8 Fun Ways to Explore Richmond, VA as a Family

virginia state capitolThis past weekend, I had a chance to visit Richmond, VA. I was in town for the American Family Fitness Half Marathon (another weekend, another half marathon) and despite the fact that Richmond is less than two hours from my home, I’ve really never taken the time to explore my state’s capital city. Take a look at eight fun ways to explore the capital of Virginia.

1. Try a Walking Food Tour. Introduce your kids to the culinary delights of Richmond by way of a walking food tour offered by Real Richmond. You’ll walk 1.5 miles over the course of a 2.5 hour guided food tour that allows for tastings at five or six restaurants along the way. It’s a fun way to explore the flavors of Richmond (and walk off the calories as you do!).

2. Watch a $2 Movie. Not that you need to spend two hours watching a second-run film if you visit Richmond, but while in town, why not since HuffPost Travel recently wrote that seeing a movie at Byrd Theater in Richmond is the one thing you must do in Virginia. I didn’t get a chance to go, though I did run past the theater on Saturday morning. If you go, let me know if it lives up to the hype.

lewis ginter

3. Splash and Play at the Botanical Garden. The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a fantastic way to spend a few hours with kids. Look for a huge children’s garden with lots of room to run and play. There is a sprayground so bring swimsuits for the kids in warmer months. Between late-November and mid-January, look for twinkle lights, model trains and s’mores at the Dominion GardenFest of Lights.

4. Try the Treetop Safari. I’m a big fan of treetop adventures (we did the Go Ape Treetop Adventure in August) since they’re a fun way to get kids moving and thinking at the same time. New in 2014, the Treetop Zoofari is Richmond’s first adventure park and kids as young as four years old can cross rope bridges and fly down ziplines while up in the trees.

virginia state capitol-inside

5. Tour the Capitol Building. It’s free to visit the Capitol building, so head to the Bank Street entrance to enter the visitors center. Guided tours are offered on the hour, but you’d be just fine to check out the rotunda and legislative session rooms on your own. Be sure to take time to explore the grounds and look for a snack shop once you go through security (to ease hungry tummies before venturing on).

6. Go Window Shopping. There are a number of adorable shops in Richmond, in the Carytown area, in particular. One thing I noticed about Richmond is that there are so few chain stores and restaurants. Instead, you’ll find vintage clothing stores, whimsical toy stores and consignment stores featuring eclectic styles. You won’t even be able to find a Starbucks (and honestly, you’ll love it).

richmond mural project

7. Hunt for Colorful Murals. As part of the Richmond Mural Project, you’ll find splashy, colorful murals all over town. I ran a few extra miles through the Carytown section of Richmond and spotted a whole bunch of lovely murals along Cary Street. Speaking of Carytown, go to Can Can Brasserie for brunch and order the chocolate milk. Best. Ever. Apparently they use their own ganache. It’s amazing.

8. Make Stops Along the Richmond Garden Trail. I love that Richmond has a Richmond Garden Trail, providing visitors with an itinerary of green spaces for exploration and relaxation. The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is along the trail, as is Capitol Square (the lovely grounds surrounding the Capitol building) and Maymont (a beautiful mansion complete with gardens and a lawn ideal for picnicking).

Planning a trip to Virginia? You might also want to check out these Things to do With Kids in Williamsburg!