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City Guide: Richmond

City Guide: Richmond

Just a short drive from Washington, D.C., Richmond is a sleeper city with world-class cuisine, loads of boutiques, and untold things to do and see. The capital of Virginia is probably best known for its role in history (it was a key player during the American Revolution and Civil Wars), but today it’s become a hub for national corporations, scientific research, and the arts. Its state capitol building is worth a visit, as well as the nearby and bustling Carytown neighborhood. Take a stroll along the riverfront’s mile-long canal walk or check out one of the city’s many cultural institutions. Whether you’re exploring the spectacular outdoors, sipping a cappucino at one of downtown’s many coffee shops, or checking out Edgar Allan Poe’s socks at his eponymous museum, this historical and modern city has something for everyone.

 

PLACES TO EAT

Metzger Bar and Butchery

801 N. 23rd St., Richmond, Virginia 23223

In part because of its proximity to the international population of the nation’s capital, Richmond offers diverse and surprising eats that are often fusions of old and new. In the mood for chicken schnitzel but also craving Southern fare? Stop by cozy Metzger Bar and Butchery, which offers local, seasonal menu items as well as European-inspired staples like currywurst. If you can’t decide what to order, the chef’s tasting menu offers five course of Executive Chef Brittany Anderon’s creative cuisine.  

 

Saison

23 W. Marshall St., Richmond, Virginia 23220

Chef Adam Hall has traveled the world tasting different cuisines, but his menu always references his Southern roots. The passionate chef and foodie makes sure that his locally sourced fare highlights favorite dishes from his travels to Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Try the oxtail sopes or, if you’re dining on Sundays, be sure to order Hall’s favorite meal of all time—fried chicken.

 

L’Opossum

626 China St., Richmond, Virginia 23220

This 2016 James Beard Award semi-finalist stands out for a reason — where else can you get escargot with a ham biscuit, or a “Fabergé” deviled egg adorned with caviar? Matt Lee and Ted Lee writing in Condé Nast Traveler entreated us to imagine the dining experience at L’Opossum as one where “Liberace, Andy Warhol, and Nick Cave collaborated on a college-town tavern.” With cocktails that are just as whimsical as the food, this restaurant is not to be missed when visiting Richmond.

 

Shagbark

4901 Libbie Mill East Blvd., Suite 175, Richmond, Virginia 23230

The name Shagbark isn’t just a silly portmanteau for this Four- Diamond eatery. The restaurant’s appellation actually comes from a species of tree that lines the James River, which runs through the center of the city. Seasonal with intense flavors, the “up-South” cuisine at one of Richmond’s standout dining outposts has been celebrated by dozens of food critics. The menu notes the origins of the ingredients in each dish.  We recommend the delicious garlic-brined chicken breast, paired with a wine from their noted sommelier.

 

PLACES TO STAY

Quirk Hotel

201 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23220

If there is one standout place to stay in Richmond, it would be the Quirk Hotel. 2019 U.S. News and World Report “best hotel,” housed in a former department store, boasts a coffee lounge, playfully-designed restaurant, and elegant rooftop bar. Conveniently located downtown, the Quirk Hotel can be your outpost for sightseeing and dining around the city — or just a lovely place to relax with a cocktail or iced tea as you check out the local artists on display in the hotel’s gallery.

 

Jefferson Hotel

101 W. Franklin St., Richmond, VA 23220

If you’re into historical sites and opulence, then the Jefferson Hotel is the perfect spot to stay. The rooms are large, and the suites luxurious. Take a breather with a swim in the indoor pool or stay in one night and dine at celebrated restaurant Lemaire.

 

The Inn at Patrick Henry’s

2300 E Broad St, Richmond, VA 23223

If you want to stay central but don’t want to spend your travel budget on lodging, make your home base the quaint and affordable Inn at Patrick Henry’s. Just steps from the Edgar Allan Poe Museum and the Historic St. John’s Church (where the patriot Henry proclaimed “Give me liberty or give me death!”), this cozy and comfortable inn is the perfect place to return to after a busy day.

 

THINGS TO SEE

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

1800 Lakeside Ave., Richmond, VA 23228

The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a site not to be missed. With 50 acres of gardens punctuated by streams, ponds, and lakes, this historical property boasts rotating exhibitions, educational tours, art installations, and so much more. The best way to enjoy a day here is touring the gardens, learning about local Virginia plants and flowers.  Top off your visit with a stop in the classical domed conservatory or butterfly house.

 

Maymont

1700 Hampton St., Richmond, VA 23220

Maymont is a special place in Richmond. The Gilded Age estate is now a public park and museum offering year-round events and programming for both children and adults. The mansion was built in the late 19th century by financier James Dooley and his wife, Sallie, who bequeathed the property to the City of Richmond as a cultural institution and public park. Take a tour of the spectacular home or check out the grounds on this 100-acre property, recognized by the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Virginia Museum of Fine Art

200 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd., Richmond, VA 23220

Dürer, Degas, Picasso — the Virginia Museum of Fine Art boasts one of the most impressive catalogs of art in the South. From Tibetan tangkas to Native American pottery, the museum’s permanent collection and numerous exhibitions highlight both old and modern masterpieces. Free and open to the public every day of the week, this cultural institution is not to be missed.

 

Rosewood Clothing Co.

16 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23220

If you want to shop but aren’t sure what to buy, Rosewood Clothing Co. is the perfect place to browse. There are assortments of both new and vintage fashion and the home goods and apothecary items make special souvenirs. With so many unique and hard-to-come-by items, this curated store is the ultimate experience in laid-back Richmond style.

 

Photo: Justin Chesney

Na Nin

101 S. Addison St., Richmond, VA 23220

No visit to Richmond would be complete without a stop at Na Nin. This Richmond-based fashion line, vintage house, and hand-blended fragrance store is a one-of-a-kind place to shop. Inspired by her experience teaching in South Korea, owner Kate Jennings named the shop with the phonetic spelling of the Korean phrase for “I am.” Score one of her flirty tops or dresses, a vintage jumpsuit, or a deliciously scented candle.