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Why Go to Richmond

Richmond is definitely a paradox. American history buffs celebrate it as a pivotal city in our nation's 18th-century fight for independence and our 19th-century fight to remain unified. But 21st-century Richmond is populated with college students, hipsters and young families. You can step back in time at St. John's Episcopal Church, where re-enactors perform Patrick Henry's infamous, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" speech. Or take a tour of the Virginia State Capitol to see how the city's past continues to shape its future.

And when you're ready to return to the present, you'll find that Richmond is also home to boutique-y shopping areas (check out Carytown), quirky coffee shops and bars and sophisticated martini lounges, and art galleries. So please, embrace both sides of this capital city's coin; spend a few days exploring the history and a few nights uncovering its burgeoning social scene.

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The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions. Read more about how we rank vacation destinations.

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Richmond Travel Tips

What You Need to Know

  • There's a craft beer boom here New breweries are opening up all the time, but Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Triple Crossing Brewing Company and Strangeways Brewing are three local favorites.
  • There's a lot more than history Richmond is considered one of America's most historic destinations, but it also boasts plenty of outdoor adventure. When you need a break from the history lessons, head to the James River for some kayaking, paddleboarding or guided rafting trips from Riverside Outfitters.
  • There's lots of good food The River City is often overshadowed by other Southeastern favorites like Charleston or Washington, D.C., but Richmond is a foodie destination in its own right. Read up on local and traveler favorites in our dining guide. 

How to Save Money in Richmond

  • Rent two wheels instead of four Many of downtown Richmond's top attractions, including the Virginia State Capitol, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the American Civil War Museum, can be reached via bike. And if you want a little guidance on your bike ride, consider signing up for a tour with Richmond Rides.
  • Cash in on the free attractions Many of the city's top sites are free to the public or cost less than $10 to enter.
  • Ditch the hotel To save on lodging, consider hanging your hat at the HI Richmond hostel, praised for its central downtown location and funky interiors, not to mention its plentiful amenities.

What to Eat

Foodies in the know already have Richmond on their radar. But with neighboring culinary meccas like Washington, D.C., and Charleston, South Carolina, often overshadowing Virginia's capital, it's easy to see why many travelers arrive in Richmond with low expectations. Though it has its fair share of Southern favorites like pimento cheese, grits and pork, Richmond's menus aren't solely influenced by the city's geographic location. Luckily, local and visitor favorites like Rappahannock (come here for the Chesapeake Bay oysters), Heritage (indulge in the pork fries) and The Roosevelt (be prepared to share the pork rind nachos) are putting Richmond on the culinary map. To save on meals at some of the city's best restaurants, consider visiting during its biannual restaurant week, which usually takes place in April and October.

But eating isn't all you'll do here. Richmond is home to a burgeoning brewery scene, and luckily for those on a gluten-free diet, it's also home to a popular cidery, Blue Bee Cider. It features seasonal small-batch ciders made from heirloom variety Virginia apples.

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