Travel restrictions and safety concerns have forced us to stay put over the past few years, giving everyone the opportunity to explore Richmond and develop a newfound appreciation for all that the area has to offer. Because of this, couples are embracing staycations and minimoons, choosing to celebrate the start of their married lives in their hometown rather than traveling across the country or boarding an international flight. From its rich history and scenic views to its growing food and beverage scene, the Richmond region offers something for every honeymooner. If you’re thinking about a local minimoon, here is a sampling of ideas for things to do, eateries to try and places to stay.
In a city as creative as Richmond, couples can find plenty of entertainment options they’ll both enjoy. Check out places like The National, The Camel, and The Broadberry for a concert; Sandman Comedy Club and the recently renovated Funny Bone for a comedy show; or the Virginia Repertory Theatre and Carpenter Theatre for a stage performance. Many restaurants, bars and parks around the area also host live music and open mic nights.
Couples can flex their creative muscles through art classes from businesses such as Studio Two Three or the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. Florist Strawberry Fields Flowers and Finds holds arrangement workshops, and The Green Kitchen offers cooking classes.
History buffs will enjoy learning about the city’s roots. Couples can take a guided cruise along the Kanawha Canal; meander through Hollywood Cemetery, where historic figures are laid to rest; or visit St. John’s Church, where Patrick Henry gave his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech (catch a reenactor reciting the speech on select dates and every Sunday during the summer).
A day at a museum is also a great way to indulge in history, culture and the arts. Among the options are the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute for Contemporary Art, the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, the American Civil War Museum, the Science Museum of Virginia and The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design.
Another popular location for couples is Maymont. There, newlyweds can enjoy a stroll through the Italian Gardens, view the spectacular waterfall in the Japanese Garden or tour the Gilded Age-designed mansion. A horse-drawn carriage ride through the grounds is a romantic way to spend some quality time together.
Adventurous couples can take advantage of paddleboarding, kayaking and rafting excursions on the James River. Friends of the James River Park recommends guided tours through companies like RVA Paddlesports and Riverside Outfitters.
In addition to watersports, sightseeing and experiential tours are popular with active newlyweds. Basket & Bike hosts biking tours along the Virginia Capital Trail and other areas, and there’s even a post-ride picnic lunch option offered in partnership with Palate Picnics that’s held by the river at Upper Shirley Vineyards. City Lights Tours from RVATukTuk take couples on a ride through the city’s most popular neighborhoods at night under the lights.
There are also gardens and parks throughout the region that are excellent sites for exploring together. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden offers 50 acres of gardens, unique dining and events. Nearby, Bryan Park blends activity with natural beauty, including soccer fields, a disc golf course, tennis courts, ponds, a nature center and an azalea garden. For a unique garden stroll, try the Sunken Garden at Agecroft Hall or The Poe Museum and its Enchanted Garden (the design of which is based on the famous author’s poems).
Richmond is a beer town, even earning top honors as the No. 1 beer destination in the world according to the website VinePair. A great neighborhood in which to experience the craft brew scene is Scott’s Addition, where couples can walk to multiple locations. Enjoy a flight of beers or imbibe a glass of ale at The Veil Brewing Co., Strangeways Brewing, Isley Brewing Company, Ardent Craft Ales, Väsen Brewing Company, Three Notch’d RVA Collab House, Starr Hill and more. Other local breweries include Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and its Richmond and Goochland locations; Triple Crossing, which has three area sites; Legend Brewing Co., which has a James River-adjacent patio; and the local taproom for Stone Brewing.
Couples can grab a cider at businesses such as Blue Bee, Buskey and Bryant’s, or they can enjoy a fermented mead from Black Heath Meadery and Funktastic Meads. Wine tastings are available at most area wineries. Brambly Park goes beyond the tasting with music, covered and uncovered outdoor areas and a restaurant. Garden Grove Brewing and Urban Winery offers the best of both worlds with beer flights and wine tastings. At James River Cellars try a wine flight or opt for a tasting, which includes eight varieties to sample and a keepsake stemless wineglass. Upper Shirley Vineyards also offers wine flights and tastings, or you can reserve a private tasting, complete with samples of 11 seasonal wines and a souvenir glass. One of the newest wineries coming to the area is Seven Lady Vineyards, which is estimated to open later this year on the grounds of the English Tudor estate and wedding venue Dover Hall.
Couples with a love for French food and an appreciation for cleverly named dishes should check out L’Opossum, in Richmond’s Oregon Hill neighborhood. The restaurant is owned by chef David Shannon, a James Beard Award semifinalist, and it has received national attention. Make a reservation and enjoy a seasonal menu for two within an atmosphere that’s chock full of character.
Can Can Brasserie is another favorite for French cuisine in the city. The Parisian-inspired restaurant offers dishes such as escargot, boeuf bourguignon and duck a l’orange. Be sure to stop outside to purchase some blooms for your new spouse from the Christopher Flowers sidewalk stand.
Julep’s New Southern Cuisine brings a taste of the deep South to Richmond and focuses on sophisticated yet fun menu offerings. Newlyweds can grab lunch or dinner in the restaurant’s elegant dining room or dine al fresco on its patio in the Monroe Ward neighborhood.
When visiting the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, reserve a table at the fine-dining Amuse Restaurant, which overlooks the lawn and sculpture garden. Chef Greg Haley uses in-season, local ingredients to create his dishes, and the restaurant serves vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Located in Richmond’s Arts District, Chez Foushee offers an elegant dining experience. This women-run kitchen features a French-inspired menu. Make a reservation for the romantic candlelit evenings accompanied by piano, and don’t forget to request fresh flowers delivered to your table.
The Boathouse is located along the waterfront in Rocketts Landing. The restaurant is known for crab cakes, Southern shrimp and grits made with local sausage, and handmade Italian pizza. Couples can dine indoors or sit outside for a view of the sunset over the water.
Portico Restaurant & Bar is in a cottage on River Road in Goochland County. The atmosphere is reminiscent of California’s Napa Valley and includes gardens where couples can share a romantic dinner on the terrace. Outdoor candles, blankets and a stone fireplace set the mood. The restaurant offers traditional Italian fare, and lunch and dinner are served daily, plus brunch on Sundays.
Found along the Virginia Capital Trail in Charles City County, Indian Fields Tavern is located in a restored farmhouse. The restaurant, which opened in 1987 and has changed ownership twice over the decades, is nestled in a country setting that feels worlds away from Richmond, though it’s less than 40 minutes by car from downtown. The menu features American-style comfort food with ingredients sourced from local farms.
Old Original Bookbinders Seafood & Steakhouse has its roots as a seafood house in Philadelphia and has been a part of Richmond’s Tobacco Row in the American Cigar Building since the early 2000s. A charming atmosphere for surf and turf, the restaurant allows couples to enjoy dinner on the beautiful private patio, where they can also feed the resident koi swimming in the pond.
Located at Short Pump Town Center, Lehja puts a modern twist on traditional Indian cuisine. A James Beard Award semifinalist, chef Sunny Baweja creates popular dishes such as tikka masala (chicken breast pieces in a tomato-based sauce) and kulfi (a thick ice cream). The restaurant sports different dining areas but recommends the outdoor dining option for a romantic evening by the firepit.
Lovers of art and whimsy will enjoy a stay at Quirk Hotel. From its unique guest rooms to its locally sourced art gallery and carefully crafted restaurant and bar menus, there’s something for everyone at this venue.
Graduate Richmond is another uniquely designed hotel, and Richmond natives and out-of-towners alike can appreciate its nods to the city’s history and local notables like tennis great Arthur Ashe. Newlyweds can enjoy the cafe, game room, rooftop pool and bar, and luxurious rooms. Graduate Richmond is also dog friendly, meaning couples won’t have to leave their four-legged pals at home during the honeymoon.
The Jefferson Hotel has been a staple in Richmond for over 125 years. This venue is known for its elegant interiors and myriad offerings. It features comfortable rooms, a salon and spa, Sunday brunch and afternoon tea, and it has easy access to shopping and dining downtown. Lemaire, The Jefferson’s fine-dining restaurant, is also a beautiful location for a romantic meal.
Another historic landmark where couples can honeymoon is the Linden Row Inn. Its roots can be traced back to the mid-1800s, when the original row houses were built that are now part of the inn. Linden Row was restored in 1988 to be a full-service, 70-room inn with updated amenities. The rooms showcase original architecture and antique furnishings reminiscent of the hotel’s early days, earning it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places and the title of the nation’s best surviving example of Greek Revival architecture.
For those looking for a quiet respite, The Mill at Fine Creek is a relaxing location for couples to spend their honeymoon in Powhatan, and it’s only a 40-minute drive from downtown Richmond. The property exudes architectural charm and includes a general store and café, a neighboring brewery and restaurant (Fine Creek Brewing Co.), nature trails, and 13 bed-and-breakfast-style cottages.
Similarly, Historic Mankin Mansion feels so tranquil, visitors may forget that they’re only a few minutes from Richmond International Airport. In addition to being a popular wedding venue, it also has suites and cottages where guests can stay and enjoy brunch and a walk through the English garden.
History and nature abound at the circa-17th-century Inn at Eagles’ Watch in Charles City County. Newlyweds can enjoy charming suites in the recently opened brick bed-and-breakfast overlooking the Chickahominy River. Nature lovers will enjoy the protected wildlife area of over 5,000 acres, where they can bird-watch, hike and kayak. Plus, nearby wineries, historic attractions, restaurants and the Virginia Capital Trail round out an experiential getaway.
The Virginia Cliffe Inn is another quiet location for couples looking to get away after their wedding. This bed-and-breakfast in Glen Allen has four large rooms, one master suite and a cottage. Guests are also treated to a traditional Southern-style breakfast by owner Janice Clifton.
The new honeymoon suite at the Estate at Independence is a peaceful place for newlyweds to unwind before enjoying a day of nature and a round of golf. There is additional lodging on the property at the Robins Cottage and Swink Lodge, both equipped with four beds, four baths, living area and kitchenette.