• Clarissa Laws


Updated: Dec 10, 2018

My husband and I live in a really fun part of Richmond called the Fan District, and it's definitely one of the "hot spots" in the city for things to eat, see and do. I thought I would share some of my favorite haunts in the area for someone who may be visiting the Richmond for the first time. This is a pretty basic list (no best kept secrets, I'll save those for a future post), but in my personal opinion (take that with a grain of salt) these are things you can't miss on your first trip to RVA!

1. Joe's Inn: Joe's is my husband and my favorite Richmond restaurant. Is it any form of cultural fine dining? Absolutely not. But if you're looking for a local staple with a cozy, homey vibe and huge portions for a serious steal, look no further. We love it for brunch where we split the big breakfast and still wind up with leftovers! You can seriously feed two people brunch for under $10. We also go for dinner or get carry out and our favorite dishes are the menu's pastas. The portions are absolutely massive and it's the perfect Sunday night comfort food.

2. The Jefferson Hotel: When I have out of town visitors, I always make sure that they get to see The Jefferson. It's a local icon and due not only to its history and the luxury accommodations, but the exquisitely decorated lobby and its restaurants can't be missed. If you're looking for a classy dinner experience, Lemaire inside the hotel has you covered. If you just want to see the hotel and grab a bite to eat, TJs is a lunch spot inside where you can grab a sandwich for $10 while overlooking the stunning foyer.

3. Carytown: If you're a shopper, Carytown is the spot for you. Carytown comprises several blocks of (mostly) locally owned boutiques and restaurants where you can buy anything from Louboutins to kitschy Richmond souvenirs. There is absolutely something for everyone. I love to spend an afternoon in Carytown with a stop at Can Can restaurant for a mimosa to break up the afternoon!

4. Belle Isle: If you've got good weather, you must head to Belle Isle. Richmond is a city built around the James River, and Belle Isle is a little natural beauty that makes you feel like you're out of the city, but also provides some stunning views of the Richmond skyline and local monuments. Go for a walk, a bike ride or a swim. It's also a great spot to visit with your pup!

5. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: The VMFA has a world class art collection, the likes of which you generally only find in a much larger city. It holds modern art, classical pieces, sculpture, photography, and has a rotating exhibit that always has something cool to offer. Last year, it featured Yves Saint Laurent and the Picasso exhibit is returning in 2019. When the weather is nice, their patio is the best place to go for happy hour, or you can lounge around on their lawn on a lazy Sunday.

6. Libby Hill: Libby Hill is technically a park, but for me, it's the perfect place to take a picnic and enjoy a view of the city that you can't get anywhere else. You can get an unreal sunset experience from Libby Hill, and it's another spot you can enjoy with your furry companions.

7. Scott's Addition: This is the place to go if you're a lover of craft beer and cider. Pull up a brewery map and pick out some favorites. You can probably walk between them! I would recommend Blue Bee Cider, Three Notch'd and you can't miss the famous Veil.

8. Byrd Park: I may be biased because this is where we got married, but it's the perfect outdoor spot to explore some trails, play tennis, visit one of the best local dog parks and lounge on the manicured lawn in front of the Carillon. Pack a frisbee or a soccer ball, as it's the perfect place for a pickup game.

9. Heritage Restaurant: It's impossible to include restaurants on here because there are just so many unbelievable offerings, but Heritage is a personal favorite and is consistently chosen as a top spot in the city. They have a great brunch menu, but my favorite is to get dressed up and go for a nice dinner and enjoy some upscale American cuisine coupled with their eclectic cocktail menu.

10. Lamplighter Coffee: Lamplighter has the best coffee in the city and all the locations have such a cozy, unique vibe. You can curl up inside or on the patio for hours enjoying lavender lattes and a pretty extensive lunch menu. This is definitely the best place to kick off your day in Richmond!

Do you have any favorite local spots?

XX, Clarissa


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