Laid-back, open-minded, and entrepreneurially driven, a generational and cultural shift in Richmond is melding contemporary, creative attitudes with a city that relishes history.
When to Go
While seasonal extremes are typically mild, summers in Richmond can be hot and humid for those unaccustomed to the Southeast. So, if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking around in this walkable city, spring and fall are your best bets; however, if you do come in summer, it’s wise to plan your days around air-conditioned museum jaunts, cold beers at a brewery, or dips in the James River.
In an amalgam of preservation and innovation that has become representative of Richmond culture, the RVA Street Art Festival brings both local and national street artists and muralists together for a three-day celebration of the arts. With family-friendly activities and real-time mural paintings, the festival strives to support community arts education and the revitalization of some of Richmond’s neighborhoods.
What to Eat
Richmond’s location in the commonwealth (don’t call it a state) affords it with fresh Chesapeake oysters, grass-fed beef, and farm-to-table veggies. This fueled the restaurant scene’s explosion onto the national stage. The must-have dish, however, is a bit more old-school. The sailor sandwich, a uniquely Richmond creation, is a combination of pastrami, knackwurst, Swiss cheese, and hot mustard on rye. It’s a solid base before the breweries or a hearty reboot for the day after.
Souvenir to Take Home
As the third most tattooed city in the country (behind Las Vegas and Miami), Richmond is home to a number of nationally recognized tattoo artists. Walk-ins are welcome at most establishments, but for this take-home piece, you may want to book in advance. If you’re looking to take home something a little less permanent, a bag of fresh beans from one of the city’s many coffee roasters makes a great gift.
Sustainable Travel Tip
With bike lanes being added throughout the city, the recently installed RVA Bike Share is a great way to get around Richmond. For the less bike-friendly ventures, the GRTC Pulse (set to be completed in 2018) is a bus rapid transit system that runs through the city’s main artery and connects with the local bus system. Some destinations are harder to access with public transit, but ridesharing services are available.
The parks in Church Hill (Libby Hill, Jefferson, and Chimborazo Parks) offer some of the best overlooks of the city’s vistas. Libby Hill Park has the views that gave Richmond its name, but to more closely appreciate how it came to be known as the River City, don’t miss the sunset from the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge.