zoo has around 180 animal species and a total of 2000 exotic animals. Via mirror cabins, safari sky lifts, and safari train trips, you may get up close and personal with the dangerous animals and be fascinated by their colors, structure, and uniqueness.
The zoo also protects some of the most endangered animals, such as the Bengal Tiger, Snow Leopard, Lemur, chimps, Addra Gazelle, and others. I saw giraffes, camels, kudu, kangaroo, zebra, gibbons (endangered), meerkats, and many more species in the Metro Richmond Zoo.
I got the opportunity to see the actual magnificence of the gray wolf, Asian black bear, cheetahs, and many more wild creatures up close and personal. During my trip, I also got to enjoy a tree-top zipline adventure through the rainforest, a kid-friendly carousel, a penguin fall drop, and a variety of other zoo attractions.
The zoo also has cafés, sitting pavilions, picnic areas, bathrooms, and playgrounds. If you go to the Metro Richmond Zoo, don’t forget to meet and see the friendship of Kumbalis (cheetah) and Kagos (lab mix).
Richmond, Virginia Art and History Sites
Visit St. Johns Church, where Patrick Henry made his famous address for liberty. The church was completed in 1741 and still stands proudly today.
The American Civil War Museum, Hollywood Cemetery, Edgar Allan Poe Museum, the Fan District, and other historical museums and places may be found around the city.
Thats not all; the town is well recognized for its infinite array of museums and relics; Richmond boasts the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, The Valentine, Virginia State Capitol, etc. Thus, if you like art coupled with history, Richmond has enough of museums, history, and art to offer.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is located in Richmond, Virginia.
200 N Arthur Ashe Blvd +18043401400
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was founded in 1936 to help the nation recover from the Great Depression. Virginia’s founders established the museum as a symbol of faith and a promising future.
VMFA began with Judge Paynes’ collection and today contains over 5000 popular and permanent displays, including Faberge and Russian decorative art, Degas, Cezanne, and Renoir collections, and the popular McGlothlin collections.
Art from South Asia. These ever-changing collections also contain African-American, Ancient, and East Asian modern art displays.
During the year, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions. Sir Frank Short, Dirty South Contemporary Art, Requiems, and an Egyptian exhibit are all on display in the museum.
For the students and children, the VMFA offers a variety of event visits conducted by expert guides. There are also open areas, a green atmosphere, cafés, restaurants, and stores at the museum.
The E. Claiborne and Lora Robins sculpture garden, featuring the newest installation of the King Neptune Statue, was my favorite at the museum.
Virginia State House
+18046981788 Bank St.
The Virginia State Capitol, built by Thomas Jefferson in 1788, is a historical landmark and government building of early-republican and Palladian architecture.
This monument commemorates the state’s Revolutionary War face with old-framed images of renowned Virginia leaders, military monuments, posters, translations, transcripts of history, and renovated chambers.
Thomas Jefferson envisioned a design comparable to that of Maison Carre in France. Numerous architecture fans come to see the Capitol’s whole infrastructure, interior, and exterior design.
The rotunda (dome) of the structure reflects the marble figure of George Washington. Additional sights I saw were the Capitol Plaza, which had the Mantle (Virginia Native Tribute) and the Virginia Women’s Monument, known as the Voice of the Garden.
The Virginia Ladies Monument honors twelve courageous women.
(bronze statues) who made about change in the state and aggressively advocated Virginia.
The Virginia State Capitol is free to visit, and you may self-guided tour the facility at any time until it closes. It also offers free one-hour guided tours to guests.
The Virginia Museum of History and Culture is located in Richmond, Virginia.
N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. +18043401800428 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd.
The elegant Virginia Museum of History and Culture is another well-known venue for learning about Virginia’s history. Unlike the State Capitol, which focuses on political issues and antiquities, the VMHC concentrates primarily on the history of Virginia as a founding state via exhibitions, art, and presentations.
VMHC, with over 16000 years of history, will present you to the state’s variety. Permanent exhibitions comprise 500 objects, letters, maps, and diaries that have been saved through the years.
The museum’s history is presented via photos, movies, voice recordings, and digital interactives. Beginning from 16,000 BC, when civilization started, the Virginia Museum of History and culture takes you back to the War Of Extermination (1623-1763),
- Decolonization and Equality in 1764-1824,
- Economic and industrial expansion and debates on slavery in 1825-1860.
- Virginia’s Union was built in 1776 and broken down again 85 years later. As a result, the town abolished slavery, Black people got their rights, but the state still struggled with supreme equality.
- Women’s rights in 1919.
- Since then, Virginia developed and gradually transformed into what it is today.
But it isn’t all. Visit the museum to learn about what transpired throughout this transformative trip, which included battles, bloodbaths, and revolutions.
Explore the library and attend activities held throughout the year. If you appreciate history, VMHC will be a relaxing experience.
A comparable museum, the Virginia Holocaust Museum, tells the story of the terrible devastation in Virginia from 1933 to 1945, as well as World War II from 1939 to 1945.
On the same day, I went to the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia to learn more about Virginia’s history, culture, and transition.
Hollywood National Cemetery
S Cherry St +18046488501412 S Cherry St
To avoid the grid-like monotony of the town’s cemeteries, John Notman created this cemetery with an earthy and pastoral vibe.
This ancient cemetery, established in 1847, currently encompasses over 135 acres of land filled with greenery, trees, roses, and numerous other blossoms. Because of its atmosphere and earthy design, the cemetery was named tranquil paradise.
Visitors are welcome. It is open until 5 p.m. and serves as a rest stop for many hikers and cyclists. Visit the cemetery and pay your respects to the graves of Presidents James Monroe, John Tyler, and Jefferson Davis. This Hollywood cemetery resembles a lush, open environment for residents.
The cemetery flowers all year, but it is most beautiful in the autumn. The cemetery is painted with sun tones throughout the autumn season. The leaves fall to the ground as a natural homage to some of Virginia’s most powerful men.
To commemorate its past, Hollywood Cemetery has valleys, hills, and intrinsic tombstones. This museum is now a certified Richmond Arboretum.
Additional Historical Attractions in Richmond, Virginia
The Museum of the American Civil War
+18046491861480 Tredegar Street
The museum displays ancient currencies, notes, soldier and general armors, firearms, grenades, knives, cannons, and other wartime gear.
This museum is separated between Historic Tredegar, the Confederacy’s White House, and another edifice approximately 95 miles from Richmond.
The Museum of Edgar Allan Poe
E Main St +180464855231914
It is exclusively devoted to Edgar Allan’s life, childhood, past work, the actual tools Poe employed, Edgar’s accommodations, original copies of his works, and much more. If you like his scary and enigmatic art, the museum will entice you to an ominous environment.
East Clay Street Richmond +180464907111015
Valentine, another historical museum committed to preserving Richmond’s past, is situated in the city’s historic area. It is a place where locals and visitors may learn about the region’s rich history.
Sulgrave Rd. +180435342414305 Sulgrave Rd.
It is a historic Tudor mansion on the James River. The house is available to the public for picturesque picnics and family-friendly activities.
Carytown is a tiny bohemian enclave that promotes local businesses, delectable cuisine, and fantastic shopping stores.
Carytown, located next to the Museum District, is home to the famed Byrd Theatre as well as street paintings in several lanes. I slept there for the night and ate hot food; it was peaceful.
Carytown is well-known for its cuisine and small-town stores. The town has a cozy atmosphere at night, when it shimmers with street lights and automobiles. The ideal way to explore Carytown would be on foot, with a keen eye for antiques and handcrafted gifts.
I arrived around the historic Byrd Theatre and saw the indoor scene while walking around the neighborhood. The theatre and its architecture elegantly reflect history. After seeing the exhibition, we went out to eat and drink around town.
Finishing Up Richmond VA Attractions
Richmond is a healthy city that provides the finest in adventure, nature, entertainment, history, and art. I had a great time in Richmond for a week, exploring the city. The city was never boring or out of order.
You should go to Richmond in the spring; it’s really breathtaking! Spring is an excellent time to take advantage of all of Richmond’s interesting activities.