Richmond may be best known as the backdrop to some of the most significant events in American history — and the stomping grounds of revolutionaries like Patrick Henry (“Give me liberty, or give me death!”) — but this Southern city is so much more than that.

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Beef Barbacoa Enchiladas and Sizzling Fajitas and People at ZZQ barbeque restaurant in Richdmond
Richmond Region Tourism

On the first Friday of every month, galleries on and near Broad Street in Richmond’s Arts District open their doors to visitors who fill the streets, chowing down on local cuisine and shopping at local pop-ups. Richmond is also a go-to spot for those who love the performing arts thanks to its focus on theater, dance and music. There’s the Richmond Triangle Players, an LGBTQ+ troupe that puts on creative shows and cabarets that celebrate the queer experience, and the Virginia Repertory Theatre, which brings in 550,000 audience members a year. Richmond also hosts an annual Shakespeare festival in the outdoor courtyard of Agecroft Hall, plus an array of jazz, funk and blues shows peppered around the city. And don’t sleep on the city’s food scene: Mama J’s soul food in the historically Black quarter of Jackson Ward, and India K' Raja, with its large selection of Indian beers, are worth the hype.

The VA Pridefest held by Virginia Lottery at Brown's Island in Richmond
Richmond Region Tourism

Richmond honors and contends with its history — which includes serving as the Confederate capital during the Civil War — with around 30 museums that tackle the good, the bad and the in-between. Those include the American Civil War Museum — whose mission is to explore the war through the lens of Union, Confederate and African American perspectives — and the excellent (and free) Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.