When you arrive in Richmond VA for the weekend, there are so many things to do: museums, historic sites, amazing parks, and many other sightseeing options. However, if you only have a weekend in Richmond, VA, it would be hard to go to all the places. So here are some of the best things to do in Richmond, make sure to scroll down to the end of the post for all my recommendations!
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I went to Richmond with a girlfriend I hadn’t seen in a long time, so our time was very limited. We plan on going back. Try to cover as many as possible and it will be your best 48 hours in Richmond. You’ll see Richmond referred to in multiple places as the River City or RVA, but no matter what you call it, Richmond is one great place to visit!
A Weekend in Richmond VA: a Complete Travel Guide
#1 Discover Richmond VA on a FREE Walking Tour
Start with a free walking tour of downtown. Many walking tours of Richmond begin at the Visit Richmond VA Visitor’s Center. We selected a two-hour downtown tour to get a feel for the city and gain an understanding of the landmarks such as the State Capitol and the Egyptian Building. If this is not your first time to Richmond, you might want to explore other areas of Richmond such as Shockoe Bottom or Church Hill.
Don’t forget that a free walking tour isn’t really free — you should pay what you feel it is worth. And you should make a reservation ahead of time as well.
Book a hotel for your Richmond VA getaway! We loved the convenient location of the Homewood Suites – we even had a rooftop pool and bar with great views!Booking.com
#2 Taste Richmond VA on a Food Tour
Talking about foodies, one of the things to do in Richmond is to take a food tour. River City Food Tours hosts food tours in multiple neighborhoods, allowing explorations of new restaurants and new delicious food in Carytown, Arts District, Church Hill, Downtown, Scott’s Addition, and Shockoe.
They will also share some of the historic tales and facts about the place which will make you feel like a local. There are many tours here that you can go to. You’ll get to try local products and meet the owners and chefs. It is a unique way to explore the city. Bring your stretchy pants!
#3 See the Murals along the Canal Walk
1201 Haxall Point | Website
One of the things to do in Richmond is to take the Canal Walk. The walls of the former James River Power Plant have been transformed with murals. We suggest starting near here and walking along the Canal as you explore Richmond’s Riverfront. It is the best place for all people. If you are spending 48 hours in Richmond, you should surely have a walk here.
We enjoyed a great lunch at the Casa del Barco, a restaurant along the Canal Walk. Not only was the food great, but you can have drink flights of tequilas. Other places along the Canal Walk allow you to taste delicious food and there are many outdoor activities for people of all ages. Not to mention, everything feels great when there is a body of water near you.
#4 Visit Hollywood Cemetery
412 South Cherry Street | Website
My mom ingrained a love of visiting cemeteries early on. You can learn so much about a city from touring them. The Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond is no exception to this rule. The cemetery contains the final resting places for two US presidents, James Monroe and John Tyler. There are graves of many other historic people. Admission is free, though several groups offer tours if you’d like to learn more about the area’s history.
#5 Explore Brown’s Island and Belle Isle
Enough with eating all the delicious food, now it is time to walk around nature. You can explore Brown’s Island. It is a perfect location to walk.
If you are lucky enough to visit this island in Spring, you can catch their Friday cheers concert. It’s amazing and one of the best things to do in Richmond.
Lots of people go to Belle Isle to lay out on the large rocks, creating their own little beach area near downtown Richmond.
Access both of these islands via the pedestrian bridges that cross over the James River. The pedestrian bridge leading to Belle Isle is quite high and much more intimidating for those scared of heights but it is covered by the highway overhead.
#6 Go Kayaking or River Rafting
If you are a fan of outdoor activities, you are going to love this! While you are at Brown’s Island, you can also go kayaking or river rafting at the same place. The large rocks will make you remember the rafting forever. Also, you can get all the equipment for rent at affordable costs here.
The James River is beautiful. Even if you are not planning to do river rafting or kayaking, you should visit here. We stood at various spots on the bridges and along the Riverfront and watched groups kayaking and river rafting. This looked like a lot of fun!
#7 Take a Ghost Tour
With all the history in the city, it isn’t surprising to hear that ghosts wander someone of the older buildings. A ghost tour is a fun way of combining both some fun storytelling and learning the city’s history. We took a walking tour during our evening in town. While we didn’t see any ghosts on our tour, it was a fun way to explore Shockoe and learn more about the area’s background.
#8 Visit the Edgar Allan Poe Museum
1914 East Main Street | Website
America’s poet lived in Richmond and you can visit his home. Even better — it is one of the most haunted spots in Richmond. Open 10am to 5pm, admission costs $7-$9 per person. Free parking is available. And of course, there are two black cats, Edgar and Pluto. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go inside this time, but it is a haunted site in Richmond, and on my list for next visit.
#9 Enjoy a Tall Cool One at One of Richmond’s Breweries
The greater Richmond area is home to 30 craft breweries, more than could safely be covered in a weekend! Fortune magazine called Richmond the new craft beer mecca of the American South.
Take a copy of the Richmond Beer Trail Map with you if you’d like to find the locations easily. We went to one of the biggest success stories in town — The Veil. While their beers are hop heavy, the out the door lines make it very clear that they are doing something very right!
Book a hotel for your weekend in Richmond VA stay!Booking.com
#10 Shop at Carytown during your Weekend in Richmond VA
3126 W. Cary Street (and nearby) | Website
How can we forget shopping, one of the best things to do in Richmond? If you are in Richmond for 48 hours, you should take some time out and visit Carytown.
Carytown is the best shopping place you can go to. Located on Cary Street, you’ll find about a mile or nine blocks of local stores and restaurants. You can eat, shop, and play all day long. Don’t forget to keep track of time if you are here. If you are a shopaholic, you will love the local shops and boutiques. It is also the perfect place to catch up with someone you haven’t seen in a long time as you walk through shops or grab a bite to eat.
#11 Explore the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond VA
1800 Lakeside Avenue | Website
The classical domed conservatory at this Botanical Garden means that this beautiful garden can be enjoyed year-round. Special events are held throughout the year. Enjoy lunch at the Tea House with views of the West Island Garden. Its 50 acres will make you forget that you’re in the middle of a major East Coast city.
#12 Ride the Capital Trail
200 South Third Street | Website
If you still have some time and you’d like to try something active, explore this 52-mile trail, which is best for hiking and biking. The Richmond entrance is located at the Shiplock Park. Think you’ll be too tired to ride out and back? Don’t worry, you can arrange a shuttle ride back!
There is a parking lot and you can also find the entire route map here. With the help of that, you can explore the trail. For all the vloggers out there, this could be the next place where you shoot your bike ride.
Final words on How to Make the Most of your Weekend in Richmond VA
These are some of the best things to do in Richmond if you are here for the weekend. This city has so much worth exploring. There are many monuments and mansions you can see if you want to just walk or drive around.
My trip to Richmond was a quick girls’ weekend getaway. It was the perfect halfway point for us between my home in Durham, North Carolina, and her home in Maryland. I’m hoping to add to this list on future trips!
What should I try on my next trip? I’ll be looking for off-the-beaten path things to try next!
Annick, The Common Traveler