Top 10 best tourist attractions in Richmond, USA

The 10 most popular tourist attractions in Richmond

Richmond, Virginia’s state capital, is located on the James River in the heart of the state and has deep ties to two major eras in American history. It was a hotbed of independence in colonial times and served as the Confederate capital during the Civil War, when it was the scene of more than five years of battle as Confederate troops struggled to defend it from Union capture. When it finally happened, it was the retreating Confederate army that set fire to the vaults, starting a fire that destroyed much of the city’s front end. Today, many of Richmond’s landmarks tell the story of the Civil War and the way of life the South tried to protect. But tourists don’t just come here for the history; the city also offers lively neighborhoods, an active cultural life and activities for all ages.

See also: Where to stay in Richmond

1 Canal Walk

Canal Walk.

It was George Washington who urged the Virginia General Assembly to build a canal and roads to connect the east coast harbor to western markets. The result was the James Canal River Canal, which you can follow today along 1.25 miles of paved promenades interspersed with historic landmarks, statues and markers that tell the story of Richmond’s four centuries of history. Along the Canal Walk are Brown Island , open-air concert stages and the annual Richmond Folk Festival , and the American Civil War Center at the former Tredegar Iron Works. You can also cruise the canal on the 40-minute historic tours that depart on the hour from Pushing Pool, between 14th and Dock Streets on Virginia Street.

Official website: www.rvariverfront.com

Accommodations: Where to stay in Richmond

2 Church Hill Historic District.

Poe Eli Christman Museum / photo modified

For an impression of what Richmond was like before the Civil War, visit the streets east of the State Capitol , beyond I-95, where you’ll find about 70 prewar homes and St. John’s Episcopal Church, built in 1741. It was here that patriot Patrick Henry made his famous speech in which he coined the slogan “Give me liberty or give me death” during the Second Virginia Convention. It is the oldest church in the city, and you can take a tour of its attractions. The oldest building in Richmond is the Old Stone House at 1914 East Main Street, built in 1737. The current Edgar Allan Poe Museum , commemorating the poet and author who lived in Richmond for several years and worked for a local newspaper. Some of his original manuscripts, documents and personal effects are displayed in the museum.

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Address: 1914 East Main Street, Richmond

Official website: www.poemuseum.org

3 Confederate White House

Confederate White House

Beautifully restored to its military appearance, the home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis during the American Civil War is now furnished in a fashionable era, with Rococo Revival furniture covered in silk, fine rugs and flowing both, as it would have been when guests such as Robert E. Lee visited the mansion. Along with the building next door, it serves as the Confederate Museum , with extensive collections of artifacts from the Civil War and Confederate States. Although the collections include flags, handguns, photographs, and other artifacts, the focus of the permanent and changing exhibits is on personal stories. These collections are used to illustrate the activities and lives of leaders such as Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B. Stewart, as well as rank-and-file soldiers. The White House changes over the years to reflect the way Mrs. Davis would have left it at home. In summer you’ll find ladies’ umbrellas and fans and mosquito netting covered beds, and in winter, blankets, quilts and warm clothing, including a red scarf belonging to Mrs. Davis.

Address: 1201 East Clay Street, Richmond

Official website: https://acwm.org/

4 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts brownpau / photo modified

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ important collections are the envy of many museums in major cities. Permanent galleries of early 20th-century European art include works by leading French artists Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. The Fischer Collection of Modernist works has made the museum’s holdings significant internationally, adding outstanding examples of German Expressionism. Other noted collections include French Impressionists, English silver, Fabergé jewelry, and especially collections of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and modern and contemporary American art. South Asian, Himalayan and African art are other collections that are considered some of the best in the country.

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Address: 200 Northern Boulevard, Richmond

Official website: www.vmfa.state.va.us

5 Virginia State Capitol

Virginia State Capitol.

The impressive white Capitol was built in 1785-1788 by Thomas Jefferson, who modeled it after the Roman temple known as Maison Carree in Nîmes, France. Several major events in Confederate history took place here, including the ratification of the secession of Virginia and the appointment of Robert E. Lee as commander of the Southern Army. The statue of George Washington in the lobby was the work of Jean-Antoine Goudon. The Capitol is located in a spacious park known as Capitol Square , where you can also see the 1813 Governor’s Mansion , the bell tower built in 1824 which now houses the visitor center, the equestrian monument to George Washington built in 1857, and the Washington State buildings in 1924.

Address: 910 Capitol Street, Richmond

Official website: http://www.vacapitol.org

6 St. Valentine’s Museum and Richmond History Center

The eclectic collections and exhibits at the Valentine Museum tell the stories of the people and incidents that made Virginia. But in addition to its galleries, there are two other significant buildings. One is the Edward W. Sculpture Studio. , one of four surviving 19th-century American sculpture studios open to the public. There are throws and models for a number of his works, as well as sketches, plans, and his working tools.

The 1812 Wickham House National Historic Landmark is an outstanding example of 19th-century Federal architecture, especially known for some of the finest examples of interior decorative painting in America. It shows how Richmond’s living families lived and peeks into their personal worlds. At various times the basement floor is also available to the public, showing how domestic slaves lived and worked.

Address: 1015 East Clay Street, Richmond

Official website: http://thevalentine.org/

7 Civil War Center in Historic Tredegar

Civil War Center in Historic Tredegar

The former Tredegar Iron Works operates on the James River in downtown Richmond. Its five original buildings illustrate how iron was worked and named a National Historic Landmark. There’s also the American Civil War Center , the first museum to interpret the causes and consequences of the Civil War from Confederate, Union and African-American perspectives.

Address: 500 Tredegar St., Richmond

Official website: https://acwm.org/

8 Maymont.

The Maymont estate was left in Richmond by James and Sally Dooley, who built it in the late 1890s and lived here until 1925. It includes a mansion, an arboretum, several gardens, a 100-acre park, a children’s petting farm , and a carriage house gathering. The mansion itself is a museum, restored and furnished in the lavish and sumptuous style popular in the late 1800s when the Dooley’s lived here. It is filled with treasures they collected on their travels around the world and is the epitome of the Gilded Age, when millionaires manifested and enjoyed their wealth in public. The gardens, where the Dullys received the same attention, are spectacular and designed to be enjoyed. You can bring a picnic and visit the Nature Center, which explores the natural history of the James River, which the estate forgets.

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Address: 1700 Hampton Street, Richmond

Official website: https://maymont.org/

9 Battlefield National Park in Richmond

During the Civil War, as the Confederate capital, Richmond was a prime target for capture by Union troops, and they launched several attacks before surrendering to Lee at Appomattox in April 1865, just days before the war ended. Battlefield National Park in Richmond explores not only the two major campaigns to take Richmond – the Peninsula Campaign of 1862 and the Overland Campaign of 1864 – but also the largest Confederate hospital and naval battle. Hiking trails take you through miles of original fortifications and sites where opposing soldiers fought just a few feet apart. Several visitor centers highlight and interpret the events and landmarks. The Cold Charter Visitor Center has a walking trail past the Union and Confederate lines, setting the scene for June 1864 with an electronic battle map. At Fort Harrison, you’ll learn more about the Sept. 29, 1864 attack on the fort. Exhibits and an electronic battle map at the Glendale National Cemetery visitor center explains the battles of Glendale and Malvern Hill, part of General McClellan’s “Seven Days” campaign in 1862. At Chimborazo Park you will learn about the 1860s Confederate Hospital Chimborazo , which was one of the largest military hospitals in the world.

Address: 3215 East Broad Street, Richmond

Official website: http://www.nps.gov/rich/index.htm

10 John Marshall House

The John Marshall House was the home of a distinguished jurist and is one of the few remaining federal-style houses in the area. The fourth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Marshall served from 1801 to 1835, and his courts established several important concepts of constitutional government. The most important of these was that the Supreme Court became an equal division of government with Congress and the president and reinforced the principle that federal law took precedence over state law. His home, a short walk from the State Capitol , is filled with the largest collection of Marshall family heirlooms and furniture in the country, as well as the largest collection of federal furniture from the Richmond era.

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The address is 818 East Marshall Street, Richmond

Where to stay in Richmond for sightseeing

We recommend these great hotels near the best museums and historic sites in Richmond:

    Jefferson Hotel: luxurious luxury, elegant decor, beautiful lobby, Sunday brunch, lovely indoor pool, evening adjournment.

Best sights to visit and see in the River District, Richmond

The best sights to visit and see in the River District, Richmond

Best sights to visit and see in the River District, Richmond

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Virginia, located on the banks of the James River, River Rivermond is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city. Amazing historic architecture serves as a backdrop for a surprisingly young and vibrant urban culture that revolves around outdoor recreation and an infectious desire to create. Here’s a list of the best things to do and see in the Richmond River District.

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Canal Walk.

To really get a piece of land, head to the American Civil War Center in Historic Tredegar to start your canal walk along the James River Huxall and Kanawha Canals. This half-mile long walk will take you through 400 years of Richmond history with medallions, exhibits and monuments created periodically along the way. Not only will the experience be educational, but the views from the waterfront will make the hike so.

Canal Walk, Richmond, VA, USA

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Atlantic Coast Railway | © Kwhopson / WikiCommons

Cruises along the historic Riverfront Canals

While the views from the banks of the Riverfront canals are unique, nothing compares to the views of the city from the James River itself. From April through November, visitors can enjoy an informative 40-minute tour, or private charter, of the James River and Kanawha Canal, part of a larger canal system built in 1789 at George Washington’s request, all from the comfort of a 35-seat covered boat owned by the historic Riverfront Canal District. Tours conveniently depart every hour from the Pushing Pool on Virginia Street.

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Riverfront Canal Cruises, 139 Virginia St, Richmond, VA, USA, +1 804-788-6466

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View of downtown Richmond, VA from Brown Island April 2015 | © Ron Cogswell / Flickr

Brown Island Park.

Located on Canal Avenue, Brown Island Park, an artificial island on the edge of the river district, is the perfect spot for a warm afternoon. Pack a picnic and take in the views. From the banks of the park, you can see Bell Island, the Manchester Bridge, the ruins of Richmond and Petersburg Railroad Bridge and the Rivanna Underground. Art exhibits and musical performances are also common sights.

Brown Island, Richmond, VA, USA

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Virginia State Capitol | © Skip Plitt / WikiCommons

Virginia State Capitol.

Originally designed by Thomas Jefferson and home to the Virginia General Assembly since 1788, the Virginia State Capitol is one of the oldest government buildings in the United States. The Capitol is open every day to the public and free tours of the building and surrounding Capitol Square are offered. Tour highlights include a marble statue of George Washington by Jean-Antoine Houdon and a view of the Executive Mansion, the oldest governor’s residence in the country, which is still in use. There is also an opportunity to view the legislative session from one of the public rooms of the auditorium!

Virginia State Capitol, 1000 Bank St, Richmond, VA, USA, +1 804-698-1788

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Edgar Poe Museum, Richmond, VA | © Albrecht Kohns / WikiComs

The Edgar Allen Poe Museum.

Since 1922, the Edgar Allen Poe Museum in Richmond has attracted book lovers from across the country to learn more about the enigmatic American writer. Located in the Old Stone House, the museum is just a few blocks from Poe’s first home and work at the Southern Literary Envoy in the early 19th century. The museum’s collections include manuscripts, letters, memorabilia and personal belongings of the famous writer, as well as a look at the state of Richmond during the period in which Poe lived.

Edgar Allen Poe Museum, 1914 East Main Street, Richmond, VA, USA, +1 804-767-5809

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