Visitors to Richmond may have a hard time deciding if the intriguing city is a college town or an arts community; a foodie hot spot or a sports center; a historic site or a hub of government. It won’t take long to figure out that it’s all of these things – and more.
Richmond is 4 1/2 hours northeast of Charlotte, on the James River between the Virginia coast and the Blue Ridge Ridge Mountains. It’s interstate (I-85 to I-95 North) all the way.
Get a grand look of the city from Libby Hill Park where, in 1737, William Byrd II was inspired to give Richmond its name because of the striking similarity to the views of Richmond-on-the-Thames in England. The fabric of Richmond is interwoven with history that dates back to pre-Revolution times.
Get settled in downtown at The Jefferson Hotel. Its breathtaking architecture and elegant décor will impress the most discerning guests. Visitors staying elsewhere in Richmond are equally welcome to enjoy the Palm Court, Rotunda, History Room and restaurants of the hotel. Indulge in the Sunday Champagne Brunch at Lemaire and upscale casual fare at TJ’s.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is worthy of top billing on visitor itineraries. The airy interior is home to 33,000 works of art that comprise its permanent collection.
Cultivated on land that was once Powhatan Indian hunting ground, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden offers 40 acres of spectacular gardens and a one-of-a-kind classical domed conservatory housing more than a dozen themed gardens.
Get your awe on at the Science Museum of Virginia, where hundreds of experiential exhibits await your participation. Become mesmerized in the new Dome Theater, which has a Digistar 5 fulldome 3D system; it’s the largest screen in Virginia.
The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar is the nation’s first museum to interpret the conflict through three interwoven perspectives: Union, Confederate and African-American.
Tour Richmond’s distinctive neighborhoods, including Carytown – Richmond’s eclectic nine-block “Mile of Style” – the Fan District; Jackson Ward and Shockoe Slip. Marvel at history on Monument Avenue.
Eating through Richmond is delightful, adventurous and satisfying. The Church Hill neighborhood stands out with new restaurants such as The Roosevelt and the super funky Dutch and Co. (Church Hill is also carving out a niche as the city’s bakery district.)
You won’t want to miss the offerings at The Daily Kitchen & Bar, Bistro 27, Lucy’s Restaurant or Heritage.
In most other cities, visitors tread a bit out of town to take advantage of watersports. In Richmond, rafters and kayakers glide on the river right through downtown.
Area info: www.visitrichmondva.com.