16 Things To Do In Richmond VA As A First-Time Visitor With Our Experiences | Images & Videos

New cities often feel like they’re hiding something, but the truth is that there are probably a ton of things to do in Richmond VA. The city was designed in the early 19th century and has many old buildings with rich history. In addition to the historic sites that dot the city, you may be surprised to know there are a lot of bars, breweries, cafes and restaurants offering visitors an opportunity to experience something new every time they visit. To help you plan your next trip to Richmond, here is a list of 16 things to do in Richmond as a first-time visitor! Lets find out more about travel to Richmond VA!

1. Bottom of the Bowl (James River)

Keep reading to find out more on Things To Do In Richmond VA & travel Richmond VA! This does not have to be the first in lists of Things To Do In Richmond VA. The James River is the perfect place for a day out. Whether you want to go for a relaxed boat ride, or you’d prefer to do something more active, there are lots of things to do on the river in Richmond. And if you’re visiting during the autumn months, you’ll have the chance to see the changing colors of the trees reflected in the water below you.

James River Richmond VA

If you visit during the spring and summer, you can watch rafters and kayakers as they pass by. If you’d like to try something different, why not go for a paddle boarding lesson? One of the great things about the James River is that you can visit it year round. In the winter, you can use it for ice skating or cross-country skiing. And in the summer, you can swim in it. So no matter what season you visit, there will be something fun to do on the river. The James is also great for fishing, so if you’re keen on catching a few fish, you’re sure to have success here. And if you want to reel in a whopper, you can always try your hand at “bottom fishing,” which is exactly what it sounds like.

Our Experience Of James River

There are many great spots to view the James River as it winds through Richmond, including from the pedestrianized T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge and Hollywood Cemetery or Belle Isle. We saw several kayakers on the river, but the rapids near the bridge looked pretty difficult. It was fun to walk across and across the river (2 different walking bridges) as well as to watch the rapids and kayakers.

2. Tour The Virginia Theatre

Our second in list for Things To Do In Richmond VA is a free spot! The Virginia is one of the most recognizable buildings in Richmond. It’s the oldest still-operating movie theater in Virginia, and it has been hosting performances for more than 90 years. The theater welcomes guests for behind-the-scenes tours that let you see the dressing rooms, the stage, and the areas where the props are kept. You’ll also be able to see the original Wurlitzer organ, which has been playing since the theater opened in 1928. Tours are self-guided, last about 30 minutes, and are free.

3. Visit Maymont Park

This third list of Things To Do In Richmond VA is very famous travel destination in Virginia. There is something for everyone to enjoy, whether strolling through the gardens, touring the mansion, watching a river otter play, or petting a goat, on the 100-acre Maymont estate, a gift to the community from James and Sallie Dooley, who resided there from 1893 to 1925. Maymont Park is one of the best places to visit in Richmond. It’s just a 10-minute drive from downtown Richmond and is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Maymont is famous for its collection of animals and birds. There are other attractions at the park, including an art gallery, a Japanese garden, and a children’s zoo.

Many people visit Maymont during the weekend. There are food vendors, a carousel, and a beautiful lake to explore. If you’re visiting in the spring, you’ll have the chance to see the beautiful azalea gardens, or you’ll be able to enjoy the autumn colors, which peak in October. The gardens are open year-round, so you’ll be able to see them at any time of the year. If you want to catch the changing scenery, you can visit at different times of the year.

Maymont Park

Our Experience Of Maymont Park Travel

The self-guided tour of Maymount was our favorite thing in Richmond. We visited on a very hot and sunny day. You can read much more about Maymount and its history on their website. On our tour, we used a handheld device that allowed us to scan stations in the mansion as we walked. The docent was unable to answer one of my questions. A few minutes later, he returned with a notebook describing the item in much detail. The Japanese and Italian gardens at Maymount are both lovely. We enjoyed walking around the Japanese garden and seeing the waterfall. We found a shaded hut where we could watch the koi swim in the pond. It was so peaceful.

Address: 1001 Spottswood Road, Richmond, VA, 23220. Open Daily
10am-7pm (Apr-Sep)
10am-5pm (Oct-Mar)
Free admission


4. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Things To Do In Richmond VA – There’s something for everybody at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where you can learn about plants, be awestruck by nature, relax in a picturesque setting, take gardening courses, or hold a wedding or business meeting. Its various gardens and facilities provide a wide range of experiences. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is one of the most-visited attractions in the Richmond, Va., area, and for good reason.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Our Experience Of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Travel

The conservatory at the far end of the property was where our breath was taken away by the butterfly house. This was the first time I was with butterflies and didn’t feel sorry for them. Butterflies have the opportunity to fly, land, and hide in different areas in this butterfly house, as well as eat and drink at several stations. My husband uses a wheelchair, and although this was not the most accessible garden we have ever visited, we were able to make it work. There were a few sharp inclines, but overall it was not too difficult. The food at the restaurant was delicious and reasonably priced (we had flatbreads and salads). If you like botanical gardens, this should be on your “to do” list.

Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Extended evening hours Wednesday & Thursday (May to mid-September)
Closed Thanksgiving, Dec. 24-25.
Address: 1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23228

5. Richmond Rotary Fountain

This iconic fountain is a great place to visit in Richmond. It’s located in the heart of the city, and you can easily see it from many of the nearby streets. The fountain was built in 1987, and it shoots water up to 70 feet in the air. The fountain is a beautiful spot to visit at any time of the day. It’s especially pretty at night, when it’s lit up and glowing. The fountain is situated in a city park, so you can also go for a stroll and enjoy the views from nearby.

6. Stroll Through The Historic District

When we talk about Things To Do In Richmond VA, you can hardly miss Historic District of VA. There are lots of things to do in Richmond if you’d like to spend a day sightseeing. You can start your day with a stroll through the city. The best place to start is the Historic District. There are many buildings in Richmond’s Historic District that are more than 100 years old. You can easily walk from one historic building to the next, admiring the architecture and learning about the city’s past along the way.

Old City Hall Richmond Historic District

There are also lots of museums in the district where you can learn even more about Richmond’s history. Museums in the district include the Virginia Historical Society, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Black History Museum and Cultural Center, and the Edgar Allan Poe Museum. The Virginia Historical Society also offers tours of the nearby State Capitol. The Capitol is one of the largest examples of Greek Revival architecture in the country.

7. Go To A Game Or Concert

Richmond is home to a number of sports teams, including the Richmond Kickers, the River City Rollers, and the Richmond Flying Squirrels. If you’re visiting the city during the baseball season, you’ll be able to see a game at The Diamond. This stadium is home to the Flying Squirrels, and you can enjoy a day out with family or friends while watching a game. If you’d prefer to go to a concert while in Richmond, there are lots of music festivals to choose from. There are also plenty of concerts that are held at the nearby venues.

The Egg is one of the most popular music venues in the city. It’s just a short walk from downtown, so you can easily pop in for a show and enjoy a night out in Richmond. If you visit during the summer, you can also enjoy one of the many outdoor concerts that take place at The Canal Walk. Keep reading to find out more on Things To Do In Richmond VA & travel Richmond VA!

8. Check Out These Amazing Restaurants & Hotels:

Ardouin’s – Ardouin’s is an excellent place to go for dinner if you’re visiting Richmond. This restaurant has been serving French-Creole food for more than 50 years, and most dishes are made from scratch with locally sourced ingredients. The menu changes daily, and includes fresh seafood, meat dishes, vegetarian options, and plenty of sides and appetizers.

Aziza – If you love Mediterranean food, you should make sure to visit Aziza. This restaurant is located in the Fan neighborhood, just a short walk from the center of Richmond, and the menu includes all of the classic dishes you’d expect to see in a Mediterranean restaurant, as well as a few specialties that are unique to the chef.

Lemaire Restaurant – Fine dining, Great Food & Cocktails, Historic Site, Fantastic Ambiance. The Jefferson Hotel is an elegant establishment that is worth visiting even if you don’t eat there. The decor is amazing, and you may dine there either formally or informally. There are some outdoor tables in a nicely decorated area. Everything on the menu is outstanding, despite the fact that the selection is limited. Valet parking or park in their garage yourself. The service is fast and personal.  Our Experience: The Lemaire restaurant is worth a visit for the ambiance and historical significance alone, but if you want to dine there and enjoy an elegant meal without feeling pretentious, you can do that too. Despite the fact that this restaurant is described as high-end, we felt welcome and at ease since there were so many people around us who were dressed casually.

9. Go On A Boat Tour Of The Riverfront

There are lots of things to do in Richmond, but you can also do something on the water. The city is located on the banks of the James River, so there are lots of ways to explore and enjoy the river from the water. Many tour operators offer boat tours that let you see the city from the water. These tours are popular at all times of the year, but they’re especially nice during the autumn months, when the leaves are changing colors. If you’d like to go on a tour, you can choose from several different options.

You can visit various landmarks and learn about the history of Richmond, or you can spend a few hours cruising the river. You can also take a sunset cruise and enjoy a beautiful view of the city after dark. No matter which tour you choose, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience on the water.

10. Visit The VMFA Art Museum

VMFA Arts is a leading US art museum that displays over 5,000 years of artwork from around the world. VMFA is open every day and admission is free, except for special exhibitions. The Wall Street Journal recently described VMFA as a ‘two day museum.’.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Art lovers will love visiting the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. This museum houses more than 30,000 works of art, including pieces from Europe’s Renaissance period, American artists, and modern and contemporary pieces from artists from around the world. You can visit the museum during the day, but it’s also open for a special evening event once a month.

Our Experience of VMFA Art Museum Travel

It is one of the finest art museums in the South, and my friend and I travelled to Richmond to experience a little bit of Paris. A wonderful museum to see if you want to learn about American painters who lived and worked in France. The art is precisely displayed and gives a lot of information about the artists. You feel as if you’ve gone back in time. It’s well worth the price to see this exhibition. The rest of the museum is always interesting and free to visit. It’s a must if you want to unwind and be inspired. The restaurant is a little pricey but the food is excellent.

11. Experience Richmond’s food scene

There are few experiences more relevant to a city’s culture than what they eat, and Richmond is no exception. While you can find a lot of the standard fast food chains, you can also find a variety of unique and high-quality restaurants in every price range. If you are looking for something specific, Richmond has you covered. Here are more highly reviewed Richmond’s food places from Tripadvisor –  THE 10 BEST Restaurants in Richmond – Updated August 2022 – Tripadvisor

There are dozens of excellent Asian, Caribbean, and Latin-American restaurants, and you can even find Italian, German, and French food if you know where to look! Another great thing about Richmond’s food scene is that there are lots of opportunities to participate in the process. If you want to try a new cuisine, you should visit Mekong Restaurant. Here, you can try authentic Vietnamese food made by the owner’s family and watch how the food is prepared. If you want a more interactive experience, you can even cook your own food!

12. Tour Edgar Allan Poe’s House

If you are a fan of the macabre, then you must make a stop at Edgar Allan Poe’s House in Richmond. This museum is packed with relics, furniture, and other mementos from Poe’s life, and you can even see the room where he wrote his famous poem, “The Raven.” This building is special because it is the only known residence of Poe that still exists today.

Edgar Allan Poe Museum

Although the building is very old and quaint, the museum has done an excellent job at preserving its original feel while still providing visitors with a modern experience. If you are visiting Richmond, you cannot miss this place! It’s full of interesting facts and artifacts that are sure to fascinate fans and non-fans alike.

Our Experience of Edgar Allan Poe’s House Travel

This museum covered Poe’s life from birth till death in detail. If you are a fan of Poe, you must come here. Even if you are not, reading about his life will inspire you to read more of his work. The museum doesn’t have a lot of interactive displays; it’s mostly text. Young children might get bored here. The museum is located on the side of the building, and there is a parking lot. There are also some unusual souvenirs in the gift shop.

13. Go to a game at The Diamond

If you are a sports fan, it would be a shame to visit Richmond without experiencing a game at The Diamond. This stadium has served as the home of the Richmond Flying Squirrels since it was built in 2002. The Flying Squirrels are a minor league baseball team that plays in the International League. You can attend a game during the summer and experience the joy of America’s pastime while taking in the city skyline at night. If you visit Richmond in the winter, the stadium is still a cool place to visit. At this time of year, you can see the Flying Squirrels’ junior hockey team in action. If you are visiting Richmond, you cannot miss this experience! Not only will you get to see a game, but also you will get to explore the city and its architecture.

14. Go rock climbing at Rock Spot Climbing and Fitness Centre

If you are an avid traveler, you have probably tried a new sport while visiting a new place. Richmond is a mecca for climbers, so you should make time to go rock climbing. There are several different climbing gyms in the city, and each one offers a different experience. If you are visiting Richmond, we recommend that you visit Rock Spot Climbing and Fitness Centre. This gym is open to all skill levels and has something for everyone. If you are just starting, you can take a beginner’s class. If you are more experienced, you can book a private lesson or go on a group outing with your friends! If you are visiting Richmond, this is one of the best ways to meet new people and experience the city as the locals do!

15. Have brunch at Burdick’s Restaurant and Bakery

If you are looking for a place to eat brunch in Richmond with a view, Burdick’s Restaurant and Bakery is the place for you. This restaurant sits on the banks of the river, so you can watch the boats float by while you eat delicious food. Burdick’s has a wide variety of menu items, but their famous baked goods are the real highlight. You can get a variety of pastries, scones, and other delicious treats for brunch.

Cafe Sabor Bakery And Restaurant

If you are looking for something more substantial, Burdick’s has plenty of sandwiches and other options for you, too. If you are visiting Richmond, it’s worth taking a trip down the river for brunch at Burdick’s!

Our Experience of Burdick’s Restaurant and Bakery

A meal composed of grilled chicken, steak, sausage, and pork accompanied by potatoes, plantains, and avocados. Three people could have been fed on my one entree. It was accompanied by a mango smoothie that was the ideal accompaniment. We finished with pastries and bread pudding, a meal as good as the best grill. We visited the best grill of our life. We went at night, but next time we’ll try the promised coffee.

Restaurant in Richmond | Open until 9:00 PM
Address: 7102 Hull Street Road Richmond, VA 23235 USA

16. Walk Along The Riverwalk – And Don’t Forget To Stop By The Steeples!

Another great way to experience Richmond’s riverfront is to walk along the Riverwalk. This path sits above the water and allows you to see the city from a unique perspective. If you want to get an even better view of the city, you should make a stop at the Steeples. These buildings are over 100 years old and sit right beside the James River. If you visit during the right season, these structures are covered in blooming flowers. If you are lucky, you can see Richmond’s famous wild ponies while visiting the Steeples! If you are visiting Richmond, these landmarks are worth a visit!

Richmond VA Riverwalk


Things To Do In Richmond Virginia YouTube Video

Concluding Thoughts

If you are visiting Richmond Virginia, you cannot miss these 16 things to do in Richmond. From visiting Edgar Allan Poe’s house to going rock climbing, there is something for everyone here. Additionally, if you want to try authentic Asian and Latin-American food or go to a baseball game, there are plenty of restaurants and activities to choose from! Trust us, there is so much to see and do in Richmond that you certainly won’t regret spending time here.

You can’t judge a book by its cover. You can’t judge a city by its nickname. You also can’t fully understand a city until you step inside and see what it has to offer. That’s why we think visiting Richmond, VA for the first time is an interesting challenge.

things to do in Richmond va

It’s easy to pass judgment on something based off of its reputation or something you hear about, but that doesn’t mean those things are true. Fortunately, we have removed our biases and done the research so you don’t have to! Above are 16 things to do in Richmond, VA if it’s your first visit. 2 more spots I would recommend if you are travelling Richmond VA as Things To Do In Richmond VA are

  1. St. John’s Church
  2. The Richmond Theatre

Image references: https://maymont.org/

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