Where to Eat, Sleep, and Shop in Richmond, Virginia

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The Departures guide to River City.

Like many Southern cities, Richmond is experiencing a comeback thanks to its bountiful breweries, celebrated restaurants, and growing arts and culture scene. The hype may have begun when in 2012 Outside Magazine voted it, ‘the nation’s most livable river town’. It also doesn’t hurt that a plethora of their chef’s keep winning James Beard awards or that the startup scene is going strong. We can’t forget Richmond is home to many amazing colleges and universities who are keeping the talent pool full in River City. Whatever the reason, here are our favorite places, both new and old, that keep us coming back to the city where  Founding Father Patrick Henry famously proclaimed, “Give me liberty or give me death”.


Courtesy Need Supply Co.

Where to Shop

Ledbury

One of the menswear worlds favorite shirting brands is based right here in Richmond. Schedule a made-to-measure appointment and check the bespoke workshop in back of the airy shop or just swing by and stock up on your favorite shirts, sweaters, and menswear accessories.

Na Nin

Originally known for their vintage clothing selection, the store has garnered more attention for their intoxicating fragrances, candles, and minimalist womenswear selection. 

The Gallery Store

The Quirk gallery and hotel, has a great gift shop where you can find locally made jewelry as well as limited edition artwork as well as stationary and cool things for kids.

Need Supply

This store has had a cult following since 1996 and is now a globally known brand. Richmond can give some credit to Need Supply for bringing a wider eye to the town thanks to its beautifully curated shop. They carry designer men’s, women’s, and lifestyle brands that could cause sensory overload.

Farmers Market

Wake up on Saturday and stroll around one of Americas favorite markets. From artist’s booths to farmer’s stalls and food trucks, you can tackle breakfast and souvenirs all in one place (think local honey and hand cut soap).


Iwan Baan/Courtesy Visit Richmond

What to Do

ICA

Designed by famed American architect, Steven Holl, this light and airy new building is the first dedicated to contemporary art in Richmond. There will be rotating exhibitions as well as films, lectures, and even coffee conversations in their Ellwood Thompson café.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

While this lovely landscape is nothing new, it is certainly getting renewed attention thanks to its abundant programming. Explore 50 acres of lush gardens and don't miss the 11,000-square-foot glass-domed conservatory. Located in the Asian Valley, Robins teahouse is a great spot for lunch.

The Valentine Museum and 1812 Wickham House

Opened in 1898 as the first museum in Richmond, The Valentine houses an incredible selection of decorative arts, costumes, textiles, and architecture. Be sure to visit the Wickham-Valentine House as well. Built in 1812 as a private residence and later the home of the Valentine Museum, it is one of the finest examples of architecture from the Federal period.


Fred + Elliott

Where to Eat

Longoven

Just opened in the summer of 2018, this stunning, modern fine dining (which used to be a much loved pop-up restaurant) spot is offering both à la carte and tasting menus based on what is fresh from the local farms. The food is as artistic as the interiors (care of Fultz & Singh architects), so expect lots of camera phones to be out at mealtime.

Brenner Pass

Far from the typical Southern cuisine vibe, this calm, minimal space embraces all things Alpine from saucisson and soppressata to heavenly fondue. No wonder their chef, Brittany Anderson was a semi-finalist for the James Beard award for best chef Mid-Atlantic.

Shagbark

Chef & owner Walter Bundy, formerly of French Laundry, pioneered farm to table in Richmond, but this restaurant takes it to a more haute cuisine level. Think thyme & butter-basted swordfish and BBQ-style Norfolk Sound shrimp & grits. Opened just two years ago, it is still getting a bounty of buzz.

Pizza & Beer of Richmond

This is the place when you want a more casual dinner with a great beer selection. Locally known as ‘PBR’, this hot spot just opened in June of 2018. They have an expansive patio, and the pizza has a cult following. One of our faves is the Fatty Smokes (Carolina BBQ Sauce with smoked brisket, Fresno Peppers, Pickled Onions, Colby Jack, Cilantro). As for the cocktail list, The Belle Ringer Margarita made with Richmond’s own Belle Isle Honey Habanero moonshine is a favorite.

Charm School

This hip little ice cream shop is best known for their marshmallow fluff and wide selection of homemade flavors. Almost all ingredients are made in-house, like their waffle cones and the cookies in their cookies & cream. Added bonus: Lots of options for vegans!


Mick Anders/Courtesy The Jasper

Where to Drink

Hardywood West Creek

Richmond hopped on the craft beer train in 2011 and has become a mecca for aficionados with over 30 breweries to explore. Hardywood, which is well known for their Gingerbread Stout, opened a new destination brewery where guests can tuck into their taproom and try a variety of beers. They don't have a restaurant but food trucks are often on site.

The Jasper

Opening in early 2018, The Jasper is the brainchild of two of Richmond’s most talented bartenders, Mattias Hägglund and Thomas “T” Leggett. The 20s vibe is felt from the logo to the interiors and cocktails. A favorite on the menu is the Quoit Club Punch, the official drink of Richmond’s most popular 19th-century social club.

Ironclad Coffee House

Located in a 130-year-old historic firehouse, Ironclad is Richmond’s newest coffee house, serving specialty coffees that are thoughtfully sourced. This eclectic spot also offers delicious baked goods from Lark Baking Co and Pearl’s Cupcake Shoppe. Side Note: Have your shoes polished on an elegant old shoe shine station that formerly resided in the Jefferson Hotel.


Jamie Hayes/Courtesy The Jefferson Hotel

Where to Stay

The Jefferson

This Beaux Arts beauty was built by famed New York architects, Carrere and Hastings in 1895 and is just coming out of a four-year renovation. The hotel boasts a dazzling history from hosting the likes of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Ray Charles to alligators in their palm court fountain. Today the newly remodeled rooms, complete with marble bathrooms, are the ideal place to rest one's head after a long day of exploring around town. Afternoon tea in the Palm Court is an old-school treat so book early.

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Keith Isaacs/Courtesy Quirk Hotel

The Quirk

If you are looking for something less traditional, The Quirk is the spot. Located in the heart of downtown in the arts and design district and owned by a local art gallery of the same name, this is the buzzy new place to be. Their restaurant, Maple + Pine is the place to be for weekend brunch and their rooftop bar is the perfect place to relax with a view.