What to do in Richmond VA?
March 26, 2012 8:03 PM   Subscribe

What to do in Richmond VA? I'm in town next week and I just found out that the Flying Squirrels' opening day is still two weeks away---so no baseball for me--any recommendations for fun in the general Richmond area? I have a car at my disposal and would have loved to see a minor league baseball game. Looking for interesting things to see [or eat] during the weekdays. Preferably no overnight trips. thanks!
posted by calgirl to Travel & Transportation around Richmond, VA (27 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If it's your first time, I would do the historical things as that is one of Richmond's biggest assets. That said:

- Hollywood Cemetery
- Poe Museum
- Statues along Monument Avenue
- Museum of Fine Arts (not historical, but it's decent nonetheless)

For food, I would also bank on the best Richmond asset: southern style cuisine. My favorite southern restaurant there is Comfort. Favorite pizza place is Bottoms Up.
There are a few vineyards/wineries close-ish, but it might not be worth the time if you are pressed.

Other than that, usual meandering/strolling favorites are:

- Student art galleries at VCU (also other non-student galleries in the area)
- Belle Isle
- University of Richmond campus
- The Fan area in general
posted by msk1985 at 8:19 PM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

It his a little morbid, but cemeteries fascinate me, especially Hollywood cemetery overlooking the James river. Hilly, woody, full of historical grave markers, truly a place conductive to peaceful meanderings on a sunny afternoon.

I don't remember any baseball heroes buried there.
posted by francesca too at 8:29 PM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

And for a nice day trip, one or two or all of the James River Plantations.
posted by likeso at 8:48 PM on March 26, 2012

Oh I question I'm finally qualified to answer. I am born and raised here in Richmond.

You absolutely have to visit Hollywood Cemetery. It's so beautifully kept and there are a ton of old statues, crypts and part of the cemetery overlooks the James River. It's also HUGE so plan to spend at least a few hours there. The weather has been great lately so a picnic would probably be nice. It does close at about 5 p.m. so plan accordingly. If cemeteries don't seem like your thing (even though I beg you to think otherwise), then you can head over to Maymont Park. It's not your typical park as it used to be an estate owned by a wealthy couple whom donated it to the city upon their death.

No visit to Richmond is complete without visiting The Byrd Theatre and then heading across the street to get some homemade ice cream at Bev's (screw Sweet Frog that's located down the street). The theatre and the ice cream shop are in Carytown which is a small section of the city that has a lot of cool shops. World Of Mirth is definitely the most awesome shop in the entire city.

There's a ton of cool architecture in the city but you definitely need to know where you're going or you might end up in a bad part of town. Are you traveling by yourself? If this is something you are interested in, I can give you a specific route to follow.

As far as Museums, we've got the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (which recently reopened after a long renovation which was definitely a smart move), the Science Museum, the Virginia Historical Society, Edgar Allen Poe Museum and many others. There's also a few really good small galleries. If you're willing to travel about an hour outside of Richmond, Monticello is a great place to visit and is beautiful this time of year.

It's late and I have to head to bed but I will probably add more later. If you kind of guide us with what you like to do and what kinds of foods you like to eat, I can help tailor the suggestions.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:17 PM on March 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Following Hollywood Cemetary, you should see Shockoe Hill Cemetary. It's the cemetery where Poe actually mooned for lost love as a teenager. It also has the graves of Chief Justice John Marshall and the Union spy Elizabeth Van Lew. It has a distinctly southern Gothic kind of feel.
That, and Carytown!
posted by pickypicky at 9:26 PM on March 26, 2012

In addition to the James River Plantations, we visited several of the Presidential Homes in the area. There were a decent car ride (1-2 hours) from Richmond, but both Monticello and Mt. Vernon are worth visiting.
posted by Mad_Carew at 9:52 PM on March 26, 2012

Ditto Hollywood Cemetery and Bottoms Up pizza.
posted by naoko at 12:53 AM on March 27, 2012

For food, you can rarely go wrong with Black Sheep or kuba kuba. We won't drive through town without eating at Black Sheep; the "battleships" have to be seen to be believed.
posted by dpaul at 4:36 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

You could easily kill several days at the Civil War related National Parks in Richmond. Visiting the battlefields in Fredericksburg 60 miles to the North could also easily consume a day or two. I visited the Holocaust Museum in Richmond not long ago and found it quite moving and very well done. Likewise, 60 miles to the east is Williamsburg, with William & Mary University and Colonial Williamsburg.

If you are looking for baseball college baseball season is on - I don't know exactly which schools in Richmond have teams but I would guess U of Richmond and VCU do.
posted by COD at 5:44 AM on March 27, 2012

If you want to mosey on over to IRL you can always see if anyone wants to do a metafilter meetup... there's a few of us in Richmond...
posted by empath at 6:27 AM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

We're having a lovely Spring here, so you might also want to check out Maymont and/or the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. (sorry, I don't know how to make links) If you like Thai food, Mama Siam's in Carytown is realllly good!
Seconding a day trip to Charlottesville to see Monticello and visit some of the wineries - it's an easy trip from Richmond, and the 'wine trails' are clearly marked. There are also a couple breweries in Crozet, which I haven't visited yet - they are on the way if you're going toward Veritas Vineyard.
My nephew plays baseball for VCU, so I'll try to catch up with him and see if there are any games.
posted by PlantGoddess at 6:30 AM on March 27, 2012

Eat at Kuba Kuba in the Fan.
posted by lovingkindness at 6:50 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

There's also Kings Dominion which opens on April 6, but might be too late...
posted by empath at 6:54 AM on March 27, 2012

I can't recommend brunch at Can Can Brasserie highly enough. It was one of the highlights of our weekend trip to Richmond a few years ago.
posted by something something at 7:01 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're feeling up for a different sort of food, I always try to hit Croaker's spot when in Richmond.

Williamsburg ("Colonial Williamsburg") for a history fix. Depending on where in RIC you are, it's ~40 miles.

Busch Gardens (in Williamsburg) is open first two weeks of April (and March weekends) for spring break.
posted by k5.user at 7:06 AM on March 27, 2012

Check out The Roosevelt for really nice southern-ish food and excellent cocktails. Aziza's on Main (no website for some reason) has by far my favorite Neapolitan-style pizza in town.

I don't think anyone mentioned the Museum of the Confederacy, which is kind of tucked away near the MCV Hospital and was surprisingly really cool.
posted by frankdrebin at 8:21 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

(ms. Veg)
UR has a fantastic baseball team and a beautful campus. Go there.
Belle Isle, yes. Read the placards.
Maymont, yes.
Jefferson Hotel for tea, if you're so inclined.
The Tobacco Company for old school fancy restaurant.
Carytown is also kind of fun, ritzy.
(I went to Richmond. My sister lives near there.)
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:13 AM on March 27, 2012

Oh, and White House of the Confederacy!
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:14 AM on March 27, 2012

Yeah, skip Bottom's Up, unless you prefer pizza laden with toppings. The restaurant is kind of overrated, I think. But the view from the deck is nice, anyway. I agree Aziza's has the best pies in town. And get a cream puff for dessert. Get two.

-Richmonder who lives nearly across the street from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
posted by emelenjr at 9:40 AM on March 27, 2012

Richmonder who lives nearly across the street from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

I literally live across the street from it, and I've never been there :)
posted by empath at 10:01 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: More restaurant recommendations - Stella's and Edo's Squid have great Greek and Italian, respectively. If they have the braised fennel when you go to Edo's... get it.

The Canal Walk is really really cool on a nice day. If you go here, you can walk on a pipe under a railroad track just a couple feet over the river (depending on the water height, it's usually much more sedate than that) and see some giant-ass heron doing weird bird stuff all over the place. To get there, walk down 14th street, turn right past the flood wall, cross the tracks, then there'll be a staircase on your left followed by a ladder down to the pipe. If you walk the whole thing, it'll take you to Brown's Island, and if you do it on a weekend, odds are pretty good you'll walk into some outdoor festival or another.
posted by frankdrebin at 10:15 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you like Chinese food at all, Peter Chang, the famous wandering Sichuan chef, just opened a new restaurant out in the suburbs.

There are some major caveats here: it's probably a 20 minute drive from downtown Richmond, they only take reservations for parties of four or more, it's probably an hour-and-a-half wait for a table if you don't have a reservation, and the ambiance is nothing special. The food itself, on the other hand, fully lives up to the astronomical hype levels - I've eaten at places with Michelin stars where the food wasn't as good.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 11:38 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do visit the State Capitol, home to the Western Hemisphere's oldest continuously operating legislature and designed by Mr. Jefferson himself. The General Assembly is currently in special session to wrap up the budget, and may be finished for the year before you get there. Regardless, it's nice architecture, and unique as a dome-less Capitol.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 11:47 AM on March 27, 2012

Best answer: I enjoyed the Virginia Aviation Museum, on the grounds of the Richmond airport. It's a cute mid-sized one. But they have a Blackbird and few other interesting items.

If you're into to beer definitely go to Legend Brewing and probably go to Capital Ale House (the one by the Capitol at least) is a good place to get a wide selection of good beers and pretty nice food. Their pretzel, in particular, is ginormous and yummy.
posted by skynxnex at 1:16 PM on March 27, 2012

Response by poster: These are all really great-- yes I like beer and comfort food more than fancy/shmancy places.
[although the tea at the Jefferson Hotel is intriguing too...]
I do like live music-- easy going rock or blues would be cool.
I'll be keeping an eye open for festivals and such.
Low key and easy to do places are sounding great right now.
posted by calgirl at 6:36 PM on March 27, 2012

2nd for The Roosevelt. That stenciling on the walls? I did that.

Alamo BBQ is right down the block, too. Get some to go and eat a lunch in Jefferson Park.

If you don't get to Church Hill, you're missing the best of Richmond :)
posted by john m at 4:32 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

We loved Buzz and Ned's barbecue. (Delicious and they have a sense of humor - They call themselves the Flay Slayers because they beat Bobby Flay on one of his shows.)
posted by semacd at 4:59 PM on March 28, 2012

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