Top 10 free things to do in Richmond

Mark Robinson
Assistant Spectrum Editor

Living in the city for the first time and don’t know what to do? The CT’s got your back.

1. Maymont: Only a 10-minute drive from campus, this 100-acre estate-turned-park is a photographer’s dream. With stunning gardens, a wildlife exhibit and some of the best tree-climbing in Richmond, a daytrip to Maymont is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The park is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round.

2. VCU’s No Shame Variety Show: Every Friday night, theatre junkies, self-proclaimed comedians and other miscellaneous people that may or may not consider themselves talented gather at the Shafer Street Playhouse (next door to Shafer Court) to participate in or watch the No Shame Variety Show. Anyone can perform in the feature; sign-up sheets are available at the Singleton Center for the Performing Arts.

3. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA): The Picasso exhibit may be gone, but the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts still boasts a vast collection of work from different origins, styles and periods. A quick bike ride up to Boulevard is all it takes to visit.

4. Monument Avenue: In 2007, Monument Avenue was named one of the 10 great streets in America by the American Planning Association. The cobblestone street features statues of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and Richmond native and tennis great Arthur Ashe.

5. Belle Isle: This outdoor getaway features bike and hiking trails, bouldering and rock-climbing and the best way to escape the blistering Richmond heat: access to the James River. Belle Isle is a 25-minute walk from the Monroe park campus, on which you will cross a suspension footbridge that provides a picturesque view of the downtown Richmond skyline.

6. Street Drummers: If there is a show at the Landmark Theatre, bet on street drummers playing at the corner of West Main and Laurel streets. There’s no mistaking the clamor of drumsticks on plastic buckets and trashcan lids. For a first-time city dweller, it’s somewhat of a novelty.

7. Byrd Theatre: Located in the heart of Carytown, the Byrd Theatre offers cheap admission to second-running movies not yet released on DVD. Every Saturday night, the “world-famous” Bob Gullege on the Mighty Wurlitzer organ precedes the movie screenings. It’s not free, but $2 dollars is hardly a steep fee for the experience.

8. First Fridays Art Walk: A variety of galleries, boutiques, and restaurants play host to the First Friday Art Walk on (you guessed it) the first Friday of each month between 5 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on East Broad Street. This is Richmond culture at its finest.

9. Hollywood Cemetery: Whether or not the ghost stories are true (they are), there’s no denying the allure of Richmond’s famous Hollywood Cemetery. Historical walking tours are offered Monday through Saturday at 10 a.m., April through October.

10. Anderson Gallery: Tucked behind Hibbs Hall, The Anderson Gallery is the place to see VCUarts students’ work. In addition to student features, the gallery regularly hosts traveling exhibits from regional and international artists.

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