Oh, the stories you’ll tell. The City of Richmond is creative culture central, with art several stories high, music, a raging hot restaurant scene and a lot more. Click on the map to explore the neighborhoods of RVA.
This boutique-lined street is called Richmond’s “mile of style” for good reason, but it’s also a mile of bookstores, candy shops, bike shops, coffee shops, a craft brewery, sushi, hot cocktail spots, main-pedi spots, restaurants with great patios and people walking dogs. The shops are mostly locally owned, so you’re going to find something you won’t find anywhere else. Two must-sees: the historic Byrd Theatre, with movies every day and weekend performances on the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ; and the flagship store for international high style clothier Need Supply Co.
It’s craft beer meets duckpin bowling, pinball and restaurants that are getting worldwide attention. Scott’s Addition is the beverage district of Richmond, home to Ardent, Hardywood, Isley, Strangeways, Vasen, The Veil Brewing and new breweries that seem to be opening every day. Plus several cideries, a meadery, and multiple distilleries. Once a bustling industrial zone, Scott’s Addition’s factories have been converted into hip lofts and party destinations. Must-dos: check out ZZQ, Longoven, Brenner’s Pass, River City Roll, and earn your stamps on the Richmond Beer Trail.
The cobblestoned streets of this charming neighborhood are teeming with history. Church Hill is home to St. John's Church where Patrick Henry gave his famous "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech. Antebellum homes line the streets. And the views. Wow. Tucked in between all this history are some of Richmond’s hottest restaurants, cool shops, and a wood-fired bakery that makes highly acclaimed bread and pastries from grain that is milled in-house. Must-sees: Sub Rosa Bakery, The Hill Café, Proper Pie, Libby Hill Park and Chimborazo Park.
This isn’t a “sidewalks roll up at night” kind of downtown. Downtown Richmond is packed with boutique hotels, rooftop bars, museums, great restaurants and performance venues. It’s also a thriving outdoor destination. Brown’s Island connects to downtown and is your gateway to the James River Park System, making the city an ideal spot for kayakers and mountain bikers. The Greater Richmond Convention Center hosts unique events and conventions in the heart of the city. Must-sees: The Virginia State Capitol, which was designed by Thomas Jefferson (Hollywood often uses it as a stand-in for the White House); The American Civil War Museum, Tredegar Iron Works and the Canal Walk, which is loaded with murals and history.
Broad Street Arts District
The main corridor through downtown has so many galleries that on the First Friday of every month, they open the doors, crank up the music and have a giant block party. High-end fashion is here, with vintage shops like Rosewood Clothing Co., the headquarters for Round Two vintage sportswear and menswear (its other location is in LA on Melrose), Rider Boot Shop (with their own boot and shoe brand), Ledbury luxe menswear and the boho-cool Mod&Soul. Check out the Quirk Hotel, either to stay or for a nightcap on the rooftop bar; the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU; Charm School for a scoop of ice cream; Rider and The National, a great venue for national-touring concerts.
The Fan District
The Fan is set on the edge of the urban, artsy VCU campus, and you can sense that art school vibe throughout the neighborhood. It’s packed with hundred-plus-year-old houses, coffee roasters and coffee shops, old school barbershops, corner mom-and-pop spots, basement bars serving sandwiches to die for and restaurants that push the tables and chairs away at night to become some of the best places to dance. The Fan's got live music too, at a number of venues.
The Museum District
The Museum District is home to – you guessed it – major museums. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) has world-class collections that include the largest public collection of Faberge outside of Russia and the best collection of Art Nouveau outside of Paris. Its crown jewel: the 27-foot-tall Rumors of War, Kehinde Wiley’s modern response to the statues on Monument Avenue. Next door, the Virginia Museum of History and Culture tells the story of the Commonwealth from every aspect, from Native America to modern times. Between museum-going, stop into Black Hand Coffee, North End Juice Co., sushi restaurant Akida, the locals’ favorite Chiocca’s, or new-American restaurant The Stables.
Once called the Harlem of the South and the Black Wall Street of America, Jackson Ward was home to Maggie L. Walker, teacher, bank president, businesswoman and pioneer. You can visit her house and tour this cultural mecca that also gave the nation Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Celebrate gross-out art rock band GWAR, the band formed in Jackson Ward. Tour the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. Experience nationally acclaimed soul food at Mama J’s, and see streets lined with historic homes.
Shockoe Slip and Bottom
Lined with cobblestones, Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom are major business and entertainment districts. The Bottom’s newly restored Main Street Station and 17th Street Farmers Market are great starting points for seeing the city. The Slip is filled with cool restaurants, great hotels and shops like LaDIFF modern furniture. And every American should see the Richmond Slave Trail, which chronicles the history of slavery from its start to its end. Also in the Bottom: Shockoe Atelier, maker of super high-end jeans.
This hot new neighborhood in Richmond is just across the river from downtown. Check out Legend Brewing, Richmond’s original craft brewer, where you can take in an incredible view of the RVA cityscape. Other must-sees: Croaker’s Spot, one of the most amazing soul food spots on the East Coast, and Plant Zero, an artsy eatery connected to a huge art space that hosts regular exhibitions.
Just across the James, Forest Hill is a hotspot for visitors who love food and the outdoors. Every Saturday of the year, the South of the James Farmer’s Market is held at Forest Hill Park. (Come hungry, and with reusable shopping bags.) Check out the Little Nickel, with Filipino, Hawaiian and Mediterranean fusion fare. And if you’re a kayaker or a hiker, head to the Huguenot Flatwater or the Buttermilk Trail. This whole neighborhood is bordered by an explorable section of the James River.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is the gem of Lakeside. But that’s not the only reason to come here. Hit up the classic burger shack Roy's Big Burger, bring your furry friend to SB’s Lakeside Love Shack for a bite on the dog-friendly patio, or head to Hobnob, a secret little spot with amazing fare. Check out the antique shops and curiosity stores (Lakeside has a magic shop!) And, being that it's Richmond, there’s a brewery here, of course. Stop by Final Gravity after an afternoon at the garden.
Within earshot of the Richmond Raceway and just north of the city, Richmond’s Northside has a great collection of restaurants. Walk down MacArthur Ave. to the classic Dot’s Back Inn, The Mill on MacArthur or Stir Crazy Cafe coffee shop. Pick up a bottle of wine at Once Upon a Vine. For nightlife, the Fuzzy Cactus is your place, with live music and DJs and “urban cowboy fare.”
With its line of stores and restaurants “On the Avenues” of Libbie and Grove, WesthamptonRVA is a sophisticated, well-heeled neighborhood located just minutes from downtown. Bring the dog, grab the stroller and check out the wine shop, specialty shops, restaurants, bakeries, salons and more. Must-dos: Get a cupcake from Pearl’s Bake Shoppe and an adult limeade at the Continental.