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Things to do in Richmond

20 contributors
Activities in Richmond

The top 8 attractions in Richmond

Waterfalls in Richmond
Dark View Falls
These falls are located on the northwest coast of the island, 38 km from the capital (Kingstown). To get there, turn right on the road from Chateaubelair to Richmond and follow a small unpaved stretch to the river. There you have to park and walk across a bridge made of bamboo and rope. It felt so fragile as we made our way across it, but we were told we could cross in groups of up to ten people. On the other side we found a pristine landscape plant, consisting of a bamboo forest. There are two waterfalls, one in the area just past the bridge, and a larger one up the hill 1.5 km away. For lack of time we saw only the nearest. The waterfall is 700 meters high, and the bottom forms a puddle, where we jumped in and swam a bit. The water was quite cold. It was amazing just below the waterfall. There, we felt the enormous force of the water all over our bodies. You feel like you will just smash into the ground!
Gardens in Richmond
Maymont is an enormous estate in Richmond that is now a park. It also has a children's zoo with pigs, chickens and goats. They have a bobcat, black bears and several birds that are native to Virginia, including bald eagles. It was really beautiful walking around and hiking through the woods and the Japanese garden. There is also an Italian garden but we didn't have time. I want to go back during the spring when everything is in bloom.
Cemeteries in Richmond
Hollywood Cemetery
It might sound creepy to include a cemetery in your travel plans, but I assure you, the Hollywood Cemetery is actually quite nice. It's located riverside in Richmond and has great views of the James River. The main reason to come here is for the history. A lot of famous people are buried here, like Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler. There are also Confederate names, like Jefferson Davis, and several prior governors of Virginia or federal cabinet members. Tours are offered, providing history on the cemetery itself, events of Richmond, and the people buried there. It's an interesting way to spend a morning and a good introduction to local history.
Streets in Richmond
Monument Avenue
Where else in the world can you walk a couple of city blocks and peer up at massive monuments within a residential neighborhood? Monument Avenue is a must-see in Richmond for this very reason. Along your walk, the highlights are the statues of Virginian Confederate "heroes" of the Civil War. Regardless on your take of whether or not these people should be memorialized, they are a big part of Virginian history. Look for Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, Jefferson Davis, and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, among others. Additional sights along your walk will include historic architecture, house gardens, and happy residents. The best time of year to come, in my opinion, is early spring when they host the Monument Ave 10K race. Runners and walkers-- 35,000+ of them -- pack the streets, along with spectators, live music, and a festival-like atmosphere. But even if you can't come for the race, plan on spending an hour walking through this great example of city planning.
Gardens in Richmond
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
For a small city and relatively unknown set of botanical gardens, Lewis Ginter is a surprisingly great way to spend a day. It changes with each of the seasons, giving you a reason to return more than once and ensuring that you'll have a good time no matter what time of year you go. It's peaceful just to walk around and enjoy the aromas, colors, and great variety that the garden has to offer but there's also a playground for kids, a teahouse with decent food, and a butterfly garden which can be fun.
Museums in Richmond
The Museum of the Confederacy
A Civil War Buff, I am not, but Richmond was the capital of the south and thus there is a lot of Richmond history that stems from this time period. To better understand the city's heritage, and for a surprisingly unbiased view of the war, head to the Museum of the Confederacy. Documenting uniforms, life at camps, important battles, and local history, there's a great overview of the war itself without taking a political side. If there's a downside, it's that many of the displays are a bit dull. However, find a docent or read carefully, and you'll find the museum is packed full of interesting information. It may be a bit too sterile for most children (though they'd love the White House next door), but adults of all backgrounds should enjoy it. You can save quite a bit of money by buying a combination ticket that also includes a ticket to the White House of the Confederacy and the American Civil War Center. Plan on spending a day really diving into this part of our country's past.
Museums in Richmond
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
While most of Richmond's museums and attractions are focused on local history, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is an incredible exception. Recently undergoing a multi-million dollar expansion, the VMFA has collections ranging from ancient times through the 21st century and is known in particular for their Faberge egg collection. Best of all, the VMFA offers free admission to their permanent exhibits (temporary exhibits are an additional fee) and is open late on Thursday and Friday evenings to make art accessible for everyone. Visitors are encouraged to join in on free guided tours or pick up an audio-guide. Additional programs include art classes, open studio time, live music, and more.
Museums in Richmond
Edgar Allan Poe Museum
Edgar Allen Poe was an interesting fellow and a distinguished author who lived in Richmond in the early nineteenth century. Even as someone who is largely unfamiliar with his work, I enjoyed my visit to the Poe Museum. The museum is home to collections of original manuscripts, letters, first editions, memorabilia and personal belongings. Visits are led by tour guides, telling stories of Poe's life (particularly while he was residing in Richmond), reading excerpts of his work, describing his prestige, and looking into the mystery of his death. One of the highlights of my visit was the Enchanted Garden in the back of the house. It's a lovely space where I can picture sitting to read Poe's works in the future.

The best things to do in Richmond

Richmond will captivate you from the first moment you step off the plane. Located on the banks of the James River, there are many places to visit in Richmond that are fascinating as well as fun. Many of them blend colonial charm with modern city life.

One of the first things to see in Richmond is the Museum of the Virginia Historical Society. The museum has a permanent exhibit which outlines the details the cultures and peoples involved in the creation of the state of Virginia. Nearby is another one of the many Richmond attractions -- the Virginia library. It was inaugurated in 1823 and has a collection numbering in the millions, including books, newspapers, magazines, photographs, prints, and maps. The American Civil War Museum is another one of the major attractions in Richmond. Inside, you can find the nation's largest collection of Confederate memorabilia, including the sword of General Robert E Lee, which he surrendered at Appomattox at the end of the Civil War. Next to the museum is the White House of the Confederacy where the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis,
and his family lived during the Civil War.

The list of stuff to do in Richmond is extensive, and most Richmond activities not related to Confederate history are related to entertainment and art. There are many more interesting things to do in Richmond. Visit the Hollywood cemetery. US Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler and Confederate president Jefferson Davis, and Confederate cavalry hero Jeb Stuart, are buried here, so it should definitely be added to the list of what to do in Richmond.

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