Virginia’s capital entices visitors with its strong food, culture and retail scenes.
Richmond’s authenticity elevates it above a mere pit stop between Washington and the rest of the South. Unlike other up- and-coming cities with airs of manufactured personality, Richmond’s growth is true to its character and much more subtle; restaurants are tucked away in residential neighborhoods and shops are only identifiable by small doorway decals.With a number of new hotel properties, a bustling craft beer movement and a food scene that rivals some of the best in the country, Richmond is having no trouble attracting those who know where to look.
WithVirginia Commonwealth University’s renowned art program, Richmond has solidified itself as city driven by creative growth.The nationally acclaimed Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (200 N Boulevard) is currently playing host to the “Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China” exhibition through March 11. Don’t miss the other great galleries and museums, including one dedicated to Richmond-raised Edgar Allen Poe.
Start your day with an authentic bubbie-approved breakfast at Perly’s (111 E. Grace St.) offering deli favorites.Think corned beef and smoked fish. For a Cuban lunch fix, grab a counter seat at Kuba Kuba (1601 Park Ave.) where traditional cubanos get upgraded with chorizo (leave room for a hefty slice of Tres Leches cake). For dinner, head to the cozy, French-inspired L’Opossum (626 China St.) for quirky menu descriptions, kitschy decor and exquisite presentations from The Inn at Little Washington alum David Shannon. Don’t miss the Fabergé caviar eggs.
In the world of retail, Richmond has struck a wonderful balance between vintage and modern.At Carytown’s local gem, Need Supply Co. (3100 W. Cary St.), high and lower end merchandise, from Dries Van Notten to Adidas blend into a seamless curation. Continue down West Cary Street to discover consignment shops that encourage playful perusing.Visit Dear Neighbor (2415 Jefferson Ave.) in Church Hill to find the perfect artisan jewelry and uniquely scented candles. Treasure hunt at Blue Bones Vintage (322 W. Broad St.) and 68 Home (5 W. Broad St.) for a fun selection of old records, vintage wares and home accents.
Credit for Richmond’s growth and transformation can be largely attributed to its unique boutique lodging options.The Quirk Hotel (from $250; 201 W. Broad St.) opened in 2015, turning a historic space previously housing a department store into a pink-hued, retro art gallery and gathering place. Its Maple & Pine restaurant is superb. Last year The Graduate brought a collegiate chic aesthetic to the university town. Traditionalists can head to the five-star Jefferson Hotel (101 W. Franklin St) for star treatment from this century-old establishment.
SNACK/ DRINK/ STROLL:
Don’t miss shatteringly flaky wood-oven baked pastries (savory or sweet) from Sub Rosa Bakery (620 N 25th St.) and a cup of locally roasted Lamplighter coffee.
The T. Tyler Potterfield Bridge is the city’s newest reason to be outside. The pedestrian bridge crossing the James River offers skyline views and a connection to Browns Island.
GET THERE: A two-hour drive down I-95 South or a three- hour journey on Amtrak, which departs daily.
This article appeared in the February 2018 issue of Washington Life Magazine.