Come join us as we explore this beloved city, shedding light on some of the free things to do in Richmond, Virginia.
Pay Respects at the Virginia War Memorial
The minute you step into the Virginia War Memorial, you are transformed back in time.
The power of the place is palpable.
You can almost hear the battles, taste the fear, feel the courage.
Virginia War Memorial isn't just a museum; it's a tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.
It’s a place that inspires patriotism and respect for those who fought for our freedom.
The building and grounds are immaculately kept, reflecting the dignity and respect that this sacred site deserves.
The staff and volunteers are warm and welcoming, eager to share their knowledge and passion with visitors.
And the best part?
This incredible source of history, education, and inspiration is completely free to the public, with free parking to boot.
The films displayed during our visit were a particular highlight.
They were educational, engaging, and deeply moving, providing a more profound understanding of our nation's history and the sacrifices made by our military personnel.
Visit a Legend's Grave at Hollywood Cemetery
Every Sunday morning, I lace up my sneakers, grab a bottle of water, and head to my favorite spot in Richmond, the Hollywood Cemetery.
It's not your typical spot for a morning jog, but it's got more than just graves.
A veritable outdoor museum, the Hollywood Cemetery offers an enchanting blend of history, landscape, and stunning views.
The moment you step into this picturesque resting place, you're transported into another era.
The vast expanse of the cemetery houses headstones, monuments, and mausoleums that range from old to new, each one narrating a unique story.
You'll find monuments dedicated to many historical figures and a special one to Confederate soldiers, a silent testament to the city's deep-rooted history.
One of the highlights of my morning jaunts is the panoramic view of Richmond.
It's a sight to behold, especially as the sun begins to rise, casting a golden hue over the city.
For those reluctant to walk, you can drive through the entire cemetery.
It's enormous, so much so that some visitors prefer driving to various points of interest.
And speaking of interest, no visit to the Hollywood Cemetery is complete without a nod at the eerie legend of the Richmond Vampire, W.W. Pool.
It's a famous myth among locals and always piques the curiosity of the young ones.
And if you're lucky, you might even spot a deer or two frolicking among the headstones.
But it's not just the history or the views that make Hollywood Cemetery special.
It's the tranquility. It's the feeling of being in a park, surrounded by nature's beauty, away from the city's hustle and bustle.
Each visit leaves me feeling refreshed and ready to face the week ahead.
Grab Fresh Produce from the Sankofa Community Orchard
I can still recall the first time I passed by Sankofa Community Orchard.
The vibrant hues of green and the scent of earth caught my attention as I was going about my day in our city.
I was drawn in by the serene atmosphere and the sound of laughter echoing from deep within the garden.
The sight of the lush green lettuce and the vibrant greens they pulled up for me to take home was a sight to behold.
It's not just a garden; it's a testament to their love for the community and the earth.
But Sankofa Community Orchard isn't just about growing plants.
The secret skatepark nestled by the sewer river and the opening in the back fence add a touch of adventure to the place.
The cool art scattered around the area gives it a unique, artistic vibe that sets it apart.
Stroll across the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge
There's something magical about the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge that captures the spirit of Richmond.
I start my day early, just as the sun begins to peek over the horizon and head out for a brisk walk across this beloved bridge.
Each footstep I take echoes the rich history of Richmond.
As I cross the bridge, I'm treated to a captivating panorama of the city's downtown, with the James River rushing beneath me.
The roar of the water is a soothing symphony that accompanies my morning walk.
If I'm lucky, I can spot adventurous souls kayaking or even rock climbing in the distance.
The bridge is a popular spot frequented by bikers, joggers, and walkers alike.
Even though it can get quite crowded, especially on a Friday night, the atmosphere is always lively and friendly.
It's also conveniently connected to a trail leading to Belle Isle, another local gem that's worth exploring.
As the sun reaches its zenith, the view from T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge becomes even more breathtaking.
There's a certain charm in watching the glimmer of sunlight on the water, the green islands dotting the river, and the towering buildings of downtown Richmond not to mention the imposing Federal Reserve building, which stands out among the cityscape.
Meditate at Maymont Japanese Garden
Oh, how I love getting lost in the tranquility of the Maymont Japanese Garden!
It's a hidden gem amidst the bustling city, perfect for those looking to escape into a serene and picturesque environment.
The lush greenery is just stunning, and you can easily spend hours exploring the beautifully manicured gardens, snapping photos of the mesmerizing scenery.
I always ensure to wear sturdy shoes, as there are a few steep and slightly slippery sections to navigate.
Not only is it a feast for the eyes, but it also offers fun and cute wildlife exhibits.
I remember the sheer joy and excitement of my encounter with the adorable creatures residing there.
If you're an animal lover like me, it's definitely a sight you wouldn't want to miss!
The structures and gazebos in the Maymont Japanese Garden are also impressive.
I recall a particular day when, to my surprise, my husband whisked me away to Maymont for a leisurely walk.
The beauty of the place had me so entranced that we ended up spending the entire day there.
Those shaded spots are perfect for resting and soaking in the beauty!
It's been quite some time since I've visited, and I'm eager to go back.
Although the fountains and waterfall weren't running during my last visit due to a lack of rain, it was still a sight to behold.
Peruse Local Literature at Fairfield - Henrico County Public Library
Ever walked into a room and felt like you've been transported right into a royal court?
That's exactly how it feels every time I step into the Fairfield - Henrico County Public Library.
I mean, we're talking crystal-like chandeliers hanging from the ceilings and a massive fireplace that you'd expect to find in some old English mansion.
It's almost over-the-top extravagant.
However, don't let the grandeur fool you.
The library may look like it's all about style, but it doesn't skimp on substance, either.
Despite being quite large, it doesn't have as many tables as one might expect.
On busy days, you might find it a bit crowded.
But there's a certain charm about finding a cozy corner and losing yourself in a good book amidst all that opulence.
But the real star of the show here is the children's area. It's absolutely delightful!
My girls simply adore it.
To them, the cleanliness of the bathroom in the kids' area is a major highlight.
They can't stop gushing about how clean it is every time we're there.
It's a testament to the attention to detail that Fairfield - Henrico County Public Library offers.
From the grandeur of the main area to the thoughtfulness of the kids' zone, every element is carefully curated.
Get Inspired at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Ah, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, a gem tucked away in the heart of Richmond.
This place offers a treasure trove of diverse art collections that promise to intrigue anyone who walks through its doors.
When I step into the museum, I'm always instantly drawn to the Faberge exhibit.
The collection is simply exquisite, a testament to the museum's expansive collection of modern art, antiquities, and Asian art.
I can't help but succumb to the urge to capture these stunning pieces with my camera.
After all, they don't just allow photography; they encourage it!
When I need a break from exploring, I love to sit in the museum's cafe or restaurant.
The food is always delightful and gives me the energy I need to continue my exploration.
If the weather permits, I also enjoy lounging in the grass on the museum's grounds, sometimes even bringing my laptop to work in the shade.
Visiting the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is not just about the art.
It's an experience, a chance to immerse oneself in diverse cultures and time periods.
However, one must remember to respect the rules.
For instance, visitors are required to wear their bags on the front to prevent accidental damage to the exhibits.
This rule may not be explicitly stated at the entrance, but it's a small price to pay for the preservation of these beautiful works of art.
One thing that could do with some improvement, however, is their approach to maintaining order within the museum.
Recently, while visiting with family, we had a rather intense encounter with an employee over my toddler niece's harmless antics.
It was a little off-putting, to say the least. That said, it didn't entirely mar our experience.
Walk through History and Nature
Every time I feel the need to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, I find myself heading to Belle Isle.
It's an island park nestled right in the heart of the James River, where city and nature coexist harmoniously.
One moment, you're immersed in the vibrant greenery and rugged charm of the park, and the next, you're captivated by the distant yet accessible Richmond skyline.
It's a breathtaking view that never gets old.
Visiting Belle Isle makes for an adventure every time.
The trails provide a good workout with varying terrains, and the abandoned buildings scattered across the island offer a fascinating glimpse into the past.
It's not unusual for me to spend a good 2-3 hours here just walking and exploring.
Kids and pets are always welcome, and it's heartening to see families and friends reveling in the outdoors.
The park is always clean, which only motivates me to ensure I leave no traces behind.
Crossing the hanging pedestrian bridge to get to the island is another experience in itself.
Nestled under the Lee Bridge, it's a sight to behold, especially when there's a cool breeze and the sun is setting.
And if you're lucky, you might even get to witness deer gracefully running around!
Jog through Deep Run Park & Recreation Center
Believe it or not, I've found that spending just a few hours at Deep Run Park and Recreation Center can be a day-maker.
Nestled in the heart of Henrico County, this park is truly a hidden gem. You can find more about this park at Deep Run Park & Recreation Center.
From the chirping of the birds to the fragrance of the woods, the park is an oasis of nature's bounty.
It's vast and spacious, so even on my regular Sunday morning jogs when the park is teeming with families, I always find a secluded spot to immerse myself in the tranquility of nature.
Deep Run Park & Recreation Center is well-equipped with amenities for everyone.
On any given day, you can see kids scampering around in the playground, soccer enthusiasts indulging in a friendly match, or fitness freaks doing pull-ups at the outdoor free-hand exercise stations.
I personally love the walking trails weaving through the woods.
They're a breath of fresh air, quite literally!
Fishing, too, is a popular activity at Deep Run, thanks to the multiple piers dotting the beautiful ponds.
On more than one occasion, I've tried my luck with the rod and reel - it's a peaceful pastime and a fun way to engage with the community.
What truly sets this park apart, though, are the picnic spots.
Whether it's a family gathering or a casual outing with friends, these spots are perfect for a leisurely afternoon.
And with public grills available, you can even bring your own food and have a barbecue!
Scale New Heights at RVA Free Climbing Wall
Have you ever felt the rush of adrenaline as you scale a wall, feeling the raw stone beneath your fingertips and the wind against your face?
That's a regular day for me at the RVA Free Climbing Wall.
Nestled in the heart of downtown, the Manchester Wall is my go-to place for a dose of outdoor adventure.
The place offers a great mix of climbing challenges, making it a perfect spot for both beginners and experienced climbers.
I've spent countless weekends here, basking in the convenience it offers, being easy to find and super accessible.
What makes the RVA Free Climbing Wall special is that it invites you to be spontaneous.
There's plenty to climb even if you show up without equipment.
I remember one particularly sunny afternoon when I decided to go for an impromptu climb.
The freedom felt liberating, a departure from the constraints of the everyday routine.
However, it's not all rosy.
The wall has become a hub for local kids to hang out, resulting in litter scattered everywhere.
It's disheartening to see such a unique and entertaining resource for the city marred by careless behavior.
I wish the park system gave it the attention it truly deserves and introduced facilities for waste disposal.
Journey through History at the Virginia Holocaust Museum
Stepping through the doors of the Virginia Holocaust Museum is like stepping into another era.
Each display is a haunting reminder of the terrible cost of hate and bigotry.
But this is not a place of despair.
Rather, it is a beacon of hope, illuminating the resilience of the human spirit and the power of empathy.
I remember when I first discovered this hidden gem of Richmond – it was a random evening when I found out about a last-minute music event called Rising Appalachia taking place there.
The museum was filled with sweet, uplifting music that contrasted sharply with the somber exhibits, creating a powerful, emotional experience.
As I wander through the museum, I find myself moved to tears by the stories of survivors who settled in the city after the war.
The exhibits are not just facts and figures; they are personal narratives that pull at your heartstrings and make the horrors of history palpaciously real.
This unique educational resource encourages critical thinking and empathy, underscoring the importance of memory and vigilance in the face of hate.
It's a place that reminds us how vital it is to stand up for justice and human rights.
While the Virginia Holocaust Museum is free, I always find myself leaving a donation as a small gesture of support for its mission.
Cycle through Libby Hill Park
There’s something truly magical about starting your day with a brisk walk in Libby Hill Park.
It's where the city's heartbeat seems to slow down, letting you savor each moment and offering a serene escape from the hustle and bustle.
Immersed in an array of vibrant flowers and towering trees, it's a veritable paradise for nature lovers like myself.
Every morning, the park's paved trails become my canvas for biking, providing a scenic route with a beautiful view of the James River.
The park is my oasis, the perfect backdrop for reading a book or simply being at peace with oneself.
What's more, the elevated location of the park offers a panoramic view of Richmond that's a sight for sore eyes.
As the day progresses, families, couples, and individuals alike find their way around; some engaged in casual strolls, others soaking up the tranquility the park offers.
It's a communal space that brings the community together, one step at a time.
And as the sun sets, Libby Hill Park transforms into a haven of serenity.
The setting sun, radiating an array of colors, creates a mesmerizing spectacle that makes you appreciate the beauty of the moment.
I often find myself sitting on one of the benches, just quietly taking it all in.
Discover Local Flora at Three Lakes Park & Nature Center
One of the hidden gems of our city has to be the Three Lakes Park & Nature Center.
This park is more than just a breath of fresh air; it's an adventure waiting to happen.
The moment you step foot on its well-maintained trails, you are instantly transported into a world filled with woods, wetlands, and an array of wildlife.
The park's trails are even and shaded, making for a pleasant escape from the usual city hustle.
As you follow these trails, you're led around three beautifully serene ponds.
It's a scene right out of a storybook, with the trees overhead casting dappled light on the water and the sound of birdsong filling the air.
As you walk, you'll notice signs identifying local trees, making it a learning experience as well.
One of my favorite things about Three Lakes Park & Nature Center, which is open on weekends, is its own aquarium.
It's a marvel to behold, with a multitude of turtles and tortoises that never fail to intrigue both children and adults alike.
It's an opportunity to interact with nature in a hands-on way.
The park also offers ample parking space and allows dogs on leashes, making it a perfect weekend destination for your entire family.
And if you love fishing or picnicking, you're in for a treat.
One of the lakes allows fishing, and there are picnic areas for those who prefer a simple outdoor meal.
The large playground is also a hit among the younger visitors.
Walk back in Time to Richmond National Battlefield Park
There's nothing quite like a crisp fall morning at the Richmond National Battlefield Park.
As the sun begins to rise, casting a warm glow across the 3,000-acre expanse of old battlefields, I often find myself transported back to a time of ironworks, gun positions, and army hospitals.
My path usually begins at the wide open field, it's said to be very similar to the actual lay of the land back in 1862.
The carefully preserved cannons lining the area mark the lines of the opposing forces, acting as silent witnesses to the struggles of the past.
As I stroll around, there's an array of signage, each offering a wealth of historical facts to get lost in.
As an avid history enthusiast, I can't help but appreciate the detailed explanations of the strategies and tactics used during the war.
But the most striking part of my walk is the infamous 3/4 mile field.
On a June morning in 1864, the 49th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment charged across it towards the Confederate position.
Imagining the bravery and terror of those moments often leaves me breathless.
It was part of the only charge that Ulysses S. Grant ever regretted, marking it as the bloodiest hour on US soil.
The Battle of Cold Harbor Virginia near Mechanicsville, VA, a fact I learned during one of my numerous visits to this place.
Visiting the Richmond National Battlefield Park is like stepping into a living history book.
The park, with its preserved exhibits and detailed signage, offers a one-of-a-kind experience that I highly recommend to everyone.
Go Window Shopping at Carytown
There's nothing quite like an afternoon exploring the vibrant, bustling streets of Carytown in Richmond, Virginia.
With its array of unique shops, restaurants, and vintage boutiques, every journey down Cary Street feels like a new adventure.
One of my favorite ways to start the day is with a cup of freshly brewed coffee from one of the many local cafés.
The aroma of roasting beans and the hum of conversation provide the perfect backdrop as the neighborhood begins to wake.
Next, it’s off to peruse the countless charming boutiques and antique stores that line the streets.
From vintage clothing finds to unique handcrafted jewelry, Carytown is a treasure trove for the discerning shopper.
No trip to Carytown would be complete without a visit to one of the neighborhood's many eateries.
Whether it's a quick bite from a food truck or a leisurely dinner at a fine dining restaurant, there's something to satisfy every palate.
And then there's the Byrd Theatre, a local institution that showcases a mix of classic films and new releases, where a night at the movies feels like a step back in time.
Carytown is more than just a shopping and dining destination, though.
It's a neighborhood that invites you to slow down, explore, and get lost in its vibrant streets.
So, whether you're a first-time visitor or a long-time resident like myself, Carytown never ceases to amaze and delight.
Cast a Line at Great Shiplock Park
I find myself drawn back again and again to the tranquility of Great Shiplock Park, a truly remarkable urban oasis nestled in the heart of downtown Richmond, Virginia.
There's something about the juxtaposition of nature and city hustle that captivates me, creating an environment of peaceful coexistence where you can enjoy a quick respite from your busy day.
The park's trails are my playground, whether I'm feeling the call to lace up my running shoes or hop on my trusty mountain bike for that slightly challenging—but oh so rewarding—ride.
The distant hum of the city fades away as I wind my way down trails flanked by lush greenery, punctuated by the occasional splash of color from wildflowers.
I always find it fascinating to read the educational signs dotting the trails, revealing tidbits about the park's rich history.
The James River, gleaming under the Virginia sun, offers an equally enchanting escape.
Whether I'm casting a line in hopes of catching a fish or two or simply lounging on the shore, the river never fails to provide a sense of calm.
While the fish may not always be the biggest, the thrill of the catch and subsequent release is always a delight.
I must say that parking can sometimes be a bit of a conundrum, especially during peak times.
But I've found spots on the surrounding streets or across the park, and the short walk only adds to the anticipation of entering this urban haven.
Once in a while, you may come across a less than-pleasant sight in the more secluded areas, a reminder that not all park-goers are as respectful of the space as they should be, but overall, the park is quite clean and well-maintained.
Every time I'm there, I'm reminded of the unique charm of this city park.
Great Shiplock Park offers an unparalleled view of Richmond's skyline, its skyscrapers peeking through the swaying trees.
The sight of trains chugging along nearby bridges, the sound of bike wheels crunching on gravel paths, the scent of fresh flowers blooming – it's all part of the experience that makes the park so special.
And the people, always kind and friendly, add a sense of community that truly makes this park the heart of Richmond.
Spot the Wildlife at Pipeline Overlook
When I wake up in the morning, all I can think of is the promise of a new adventure down at the Pipeline Overlook.
It's one of those local treasures that's tucked within the heart of James River Park.
The climb to access the walkway is a unique thrill.
A short vertical ladder is the only thing that stands between you and the narrow walkway atop the pipeline.
It's a little slice of urban adventure that wakes you up better than a hot cup of coffee.
Despite the unfortunate graffiti in spots, the stunning views of the rushing river and the surrounding greenery are worth every step.
Once you're on the walkway, it's like walking on a tightrope above the bustling city.
The pathway is narrow, so you have to keep your wits about you, especially in the summer when it draws locals and tourists alike.
If you're lucky, you'll spot people cooling off on the sandy beach beside the James River.
And let's not forget about the wildlife.
You have to keep an eye out for the snakes – they're not uncommon around here.
But they're part of the ecosystem, and I've learned to respect their space. In the end, it's all part of the charm of Pipeline Overlook.
Take a Leisurely Stroll along the Canal Walk
There's always something magical about stepping onto the Canal Walk when the sun goes down.
The city lights illuminate the path, casting a warm, vibrant glow that reflects off the serene waters of the canal.
It's one of those places in Richmond that comes alive at night, and as someone who has strolled these paths countless times, I can tell you that it's a sight worth witnessing.
Canal Walk is not just a place but a journey, a blend of history and contemporary urban life.
During the day, it's equally enchanting.
The canal walk is fringed by a string of delightful restaurants, serving everything from local favorites to international cuisine.
It's worth stopping by one of these eateries to fuel up before continuing your stroll.
The walk is an absolute charm with graffiti that adorns the walls, narrating stories of the city's vibrant culture and artistic spirit.
One of the striking features of this walk is how it wonderfully transforms the old into the new.
The preserved historic structures along the path give you a glimpse into Richmond's past while blending seamlessly with new, modern developments.
It's a step back in time, yet a step forward into the heart of city life.
This fusion of past and present makes the Canal Walk a unique urban retreat.
The Canal Walk is an absolute delight for families and couples alike.
The serene river, the bustling canal, the vibrant graffiti, and the historic remnants of the city - all come together to create an environment that is relaxed yet vivacious.
It's more than just a path; it's a journey through the heart, soul, and history of Richmond.
Dive into Richmond's Past at The Valentine
One of my favorite pastimes on a leisurely Saturday is taking a stroll down to The Valentine.
Nestled in the heart of Richmond and a stone's throw away from VCU, it's an oasis of tranquility amidst the city's hustle and bustle.
The museum is housed in a picturesque circa-1812 landmark house, a sight to behold on its own.
Walking into The Valentine is like stepping back in time.
The museum is a treasure trove of artifacts and photographs that offer a deep dive into Richmond's history.
The centerpiece, however, is the Wickham-Valentine home.
This exquisite, neoclassical mansion has been meticulously restored, and every little detail harks back to its glory days.
The home is adorned with intricate neoclassical decorations, and a knowledgeable docent is always on hand to explain the significance of each one.
I'm particularly intrigued by the story of the river's role in shaping Richmond.
The museum does a great job of weaving this narrative through human conflict and triumphs.
Here, history is not a mere spectator; it's an active participant, shaping and being shaped by the city's residents.
One exhibit that really struck a chord with me was the statue of Jefferson Davis, which was desecrated in 2020.
Visitors are invited to share their perspectives on how the statue should be displayed, a powerful reminder of the ongoing dialogue and reckoning with our past.
The museum is currently undergoing an expansion, and I'm excited to see how this will further enhance the storytelling.
Whether you're a history buff or just looking for a fun day out, The Valentine is a must-visit.
Play Ball at the Natural Beauty of Bryan Park
Every time I step into Bryan Park, I am transported to a world teeming with natural beauty, history, and fun-filled activities.
The park, which is a historic locale of Gabriel's Rebellion, is now a hub for exciting events, a bustling farmer's market, engaging bird walks, and thrilling disc golf.
One of my favorite activities in Bryan Park is the abundance of walking trails.
Each path takes me on a fantastic journey through nature, leading me to the beautiful pond where I can watch the ducks and other water birds frolic.
It's an absolute treat to the senses.
The park also provides various sports facilities, including pickleball courts, soccer fields, frisbee golf, and tennis courts.
On summer Tuesdays, it turns into a race track for avid bikers, adding another layer of excitement to this alluring spot.
Fishing is another attraction Bryan Park offers to its visitors.
Standing by the water with a fishing rod in hand, I often lose track of time, completely engrossed in the tranquil charm of the surroundings.
The park even offers a few shelters for picnics, making it a perfect spot for a family outing or a day out with friends.
The park is dog-friendly, so I often bring my furry friend along for an evening stroll. Watching him run around joyfully adds to my own happiness.
Observe Boast and People at the James River at Ancarrow's Landing
One of the hidden treasures in our bustling city is Ancarrow's Landing.
It's my own little haven of solace amidst the urban chaos of RVA, providing me a front-row seat to the breathtaking beauty of the James River.
The joy of watching the tranquil river flow from the Ancarrow's Landing is unparalleled.
It’s always a delight to journey down to the waterfront, where you can find folks from all walks of life engaged in various activities.
Whether it's the avid fishermen casting their lines, the adventurous souls launching their boats into the river, or the nature lovers like myself, exploring the network of picturesque trails, there's something here for everyone.
The Landing also shares a connection with Rockets Landing, Flood Wall, and the Canal Walk, making it a perfect hub for riverfront adventures and exploration.
The historical trail here is especially fascinating, with well-placed information signs that provide a wealth of knowledge about the history of the slave trail.
Amidst the natural setting, you can find scattered good-sized rocks placed as convenient spots for a sit-down, a thoughtful touch that makes this place even more inviting.
I've spent countless weekends exploring the rich tapestry that is in Richmond, Virginia.
And it never ceases to amaze me how much there is to see and do without spending a dime.
From the tranquil beauty of Maymont's Japanese Gardens and the stunning views from T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge to the intriguing history of the Virginia War Memorial or the Virginia Holocaust Museum, there's something for everyone.
These experiences, shared with family and friends, or enjoyed in solitude, are truly priceless.