Richmond Travel Guide

USA  #3 in Best Places to Visit in Virginia
Credit

Courtesy of Matthew T. Carroll/Getty Images

Free Things To Do in Richmond

If you have extra time, Carytown is worthwhile.
  • #1
    Things to do in Richmond
    View all Photos
    #1 in Richmond
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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. 

    This Museum District standout is best known for its five gorgeous Fabergé eggs, but it also features works by Degas, Cézanne and Renoir, and large collections of African, Indian and Tibetan art. Recent visitors were especially impressed with the McGlothlin Collection of American Art. Reviewers said it's impossible to see everything in just one visit and recommend setting aside at least several hours to peruse. If you can, try visiting more than once during your Richmond trip. Aside from the amazing collections, travelers were also impressed with Amuse Restaurant, located on-site (often considered one of Richmond's best restaurants).

  • #2
    Virginia State Capitol
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    #2 in Richmond
    Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    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.

    Recent visitors said they were pleasantly surprised by how interesting a visit to the Capitol building proved to be. Along with the unique architecture, reviewers also praised the knowledgeable guides and encouraged future visitors to join in on a free guided tour.

  • #4
    Carytown
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    #4 in Richmond
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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.

    If you like to shop, you owe yourself a visit to at least gaze at the window displays. And if you're budget conscious, keep in mind that Carytown eateries are known to be overpriced. To save some money, just visit for ambiance: Mark the popular (and free) August Watermelon Festival on your calendar or go see a movie or live performance at the Byrd Theatre. The Byrd is a preserved Richmond movie house that's very popular with locals (particularly for its $2 ticket prices).

  • #6
    Virginia Historical Society
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    #6 in Richmond
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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.

    Recent visitors raved about this free museum, which they described as a fun and educational rainy day activity. Though you have to pay to access special exhibits, reviewers were happy to fork over the extra cash to peruse. 

  • #7
    Virginia Holocaust Museum
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    #7 in Richmond
    Museums, Tours, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Tours, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    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.

    Many recent visitors called this institution one of the nation's best Holocaust museums, crediting the moving and artistic exhibits as a source of their high praise. Reviewers were particularly affected by the poignant stories from survivors, which can be heard via audio.

  • #8
    Maymont
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    #8 in Richmond
    Historic Homes/Mansions, Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Historic Homes/Mansions, Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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.

    Recent visitors called Maymont a Richmond treasure and said it's the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Other travelers urge you to pack a picnic to enjoy on the mansion lawn. Maymont's only sincere problem is that there's too much to see and do for just one day. Many of Maymont's reviewers said they planned on making a return trip.

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