I’ve always thought Richmond VA was a monotonous looking city. Dave’s parents live there so we visit often, but we rarely venture in the city as much. Last year I ended up spending over two weeks in Richmond due to some paperwork I needed to sort. During my time there, my in-laws were happy to take me to different places and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Richmond is actually a beautiful walkable city. I highly recommend you explore it if you are around, it will not disappoint. Below, I have compiled a few sightseeing walking guides in different Richmond neighbourhoods, including a variety of things to do in the area. Whether you are a local or traveller, going solo, with your partner or family, walk around and discover the charm of downtown Richmond.
Floodwall, Potterfield bridge and Pipeline trails combined.
You will enjoy nature without leaving the city. Walk along the James River at the Floodwall and spot some of the native fauna. At the Potterfield Memorial Bridge, you will learn some of Richmond’s history during its confederate period. Walk across Brown Island to get to the Pipeline trail. You will pass an area with a decent amount of street art, which is very common in the city. The Pipeline walk is a shorter one that provides you with a more intimate, closer interaction with the river. If you are doing the 3 trails, allow yourself at least an hour.
Stroll down Carytown
You will find one of the most eclectic retail areas you will ever see. Home to more than 200 businesses, there is something for everyone. You will find yourself surrounded by colourful buildings and some more street art, even on the ground. The walk itself is not that long, less than a mile, but you will spend a long time there if you are window shopping or decide to grab a bite.
Click here to access their official website.
Walk around The Fan
Discover the most architecturally beautiful neighbourhood in Richmond. It mostly has residential areas combined with some locally owned businesses. (If you want to know more about the historical buildings in Richmond, check out this website). The best way to see the fan is by starting at Monroe Park. Walk along Main Street, where most businesses are, and contemplate some amazing street-art paintings. Keep walking up to The Boulevard, which is technically out of the Fan District, but worth it if interested in visiting a museum. The Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia of Museum of History and Culture are close to each other, and you can perfectly spend a whole day in each of them if you want to. Follow the Boulevard until you stumble upon Monument Avenue. (By the way, the Museum of Fine Arts is awesome and it’s free, no excuse not to go!)
If you want to know more about the history of The Fan, click here.
Monument Ave has significantly more opulent residences, and some impressive churches. This street has 6 statues, but only 4 are within the Fan boundaries. Five of these statues are in honour of Confederate leaders that fought in the Civil War. The other most recent monument addition has been Arthur Ashe, a famous tennis player from Richmond. After the recent turmoil regarding police violence in the US and around the world, Virginians have finally been heard and the statues are due for disposal. Who knows, maybe when you read this monument avenue will have a significantly different decor.
Walking around The Fan edges takes a little longer than one hour without stopping at any of the museums. If you want to see all the monuments on Monument Avenue, add an extra half hour.
Shockoe Bottom Neighbourhood
It is one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Richmond. An old industrial area, you will be
Libby Park has beautiful views of the city and it features the old Lucky Strike red brick factory with its tall chimney and a water tower. Go there in the late afternoon for stunning sunset photos. Do the walk back on Main Street and pay attention to the quirky outdoor décor of Poe’s Pub. Have a bite at Millie’s Diner, a local institution. This old-style diner is uniquely decorated with items that could have been props used at American Horror Story show’s intro. If you are not visiting any of the museums, allow around one hour.