Where to Stay in Richmond
Located on 301 West Franklin Street, this hotel will legit blow your mind. It’s a throwback to college days, and the interior is so cute, like each and every corner is instagram worthy. Prices are reasonable (think anywhere between $144-170), and they have discounted rates available for VCU alumni/visitors, AAA holders, and more. I stayed on the top floor, and the view was fabulous. I wish I got to check out their rooftop, but it was closed when I went – they have a seasonal pool with a rooftop bar so I’m definitely planning on going back when it gets warmer.
Other noteworthy amenities include a 24-hour fitness center, free wi-fi, complimentary bikes rentals, and a shuttle service to help you get your exploration on. Check-in time’s 4PM, but you can call ahead to see if you can get into your room earlier. Now, if you’re a crazy furmom like me, you probably don’t want to leave your furry friend behind. Lucky for you (and me, ha), Graduate Richmond’s pet-friendly.
Where to Eat in Richmond
Chef Lee Gregory is everything and then some, like I’m not messing around, he was a three-time James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist. He has a long culinary history in VA, but Alewife’s his first solo venture. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed eating at his restaurant. The interior was absolutely beautiful, and it’s perfect for both a casual meal or a special night out. Everything from ambiance to service was on point, and the food was phenomenal.
He has specials every night, and the menu’s seasonal so it changes, but if you have the option to get any of the following items, definitely make sure to do so: his olive oil pancake with trout dip and tobiko, his grilled wagyu, his mackerel, and any soft serve. I had some his pumpkin mocha swirl (in honor of Halloween) and it was basically heaven in a cup.
The wagyu was amazing as well. The meat (see a picture of it here) was melt-in-your-mouth good, and I honestly couldn’t stop eating it. Then came the mackerel – it was seasoned to perfection, and it was honestly some of the best fish I’ve ever had. Definitely make sure you stop by if you’re looking to treat yourself without breaking the bank.
Get ready to enjoy the best BBQ of your life. Located in Scott’s Addition, ZZQ will leave your tummy completely and utterly satisfied. I actually had to go twice because the first time I went, they were completely sold out. Yes, you heard right. It wasn’t even 2PM, and they were COMPLETELY OUT OF FOOD – that’s how good their noms were!
For those of you interested, they’re open from 11-5PM Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and 11-10PM on Friday & Saturday. Their menu’s simple but oh so delicious. They have four different meats available: beef brisket, pulled pork shoulder, pork spare ribs and sausage.
It’s hard to pick favorites, but I enjoyed their brisket and sausage the most – check their social media outlets for specifics regarding flavors. Back when I went, they had this crazy delish habanero sausage, and it was everything I’ve ever wanted in life. I recommend getting a sampler of everything to share. Also make sure to get an order of their collard greens, pickled onions and jalapeño mac & cheese.
I’ve honestly never had better pastries in my entire life. Located on 620 N. 25th Street, Sub Rosa Bakery is run by two James Beard nominated siblings who use organic, regional and heirloom grains. Their Pain Au Chocolat ($3.75) is what dreams are made of, like I’d happily drive back to Richmond to enjoy another one.
I also got a salami and cheese croissant and a cinnamon braid of some sort. They were both good, but the pain au chocolat was the clear standout by far. They had bread samples that morning so I shamelessly munched on a bunch while waiting for them to heat up my noms. If I lived in Richmond, I’d honestly buy all my bread there. The texture was unforgettable – it was all so chewy and flavorful! So, do yourself a favor and get here. You can thank me afterwards!
If you’re looking for good ice cream in the area, head to Charm School. Located on 311 W Broad Street, they’re open from Tuesday-Thursday + Sunday from 2-9PM and 2-11PM on Friday and Saturday. Prices are affordable! One scoop’s $3.50, and two’s $5 – add an extra dollar for vegan noms and pay an additional 50 cents or $1 for select toppings (think toasted fluff, magic shell, and more).
They make their cones fresh in house so it smells like heaven when you walk into their shop. What I like best about Charm School though? Their unique flavors. I got pumpkin pie and cereal milk, and both were on point! It was a tough decision though because everything looked so good! I mean, tea time? Lavender? Ugh, just take my money already. They change flavors each week so make sure you guys check their twitter before you go to see what’s available.
You seriously can’t go wrong with anything you get here. I was blown away by their creativity. I ordered their Disco Eggs ($9.75), and it was honestly one of the best breakfast entrees I’ve ever had. 2 fried local eggs with green onion, peppers, cilantro, curry and chili powder over masala potatoes with green chutney, served with toasted flatbread and a side of your choice. I got their grits with cheese, and it was freaking delicious.
I wasn’t sure what I’d think, but I was beyond impressed. When I go back – and trust me, I’m most definitely going back to Citizen – I’m trying their sweet potato hash, five spice pear french toast, and their candied butternut and sweet cheese crepes.
Perly’s was a do on every level. Located in downtown Richmond, this jewish deli’s the perfect way to start off your day. Their food oozes quality so it’s no surprise that there’s usually a 20-30 minute wait. I went on a weekday so things weren’t too crazy, but I can imagine how it gets on weekends.
Everything’s made fresh to order so be patient, and trust me when I say the food’s well worth the wait. Their bagels were incredible, and the reuben? So good you’ll shed a few tears. The sandwich is only $13, and they give you SO much meat with a huge pile of dill fries cooked to crispy perfection. Don’t just take my word for it though – go and experience it for yourself! Open from 8AM-9PM Monday-Saturday and 8AM-3PM on Sunday.
This was some of the best gelato I’ve ever tasted. Located on 405 Brook Road, this local business will blow you away. They have a ginormous selection with unique flavors like lemon basil and chocolate chili. They also have several vegan and dairy free options so there’s something for everyone!
I got a double scoop with the aforementioned flavors, but next time I’m getting a mini sampler (6 flavors for $6.50) to share. In addition to cones, they also sell milkshakes, floats, gelato sandwiches, and sundaes. They let you sample whatever you want so go wild, friends! I also really like that they offer different scoop sizes. Prices are as follow: small ($1.75), medium ($3.10), large ($4), and x-large ($4.60), and they’re open from 8-9:30PM Wednesday through Monday.
Where to Drink in Richmond
Beer aficionados unite! Richmond has more than 30 craft breweries so you could honestly just spend a good 2 weeks here sampling different brews. It’s no wonder why Vinepair named RVA the #1 beer destination in the world! If you want to do some exploring, I highly recommend hitting up Scott’s Addition. It used to be strictly industrial (think warehouses galore), but now it’s one of their most popular emerging neighborhoods. Here are some bomb places for you guys to check out:
- Scott’s Addition Breweries: Vasen Brewing, Isley Brewing Company, Three Notch’d RVA Collab House, The Veil Brewing, Ardent Craft Ales, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Castleburg Brewery, Strangeways Brewing
- Scott’s Addition Cideries: Blue Bee Cider, Buskey Cider, Courthouse Creek Cider
- Scott’s Addition Distilleries: Reservoir Distillery, Cirrus Vodka, James River Distillery
- Scott’s Addition Game Stops: River City Roll (a boutique bowling alley), Tang & Biscuit (shuffleboard club and bar), The Circuit (barcade), The HofGaden (rooftop beer garden)
I also went to Final Gravity Brewing Company – not in Scott’s Addition but so worth the drive – and I got to try the Gold (The Doppler Effect DIPA) and Silver (Retrograde Session IPA) brews for the 2018 Virginia Craft Brewers Cup. They were both really good, and that means a lot coming from me because I’m not much of a beer drinker. I suggest hitting up SB’s Love Shack for lunch and grabbing a drink there afterwards!
What to Do in Richmond
If you’re an art buff, you NEED to get here. I was blown away by their collection, and I especially loved checking out the new Howardena Pindell exhibit, “What Remains to be Seen.” For those of you interested, it’s only up until November 25th so run, don’t walk.
On top of that, their permanent collection was beyond impressive – they had 35,000+ pieces from every major world culture so that alone would take days, if not weeks to browse. Lucky for everyone, admission is free, and they’re open all year ’round.
Located on 601 W Broad Street, this museum’s free and open from 10-6PM on Tuesday, Thursday-Sunday, 10-8PM on Wednesday, and 10-9PM on First Fridays. They feature incredible pieces created by VCU alumni, and they currently have two exhibitions going on: “Hedges, Edges, Dirt” and “Provocations: Rashid Johnson.” The former’s open until Jan. 6th, and the latter’s up until July 7th. The building itself is really cool too so if you’re into architecture, definitely make sure to stop by.
I’m honestly super bummed that I didn’t get to spend more time here. I attended their Garden Glow exhibit, and it was a truly special experience, like I was totally blown away. You could tell that they put so much thought behind the placement of each and every light and – this is going to sound SO cheesy, but I don’t care – I felt like I was in some kind of magical wonderland. You’ll agree after you see all of Scenic Path’s pics below!
The next time I’m in Richmond, I’m coming straight back to Maymont because there’s SO much I want to see during the day. They have everything from farm & wildlife to mansions & gardens, and it’s fun for people of all ages. They’re open from 10-5 daily, and admission’s free with a few exceptions – click here to access their FAQ for additional information.
T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge
This bridge was completed in 2016, and it’s open 24/7. It’s pet-friendly, and there’s parking right down the street so visiting’s super convenient. You’ll see some gorgeous views of the Richmond skyline + class III and IV rapids. Try to come during sunrise or sunset for extra beautiful skies that are instagram worthy!
Alright guys, that’s a wrap for today! I hope you enjoyed my Richmond travel guide, and it proves to be helpful. If you have any questions about attractions, food or the like, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m always happy to hear from you, and I’m passionate about traveling so it’s a topic I’d love to discuss. Until next time, friends! For more travel content, make sure to check out this tab. To read more about my adventures in the DMV, click here.