Looking for free entertainment this summer? Richmond, Virginia is the place to go. Although the city isn't the first place that comes to mind when thinking of spending the day outdoors, Richmond is a Mecca for fun in the sun.
One of the most popular places for a free family outing in Richmond is Maymont Park. There is a plethora of exhibits spread out across the 100 acre grounds, so be prepared for a lot of walking! The Hampton Street entrance provides quick access to the Italian garden, as well as the Japanese garden, which is complete with a koi fish pond, gazebos, and waterfall. This entrance is also a straight shot to the Maymont Mansion. If you prefer to visit the wildlife exhibits first, choose the Spottswood Road entrance. Wildlife exhibits include a children's farm and barn where youngsters can pet and feed goats while visiting the other farm animals. Past the barn are the fox, black bear, and birds of prey exhibits. Need a break? Head to the indoor nature center, with an aquarium and café, located by the Shields Lake Drive entrance. Admission and parking are always free, though there is sometimes a suggested donation for certain exhibits. Hours vary by season, but you can easily plan your trip to Maymont Park by visiting their website at www.maymont.org for more information.
Another Richmond hot spot during the summer is Belle Isle. The historically rich area is located downtown on the riverfront, off of 5th Street. It's the perfect place to be active, with running paths and bike trails that lead visitors to breathtaking views of the James River and Richmond City. Belle Isle is also a great place to go kayaking, swimming, or to sunbathe on the rocks. Just be observant of any restrictions due to the river water level posted at the bridge entrance. The park closes at dark and has a free parking lot, as well as plenty street parking.
Looking for a different kind of night out on the town? Visit the Canal Walk, located in Richmond's River District. Canal Walk is within walking distance to the popular restaurants and clubs of Shockoe Bottom. Visits are free, but for $5 you can take a narrated tour one of their covered boats. Operating hours of tours vary but are typically from 12 noon to 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 12 noon to 5pm on Sunday. Visit www.richmondriverdistrict.com for additional canal cruise information and more things to do in the area.
Another alternative to your run- of – the- mill weekend outing is First Fridays Art Walk. It takes place on the first Friday of each month on Broad Street in downtown Richmond. Enjoy special exhibits and shows at local art galleries and cheer on street performers and musicians. There is a wide assortment of live music and vendors each month so come out and see what's new!
A Richmond summer favorite is the Friday Cheers free summer concert series. This event takes place on Brown's Island, every Friday from 6pm to 9:30pm. The series started May 8 and will continue to June 26. With lots of food, beer, and music, you can't afford to miss it. Be sure to arrive early so you can find free parking. If you come later, parking is $5. You can find this year's line- up at www.venturerichmond.com/events under 2020 Friday Cheers.
You don't have to spend a lot (if any!) money to go out and have a great time. For more upcoming Richmond events, check out www.eventful.com/richmond/events.