There’s not much we love more than our hometown, beautiful Richmond, VA. RVA’s gotten quite a bit of press lately, and while we love that everyone’s opening their eyes to what a gem our city is, we think you deserve a local spin on what makes Richmond special. We hope this list will get you to pay us a visit!
Can Can: Classic French bistro vibes and some of the best food in Carytown (which is saying something!). Their extensive seafood selection is unparalleled.
Kuba Kuba: This Richmond treasure was one of our first spots on the culinary map! The tres leches cake and huevos rancheros are local favorites, and make sure you get extra tostones for the table.
Laura Lee’s: A cozy neighborhood restaurant and bar with friendly staff and amazing cocktails. Come for brunch and start your weekend right with fresh takes on chicken and waffles, pancakes, and even ramen.
Lunch & Supper: Richmond has its share of great Southern food, but Lunch and Supper are something else. You can’t go wrong with any of the sandwiches, but our favorite is the deliciously decadent Pickled & Fried.
Millie’s: The Devil’s Mess, a spicy open-faced omelet, is one of foodie Richmond’s absolute favorite dishes. Stop by for lunch or brunch to experience it for yourself!
Perly’s: This downtown RVA deli serves up authentic Jewish cuisine with a modern twist. Treat yourself to a knish and your choice of deli sandwich with dill fries, then finish with a black and white cookie for something sweet.
Rappahannock: Rappahannock Oyster Company’s farm-to-table outpost features an enormous raw bar with freshly farmed local oysters. Their menu changes depending on what ingredients are available, so go see what their chef dreams up!
Stella’s: The best Greek in town. Full stop. Stick to what you know with top-shelf spanakopita and souvlaki, or branch out to their traditional whole grilled fish.
Tazza Kitchen: Tazza has locations in Short Pump and Scott’s Addition, so they’re convenient no matter where you’re staying. Try the woodfired pizza, killer chips and guac, and their simple but perfect margarita.
The Daily: This Carytown favorite focuses on healthy ingredients and happily caters to specialized diets. The “simply prepared” menu is a great choice if you’re looking to lighten up after a few days of heavy Southern fare.
Jefferson Hotel: The grand dame of Richmond hotels for a reason. If you’re really looking to pamper yourself during your visit to the River City, the opulent Jefferson will not let you down. Afternoon tea is available every day, and their in-house restaurant Lemaire is home to some of the finest dining in Richmond.
The Graduate Hotel: This hotel meshes an old-school college feel with colorful modern style. Its rooftop pool bar make it a favorite of visitors and locals alike!
Quirk Hotel: A chic spot that is the epitome of modern Richmond. Check out the hotel’s namesake Quirk Gallery, full of locally made goods and unique artwork,
Richmond is a dynamic city with a little something for everyone! Here are some of our favorite ways to spend a day.
Belle Isle: This city park is one of the most well-known natural areas in Central Virginia. Get up close and personal with the James River.
Buttermilk Trail: One of Richmond’s best kept secrets! This trail, part of the James River Park System, is a great place for hiking, cycling, and dog-walking.
Carytown: This stretch of Cary Street is full of cute little shops. If you’re around on a Saturday night, head to the Byrd Theatre for a classic movie featuring the Byrd’s famous Mighty Wurlitzer organ.
Canal Walk to Brown’s Island: This little island is just a pedestrian bridge away from downtown and serves as a popular music venue.
Church Hill: Get to know one of Richmond’s hippest neighborhoods on foot! The view of downtown from Libby Hill is breathtaking and more than Instagram worthy. Fair warning: Church Hill is the soul of Richmond’s food scene, so come hungry.
Edgar Allen Poe Museum: Poe spent much of his youth in Richmond before heading west to Charlottesville to attend the then-brand new University of Virginia. In addition to possessing one of the world’s largest collections of manuscripts, memorabilia, and personal belongings, it gives visitors a look into antebellum Richmond.
Hollywood Cemetery: Book a tour to ensure that you don’t miss all the treasures this cemetery has to offer, including a stunning view of the James and the tombs of Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler.
Maymont: Come for the botanical gardens, stay for the petting zoo!
Institute for Contemporary Art: Richmond’s newest museum is an offshoot of Virginia Commonwealth University, which hosts some of the country’s top-ranked fine arts programs.
Scott’s Addition: Home to many of Richmond’s breweries. Visit Hardywood for a taste of one of RVA’s most well-loved exports (their holiday seasonal gingerbread stout is one of the most highly rated beers in the country!), or stop by Blue Bee Cidery for cider made from Virginia apples.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: The VMFA’s collection is stunning, with special exhibits that will open a window into other worlds. Once you’ve had your fill of art, wander around the nearby Fan neighborhood, full of gorgeous 19th and 20th century homes as well as Monument Avenue.
Richmond’s location in Central Virginia makes it a convenient starting point for all kinds of adventures! Here are just a few ideas – the possibilities are endless.
Charlottesville: About an hour northwest on interstate 64, Cville is packed with Southern charm and history. UVA’s Academical Village is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the downtown pedestrian mall is home to incredible restaurants, cute shops, and intimate music venues. If you venture out further into Albemarle County, there’s no shortage of vineyards to visit. Book a Monticello Wine Tour and see how many you can cross off in a day!
Tidewater: If you head south on 64 instead, you’ll run into the gorgeous Tidewater region. Tidewater is generally divided into two areas – the Peninsula, where you can steep yourself in American history with visits to Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg, and Hampton Roads, home to beaches and breweries. Our picks? Sandbridge Beach for the former, Smartmouth Brewing Company for the latter.
Blue Ridge: Virginia is home to the Blue Ridge Mountains, so called for the soft bluish hue the trees give off from a distance. The Blue Ridge is part of the Appalachian Mountains, which may be the oldest in the world! This part of the commonwealth is known for its arresting beauty and plethora of outdoor activities. Some of our favorite hiking spots include Humpback and Old Rag Mountain (they’re right next door to each other), Devil’s Backbone, the Virginia Creeper Trail, and for the truly adventurous, the Priest hike to Crabtree Falls. If you’re looking for something less physical, the Brew Ridge Trail is an absolute must!
DC: Our nation’s capital is only two hours away on interstate 95. Spend the day visiting the Smithsonian, check out government buildings and monuments, or dive into DC’s thriving food scene. For a quick bite with upscale flare, check out Taylor Gourmet.
The Rivah: Virginia is full of rivers, so where exactly the Rivah is depends on who you ask. To some, it’s the Northern Neck and the Rappahannock. Lake Anna in Spotsylvania and Lake Gaston on the Virginia-North Carolina border also qualify as Rivahs. But for our money, there’s nothing like the mighty James River. Visit Scottsville, located just outside of Charlottesville in Fluvanna County for some of the best tubing anywhere!
What to Pack
Richmond is as diverse as America itself, but we do have quite the preppy streak. If you’re going for the iconic Richmond look, gentlemen should pack their boat shoes and cross-stitch belts (bonus points for sea creatures or your college’s logo), and ladies should bring along their best florals. Not your style? No worries! You’ll look just as local in tattoos, plaid, and your favorite jeans.
We’d also recommend bringing along a travel growler for bringing the best of our breweries and wineries home with you, comfortable shoes for all the walking we know you’ll be doing, and if you’re coming in the summer, a wide brimmed hat or ballcap. Southern sun can be brutal! Layers are key at any time of year, as our weather can be pretty unpredictable.
Make sure to pick up your very own iconic Virginia Is For Lovers t-shirt on your way out the door. 🙂
What to Read
Old as the Old Dominion is, there are plenty of books to read about our fair state and those who call it home. Here’s a sampling of books, both fiction and nonfiction, that are about Virginia, by Virginians, or have the great fortune to take place here.
Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia
Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods
Peter Wallenstein, Cradle of America
William Styron, A Tidewater Morning
Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain
Ann Patchett, Commonwealth
Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild
Scott Jurek, North
Edward P. Jones, The Known World
What to Listen To
Where there are books, there’s also great music. Put this on your road trip playlist to get into an adventuring mood. Virginia has inspired many a musician – these are just a few! Asterisks mean that one or all of the band’s members are from here.
John Denver – Take Me Home Country Road (we know, this is about West Virginia, but there are plenty of mountain mamas in the commonwealth!)
Jump Little Children – Dancing Virginia
Sons of Bill* – Virginia Calling
Old Crow Medicine Show* – James River Blues
Foo Fighters* – Virginia Moon
Blessed Union of Souls – Oh Virginia
We’re excited to share our city with you! And while you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to visit us at Om On for some vacation zen.