Straddling the James River in central Virginia, Richmond is a delightfully scenic city despite its size. With a population of around 225,000, Richmond is large enough to feel lively and exciting while holding onto its local charm. Just 97 miles (156 km) south of Washington DC, Richmond is a must-visit for anyone planning a road trip along the east coast. The I-95 directly connects the cities, so it’s a straightforward journey.
Richmond is the capital city of the state of Virginia. Founded in 1737, it is one of the oldest state capitals in the country. It has had plenty of time to amass a wealth of historical attractions. The city is particularly rich with key sites from the civil war. From museums in historic buildings to modern art galleries, this list will provide a great starting point of things to do in Richmond to get to know the city.
- Richmond, Virginia
- Top 3 Tours
- 21 Things To Do In Richmond VA
- 1- Step Back In History At Battlefield Park
- 2- Admire The Virginia State Capitol
- 3- Step Into The American Civil War Museum At Historic Tredegar
- 4- Visit The Poe Museum
- 5- Explore Historic Maymont
- 6- Learn Something New At The Virginia Museum of History & Culture
- 7- Browse The Galleries Of The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
- 8- Enjoy Cutting Edge Design At The Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU
- 9- Venture Out To Wilton House Museum
- 10- Venture Through Time And Space At Agecroft Hall
- 11- Walk Through Dabbs House Museum
- 12- Appreciate Nature At The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
- 13- Lay Back At Libby Hill Park
- 14- Look Around Historic Tuckahoe
- 15- Marvel At The Old City Hall
- 16- Tour Hollywood Cemetery
- 17- Pay A Visit to The Byrd Park Pump House
- 18- Go Wild At Three Lakes Park & Nature Centre
- 19- Relax On Texas Beach
- 20- Track Down The Richmond Railroad Museum
- 21- Indulge Your Curiosity At The Science Museum of Virginia
Top 3 Tours
- Richmond Ghosts Haunted Dark History Walking Tour – Explore 12 spooky locations on this haunted tour of Richmond.
- RVATukTuk Sightseeing Tour of Richmond – Cruise the main sights on this fun tuk-tuk sightseeing tour.
- The Carytown Food Tour – Food, history and culture collide in a delicious experience in Richmond.
21 Things To Do In Richmond VA
1- Step Back In History At Battlefield Park
As Richmond was a central point of the American Civil War, one of the top things to do in Richmond is to explore Battlefield Park.
The park pays homage to famous battles, including the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign (1864 and 65), Seven Days Battles (1862) the Overland Campaign (1864).
Visiting the park will give you an idea of the role that geography plays in influencing the results of a battle.
Union forces led by General George McClellan captured Richmond after several attacks from the sea and on land.
Battlefield Park’s headquarters is at 3215 East Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia, 23223.
2- Admire The Virginia State Capitol
The 18th-century Virginia State Capitol building is a wonder of neoclassical architecture.
As you approach, you get a fantastic view of the grand, columned Capitol atop a hill.
Visitors can explore by themselves or take a guided tour. The Capitol is set within Capitol Square, a leafy park packed with monuments.
A walk through the grounds will take you past statues dedicated to the civil rights and suffrage movements and past politicians.
A historic bell tower also stands at the western corner of the park.
The Capitol building is at 1000 Bank St, Richmond, VA 23218, United States. The two most fun ways to see Richmond’s landmarks are to go on a tuk-tuk tour or a segway tour.
3- Step Into The American Civil War Museum At Historic Tredegar
At the time of the civil war, Tredegar was the largest ironworks in the south, responsible for half of the confederacy’s ammunition production.
It’s one of few such critical buildings that were spared during the Burning of Richmond during the south’s retreat.
Tredegar is now host to one of three posts of the American Civil War Museum.
Over Tredegar’s three stories, you can marvel at thousands of artefacts and exhibits from the civil war.
The museum pays particular attention to differentiating between the perspectives and experiences of the various factions involved in the civil war.
American Civil War Museum is at 480 Tredegar St, Richmond, VA 23219, United States.
For more ideas in Virginia and West Virginia:
4- Visit The Poe Museum
The Poe Museum is a short walk from where legendary writer Edgar Allan Poe once lived.
While the Old Stone House, which houses the museum, was never inhabited by Poe himself, it does have its own claim to historical fame as the oldest house in Richmond.
Within the museum, you can browse various artefacts and exhibits showcasing Poe’s life and works.
There’s also a varied calendar of events for visitors to enjoy.
The Poe Museum is at Old Stone House at 1914 E Main St, Richmond, VA 23223, United States.
5- Explore Historic Maymont
Sprawling over a hundred acres, you can spend a whole day exploring the Maymont Estate and all its attractions.
With ornamental gardens, historic buildings, and miles of walking trails, it’s perfect for getting the whole family out in the fresh air.
At the estate’s heart is the 19th-century Maymont Mansion.
The stunning mansion is almost exactly as it was when it was first built, with no alterations aside from necessary restoration and maintenance work.
Now a museum, you can take guided tours to learn more about the life and styles of the gilded age.
Maymont Farm is another top feature, perfect for families where visitors of all ages can enjoy petting and feeding the array of adorable farm animals, including donkeys and goats.
Maymont Estate is at 1700 Hampton St, Richmond, VA 23220, United States.
6- Learn Something New At The Virginia Museum of History & Culture
If science isn’t your thing, perhaps you are more interested in history.
The Virginia Museum of History and Culture houses thousands of artefacts relating to the history and development of the state of Virginia displayed over 2,300 square metres (25,000 square feet) of exhibition space.
The museum’s collection comprises a comprehensive array of items.
The exhibits span every area of the state’s heritage, from personal effects and artworks by notable Virginians to equipment used at significant events.
The History and Culture museum is at 428 N Arthur Ashe Blvd, Richmond, VA 23220, United States.
7- Browse The Galleries Of The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Directly opposite the Museum of History and Culture is the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
The VMFA houses a variety of artworks from across the world within one of the largest exhibition spaces in North America.
Along with the collection of artworks inside the museum, the VMFA also boasts a sculpture garden on its front lawn.
The VMFA is next to the history museum at 200 N Arthur Ashe Blvd, Richmond, VA 23220, United States. This tour stops at the Museum of Fine Arts.
8- Enjoy Cutting Edge Design At The Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU
If your tastes veer more towards modern art than classical, you might prefer to visit the Institute for Contemporary Art.
Even the museum building itself is a celebration of daring, contemporary design.
The institute houses artworks in various mediums, from creative sculptures and interpretive installations to more typical paintings and photography projects.
The exhibitions constantly change, keeping the gallery fresh and well worth repeat visits.
Get your modern art fix at 601 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220, United States.
9- Venture Out To Wilton House Museum
Perched atop a hill overlooking the James River, Wilton House is a beautiful brick mansion that has seen some impressive house guests.
Most notably, Wilton House is known to have played host to the founding fathers.
The museum’s interior is furnished as it would have been when it was built in the 18th century.
A tour of the house provides a glimpse into the fashions of early Richmond.
Wilton House Museum is at 215 S Wilton Rd, Richmond, VA 23226, United States.
10- Venture Through Time And Space At Agecroft Hall
Agecroft Hall is another historic mansion, unique in that its history has little to do with the surrounding city.
Agecroft Hall was built in England in the Tudor period and only moved across the ocean to Virginia in the early 20th century.
The grounds surrounding the hall are appropriately landscaped into English-style ornamental gardens.
Agecroft Hall is at 4305 Sulgrave Rd, Richmond, VA 23221, United States.
11- Walk Through Dabbs House Museum
Dabbs House is a pretty 1800s mansion that served as the field headquarters of General Robert E. Lee during the civil war.
It now hosts a museum that documents the house’s role in the war, along with its various roles over the intervening years.
Dabbs House served various functions, from a family home to, most recently, the base of the local police division.
Dabbs House is east of the city at 3812 Nine Mile Rd, Richmond, VA 23223, United States.
12- Appreciate Nature At The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Covering over 50 acres (20 ha), the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is home to plenty of beautiful flowers and elaborately styled gardens for you to explore.
Walking trails lead through the trees and around a lake to the farm garden serving onsite cafes and restaurants.
Venture north to 1800 Lakeside Ave, Henrico, VA 23228, United States.
13- Lay Back At Libby Hill Park
If you want an excellent place to watch the sunset, you can’t beat Libby Hill Park.
As the name suggests, the park is perched atop a hill east of the city, offering stunning views across Richmond and the James River.
There are benches to relax on, or bring a blanket and lay back on the grass.
The park is next to an old tobacco factory, granting you a fantastic view of its aged chimney and water tower.
Libby Hill Park is at 2801 E Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23223, United States.
14- Look Around Historic Tuckahoe
Out in the countryside to the west of Richmondyou’lll find Historic Tuckahoe, ThomasJefferson’ss childhood home.
The house was built in 1733 and has weathered plenty of the area’s, often fraught, history.
Guests can tour the gardens freely, with maps and guides available to provide routes and insights.
The main house is accessible by guided tour.
Historic Tuckahoe is at 12601 River Rd, Richmond, VA 23238, United States.
15- Marvel At The Old City Hall
Behind the Capitol Building, the Old City Hall provides a dramatic contrast in architectural style.
The intricate gothic detail of the Old City Hall stands out against the straight edges of the surrounding buildings.
The building is hard to miss between its imposing façade and the soaring spire of its 59 m (195 foot) clock tower.
The interior is equally as elaborate, full of grand columns, chandeliers, and vaulted ceilings, all surrounding a central atrium.
Most of the building now operates as an office block, but visitors are free to explore the ground level.
Old City Hall is at 1001 E Broad St, Richmond, VA 23219, United States.
16- Tour Hollywood Cemetery
A cemetery may seem like a morbid place to spend your trip, but Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery is worth a visit.
The historic cemetery is the final resting place of some famous figures, including two U.S. presidents.
Hollywood has plenty of ghost stories and local legends, like any good cemetery.
If you visit closer to dusk, make sure to keep an eye out for the Richmond Vampire, who supposedly resides in the crypt of W. W. Pool.
Visitors are welcome to wander Hollywood Cemetery by themselves, with maps available at the entrance.
Alternatively, take a guided tour to learn more about the residents and monuments. While you’re in the mood for spooky things, you may like to join a ghost tour.
Head to Hollywood Cemetery at 412 S Cherry St, Richmond, VA 23220, United States.
17- Pay A Visit to The Byrd Park Pump House
Byrd Park is next to the Maymont estate, a vast expanse of fields, forests, and lakes.
The historic Pump House is nestled amongst the trees at the park’s south end, up against the water’s edge, and is a fascinating sight for anyone walking along the canal.
Largely abandoned by the mid-1900s, much of the building is in disrepair, but the better-preserved areas of the pump house are used as a particularly edgy events space.
Renovations to the damaged areas are ongoing and should eventually see the whole building returned to its past glory.
The Pump House sits at 1708 Pump House Dr, Richmond, VA 23221, United States.
18- Go Wild At Three Lakes Park & Nature Centre
Nestled within Richmond’s northern suburbs, Three Lakes provides the perfect escape from the urban bustle without heading too far out of the city.
Three Lakes Park is appropriately named for the trio of lakes at its centre.
Surrounding the lakes are lush forests and wetlands riddled with extensive walking trails.
The park is bursting with diverse wildlife, and you can learn more about the local residents at the lakeside nature centre.
Three Lakes Park & Nature Centre is at 400 Sausiluta Dr, Richmond, VA 23227, United States.
19- Relax On Texas Beach
Texas Beach is a lovely little riverside spot where you can relax by the edge of the water, shaded by the trees.
The beach is far enough from the city centre to escape the crowds while popular enough with locals to not feel too isolated.
Much of the beach is rocky, but a few sandy areas are perfect for sunbathing.
During the hot Virginia summers, the rock pools are perfect for cooling off.
Follow the river to Texas Beach, Richmond, VA 23220, United States.
20- Track Down The Richmond Railroad Museum
The Richmond Railroad Museum is any train enthusiast’s dream.
It’s housed within a charming, disused train station just across the river from the city centre.
Various train cars and engines from throughout the history of rail travel are on display outside.
You’ll find elaborate miniature towns and train sets alongside various smaller artefacts.
Richmond Railroad Museum is at 102 Hull St, Richmond, VA 23224, United States.
21- Indulge Your Curiosity At The Science Museum of Virginia
The Science Museum of Virginia is a perfect family-friendly attraction with plenty of interactive exhibits and games to keep everyone engaged and entertained.
Live demonstrations and a packed calendar of events and special exhibitions ensure there’s always something new worth visiting for.
The museum is also home to The Dome, an IMAX theatre boasting the biggest screen in Virginia.
The Dome screens short films on various scientific topics, providing a uniquely immersive educational experience.
The Science Museum of Virginia is at 2500 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220, United States.