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
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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
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
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?
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.