For your next getaway weekend, take an under two-hour drive down I-95 to explore a city where centuries of history meet an up-and-coming art and buzzworthy food scene — the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Drive down Monument Avenue and explore the changing history of the city from its Confederate past to its revitalized present. Admire the townhouses of Richmond’s most historic and sought-after neighborhood. Stop for a smoothie at the North End Juice Co takeout window, set against colorful murals by local artists in the Museum District. Be sure to browse the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, one of the largest art museums in North America and now famous for its provocative original Kehinde Wiley statue, “Rumors of War.” Sit in the green garden for a picnic under a Spanish sculpture, “Chloe,” or perch by the pond with a coffee from the Jazz Cafe. If you go in the evening, get a drink or dinner at the rooftop restaurant, Amuse, which offers an optimal view of the sunset over the city.
For shopping, be sure to stop at Nellie & George, a high-end boutique at the epicenter of the West End, between Libbie and Grove Avenue. Then cruise through Carytown, Richmond’s main drag, complete with a mixed bag of clothing stores, ice cream, and the famous French Can Can Brasserie. Stop at Roan, a luxury boutique, and Gearharts Fine Chocolates for Virginian scrumptious chocolate treats next door.
Also, have a long lunch or dinner at Stella’s on Lafayette Street, a bustling Greek restaurant that offers dimly-lit ambience and a spin on spanakopita. Don’t miss its family-owned boutique across the street, Our Life by Stella’s, which offers Greek goods ranging from gold jewelry to artisanal vases and olive oil.
Travel a small distance to Sub Rosa Bakery for wood-fired flaky pastries made from local milled grains by sibling bakers Evrim and Evin Dogu. And make a dinner reservation at Gersi, a hip Italian spot that can only be visited at its Richmond or Brooklyn locations. Enjoy their bottomless portions of house-made pasta, and snag a petite table under the awning to sit outside.
If staying overnight, book a room at the Quirk on Broad Street, a modern boutique hotel colored with contemporary art. Its rooftop bar boasts views of the city and hand-crafted cocktails. Or for an old-school Richmond experience, stay at the historic Jefferson Hotel, which has served luxury and Southern comfort for over a century.
Whether going for a dose of history or the avant-garde galleries and vegan cafes, Richmond has something for everyone. Time your travel day to leave D.C. around 9 a.m. for minimal traffic and you’ll arrive in the city well before noon.