A trip to Richmond straddles the line between staycation and vacation, bringing the ease of the former and the escape value of the latter. Steeped in both Civil War history and regional importance as the capital of the commonwealth, Richmond is a cultural gold mine, divided into an array of distinctively named neighborhoods (see Shockoe Bottom, Carytown and Scott’s Addition) loaded with art galleries, hipster hangouts, vintage boutiques and nightlife. From now through March, visit the city to catch the spectacular Terracotta Army exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which includes 10 terracotta sculptures from early Chinese history.
For travelers with an eye for tradition, try The Jefferson Hotel (circa 1895) for lodging. With a statue of the former president and architect of the Virginia Capitol building in its lobby, the Jefferson evokes a reverence for history. Try their afternoon tea or lavish Sunday Champagne brunch, and be sure to ask for turndown service—which comes with a miniature chocolate bar from local chocolatier Gearhearts. If the boutique hotel scene is more your vibe, check out the 2-year-old Quirk Hotel, launched by the owners of the nearby Quirk Gallery. Its rooms feature whimsical décor and local artwork, and the property also sports a Euro-style coffee shop and rooftop bar for warmer months.
Broad Street in downtown Richmond is home to several clothing boutiques, with both new and vintage items. Though on the pricier end of the spectrum, clothing at Verdalina is selected for its sustainability. Just next door, Mod & Soul presents new clothing and accessories meant for the workplace, a weekend soiree or a lazy Sunday. Rosewood blends consignment wear with some new pieces and accessories in a charming space. And for the vinyl lover, Steady Sounds positions racks of vintage clothing among racks of used records.
Richmond is definitely a foodie town, with a lengthy list of dining options for all your meals. For breakfast, The Fancy Biscuit is a must-try. From The Salty Pig (sweet and salty country ham and caramel sauce) to The Freshy Fresh (collard greens, white cheddar, roasted tomatoes and poached egg), every option will have you preparing all future meals on a biscuit. For dinner, Pasture offers Southern fare with a contemporary twist, including pimento cheese (a required order), curry roasted cauliflower and rosemary grit cakes.
The city is no stranger to the microbrewery craze, with a Richmond Beer Trail map devoted to lager lovers, featuring 32 local breweries. Legends Brewery is a laid-back restaurant, reminiscent of The Hitching Post in the best-loved 2004 film Sideways, while both Ardent Craft Ales and The Veil Brewing Co. are hopping with 30-somethings on a weekend evening. Make sure to have your map in tow, as five brewery stamps earns you beer trail gear.