The City of Richmond is only a small part of what people mean when they say, “Y’all visiting Richmond?” so I emailed my mom friend, Shannon, to help me create a top ten list for vacationing families that weren’t in all the travel guides but included the entire area we’ve grown to love. Oh, and we divided our list by city and county because we’re awesome…
City of Richmond:
1. Pony Pasture is our favorite part of the James River Trail System because it has walking, running, rock hopping, fishing, picnicking, and swimming. However, the rivah (as the natives call it) offers almost everything from white-water rafting to bird watching because Outside Magazine didn’t declare us the best river town for nothing.
2. Richmond is so full of history, you could trip over a stick that belonged to a settler of Jamestown and not know it, but one of our gems is Monument Avenue. This is a beautiful stretch of road with magnificent statues of Robert E. Lee, Arthur Ashe and more as well as tree-lined grass mall for walking and beautiful homes lining the partly cobblestoned road. It was recently named one of the 10 great streets in American by American Planning Association.
3. Mama Cucina, an Italian restaurant, is a hidden gem in Innsbrook even though it’s also one of the oldest restaurants there. Every dish is fresh and homemade down to the mozzarella cheese with portions large enough to share family-style so your kids can order and decide they like your dish better. We’re hungry just writing about it.
4. Deep Run Park has walk and running trails, lakes, gazeboes, playgrounds, fishing, basketball courts and picnic areas to keep families occupied for hours. The parking is plenty, and if one playground is crowded, we walk around the lake instead. If this park isn’t close to where you are staying, Henrico has three dozen more from which to chose including Three Lakes Park and Crump Park who fought Deep Run for top spot. We don’t mess around with our outdoor fun.
5. Hickory Notch Grill, a family-friendly restaurant, is not to be missed – from it’s welcoming atmosphere to it’s homestyle cooking. Order the BBQ, which is Southern BBQ (pulled pork for any out-of-towners), ribs, hush puppies and make room for the homemade cobbler.
6. Pile the family into the car and head out to Goochland Drive-In Theater, a family-owned and operated theater, to watch new movie double-features on the weekends and single showings on the weekdays. The place is a great combination of classic drive theater with quality sound and pictures. The movie schedule comes out only a week in advance so check it out when you get to town.
7. The Urban Farmhouse is a market, cafe, coffee and tea house that first opened in downtown Richmond but now has a second location Southside (our nickname for anywhere South of the James River). Swing by with the family for a quick cup of coffee or stay on the couch for for some fresh, organic and often local offers from salads to sandwiches to a delicious weekend brunch.
8. The Children’s Museum of Richmond-Chesterfield Branch is not to be missed. It houses a real fire engine and city bus to climb around, an art studio with all the materials included in the admission fee, a main street with a complete bank, theater, and grocery store; but watch out for the SPCA sponsored adoption center with live kittens. There is also a branch in Henrico (Short Pump) and the main Children’s Museum in the City of Richmond.
9. Kings Dominion amusement park is open from late March through Halloween and our kids have grown up at this park. From their first time “driving a Jeep” to their first real roller coaster ride, we’ve always had a great time. Rides, face-painting, arcade and carnival games (that kids can actual win), plus holiday events for the whole family, we can’t get enough of this place.
10. Don’t look at us cross-eyed. There’s not a family for miles who hasn’t taken their kids to the Bass Pro Shop for fun. The store has a great restaurant, so make a day of it. You can go from the the stuffed bears and deer to the fish feedings to sitting on the boats and four-wheelers. Oh and they have a great fudge shop.
Got any Richmond tips of your own? Leave them in the comments!