Four Pros and Cons of Day-Tripping to Richmond
Richmond is the ultimate summer or weekend destination. The best way to do as much traveling as possible is to master the day-trip. Being able to fully enjoy a destination in one day will guarantee you plenty of memories and action while not taking a huge chunk of time out of your life. There is plenty to fill your day with in one day, you just have to come in with a game plan because there is also enough activities to last you for a whole year. As Richmond locals here at Bar Solita we have compiled a list of pros and cons of visiting Richmond for the day.
A refreshing and exciting river to swim in: The James River is one of the longest in Virginia and it flows straight through the Virginia capitol city. Throughout Richmond and its surrounding counties there are different access points to the James River rapids. According to the James River Association, “the Falls of the James at Richmond drop 105 feet over seven miles. This offers a Class I to Class V rapids and represents the only white water that cuts through the heart of an urban area.”
Spots along the James River include Belle Isle, Texas Beach, Pony Pasture, Pipeline Overlook, Reedy Creek, and more. If you are looking to stay close by to the rest of the action in the city and minimize your travel time then Belle Isle might be the spot for you. Belle Isle is popular among VCU students, families, tourists, locals and adventure junkies. The class III-IV rapids, Hollywood rapids, rush through Belle Isle which makes it very popular among paddlers and rafters. Other visitors usually stick to hanging out on the rocks or swimming in calmer parts of the river blocked off from the large rapid.
You don’t need to pack a lunch: Leave those sandwiches and snack bags behind! You are going to want to start off your Richmond adventures with an empty stomach. Richmond residents are spoiled when it comes to food. There are delicious options no matter where you look or what you’re craving. From vegan meals to brick oven pizzas to juicy steaks you can find anything you could ever dream of in Richmond. There are plenty of restaurants embracing Virginia by serving up southern food and seafood while many other places have branched out into completely different cultures and themes. Make sure to skip the big chains and find a local eatery for your meals while here. If you’re searching for food on Yelp or Trip Advisor, shoot for something 3 stars or higher. Major hubs for restaurants include the Arts District, Shockoe Bottom, Scott’s Addition and Carytown.
An awesome Arts District to visit: The Richmond Arts District is the first of its kind in the city and has really brought together the downtown neighborhood. There are small art galleries galore and VCU’s fairly new Institute for Contemporary Art. If you are even slightly interested in art then the Arts District is worth the stop. The district also encompasses Jackson Ward and the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. There is plenty of shopping to be done in the Arts District as well with beautifully curated shops like Someday, Verdalina, and Mod & Sol. Even the Virginia State Capitol falls within the Arts District boundaries, stroll around the green space or even sign up for a tour.
Fun ways to save time: Last summer, Richmond was bombarded overnight with electric scooters that you could ride just by downloading an app. Due to permitting issues the original scooters were all hauled away and it seemed Richmond’s scooter days were over. But this summer a different scooter company, Bolt, obtained the correct permits and their scooters were scattered all over the city. Now you can ride these dockless scooters whenever you want and just pay with the app on your phone. It is a fun and different way to explore the city and will definitely save you some time on your day-trip.
You’ll want a designated driver: If you are of legal drinking age there are plenty of beverages to consume around Richmond and you’ll want someone in your group to refrain from drinking and be your driver. Richmond is a city known for its craft beverages and fun places to drink. There are tons of breweries to visit as well as bars with great atmospheres and creative concepts. Richmond has two bar-cades, Bingo and Circuit where you can play arcade games while drinking beer, wine, and cocktails. There are also several well-known rooftop bars including Kabana Rooftop and the bars on top of the Quirk Hotel and Graduate Hotel. There are plenty of places with awesome happy hour specials so you can get some drinks for cheap and early enough to still make your drive home later. No need to fear though because with all of the local breweries such as The Answer and Triple Crossing you can get cans and growlers to take home with you.
You’ll be tempted to stay the night: It’ll be hard to make your day-trip only one day after you start seeing all of the cozy places that you can spend the night. There is the boutique Quirk Hotel, fun Graduate Hotel, lavish Jefferson Hotel, and more. If hotels aren’t your thing then you can try something more adventurous. There is a small island located in the James River that you can rent out and camp on overnight, Sharp’s Island is the only truly legal camping spot within the Richmond city limits.
Your friends will be jealous: Richmond is a very instagrammable city, there is no shortage of cool photo-ops by the river, in front of a mural or at Maymont park. Posting all of your pictures will run the risk of making your friends very jealous of your perfectly executed day trip. But it’s important that you show off your awesome adventure you went on, just tell them to go on their own!
You’ll probably spend some money: There are tons of fun and free things to do in Richmond like, swim in the river and visit art galleries and museums but you will also be tempted to do some spending. The food is too good to not buy some while you’re here and so are the drinks. In addition to the necessities you might find yourself shopping in Carytown or the Arts District and coming home with a funky new piece of clothing. If you are looking to stay budget friendly while still getting to shop to your heart’s content there are lots of thrift and consignment shops in Richmond where you can piece together an eclectic outfit or just find some timeless pieces.