This time last year, we were all sweating the idea of spending summer without concerts, sports, movies — and really any get-togethers whatsoever.
The world sold out of bicycles. And our own backyards somehow seemed to shrink as the weeks wore on.
But this year is going to be different. Summer is a reason to smile nearly anywhere you can call home, but thanks to an eclectic menu of entertainment and plentiful warm-weather activities, RVA residents are smiling especially bright.
So, whether you’ve lived in Richmond long enough to remember Short Pump before the mall arrived, you just settled south of the River, or you’re thinking hard about a move to RVA, we have your guide to summer fun.
GATHER UP YOUR BREW CREW
RVA is overflowing with awards and accolades cementing its reputation as a craft beer destination. In Scott’s Addition alone, there’s a thriving brewery scene, with Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, The Veil Brewing Co., Ardent, and a gaggle of others all conveniently located a hop, skip, and a jump away from one another. All told, there are more than 40 breweries in RVA. And when it’s summertime, it’s patio time. Bands join the fray, festivals line the streets, and there are few better spots to spend a weekend afternoon. (Yes, many are even family friendly!)
If you’ve had your fill of beer, Richmond has a new wine scene that’s been bubbling up around town, too. It’s a lot closer than Charlottesville and rivals their famous pinots, cabs, and chardonnays. The headliner here is Brambly Park, a restaurant with an adjoining sprawling green space also located in Scott’s Addition. Here you can sip through a tasting, show off your dog, chill out to some live mood music, and even grab a tasty snack or meal.
BE A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD
Whether it’s on foot, on bike, on bus, or on a Segway, there are a number of ways to explore RVA’s history, arts, and foodie scene. Paint the town up and down on a self-guided bike tour of RVA’s larger than life murals. Or fire up your fancy digital pedometer to ensure you’re walking off all the culinary delights on a Church Hill food tour. You can even take a spirited electric car tour through Hollywood Cemetery’s famous grave markers and mausoleums.
MAKE GOING OUTDOORS SECOND NATURE
RVA is most fun in the summer when you roll the top down — hanging out in the open air with the sun shining bright and a cooling breeze at your back. Plan a day at the James River, where you can blaze a trail, let your troubles float away, or simply chill out on the rocks. Or if biking is more your pace, log some miles on the picturesque Capital Trail. Picnic at Maymont, stop to smell the roses at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, or do some window shopping and people watching on Carytown’s eclectic strip. The list goes on and on.
Here are some more ideas for embracing the River City’s Great Outdoors:
- GET YOUR GAME FACE ON: Strap on your rally caps and root on the Richmond Flying Squirrels to homer in the bottom of the ninth inning. Or hit the pitch at City Stadium and watch the Richmond Kickers take their best shot. If you’re looking for a little friendly competition, drive over to one of RVA’s two fully loaded driving ranges: Drive Shack or Top Golf, where you can test your might while grabbing a bite and beverage.
- DINE & WINE AL FRESCO: Here’s the thing about Richmond’s thriving dining scene — the food tastes just as good outside as it does inside. Better even. Whether you’re finding a sceneic perch at The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing (or at Sunday Park) or prefer to cozy up on the patio of Jackson Ward’s gem Adarra, the options are too numerous to list here. And did we mention RVA’s caravan of food trucks? Pro tip: You can usually find one or two at a brewery.
- TRY SOMETHING NEW: Have you tried an outdoor movie before? The Goochland Drive-In Theater offers a throwback, family-friendly experience. And it’s popular — be sure to grab your spot early. Here’s one more activity even many lifelong Richmonders don’t know about: Lavender Fields Farm, featuring small fields and greenhouses covered in purple lavender and other vegetation. Get everything you need to DIY a garden — even take a class.
This is not an exhaustive list of summer fun you can find in RVA. Consider it just a start — a taste, if you will. Pretty soon, we think you’ll find that your backyard was a lot bigger — and a lot more fun — than you ever imagined.