Richmond Local Highlights

Published on June 30, 2022 - Updated on July 01, 2022

Richmond, Virginia, a city known for its rich history, has so much to offer not only for families, but for people of all ages. “RVA” and its surrounding areas are filled with opportunities to play, learn and explore. From adventures on the James River to playing air hockey against a robot at the Science Museum of Virginia, there is truly something for everyone! Here is a list of our favorite local highlights!

Richmond Highlights & Local Favorites

Maymont Historic Estate and Park

1000 Westover Road, Richmond, VA 23220


History, animals, and hiking all converge in 100 acres of beauty. With free admission ($5 suggested donation) and a variety of programs ranging from toddler activities to guided tours of the Maymont mansion, Maymont is a gift to our city. Maymont provides an animal farm where you can feed goats, a Japanese Garden where visitors can cross a stream using stepping stones, a waterfall, and a Nature Center with adorable resident otters.

Nearby family-friendly attractions:

+ Joe’s Inn is known for its spaghetti a la Joe as well as its generous portions. This family-friendly eatery is a local favorite.

+ WPA Bakery: Come for the sticky buns, stay for the ambiance. Comfy couches, friendly staff, and seemingly endless specialty pastries make WPA an easy way to motivate your kiddos when it’s time to leave Maymont.

+ Westover Hills Elementary School: A massive, fenced play space for all ages awaits! Here you will find ample climbing opportunities, soft, rubber surface, and several picnic tables.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

200 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

As one of the largest comprehensive art museums in the country, VMFA is an inspiring, enriching experience for all ages. Museum admission is free, and it is entirely stroller-friendly. With free scavenger hunt printables online, you could make the VMFA your spot for a date night or family field trip! Don’t miss the yummy treats in the 1st floor cafe, or the stunning sculpture garden.

Nearby family-friendly attractions:

+ Scoop RVA is less than a mile from the VMFA, selling small-batch ice cream, made on-site.

+ Brambly Park is a popular winery with fun for all ages. Serving up delicious pizza (alongside wine!) and frequent live music performances, you could easily spend several hours here.

+ Scuffletown Park is a pocket park with gardens, plenty of seating, and even a local tortoise! Pack a picnic to enjoy in this shaded park.

+ Mary Munford Elementary School Playground, also known as “The Castle Playground” to most children, is an enchanting play space beloved by the entire Richmond community.

Pocahontas State Park

10301 State Park Rd, Chesterfield, VA 23832

Pocahontas State Park

The variety of recreational activities at Pocahontas is simply astounding. Whether you enjoy fishing, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, or simply being surrounded by nature, you will find something to love here at the largest state park in Virginia. If you’d like to further enhance your experience, the rangers often run special programs and events, ranging from twilight hikes to junior ranger camps.

Nearby family-friendly attractions:

+ Bird Athletic Complex has several baseball fields, a football field, and is home to the “Boundless Playground”, an inclusive playground, where children with and without disabilities can play together.

+ Harry G. Daniel at Ironbridge Park boasts a new playground with a spinner, several swinging options, and a large climbing tower.

+ Grant Coffee Co. has a lovely bakery with delicious muffins, as well as specialty coffees. The coffee shop makes it easy on families, as there are toys for children to play with while caregivers sip their coffee!

Science Museum of Virginia

2500 W. Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220

Science Museum of Virginia

This museum allows for hands-on learning and exploration, with three floors of interactive exhibitions. Children 5 and under will adore the “Light Place” exhibit, where they can climb, play and learn in this safe space made for them. Older children will love The Forge, where they can participate in STEM challenges and use their critical thinking skills. All ages will love catching a film at “The Dome”, “racing” Usain Bolt, and the Lunch Break Science activities, where patrons can learn new science facts through a brief demo.

Nearby family-friendly attractions:

+ Boulevard Burger & Brew offers a casual atmosphere with outdoor seating. Plus, Gotta love a place that serves a milkshake as part of the kid’s meal. And for grownups, there are boozy shakes!

+ Carytown Cupcakes is just a few blocks away with cupcakes in any flavor you can imagine… and even some for dogs, too!

+ Play 60 Obstacle Course: If you’ve ever wanted to see how you’d do in the NFL, head to the Play 60 Obstacle Course. Designed as part of the Redskins training camp it is complete with climbing walls, jumping challenges, and a timer.

Belle Isle

334 Tredegar St, Richmond, VA 23219

belle isle

Access to the James River, a bike skills area, and a pedestrian bridge are only a few reasons why Belle Isle always makes the list of things to do when we have out-of-town guests. If you plan to hike the whole way, pack a towel and water shoes to step out on the rocks for the best views of the river.

Nearby family-friendly attractions:

+ Brown’s Island is a peaceful picnic or mediating venue overlooking the James River. There are also lots of paved walkways ideal for new bike riders!

+ Bottom’s Up Pizza, located in Shockoe Bottom, has outdoor seating with friendly staff. Local’s tip: Order the bread tips for an appetizer!

+ Poe’s Pub is a local favorite. This Irish tavern has an expansive outdoor patio and often has live entertainment.

Virginia State Capitol

1000 Bank St, Richmond, VA 23218

Virginia State Capitol

Learn about history, politics, and the Virginians who play important roles in creating our government with a guided or self-guided tour of the Virginia State Capitol. Tours are free and are one hour long. While you’re here, take in Capitol Square, which has statues, gardens, and a historic bell tower. You may even catch a glimpse of the Governor as his mansion is here at Capitol Square as well!

Nearby family-friendly attractions:

+ Capitol Waffle Shop is full of delicious waffle options of all kinds. From “The Cookie Monster” to “The Bacon Egg & Queso Waffle”, Capitol Waffle Shop is a must for all Richmonders and visitors.

+ Penny Lane Pub lets you relax and enjoy a beer, play pool or darts, and watch soccer in its relaxed eatery.

+ Richmond Slave Trail is a self-guided walk that tells the story of the trade of enslaved Africans to Virginia.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

1800 Lakeside Ave, Richmond, VA 23228

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

With an expansive Children’s Garden, interactive exhibits, and even its own library, there’s no wonder why Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden was recognized by the Travel Channel as a best botanical garden. Highlights include the conservatory, complete with a gnome house display that changes seasonally, special events like the Garden Fest of Lights, and Fidos after Five, where four-legged friends are invited to the garden.

Nearby family-friendly attractions:

+ Bryan Park offers an azalea garden, disc golf course, playground, and several trails.

+ SB’s Lakeside Loveshack serves breakfast all day. Menu options are creatively named after song lyrics like the “Knock a Little Louder Sugar” buns.

+ Carytown Burger & Fries is a staple in the Richmond restaurant community. Be sure to leave room for a milkshake!

Keystone Truck & Tractor Museum

880 Roslyn Rd, Colonial Heights, VA 23834

keystone tractor museum

While this is a popular outing for young children who love “things that go”, you don’t have to be little to appreciate the evolution of trucks, gas pumps, and farming. At 125,000 square feet, a trip to the museum can last 2 or more hours! Don’t miss the John Deere tractor at the front of the museum for a perfect photo op!

Nearby family-friendly attractions:

+ White Bank Park is home to the “Maddie Mann Foundation” playground, which is an inclusive playground with sensory activities, musical instruments, swings with back support, and a wheelchair-friendly surface. The park also offers a disc golf course, picnic pavilions, trails, and a boat ramp.

+ Lakeview Park has lovely views of the Swift Creek Lake, tennis courts, a small playground, and picnic pavilions.

+ Saucy’s Sit-Down Bar.BQ is an award-winning restaurant, popular with locals. Not only known for their delicious barbeque, Saucy’s also has an extensive selection of craft beers.

Libby Hill Park

2801 East Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23223

Libby Hill Park

You simply can’t fully appreciate Richmond until visiting Libby Hill Park. With gorgeous views of the city, Libby Hill Park is a popular pick for photographers, date nights, and family picnics. Pack a ball or frisbee to enjoy in the field, or scooters and bikes to ride on the paved path.

Nearby family-friendly attractions:

+ Whisk Bakery makes macarons that will melt in your mouth! Whisk Bakery is so popular they created a “Macaron Membership”, where members can try new flavors every month.

+ Proper Pie has the best selection of pies, ranging from sweet to savory. Purchase by the slice, a whole pie, or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

+ Jefferson Hill Park is situated at the top of the Church Hill district and is known for its stunning views of the downtown skyline. Other features include a fountain, grassy area, exercise equipment, and a playground.

Metro Richmond Zoo

8300 Beaver Bridge Rd, Moseley, VA 23120

metro richmond zoo

Not only can you see the over 2,000 animals that call the zoo home, but you can also take a Safari Train Ride, try the Zipline Adventure Course, take a Behind the Scenes Tour, and run the Run Wild 5K. Don’t forget to purchase food so the giraffes can eat right out of your hand!

Nearby family-friendly attractions:

+ Jimer’s Frozen Custard serves up sundaes, shakes, and cones from a vintage ice cream truck. Picnic tables in the shade are just behind the truck, making this an easy family outing.

+ The Treat Shop - Woodlake is a dessert paradise! Donuts, ice cream, and funnel cakes are just a few offerings at this casual desserterie.

+ Rockwood Park is one of the largest parks in Chesterfield County with multiple trails, a dog park, archery, picnic pavilions, and a large playground.

Have you been to Richmond? Does your family live in this Virginia capital city? Let us know what your favorite local spots are in the comments below! Or tag us in your photos on Instagram @gethappyly for a chance to be featured!

Interested in other amazing cities around the U.S.? We've got a whole bunch of local-recommended spots in major (and not major!) cities across the country. Check out our blog for great advice on cities like Chicago, Denver, Maui, Chattanooga, and more! Or, if you are interested in getting information about taking the family to the national parks, we've got some great tips on Saguaro National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Haleakala National Park, and Mt. Rainier National Park!

For even more local activities and attractions at your fingertips, be sure to download the happyly app, the country's only mobile-first family activity planning app, for fast access to all of our frequent blog content, favorite activities, and expertly designed curated days, both locally and in many communities and travel destinations across the country.

Thoughtfully captured by:
Lindsay Garrison
Lindsay Garrison is a Richmond, Virginia based mom to two young children. A graduate of Chesterfield Schools and Randolph-Macon College, Lindsay is proud to call Richmond home. In the years prior to planning activities and outings with her own children, she was a French teacher. During her tenure she earned accolades for her creative teaching style and ability to connect with her students. She now applies the skills she learned when she was planning student trips to France, to her own family adventures. She can’t wait to take her own children to France one day!
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