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Get a taste of modern Richmond at Proper Pie Co. (Photograph by Patricia Lyons)

Virginia’s Capital of Charm: Richmond

Richmond zips away from its sleepy southern past with a blend of modern culture, cuisine, and international sport.

Between September 19-27, professional cyclists race in the 2015 UCI Road World Championships along the same streets and James River-skirting trail that lure leisure cyclists (rent wheels from Riverside Outfitters).

The food scene goes “beyond ‘where can I get crab cakes?’ to noodle houses, pie shops, and breweries,” says Maureen Egan of Real Richmond Food Tours. Try Blue Bee Cider or L’Opossums South-meets-France bistro fare (ham escargot biscuits, lavender grits).

For visual feasts, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts boasts a collection of 21st-century art from around the world (free general admission, open late Thursday and Friday nights).

And quirky Carytown hosts bookstores, outdoor cafés, toy shops, and vintage clothing boutiques such as World of Mirth and Bygones Vintage Clothing.

This piece, written by Jennifer Barger, appeared in the August/September 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine.