Things to Do  |  Travel

A Washingtonian’s Guide to Richmond

Even if you love our town, it’s nice to get away. Where to go this month? The self-proclaimed “capital of the South.”

Photograph by Sean Pavone via iStock.

For Hirshhorn Fans

Architectural view of the James W. and Frances G. McGlothin Wing featuring "Art History Is Not Linear" at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Photograph by Travis Fullerton.
The James W. and Frances G. McGlothin Wing featuring “Art History Is Not Linear” at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Photograph by Travis Fullerton.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts added a soaring new wing five years ago, and the small but interesting Sydney and Frances Lewis collection of mid-to-late-20th-century art—which includes works by Andy Warhol and Mark Rothko—is reinvigorated by the fresh setting. You’ll also find something in short supply in DC museums: a spectacular collection of furniture and design, including Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco. Through March 13, nearly 200 works by sculptor Auguste Rodin—from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée Rodin in Paris—will be on display.

More Than Grits

Sample of meats at Metzger Bar & Butchery in Richmond. Photograph by Betty Clicker Photography.
Sample of meats at Metzger Bar & Butchery. Photograph by Betty Clicker Photography.

Once you travel the 100 miles down to Richmond, it’s clear you’ve arrived in the South. Southern fare—both classic and modern—is easy to find, but the dining scene isn’t all pimiento cheese. Union Hill, an area in the midst of revitalization, was, prior to the Civil War, an integrated neighborhood of German immigrants and free African-Americans. Metzger Bar & Butchery draws on part of that history with stylized German cuisine hard to find in DC. Across town, Mamma ’Zu, owned by Ed Vasaio, scion of DC’s now-closed A.V. Ristorante Italiano, has been packing the house for 20-plus years with governors, Congress members, and visiting celebrities eager for a taste of his perfectly cooked, classic Italian food.

Wild Ride

Paddleboarding with Riverside Outfitters in Richmond. Photograph by Rich Young.
Photograph by Rich Young via Riverside Outfitters.

The Potomac may drift serenely through Washington, but the James River, which bisects Richmond, features Class III and IV rapids. To experience the action, Riverside Outfitters can take you on a guided raft trip or rent you a kayak, paddleboard, or canoe.

Drink Up

Answer Brewpub in Richmond. Photograph by Todd Raviotta.
Photograph by Todd Raviotta.

Craft beer has exploded all over town, with more than ten breweries and several more in the works. While you can find the highly hopped brews that dominate the craft-beer scene, Richmond breweries are also focusing on seasonal ingredients, such as candy-roaster squash, ginger, and locally produced honey. Fair warning: Trying to hit several breweries requires a chauffeur—or at least Uber. You can also stay put at the Answer Brewpub, with 56 offerings on tap and its own on-site brews. We’d still recommend an Uber.

Stalking Style

Need Supply Co. in Richmond. Photograph courtesy of Need Supply Co.
Photograph courtesy of Need Supply Co.

The shopping district of Carytown wasn’t always packed with lively restaurants and shops that make it a destination for out-of-towners and locals alike. A few trendsetting business owners brought the area back to life, and now it at-tracts weekend crowds. Need Supply Co.—a fashion favorite of cool kids everywhere, including in DC—breaks free of its wildly successful online niche with its only storefront, where the $70 T-shirts and $700 boots can be fondled and retail gratification is instant.

Brandon Fox, a native Richmonder, is food and drink editor of Style Weekly. On Twitter, she’s @bpfox.

This article appears in our February 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

Don’t Miss DC’s Best Events: Get Our Things to Do Newsletter

Arts, culture, and things to do in DC.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
Brandon Fox

Brandon Fox, a native Richmonder, is food and drink editor of Style Weekly. On Twitter, she’s @bpfox.