The Ultimate Guide for a Weekend of Fun in Richmond, Virginia

Lisa Goetz

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With the James River passing through the city, Richmond, Virginia, is one of only a few places in the United States to have an urban whitewater adventure. Photo by Julie Thornton/Unsplash

Richmond, the capitol of Virginia located at the fall line of the James River, is often overlooked by vacationers. Richmond is rich in architecture and history, with a vibrant dining and nightlife scene. From outdoor sports to fun educational experience for kids, 21st century Richmond is a thriving multicultural hub with lots to do for the whole family. Richmond also offers a booming arts and crafts scene thanks to the presence of Virginia Commonwealth University's renowened art program, making the city one of the coolest spots to visit in Virginia. Here are five of the best things to do in Richmond if you're on a quick weekend getaway.

Visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Offering a global collection that rivals those of museums in major U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, Houston, and New York, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts gets praise for its unique Faberge egg and Russian arts collections, plus several works by French painters such as Degas, Cezanne and Renoir. You'll also find large collections of African, Indian and Tibetan art spread across the museum's many spaces. When you're visiting, check out the borrowed collections featuring the work of world-renowned masters. Located just 4 miles west of downtown Richmond, admission to the VMFA is free, though you may have to pay for parking, purchases at the gift shop, and any special events.

Have a Gourmet Lunch or Dinner at the Roosevelt

Tucked away in Richmond's oldest neighborhood, Church Hill, the Roosevelt offers an array of traditional and nontraditional dishes. The menu combines delicious southern-style fare pared regional beers, wine lists, and handcrafted cocktails. This award-winning restaurant opened for business in July 2011 and has since been serving locals and visitors alike ever since.

Shop in Carytown

At the heart of historic Richmond, Carytown is a thriving shopping and dining district that showcases the best that local small businesses have to offer. From delicious cuisine to endless boutiques, Carytown offers a one-of-a-kind experience for locals as well as tourists. Spanning along nine blocks of West Cary Street, Carytown is the perfect place to sample tasty treats and buy gifts of all kinds, handmade decor for your home, and haute couture.

Check Out the Children’s Museum of Richmond

Got kids? The Children’s Museum located on West Broad Street is a vast community space for family fun. It’s not just a place where children play; it’s also a space for learning and development. As a nonprofit organization, the museum is open to all children and their caretakers. A popular destination for families, the Children's Museum has welcomes as many as 386,000 visitors annually. In addition to activities, the museum shop carries educational toys and games, art supplies, musical instruments, intriguing books that help children with their development, and hands-on projects to support your children's learning experiences.

Go Whitewater Rafting on the James River

The Reedy Creek put-in area, located at the 2.5-mile mark from downtown Richmond, is part of a popular stretch of the James River Park System. The park has several difficult rapids that provide a challenge for experienced kayakers. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy great rafting conditions along the river, especially in the summer time. Contact local companies specializing in James River rafting for equipment rentals, instruction, and guided tours. If you're experienced in whitewater rafting, you can enjoy the river solo or with a group.

When traveling around Richmond, be sure to find out each tourist site’s COVID-19 public safety guidelines before visiting.

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Lisa Goetz writes cryptocurrency news, analysis and opinion. A freelance journalist with 11 years of experience, Goetz's articles have been featured in USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and the Houston Chronicle.

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