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Discovering History and Culture in Richmond, VA

July 14, 2017

Virginia may be for lovers, but if you are a history buff, you will love Richmond. Discover the top cultural and historical attractions in this vibrant city.

A History Lover’s Paradise

 

Virginia State Capitol, Richmond

Image via Flickr by Walid’s Pics

Located along the James River, Richmond, Virginia, was an important site in the American Revolution. The city was also an economic powerhouse prior to the Civil War and later became the capital of the Confederate States. Once the war ended, Richmond emerged again as an important industrial center.

This is the place where Thomas Jefferson penned the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom as well as the site of the childhood home of Edgar Allan Poe and site of the Poe Museum.

With more than 500 historical markers throughout the city, Richmond is indeed a place of history. If you really want to immerse yourself, there are several tours and attractions available. Don’t miss these historical highlights either:

  • St. John’s Episcopal Church: Known for being the second-oldest continuously attended church in the U.S., it’s also where Patrick Henry made his famous speech, “Give me liberty or give me death,” calling for American independence in 1775. Another interesting fact is that Edgar Allen Poe’s mother, Elizabeth, is buried in the churchyard cemetery here.

  • Drewry’s Bluff: This was a major point of the Confederate line of defenses. It’s where Confederate soldiers battled the U.S. Navy in 1862 when the Navy tried to enter via the James River, only to be stopped by the Confederate soldiers on the bluff.

  • American Civil War Museum: This is an essential stop for all things Civil War.

  • Virginia State Capitol: This is a must-see from both a historical perspective and an architectural point of view.

  • Hollywood Cemetery: This is where several American presidents and Confederate generals are buried.

  • Monument Avenue: This tree-lined avenue features monuments memorializing Confederate officers of the Civil War.

Vibrant art scene

 

RVA Street Arts Festival - RIchmond

Image via Flickr by Gamma Man

In addition to its great historical significance, Richmond has a very vibrant and creative cultural side. Depending on the time of year you’re visiting, there are also a variety of festivals to take in.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is an important part of the Richmond art scene, as it houses over 33,000 pieces of art in its permanent collection. This is definitely a place to lose yourself, even if you aren’t an art lover! The museum is open 365 days a year, and entry is completely free, making this perfect for anyone on a budget.

The Richmond Arts District  surrounding Broad Street is close to Virginia Commonwealth University and in the heart of the city. If you’re in Richmond on a First Friday, join in on one of the art walks that take place year round.

Even if you miss the annual RVA Street Art Festival, you can still see how the artists creatively transform some of the neglected communities with spectacular paintings and murals. So far, Richmond is home to over 100 murals, and you can still see many of them.

Adventure in the heart of the city

 

WhiteWater rafting near T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge, Richmond.

Image via Flickr by Gamma Man

Are you an adventure seeker? Richmond has plenty of that for you, too. You can actually go whitewater rafting through the center of town on the Hollywood rapids. These are class 4 rapids, for you whitewater rafting fans. How cool is that?

Sustenance

 

For those who love exploring cuisine, Richmond has over 900 restaurants. There’s something for everyone’s palate, from Southern comfort to Asian fusion.

Are you a craft beer lover?  Richmond is an up and coming area of microbreweries,  with 20 breweries and a Richmond Beer Trail for craft beer aficionados.

After a long day exploring the city, you will want to come back, kick your feet up and relax. Richmond has several great accommodation options to suit your needs.

 

*Disclosure: This article was written in partnership with Hotel Planner. All opinions are my own.

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  1. I did a whole road trip through Virginia, but somehow we skipped Richmond (unless you count our flight to DC being blown off the landing and having to land in Richmond temporarily…eek!) Looks like a fun place for a visit!

  2. I love street art – and I also love that the U.S. has places with old, historical buildings. I can be ignorant at times – and spoilt as I am British and European – and therefore assume the U.S. is just all high rises and skyscrapers.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    1. You will love all the history here – pretty amazing to see, but I love that art and culture are really growing in this area.

  3. The cultural side is getting great visibility these days :).. Did you have a good time there?.. How were the places to eat?

    1. Yes, so nice to see that it is. There are a lot of great places to eat too!

  4. Ahh I missed Richmond when I was roadtripping the US because I needed more time in NY (plus if I remember right the public transport wasn’t great). Shame though, because it looks like I’d have loved all the history! Maybe one for next time I’m on the east coast.

    1. There is a lot of history… but definitely, put it on your list for next time! 🙂

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