48 hours in Richmond, Virginia, this summer

Richmond is the best of the city and the best of the country. Whether you’re looking to spend your day floating down the river with a local brew in hand or you’re walking down the streets of The Fan district on the hunt for a fresh cup of coffee, you can count on Richmond to meet your expectations for urban and rural lifestyles.

If you’ve only got 48 hours this summer to spend in the River City, you’re going to need to spend your time wisely. Between the top-notch local restaurant scene, the spirit of the creative community and opportunities to get active outdoors – you’ll be remiss if you don’t spend every moment of your trip engaging in some aspect of the local culture.

Where to Eat

Your number one need and expectation when you’re travelling is probably to find some great places to eat, preferably some quirky local spots with opportunities to try something new. Lucky for you, Richmond is overflowing with options with everything from southern cooking to Thai cuisine, most with dietary restrictions and social responsibility at the forefront of their minds.


For a quaint breakfast experience Lamplighter is a must. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or none of the above, you will be able to find top quality options at Lamplighter. Not to mention, they serve some of the best coffee around town and have three locations to choose from.


For an all-out brunch make your way to Perly’s. Serving traditional Jewish cuisine, Perly’s is a true Richmond favorite and it’s market has expanded beyond the borders of the 804 when it was named the best breakfast spot in the state of Virginia.

Southern Entreés

For a true southern meal head on over to Mama J’s. Not only do they have some of the best sweet tea in the city of Richmond, but they also have an incredible menu featuring all the fixings of a good southern meal.

For something magically delicious check out Pasture. Daniel Radcliffe himself visited Richmond recently and beamed over Pasture and commented that this was the spot where he had one of the best meals of his life. Their menu includes everything from an extensive cocktail list to small plates and beyond.

For vegans and vegetarians alike step downstairs to visit Ipanema. This hip and trendy, basement spot located close to VCU is a haven for anyone looking to avoid meat or try something new. Their menu rotates regularly and their desserts alone will be enough to blow your mind (even the vegan ones).

Things to Do in Richmond

Take in The River Views

There’s no better place to hang during the summer months than by the river. Belle Isle, Texas Beach and Pony Pasture are just a few of Richmond’s favourite river hangouts and depending on the type of atmosphere you’re looking for, one of them will likely soon become your favourite. All three are dog-friendly and Belle Isle, in particular, has an incredible view of the city.

Socialize at a Rooftop Bar

A fresh trend in Richmond is the pop up of rooftop bars. Postbellum was one of the first, but since then Quirk Hotel, Graduate Hotel, Kabana, and The Hofheimer Building have opened up, all offering a different experience and plenty to drink.

Get a Taste of Richmond’s Craft Beer Scene

A long-standing trend in Richmond is the ever-expanding craft beer scene. A brief drive through Scott’s Addition will reveal rows of breweries bursting at the seams with people looking for high-quality beer and finding exactly what they came for (alongside a plethora of local food trucks). If you want to experience more than one local brewery, hop on one of Richmond’s brewery trolley tours.

Shop Local

For a leisurely day strolling through local shops, you’ll want to spend some time exploring anything and everything in Carytown. Complete with coffee shops, stationery stores, home decor, thrift shops, The Byrd Theatre, and so much more, Carytown is a great place to go to get a taste of Richmond on several levels. When the weather is nice, street artists, musicians, florists and the like will flood the streets creating an authentic atmosphere for the city you’re visiting.

Spots for Dancing

Coming to town on a Thursday? You can take a quick trip to Cuba without the cost of travel. Get your dancing shoes ready and head over to Havana ‘59 at 8:00 p.m. sharp for a salsa lesson and open dancing to follow. Lessons are held on the second floor of this Cuban-inspired restaurant, located in the heart of Shockoe Bottom. The atmosphere and the open second-floor patio are sure to leave a lasting impression.

If you can’t make it to town by Thursday at 8:00, try again on Friday evenings at The Dance Space. Here you can engage in an incredibly affordable hour-long ballroom dancing lesson which includes the basics of the foxtrot, swing dancing, and many more.

Whether you’re visiting for business, going on a vacation or simply passing through town, time spent in Richmond is never wasted. It’s America’s most tattooed city, a place known for its craft beer variety, a hub for creative thinkers, and every day it becomes more and more unique to the diverse group of people that call it home. In part, thanks to travellers such as yourself contributing to the culture of it all.


Photo by Andrew Bain taken from Flickr under Creative Commons 2.0.


I am originally from Gilbert, Arizona. I have spent the last six years living in the Midwest. I love spending my weekends traveling and my Sundays watching the Green Bay Packers.

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