Welcome to historic Richmond, the capital of Virginia! Our city has a plethora of unique places to discover. Please enjoy your time in our lovely city. Below are some interesting and fun places to explore during your stay.
The Virginia State Capitol Building is located in the heart of downtown Richmond Virginia at 1000 Bank St. Completed in 1788, it was designed by Thomas Jefferson to resemble an ancient Roman temple found in Nimes in France.
For more information, visit: https://virginiacapitol.gov/.
The James River is a Class III and IV river that runs right through the downtown area of the city.
To learn more, visit: https://jrava.org/.
Riverfront Historic Canal Cruise and Canal Walk winds a length of 1.25 miles along the James River, and the Haxall and Kanawha Canals. There are access points every block between 5th and 17th Streets. There are historic medallions placed along the canal walkway detailing Richmond’s history.
For more information on the Canal Cruise, visit: https://venturerichmond.com/our-services/riverfront-canal-cruises/.
For more information on the Canal Walk, visit: https://venturerichmond.com/explore-downtown/riverfront-canal-walk/.
Monument Ave encompasses the stretch of Monument Avenue between Stuart Circle and Roseneath Road. A portion of the district was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1997. A series of six monumental statues mark the major intersections of the street that for many years served as Richmond’s ceremonial parade route. Among those who have traveled The Avenue are Winston Churchill, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Queen Elizabeth II.
To learn more, visit: https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/richmond/monumentavehd.html.
Hollywood Cemetery is one of Richmond’s biggest tourist attractions as well as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the country with its hills, valleys, and winding walking paths overlooking the James River. It was named for abundant holly trees that populated the property. Two famous US Presidents, James Monroe and John Tyler are buried there. James Monroe’s tomb is dubbed the “Birdcage” due to the large ornate metalwork that encases him. Hollywood cemetery is featured in the book Weird Virginia where the author elaborated on the Legends of the Richmond Vampire (Poole Vault) and the cast iron black ghost dog that not only watches over a little girl’s grave, but has been spotted roaming the grounds at times.
For more information, visit: https://www.hollywoodcemetery.org/.
The first practical commercial Trolley system in the world was introduced in Richmond in 1888. Though there is no longer an official transportation trolley system in the city, there is an RVA Historic Trolley Tour available from the Richmond Trolley Company. Tours run 2-3 hours and take you past many Richmond landmarks while highlighting all Richmond has to offer.
To learn more about a historic trolley tour, visit: http://rvatrolley.biz/pricing/richmond-landmark-tour/.
St. John’s Episcopal Church is the oldest Church in the city located at 2401 East broad Street and is the famous site for Patrick Henry’s 1777 “give me liberty or give me death” speech.
Edgar Allen Poe’s mother, Elizabeth, is buried in the St. John’s Episcopal Church yard. Pew number 80 was the dedicated Allen Family pew where Edgar Allen and his family would attend services in his youth.
For more information, visit: https://saintjohnsrichmond.org/.
The Dogwood is the Virginia state flower.
The Cardinal is the State bird which is also the bird for six other states.
The CSX A-Line Bridge (originally named the Seaboard Coast Line Railway Bridge) is a double-track concrete arched bridge opened in 1919 over the James River. The remains of the old Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad Bridge (constructed in 1891) can still be seen still standing below its arches.
The Edgar Allan Poe Museum located in the Shockoe Bottom neighborhood of Richmond holds one of the world's largest collections of original manuscripts, letters, first editions, memorabilia and personal belongings of Edgar Allen Poe. Poe may not have been born in Richmond but he still considered Richmond his home and even called himself "a Virginian” due to growing up and marrying here.
For more information, visit: https://www.poemuseum.org/.
Chimborazo Hospital was a Civil War-era facility built in Richmond, Virginia, to service the needs of the Confederate Army. It functioned between 1862 and 1865, treating over 76,000 injured Confederate soldiers. At that time, it was the largest military hospital in the world. It consisted of 150 buildings and 100 tents and cared for 76,000 patients with a mortality rate of 9 percent. Today the site is owned by the National Park Service and is used as the visitor center for the Richmond National Battlefield Park.
For more information, visit: https://www.nps.gov/rich/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.html.
Maymont is a 100-acre Victorian estate open to the public. It was donated to the people of Richmond by Major James Dooley and his wife Sally after their deaths. The grounds feature the Maymont Mansion, Japanese, Italian, and specialties gardens, a nature and wildlife center, and a children’s animal farm.
For more information, visit: https://maymont.org/.
Old City Hall occupies a full city block in downtown Richmond, bounded by 10th and 11th Streets to the west and east, and Capitol Street and East Broad Street to the south. The building is Gothic Revival style, and was designated a National Historic Landmark for its architecture.
To learn more, visit: https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/richmond/OldCityHall.html.
Belle Isle is a 54 acre city park that is actually an island in the James River. It’s a popular hangout among locals to sit, swim or sunbathe on its large flat rocks and people watch or gaze at the rapids. There are also walking trails on the island. Hiking and biking are also popular for the outdoor enthusiasts. Main Access to the Isle is by way of the Belle Isle Pedestrian Bridge that runs under the Lee Bridge from Tredgar Street on the north shore side.
To learn more, visit: http://www.richmondoutside.com/destination/belle-isle-jrps/.
Wickham-Valentine House, located on East Clay Street, is currently operating as the Valentine Museum. The museum is dedicated to life, art, and culture in Richmond throughout history. The original owners, the Wickham’s raised 19 children in the house. In 1882 Mann S. Valentine II, a successful businessman, collector of art and historic artifacts, purchased the house that houses the historic collection today. Mann S. Valentine II amassed his fortune by selling Valentine's Meat Juice as a “health tonic”. Valentine was able to actually get several testimonials from highly esteemed Medical professionals such as the Medical College of VA, University of Maryland Medical, New York Board of Health, Columbia University, American Medical Association, American Pharmaceutical Association, and even the famous pharmaceuticals inventor E. R. Squibb endorsed Valentine’s “Meat Juice”.
For more information, visit: https://thevalentine.org/.
The Virginia War Memorial located at 621 S Belvidere St, Richmond, VA is dedicated to the soldiers who perished during World War II, the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, and Desert Storm/Desert Shield.
For more information, visit: http://vawarmemorial.org/.
The Virginia Washington Monument is located in Capital Square Park. It’s a 60 foot 3 tiered granite pedestal monument. The top tier is an equestrian statue of George Washington. The middle tier contains six bronze statues of prominent Virginians (John Marshall, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, George Mason, Thomas Nelson, and Andrew Lewis). The base tier has six allegorical figures, each on their own pedestal representing virtues or events of the Revolution War. (Independence, Revolution, Bill of Rights, Justice, Finance, and Colonial Times).
Richmond’s Main Street Station, also known as the Clock Tower or Richmond’s “Big Ben” began its life as Richmond’s official train station in 1901. It has seen a fire and numerous floods and today is currently served by Amtrak. The “Big Ben” clock, is now digitalized.
For more information, visit: https://www.amtrak.com/stations/rvm.html.
The Egyptian Building, located on the corner of Marshall St. (between College and N 13th) was built in 1845 and was the first permanent home of the Medical Department of Hampden-Sydney College. It was later renamed the Medical College of Virginia and is now part of the Virginia Commonwealth University. The building is the emblem of the VCU campus. It is one of the best Egyptian Revival style buildings in the nation. The five story temple-like structure features highly decorative diamond paned windows, open lotus bud capitals, mosaic tiling, bas reliefs, solar sun goddess disks with a serpents, ornate scarab floor tiles, hieroglyphics, columns of reeds with palm fronds, and as if that wasn’t enough, a cast iron fence surrounds the outside and the posts are modeled after mini mummy sarcophaguses.
The Tredegar Iron Works, Now a National Historic Landmark, opened in 1837 by a group of Richmond businessman with a vision of capitalizing on the new railroad transportation era. Iron workers from Tredegar, Wales designed and built the foundry and it was named in honor of their town of Tredegar. The Ironworks created locomotive parts, railroad spikes, train wheels, freight cars, track, nails, boilers, horseshoes, car wheels, as well as military items such as cannons, artillery, and armor plating for the first Confederate ironclad warship. The building is now dedicated to the Civil War Visitors Center at 470 Tredegar Street.
To learn more, visit: https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/richmond/tredegar.html.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens was voted the one of the most beautiful public gardens by USA Today and Conde Nast Traveler. They offers 50 acres of uniquely themed gardens such as the Four Seasons Garden, The Healing Garden, The Luck Garden, The Cherry Tree Walk, The Floating Island Garden, and a Children’s Garden to name a few. They boasts at having over 70 varieties of roses and also offer dining and shopping.
For more information, visit: https://www.lewisginter.org/.
The Grand Kugel can be found smack dab in front of the Science Museum of Richmond. It was installed in 2003 and is the largest Kugel in the entire world weighing in at 29 tons comprised of solid granite and is 9 feet in diameter. For those who don’t know what a Kugel is, it’s a floating fountain sphere. The stone sphere is set into a concave cup and water is forced out and up thru the cup allowing the sphere to float on the surface and spin with a tap of a pinkie finger.
For more information, visit: https://www.smv.org/.