February 10, 2015

10 Winter Travel Ideas in Richmond, VA

Winter gets a bad rap in the travel world, particularly during the awkward time between the December holidays and the first hint of spring in late March.  However, it doesn't have to be that way!  Cold weather favors the brave travelers among us, as otherwise crowded sites in the summer will have little to no visitors this time of year.

Whether you're a Virginian or someone looking to take advantage of our mild winters, here are some great places to visit in our capital city of Richmond during these colder months -- all but one are on the National Register for Historic Landmarks!

From Wikipedia
1.  The Virginia Capitol Building
Designed by Thomas Jefferson himself, the Virginia Capitol Building is a neoclassical masterpiece, housing the longest-running general assembly of the western hemisphere.  Take a tour if you can (it's free), but if not, admire the Palladian architecture from the outside.

2.  The Museum of the Confederacy/White House of the Confederacy
Virginia's history runs the gamut - wars, victories, defeats, historical "firsts" of American history, etc.  One reminder of Virginia's war past can be found at the Museum of the Confederacy and the White House of the Confederacy, which commemorate Virginia's role as capital of the Confederacy during the American Civil War.  ($15 to enter both the Museum and White House, or $10 for just one.)

3.  The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
While not as prestigious as any of the Smithsonians, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has a small, but quality collection of art and artifacts from around the world.  Admission to traveling exhibits may entail a small fee, but otherwise general admission is free!

From Wikipedia
4.  Agecroft Hall
Pining for a bit of England, but unable to visit anytime soon?  Check out Agecroft Hall - a 15th-century Tudor mansion from Lancashire that was bought at auction, disassembled, shipped, and reconstructed in Richmond ninety years ago.  The rooms and furnishings depict every day life for a 16th century English family, and with admission at $8 a person, it's a far more affordable trip to "England" than a plane ticket.

5.  Monument Avenue
This "Grand American Avenue" is the only street on the National Register of Historic Landmarks and a source of pride to the Richmond community.  The style of architecture varies along this five mile road -- Italianate, English Tudor, Colonial, Spanish, and Georgian houses, churches, and apartment buildings create a pleasing backdrop to the six statues along this tree-lined avenue.

6.  St. John's Church
"As for me, give me Liberty or give me Death!"  Patrick Henry uttered these famous words during the Second Virginia Convention at St. John's Church.  Among his audience numbered George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and other great American Patriots.  Follow in their footsteps with a tour of the church and grounds!

St. John's Church
7.  Shirley Plantation
If you want to experience the Virginian plantation life, take a drive down the scenic Route 5 just east of Richmond to visit Shirley Plantation, which has been in the same family for eleven generations.  Shirley Plantation is arguably the "most intact 18th century estate in Virginia" and well-worth spending a few hours touring the house and grounds.

8.  Richmond National Battlefield Park/Petersburg National Battlefield
As the once-capital of the Confederate States of America, many battles occurred in and around Richmond.  To better understand the scope of the battles and the cost of human life, visit the Richmond National Battlefield Park or Petersburg National Battlefield, site of the infamous "Crater" attack by the Union against the Confederacy; both sites are run by the National Park Service.

9.  Hollywood Cemetery
Come pay your respects to U.S. Presidents John Tyler and James Monroe at this beautiful resting place in the Oregon Hill neighborhood of Richmond.  Beyond the two presidents, other notable interments at Hollywood Cemetery are Jefferson Davis, J.E.B. Stuart, George Pickett, John Randolph, and 18,000 Confederate war dead.  It is both a somber yet serenely charming location to visit.

Hollywood Cemetery (Photo by Calah D.)
10.  Byrd Theatre/Carytown
The Byrd Theatre, or Richmond's "Movie Palace," is a Renaissance Revival-styled cinema located in Carytown, a hip urban retail neighborhood.  The Byrd offers movie showings at $2 a person, but the real show is the whole experience of this old-fashioned theater, which will be featured in an upcoming European documentary about historic theaters of the U.S.!

Bonus:  Richmond breweries
Thanks to state law changes in 2012, the craft beer industry in Richmond has boomed.  Dozens of breweries and cideries have opened in the general area in recent years, joining an already stellar cast.  Hardywood, Strangeways, Midnight, Center of the Universe, Eisley, Blue Bee Cidery, and Legends are just a few of our favorites.  Join a brewery tour or get a DD to check some of these guys out!

Have you visited any of these places in Richmond?  What are your winter travel plans?


Linking up with Bonnie Rose and other travel bloggers for #TravelTuesday!


  1. those are great, I would choose Richmond National Battlefield Park first though!

  2. Those look like some great places to visit! I've never been to Richmond, but I'd love to visit one day. Plus I love the winter seasons, I prefer to travel during the fall and winter times because I'd rather brave the cold than be too hot and surrounded by too many people.

  3. The history nerd in me is loving this post :) Might have to add Virginia to a possible East Coast trip in the next year or two!

  4. If you do, be sure to hit me up! I'm free with my tips and would be open to meeting up if your itinerary allows! :)

  5. When you live so close to it, you become immune to it in so many ways. It's not until out of state or international friends come to visit that I realize just how many things there are to do and see around here!

  6. Our winters are generally mild (we haven't had any snow worth speaking of yet this winter and enjoyed a 72' day on Sunday), so it's a good place to come for good winter weather and no crowds!

  7. As I was writing this, I realized just how long it's been since I've visited any of the Richmond battlefields. When we moved from Massachusetts to Virginia in 1993, my parents spent the next several years making sure we saw everything. Richmond battlefields were among the first, and I don't think I've visited any (except Petersburg) since!

  8. That's very cool of them to take you to visit all those places!


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your comments, feedback, and suggestions.