48 Hours in the Southern Capital of Richmond, VA

It was ridiculous. We had lived in the D.C. area for over eight years, yet we had never visited the Southern Capital just to our south (more on why in a minute). A long holiday weekend, coupled with a good hotel deal, created the perfect excuse to escape D.C. & finally learn more about our neighbors to the south. This year is the perfect time to head down there, as we commorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Here’s what to do with your 48 hours there.

Getting There
Richmond is located about two hours from Washington, D.C. Most people think that the only way to get there is to drive down the dreaded stretch of Interstate 95 that connects the two cities – it’s actually what kept us from visiting for the first six years we lived here. But then we discovered Route 301, which snakes south through Maryland, largely traffic-free.

If you live too far away to drive, Amtrak serves Richmond with daily trains along the Northeast Cooridor route. Alternatively, there is also an international airport just outside town, with service from most major U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, several New York City-area airports & even destinations in the Caribbean & Mexico.

You’ll definitely want to rent a car for your visit, as the tourist map makes Richmond look deceievably walkable (remember our Monument Avenue hike?) & there really isn’t any public transportation available.

very photogenic Richmond train station
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

Where to Stay
Since Richmond isn’t really a tourist mecca & most of the hotels are geared toward business travelers, great deals are to be found on the weekend. Make sure & shop around; scoring a hotel for under $100 a night shouldn’t be a problem for the weekend. We stayed at the Omni Hotel on a great special weekend rate.

If you’re looking to splurge, the gorgeous Jefferson Hotel has been a Richmond staple since 1895. Even if you can’t afford to stay there, stop by the bar for a cocktail before dinner one evening. It’s a fantastic historic property which has been wonderfully restored.
What to Do
There are a variety of things to do in Richmond, especially if you’re a historical nerd like I am. A walk (or drive for those less adventurous & less likely to enjoy walking in Richmond’s southern humidity) down Monument Avenue is a history lesson in itself. The Museum of the Confederacy & Southern White House is a must for anyone who is interested in the Civil War and/or hails from the south. Hollywood Cemetery, which is definitely off the beaten path, is the final resting place of two U.S. presidents & the president of the Confederacy – that’s a lot of history on one plot of land! In addition, the Virginia State Capitol, which was designed by Thomas Jefferson, has informative tours every hour. After touring the inside of the building, make sure to stroll around the beautiful capitol grounds.

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

Where to Eat

Richmond is home to many good, local, neighborhood restaurants that fit every taste. In the Shockoe neighborhood, stop by Urban Farmhouse for lunch or a pre-dinner glass of wine & snack or Havana 59 for some pretty darn authentic Cuban food. For some good local brews, check out Legend Brewing Company. For a little taste of Richmond history, head to Millie’s Diner for lunch.

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

One of my favorite meals to eat out while traveling is breakfast & Richmond has no shortage of good brunch places. Consider the Strawberry Street Cafe, in the Fan District, for their huge bathtub brunch buffet on Saturday & Sunday or, for something a little more upscale, the Water Grill in Carytown.

Extra Day?
If you find yourself in Richmond for an extra day, head to King’s Dominion amusement park, just 20 miles to the north of the city. This beautiful, tree-filled, park has plenty of things for roller coaster lovers & roller coaster haters.

 

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

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About christina

Christina is a 30-something D.I.N.K. travel writer & photographer who travels the world often wedged into the middle seat. Follow her on Twitter & Facebook.

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  1. Weekend Getaway Ideas for the Part-Time Traveler - September 15, 2015

    […] Richmond, Virginia: Christina of My View from the Middle Seat shares her adventure exploring Richmond, Virginia: 48 Hours in the Southern Capital. […]

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