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Best Things To Do in Richmond

Just like its slogan reads: Virginia is for Lovers, of history, that is. And like other major cities in the commonwealth, Richmond boasts some impressive American Revolution sites (like St. John's Episcopal Church) and an extensive chronicle of Civil War memorabilia (found in the American Civil War Museum or the Virginia Historical Society). There's also a good selection of activities for nature lovers, fine arts lovers, literature lovers and more. Get the picture? That's not all: One of the best aspects of traveling to Richmond is how well the city also appeals to lovers of a good deal  many top sites are free to the public or cost less than $10 to enter.

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Richmond

Free
Most visitors are impressed with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, comparing its collections to what you would find in the art museums of much larger cities. 
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Most visitors are impressed with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, comparing its collections to what you would find in the art museums of much larger cities. 
... more

#2

#2 in Richmond

Free
This Capitol building's big claim to fame is that it was partially designed by Thomas Jefferson. He supposedly based the structure on the Maison Carrée temple (located in Nîmes, France), which he greatly admired. And in addition to learning about the building's design trivia, visitors also like to stroll the grounds and snap photos. The surrounding area, known as Capitol Square, has several monuments dedicated to the civil rights movement, as well as to prominent Virginians like Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and Edgar Allan Poe.
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Parks and Gardens Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Virginia State Capitol
This Capitol building's big claim to fame is that it was partially designed by Thomas Jefferson. He supposedly based the structure on the Maison Carrée temple (located in Nîmes, France), which he greatly admired. And in addition to learning about the building's design trivia, visitors also like to stroll the grounds and snap photos. The surrounding area, known as Capitol Square, has several monuments dedicated to the civil rights movement, as well as to prominent Virginians like Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and Edgar Allan Poe.
... more

#3

#3 in Richmond

Purchased by a prominent Richmond businessman in 1895, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden sits on property that was Powhatan Indian hunting ground. Now, the 50-acre garden attracts droves of Richmond visitors who come to marvel at its many blooms and domed conservatory – the only one of its kind in the mid-Atlantic. There are also several beloved family events throughout the year like Butterflies LIVE!, the Goblins and Gourds Halloween event and the GardenFest of Lights held in late November and early January.
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Parks and Gardens Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Purchased by a prominent Richmond businessman in 1895, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden sits on property that was Powhatan Indian hunting ground. Now, the 50-acre garden attracts droves of Richmond visitors who come to marvel at its many blooms and domed conservatory – the only one of its kind in the mid-Atlantic. There are also several beloved family events throughout the year like Butterflies LIVE!, the Goblins and Gourds Halloween event and the GardenFest of Lights held in late November and early January.
... more

#4
Carytown Free

#4 in Richmond

Free
Locals and frequent visitors agree that the city's hippest shops and restaurants converge in a Museum District-adjacent area known as Carytown. But take note: Boutiques reign here, so don't visit expecting a Toys "R" Us, Best Buy or Crate and Barrel; instead you'll find quirky alternatives like the World of Mirth, Plan 9 Music and Need Supply Co. There are also some familiar sights: Carytown hosts a Hair Cuttery, a 7-Eleven and a Starbucks.
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Entertainment and Nightlife Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Carytown
Locals and frequent visitors agree that the city's hippest shops and restaurants converge in a Museum District-adjacent area known as Carytown. But take note: Boutiques reign here, so don't visit expecting a Toys "R" Us, Best Buy or Crate and Barrel; instead you'll find quirky alternatives like the World of Mirth, Plan 9 Music and Need Supply Co. There are also some familiar sights: Carytown hosts a Hair Cuttery, a 7-Eleven and a Starbucks.
... more

#5

#5 in Richmond

When you and your kids need a break from all the history lessons Richmond has to offer, head about 25 miles north of the city to Kings Dominion. This 400-acre water and theme park wins praise from recent visitors for its manageable size and family-friendly attractions. Thrill-seekers particularly liked all the roller coasters here, especially the wooden Grizzly coaster, which takes riders through a dense forest. And another bonus: Entrance to the kid-friendly Soak City water park is included in your general admission fee.
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Amusement Parks Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Kings Dominion
When you and your kids need a break from all the history lessons Richmond has to offer, head about 25 miles north of the city to Kings Dominion. This 400-acre water and theme park wins praise from recent visitors for its manageable size and family-friendly attractions. Thrill-seekers particularly liked all the roller coasters here, especially the wooden Grizzly coaster, which takes riders through a dense forest. And another bonus: Entrance to the kid-friendly Soak City water park is included in your general admission fee.
... more

#6

#6 in Richmond

Free
Located in Richmond's Museum District, the Virginia Historical Society boasts an exhaustive collection of the commonwealth's Civil War memorabilia, including books, newspapers, photographs, business and genealogical records  even sheet music. In other words, for museumgoers curious about Civil War history  you just might have hit the jackpot.
... more
Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Virginia Historical Society
Located in Richmond's Museum District, the Virginia Historical Society boasts an exhaustive collection of the commonwealth's Civil War memorabilia, including books, newspapers, photographs, business and genealogical records  even sheet music. In other words, for museumgoers curious about Civil War history  you just might have hit the jackpot.
... more

#7

#7 in Richmond

Free
Richmond has its fair share of Civil War history, but it's also home to a moving and impressive Holocaust museum. Founded in 1997 by one of Richmond's youngest Holocaust survivors, Jay Ipson, the Virginia Holocaust Museum focuses on two narratives: a broad detailing of the Holocaust's role in global history and the Ipson family's experience and survival. Visitors will hear stories of survivors who started over in Richmond, as well as the journey of the Ipson family.
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Virginia Holocaust Museum
Richmond has its fair share of Civil War history, but it's also home to a moving and impressive Holocaust museum. Founded in 1997 by one of Richmond's youngest Holocaust survivors, Jay Ipson, the Virginia Holocaust Museum focuses on two narratives: a broad detailing of the Holocaust's role in global history and the Ipson family's experience and survival. Visitors will hear stories of survivors who started over in Richmond, as well as the journey of the Ipson family.
... more

#8
Maymont Free

#8 in Richmond

Free
Maymont used to be the sprawling home of wealthy Richmond residents James Henry and Sallie May Dooley (the estate name comes from combining Mrs. Dooley’s maiden name and the French word for hill). Upon their deaths, they left their home and its grounds to the city. Now, this 100-acre property is one of the top activities for Richmond travelers. The Japanese gardens are a particular highlight, but Maymont also boasts a carriage collection, a petting zoo and an arboretum, not to mention a truly spectacular and well-maintained 12,000 square foot, 33-room mansion. And it's all about a 10- to 15-minute walk from the downtown area.
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Historic Homes/Mansions Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Maymont
Maymont used to be the sprawling home of wealthy Richmond residents James Henry and Sallie May Dooley (the estate name comes from combining Mrs. Dooley’s maiden name and the French word for hill). Upon their deaths, they left their home and its grounds to the city. Now, this 100-acre property is one of the top activities for Richmond travelers. The Japanese gardens are a particular highlight, but Maymont also boasts a carriage collection, a petting zoo and an arboretum, not to mention a truly spectacular and well-maintained 12,000 square foot, 33-room mansion. And it's all about a 10- to 15-minute walk from the downtown area.
... more

#9

#9 in Richmond

Most tourists don't visit St. John's for liturgical reasons, but rather historical ones. This was the Richmond church where in 1775 Patrick Henry famously pleaded to "Give me liberty, or give me death!" And in the graveyard you'll find the final resting place of Elizabeth Arnold Poe (mother of Edgar Allan) and George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
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Churches/Religious Sites Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
St. John's Episcopal Church
Most tourists don't visit St. John's for liturgical reasons, but rather historical ones. This was the Richmond church where in 1775 Patrick Henry famously pleaded to "Give me liberty, or give me death!" And in the graveyard you'll find the final resting place of Elizabeth Arnold Poe (mother of Edgar Allan) and George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
... more

#10

#10 in Richmond

The American Civil War Museum actually comprises three sites: The Museum and White House of the Confederacy and Historic Tredegar can both be found in Richmond, while the Museum of the Confederacy-Appomattox sits in Appomattox, Virginia. Thanks to its comprehensive collection of Confederate artifacts, weapons and art, this museum is a required stop for Civil War buffs. There are also several war flags on display, like the flag of the 11th Alabama Infantry, the Headquarters Flag of General Robert E. Lee and the flag that was draped on Jefferson Davis' casket in 1893. The museum's location, on East Clay Street, is also significant  the mansion next door was once Davis' home. You can visit both the museum and the Confederate president's abode, which is also known as the Confederate White House. Guided tours through the house leave from the museum lobby regularly throughout the day.
... more
Historic Homes/Mansions Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
American Civil War Museum
The American Civil War Museum actually comprises three sites: The Museum and White House of the Confederacy and Historic Tredegar can both be found in Richmond, while the Museum of the Confederacy-Appomattox sits in Appomattox, Virginia. Thanks to its comprehensive collection of Confederate artifacts, weapons and art, this museum is a required stop for Civil War buffs. There are also several war flags on display, like the flag of the 11th Alabama Infantry, the Headquarters Flag of General Robert E. Lee and the flag that was draped on Jefferson Davis' casket in 1893. The museum's location, on East Clay Street, is also significant  the mansion next door was once Davis' home. You can visit both the museum and the Confederate president's abode, which is also known as the Confederate White House. Guided tours through the house leave from the museum lobby regularly throughout the day.
... more

#11

#11 in Richmond

This museum on Main Street (located just outside the town's aptly named "Museum District") is perfect for people with a passing interest in Edgar Allan Poe. More ardent fans of the writer's work might find themselves disappointed at the limited exhibits, however. 
... more
Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Edgar Allan Poe Museum
This museum on Main Street (located just outside the town's aptly named "Museum District") is perfect for people with a passing interest in Edgar Allan Poe. More ardent fans of the writer's work might find themselves disappointed at the limited exhibits, however. 
... more

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