Our luxe travel guide to historic and charming Richmond
“Virginia is for lovers”… of history, art, the outdoors, and a burgeoning food and bev scene (National Geographic named Richmond one of the top 10 places in the world to travel for food in 2016!). Take a trip to the state’s heart—ahem, capital city—for an experience that weaves contemporary appeal with old-fashioned charm.
Only a 2.5-hour drive from Raleigh (or hop on that new direct flight from RDU!), the River City boasts a host of thriving neighborhoods each with their own allure. From its up-and-coming Scott’s Addition District to the fashionable Shockoe Slip to the indie-chic Carytown, Richmond combines rich history, a sizzling dining scene and soothing outdoor ops for travelers of all types. Here, our resto, recreation and respite recs for your next visit to Virginia’s Cap City.
Love to shop till ya drop? From goodies for the boho babes in Carytown (bangles/beads, vintage/recycled fashion, bookstores, tea, record shops and more!) to wandering the stores in Downtown Richmond for everything from antiques to designer styles and fun finds from Virginia-based brands, this “retail city” has all your must-purchase picks on heavy rotation. carytownrva.com
Outdoor enthusiasts, rejoice! There’s opps aplenty to enjoy nature in River City. Take a stroll or lay out a picnic in popular parks such as Brambly or Maymont—and channel your inner Bridgerton aesthetic with a promenade through the property’s 1800s mansion (!). Then, get your feet wet by grabbing a paddle and kayaking/paddleboarding along the canal. Or stay dry with boundless hiking ops, including the riverside trail and 52-mile-long Virginia Capital Trail. bramblypark.com; maymont.org; virginiacapitaltrail.org
A city packed with history, Richmond offers a slew of museums curated to all interests. Roam the halls filled with portraits, landscapes and sculptures inside the Institute for Contemporary Art; venture into The Poe Museum to ponder upon “many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore” from Richmond native (and one of America’s most famous and haunting writers) Edgar Allan Poe; or visit the Black History Museum & Cultural Center for inspirational—and often untold—stories of African Americans throughout history. blackhistorymuseum.org; icavcu.org; poemuseum.org
If you like big buns and you cannot lie, head to the “best restaurant to piss off your pawpaw at because we say frick and listen to music too loud.” Um, sold. This rambunctious and rebellious burger joint offers an array of burgs with sassy names to chuckle at while you chow down. Say cheese… burger! cobraburger.com
This laid-back yet elevated eatery serves up Southern comfort foods like fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and cobbler in a classy, modern atmosphere—think brick walls, high ceilings, a wood bar and gorge light fixtures. Find chef Michael Lindsey at the helm in the kitchen creating delish eats that combine American cuisine and global influences with a nod to his grandmothers Lillie Pearl and Hattie—aka nostalgic eating at its finest. lilliepearlrva.com
Fire & Hops Pizza Co.
You’re gonna wanna pizza this. Fill up on ’za, pasta, sandwiches, tacos or sliders at this fiery sup spot; then wash it all down with a brew from the resto’s rotating selection of craft beers. If the weather’s warm, pop a squat on the patio to enjoy your meal alfresco under moody Edison lights. fireandhopsrva.com
Belly up to this award-winning distillery’s tasting room for samples of craft cocktails (feat. Cirrus Vodka, natch), live music and hangs on the patio. The brand’s “delightfully sippable” spirit is triple-distilled and made with high-quality russet potatoes (setting them apart from about 90% of other vodkas created from rye, wheat and corn)—and makes a great base for its build-your-own bloody bar on Sundays. Cheers! cirrusvodka.com
That’s the spirit! With a fine-tuned production process and creative cocktails on rotation in the taproom, this distillery offers spectacular spirits—with an opp to go behind the scenes and take a deeper dive into the spirit creation process via tours/personalized tasting experiences. Sounds pretty neat! viragospirits.com
Ironclad Coffee Roasters
Got beans? This coffee roasting concept makes an “ironclad” promise to make customer care its utmost priority—along with serving sensational craft coffee of course. Settle into its plant-filled modern-meets-historical digs in Downtown with a cuppa to while the day away… and be sure to sample a slice of cake from the bakery! ironcladcoffee.com
The Berkeley Hotel
Sleep like royalty at this European-style stay nestled in the center of the Historic District along the James River, complete with a castlelike architectural design and charming details. Beyond luxurious accommodations, the boutique hotel is steps away from delish restos and outdoor vistas along historic cobblestone streets that’ll make you feel like you’re literally stepping back in time. berkeleyhotel.com
Museum District Bed & Breakfast
If a quaint bed-and-breakfast experience is more your speed, look no further than this stately brick home offering a cozy respite not far from all the action downtown. Start the day with your hot beverage of choice paired with baked bread; jams and honey; fresh berries; and all the egg, cheese and bacon entrees your heart desires before hitting the town. museumdistrictbb.com
“A thoroughly creative stay,” this Broad Street boutique hotel boasts artistic elements and whimsical delights—from fab fare to artistic touches in every space. Housed in what was previously the J.B. Mosby & Co. Dry Goods Store circa 1916, the gorge building is sure to inspire at each turn, even if it’s just motivation to grab a drink at the Q Rooftop Bar (!). quirkhotels.com