Category: Virginia
Author: Michael DeFranceschi • Published

A City Explorer's Itinerary For A Weekend in Richmond [2024]

Here's how I kept myself occupied in Virginia's capitol...
Author standing in front of a mural near downtown Richmond, Virginia

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Virginia was my 22nd state.

Inside Richmond, the state's capitol, I was dazzled by the quantity of vibrant and interesting street art.

Since Richmond is one of the oldest major cities in the United States, you'll have the opportunity to see some colonial architecture around the city and in suburbs that you wouldn't be able to see in other major U.S cities, such as New York or Detroit.

With two days alloted for my stay in Richmond, I found myself with no shortage of things to do and see.

Carytown was the most fun neighborhood in Richmond, as much of the interesting graffiti was located there. The Canal Walk in downtown also has some really cool street art!

What else is there to see in Richmond, especially if you're like me and love to freely roam big cities? Well, my friend, who better to ask to a fellow city enthusiast? I will show you what I did over my weekend in Richmond, to give you a broad idea.

Here is a city explorer's itinerary to how you can have yourself a fun weekend in Richmond, VA!

IN THIS ARTICLE...

Here's a city explorer's itinerary to having an amazing in Richmond, in 2024!

Carytown

One way to have a fun weekend in Richmond is by visiting Carytown. A bakery, diner, and other local businesses are seen here off Cary Street in Richmond, Virginia.
Carytown is Richmond's bohemian district.

Out of the four spots I visited in Richmond, I had the most fun in Carytown, which is Richmond's bohemian district. Although this was not the first thing I personally did, I'd recommend you start here for your weekend in Richmond!

Many cities will have a district of the city more centric around the arts, like the Creative District in Ann Arbor, Hampden in Baltimore, or much of the southeast quadrant in Portland.

A distinguishing characteristic of artsy districts is the abundance of small, local businesses. Carytown has charming establishments such as bakeries, emporiums, boutiques, diners, and music stores.

I appreciated how the exterior of much of the real estate in Carytown used color to separate one business from another, as opposed to being all monochrome and relying solely on signs, like you'll see in many (boring) American suburban areas.

Colorful exterior of a local business in Carytown called the Beet Box in Richmond, Virginia.
Many of the businesses in Carytown have artistically painted real estate.

Carytown had the most people walking around-- much more than downtown Richmond, which I'll elaborate on later. For a fun evening and night out, Carytown is the place to be!

My favorite essence of Carytown was-- yeah, you probably guessed it: the omnipresence of street art.

A widely vibrant and quirky mural located in the Carytown district of Richmond, Virginia. Seeing murals in Carytown is one of the best things to do to have an amazing weekend in Richmond!
Carytown has lots of street art to admire!
A mural of a ladybug outside an apartment building in the Carytown district in Richmond, Virginia.
Cool mural of a ladybug outside an apartment building.
A mural of a dog with the name 'CARYTOWN' on the side of a building in the Carytown district in Richmond, Virginia.
Mural of a dog on the side of a building.

Next, I'll expand on downtown Richmond. To get from Carytown to downtown by foot, you can just walk down E Cary Street.

Downtown Richmond and Capitol Square

Cary Street in downtown Richmond, Virginia.
Some rich colored brick buildings off E Cary Street in downtown Richmond!

Walking down the streets of downtown Richmond, I found the downtown sector to be quieter than other cities, and I was in this part of the city on both a Friday evening and Saturday morning & afternoon.

Downtown Richmond reminded me of more mellow cities like Grand Rapids and Salt Lake City.

A mural above a Subway fast food restaurant in downtown Richmond, Virginia.
Above this Subway restaurant in downtown Richmond, you can see a pretty cool mural.

Capitol Square is a must-see when walking around downtown. Fun fact: Virginia was the first colony but not the first state! The first state was Delaware.

Capitol Square in Richmond, Virginia.
Capitol Square.

The Virginia Capitol Building is set on a sloping knoll.

The Virginia Capitol Building in Capitol Square in Richmond, Virginia.
The Capitol Building in Richmond is set on a sloping knoll.

Swinging back to downtown, despite the light amount of foot traffic throughout the city, I still found a few things throughout the city that I found interesting enough to photograph.

One of those objects being the Morgan Fountain.

The Morgan Fountain in downtown Richmond.
The Morgan Fountain in downtown Richmond.

Then, in the Financial District in downtown, you'll find this attention-grabbing art piece of three men pulling on... well, honestly, I can't tell. Something!

Statues in the Financial District in downtown Richmond, Virginia.
Statue butt. I know, I'm pretty mature...

As you advance toward Church Hill, the real estate begins to look more small-town and suburban. But like Carytown, the buildings are colorful.

A street near Church Hill in Richmond, Virginia.
A part of Richmond near Church Hill.

The Canal Walk is also alongside downtown and gets its own section in this article.

Canal Walk

Canal Walk in Richmond, Virginia.
Some scenery along the Canal Walk near downtown Richmond.

Just like many cities will have a bohemian neighborhood dedicated to the arts, riverwalks are another common feature of cities, as many cities, such as Detroit, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee, will border a body of water.

The Canal Walk in Richmond meanders around the banks of the Haxall Canal and the James River & Kanawha Canal and is 1.25 miles long.

Let me first address the brown water in the image. Yeah, it's brown. I don't think the hue of the water is just because I visited in the early spring. I searched for other images on Google and the water hardly looks any different.

The water color didn't personally bother me much. There is still some cool things to see as you explore the Canal Walk that I don't think it'll deter too much from your enjoyment.

I stepped onto the path of the Canal Walk at the perfect point because I saw... street art! These murals were close to the Christopher Newport Cross statue.

Street art along the Canal Walk near the Christopher Newport Cross statue in Richmond, Virginia.
Street art near an industrial spot along the Canal Walk.

The lead image for this article was a zoomed up picture of a much larger mural in an abandoned, worn down building! Here is the full mural:

Street art along the Canal Walk near the Christopher Newport Cross statue in Richmond, Virginia.
A stranger took this picture for me! He did a really good job!

Advancing down the Canal Walk, you'll see historical statues with information about Richmond's long history in the United States.

A historical statue along the Canal Walk in downtown Richmond, Virginia.
One of the statues you'll see as you walk along the Canal Walk.

There were these really pretty white-ish trees along the Canal Walk! I believe these are yoshino cherry trees. I could be mistaken-- I'm no arborist!

A historical statue along the Canal Walk in downtown Richmond, Virginia.
Sorry for the selfie. I wish I would have taken pictures of the trees by themselves!

The last part of the Canal Walk I want to suggest you do is walk on the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge. When I visited in March though, albeit the temperature being about 50° F outside, walking on this bridge felt like I was walking through a wind tunnel!

A historical statue along the Canal Walk in downtown Richmond, Virginia.
View of downtown Richmond at the start of the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge. And brown water.

The last thing I saw during my weekend trip to Richmond was the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

An atrium inside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has no admission fee and is open every day of the year!

Any city, big or small, that I've visited thus far on my journey, has a prominent art museum. The main art museum in Richmond is the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Some art museums will charge admission. Some art museums will not charge admission. Just like the Minneapolis Institute of Art and Cleveland Museum of Art, admission to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is free!

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts features a collection of art work from six of the seven continents.

Here are some images of artwork I particularly enjoyed.

Artwork inside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia.
This red spaghetti... or maybe intestine-looking sculpture was really cool!
The James W. and Francis Gibson McGlothlin Collection of American Art inside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia.
The James W. and Francis Gibson McGlothlin Collection of American Art.

This last part is going to be pretty cool. There is a very similar painted wall artpiece inside two different art museums I've been to!

Here is the painted wall inside the Virginia Museum of Fine Art:

A painted wall inside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia.
A painted wall inside the Virginia Museum of Fine Art.

And then, the same (or very similar) wall inside the Cleveland Museum of Art:

A painted wall inside the Cleveland Museum of Art.
A similar painted wall in the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Conclusion

Aside from the brown water, Richmond was a very artistic and beautiful-looking city! Some of the coolest murals I've seen in my travels thus far were located here in Richmond.

Carytown, sections of the Canal Walk, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Art showcase the state capitol's artistry.

I hope you have found my itinerary for your weekend in Richmond helpful!


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