Top Recommended Layover Activities:
1. State Capitol Building
Few cities in the country can boast such a glorious Capital Square. Situated on a hilltop in the heart of downtown, Capital Square is an oasis of ancient trees and rolling green lawn. Its crowning glory is the neo-classical Virginia State Capitol building, designed by Thomas Jefferson in 1785.
It is in the Capitol Rotunda that you will find Virginia’s most treasured work of art. George Washington actually posed for a life-sized statue sculpted by famed artist Jean Antoine Houdon. It was the only time he ever posed for a sculpture.
2. The Museum and White House of the Confederacy
The museum contains the “world’s largest collection of Confederate memorabilia” which includes the sword Robert E. Lee wore for his surrender at Appomattox. The White House, located next to the museum, was built in 1818 and the interior of the structure has been re-created to match the appearance of the time Jefferson Davis lived there.
3. Civil War Battlefields
The Richmond National Battlefield Park provides maps for self-guided tours of the battlefields located in the vicinity of the city. Three campaigns were fought in the Richmond area: the Seven Days Battle (1862), the Battle of Cold Harbor (1864) and the Battle of Fort Harrison (1864). The Battle of Fort Harrison was a Union victory while the Battle of Cold Harbor and the Seven Days Battle were both Confederate victories. Other notable Civil War sites in Virginia include Appomattox, Manassas, Petersburg and Fredericksburg.
4. Monument Avenue
This downtown roadway is lined with statues honoring Civil War Heros as well as Arthur Ashe, a Richmond native tennis star. Monument Avenue also provides a view of the homes of some of the first families of Virginia.
5. Church Hill
Church Hill sits poised above the James River as a time capsule of the 18th and 19th centuries. The centerpiece of the district is historic St. John’s Church. The oldest church in Richmond and one of the oldest wooden buildings in Virginia, St. John’s has held services for more than two centuries. On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry presented his famous “Give me liberty, or give me death” speech here at the Second Virginia Convention.
6. The Museum District
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts features an incredible collection of art from the far corners of the world. Often known for its collection of Fabergé Russian Imperial eggs, the museum displays extensive collections of art deco, art nouveau, contemporary paintings and sculpture, French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art.
7. The Science Museum of Virginia
The Science Museum of Virginia is located on Broad Street in Richmond. The museum contains exhibits ranging from electrical to aeronautics. The museum is also home to the Ethyl Corporation Universe Planetarium and SpaceTheater.
8. Canal Walk
The revitalized Richmond Riverfront stretches along a 1.25-mile corridor from the historic Tredegar Iron Works site, just west of 7th Street, to 17th Street on the east. Winding through the developed area you’ll see the renovated and rebuilt James River & Kanawha Canal and Haxall Canal, which include a major Turning Basin and close by are restaurants, hotels, shops and offices.
9. The Virginia Aviation Museum
The Virginia Aviation Museum, located at Richmond International Airport, is a division of the Science Museum of Virginia. Various aircraft from different eras are on display.
10. Richmond International Raceway
Richmond International Raceway, the Action Track, is host to NASCAR Busch and Winston Cup events in May and September, and to the Indy Racing League (IRL) in June. Check event schedules online or call 1-800-PITSTOP for your Richmond Travel Package.
Top Weekend Getaways And Day Trip Excursions:
1. James River Plantations
Explore four centuries of history, just west of Richmond, along the Route 5 Virginia Scenic Byway. Berkeley, Evelynton, Sherwood Forest and Shirley offer guided house tours and self-guided grounds tours. Westover, North Bend, Piney Grove and Edgewood offer self-guided grounds tours daily and guided group house tours by reservation. Belle Air offers guided group house tours by reservation.
2. Colonial Downs Horse Racing
Located 18 minutes east of Richmond International Airport is the Colonial Downs Horse Racing Facility. Colonial Downs began racing in the fall of 1997. Richmond International Airport is the closest major airport to Colonial Downs.
3. Paramount’s King’s Dominion
Located approximately 25 miles north of Richmond in Doswell, this amusement park provides over 100 rides for children of all ages. The attractions include white-water rafting and a stand-up roller coaster.
Colonial Williamsburg is a historical attraction that is a re-creation of an 18th-century American city. Located 51 miles east of Richmond, Colonial Williamsburg contains 88 original 18th-century and early 19th-century structures. Costumed interpreters wearing colonial clothing stroll the streets and explain their trades inside their workshops. Williamsburg was the original site for the Capitol of Virginia and tourists can participate in reenactments held inside the Capitol Building. Williamsburg is also home to the College of William and Mary. This College was founded in 1693 and is the second oldest college in the United States.
5. Busch Gardens
Located three miles east of Williamsburg, Busch Gardens is a theme-amusement park that contains nine recreations of European and French Canadian hamlets. Along with exciting shows, visitors may ride numerous thrill rides which include a suspended roller coaster and several water rides.
6. Jamestown and Yorktown
Located at the ends of the scenic 23 mile long Colonial Parkway are the townships of Jamestown and Yorktown. Jamestown is the site of the first permanent English settlement in North America and was founded by Captain John Smith. Statues at Jamestown portray the founder and his advocate the Indian Princess Pocahontas. Yorktown is the site of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis in 1781. This surrender forced the end of the Revolutionary War.
7. Pamplin Historical Park & The Museum of the Civil War Soldier
Pamplin Historical Park is located in the heart of historic Central Virginia, just 30 minutes from downtown Richmond. The park is convenient to quality lodging, dining, and shopping facilities as well as other Civil War sites and museums. The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier is a place where that story is told in a vivid and exciting way. The $10.5 million, 25,000 square foot facility was designed to appeal to visitors of all ages and interest levels. Newcomers to Civil War history find the museum's presentation as compelling as lifelong students of America's bloodiest conflict.
Is located in the western portion of Virginia in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The University of Virginia was founded in Charlottesville by Thomas Jefferson in 1819. Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, is located on the outskirts of the city. Charlottesville can be reached by taking I-64 west from Richmond International Airport.
9. Virginia Beach
A popular summertime vacation spot that includes over 6 miles of public beach and 40 blocks of boardwalk. Virginia Beach is approximately a two hour drive from Richmond International Airport.
10. Washington D.C.
Our nation’s capital is located approximately 90 miles north of Richmond International Airport. Washington D.C. sites include the White House, Capitol Building, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Tidal Basin, and the Smithsonian Institute. A big attraction is the Cherry Blossom Festival held in April each year.
Washington D.C. can be reached by driving I-95 north from Richmond International Airport.