Your Ultimate Guide to Richmond in a Day (or Two)

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Located just 98 miles south of Washington, D.C., Richmond is the capital of Virginia and is known for its profound history. The last decade has seen a different kind of revolution in the Capital of the South. While nobody was looking, Richmond got cool! There’s everything from science to animals and old-fashioned, hands-on fun awaiting kids of all ages. 

Photo: Guiomar Ochoa

Gumby, Barbie, Slinky…Oh my!
Visit the
Virginia Historical Society and check out their “Toys of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s Exhibition”. Popular toys from the 20th century remind us of our childhoods but also invoke a sense of nostalgia and teach our kids about history. Experience the toys and their stories through three imagined living rooms that bring these fun decades back to life. 

Photo: Science Museum of Virginia

Spend a morning at the Science Museum of Virginia. 
The Science Museum of Virginia is a stimulus for inventiveness, a place that inspires inquisitiveness and generates ideas. Through hundreds of exploratory exhibits, awesome artifacts and state-of-the-art technolo
gy, the Museum presents vibrant programs to thousands of guests each year. They have permanent exhibitions about space, health, electricity, and the earth, but they also host visiting exhibitions from around the world.

  • “Speed” is an amazingly fun exhibition where can touch a real meteorite, get a sneak peek at Michael Phelps’ racing cap and Richmond’s own, Arthur Ashe’s tennis racket, and more. 
  • See how cell phones have evolved through the decades – this one will shock your kids! Boost your mind, body and lifestyle through a series of interactive challenges at “Boost!” Test your creativity, flexibility, memory and strength at this super fun exhibit. 
  • “The Dome” features live astronomy presentations, Cosmic Expeditions, and Giant Screen Movies on the most technologically advanced digital dome theater in the world.

Need a break from science and museums?
Take a stroll through
Carytown, otherwise known as The Mile of Style, where you’ll find a diverse combo of restaurants, boutiques, and local businesses. You’ll fall in love with this unique neighborhood instantly. You can find the east coast’s oldest outdoor shopping center, a movie theater that will take you back in time, and World of Mirth, a toy store that will leave not only your kids, but you, speechless! 

Photo: Marymont

No trip to Richmond is complete without a visit to historic Maymont. 
In the late 1800’s,
an affluent Richmond couple, James and Sallie Dooley, completed their ornate Gilded Age estate on a site high above the James River. The estate was called Maymont and the Dooleys gifted it, 100 acres of land and all, to the people of Richmond. The Maymont Foundation now cares for the land and the estate and it’s breathtaking. Kids can run around and explore a Children’s Farm and Nature Center as well as the wildlife habitats. The Maymont Mansion, the gardens and historic artifacts have been restored so that the estate looks much as it did as the Dooleys’ home from 1893 to 1925. Go for a long walk and explore the different gardens or take a carriage ride throughout the grounds. They even have a two-hour VIP animal experience where you can discover the wild side of Maymont with your own personal guide on a special animal-themed tour including areas rarely seen by the public.

Photo: Triple Crossing Brewery

Where to Eat

  • For breakfast, there’s nothing like the Fancy Biscuit! This place is unreal and adorable! FB is all about biscuits with Southern staples like shrimp & grits, biscuits & gravy and fried green tomatoes. You truly feel like you’re in grandma’s kitchen here but the décor is fun and retro with top quality food and service. It’s reasonable, fast, delicious and super kid friendly.
  • The Richmond Beer Trail is a must for lunch and/or dinner. Yes, a beer trail with kids! Some of these breweries have games, yummy kid friendly food and even nursing rooms for moms. The Fulton location of Triple Crossing Brewing has an arcade, incredible pizza that comes from a cool oven, outdoor games and a giant dinosaur. The ambiance is casual and friendly, the pizza is delicious and the beer is superb.
  • Need a sweet treat? Look no further than Charm School for the most yummy ice cream on Broad St. They even have a number of vegan options. Cereal Milk is their must try flavor and they throw in sprinkles and cone pieces FOR FREE! Charm School truly is charming and gets an A+ for décor and ice cream.

Photo: Graduate Richmond

Where to Stay
The new Graduate Richmond is ideal for families. Located near Virginia Commonwealth University, it’s in the heart of historical Richmond. This is not your typical hotel. It’s fun and whimsical. The lobby itself pays homage to local luminary and intrepid tennis player, Arthur Ashe. Preppy elements are peppered with mid-century starkness and a hint of history to help tell Ashe’s story. There’s even a chandelier made of his signature frames, which help bring his spirit to life. Guest rooms are charming and cozy. They have family suites with two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. The master bedroom has a king bed, work station and TV, and second bedroom offers bunk beds and a sleeper sofa, making it the ideal kids’ quarters.

Tell us about your latest Richmond, Va visit in the comments below. 
–Guiomar Ochoa