How to Spend a Sunny Day in Richmond, Virginia
Located just two hours south of Washington, DC and two hours north of Norfolk, VA, the capital city of Richmond may be known for its genteel southern hospitality, but these days it’s also gaining a reputation for its growing maker movement.
A Place in History
When you arrive at the Amtrak station downtown, you’re right in the heart of historic Shockhoe Bottom, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. Here you can see the columned Virginia State Capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson and Charles-Louis Clérisseau, or visit Robert E. Lee’s Civil War headquarters. Take a walking tour of this historic district to learn how the once Capital-city of the Confederacy transformed to today’s bustling hub of music, entertainment, and education.
An Artists Enclave
Richmond has a growing reputation as a premier art destination. Not only can you find dozens of local galleries and artist showcases, but Richmond also boasts one of the most impressive art museums on the East Coast, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art.
Public art also plays a growing role in the Richmond scene. Enjoy a walk down Monument Avenue, a national landmark featuring six figures from throughout the city’s history. On your walk, be sure to look for the any one of the more than 100 unique murals installed by the Richmond Mural Project.
An Outdoor Oasis
If you prefer to spend your time outdoors, Richmond is the place to be. The James River runs through the heart of downtown Richmond and becomes the epicenter for outdoor activities all year long. The shores along the river are perfect for fishing, kayaking, or just a gentle hike. Bring your bike on Amtrak and you can also enjoy the nearby Virginia Capital Trail, 52 miles of scenic wonder.
In addition to the popular Richmond Folk Festival, nearby Brown’s Isle is host to a variety of outdoor performances throughout the year. Further uptown, you could well spend your entire day at Maymont, the gabled estate of the Dooley family, now preserved for the public. Here you’ll find more than 100 acres of beautifully-kept land, including a farm and nature center, an oriental garden and koi pond, and a man-made waterfall.
An Emerging Maker Movement
During your travels, take advantage of Richmond’s growing artisan community. Make the Richmond Beer Trail your destination and enjoy selections from the more than 20 craft breweries and cidery that have made Richmond their home. If wine is more your style, the region’s proximity to the Virginia Wine Trail means you’re likely to see some of the best selections from across the state at the neighborhood restaurant or wine shop. Nurse your hangover with a drink from Blanchard’s, or one of the many Richmond coffee shops that roast their own beans.
How to Get There
Richmond features two stations, Richmond Downtown (RVM) and the suburban Richmond Staples Mill Road (RVR). You can reach the downtown station via the Northeast Regional route. If you prefer to start your trip further out at RVR, the Carolinian/Piedmont, Silver Service/Palmetto, or the Northeast Regional will take you there.