Zahra Ndirangu, Contributing Writer
The air is brisk as brightly colored leaves start to make their way down from trees that are soon to be bare. Smells of pumpkin spice, apple cider and oak trees fill the autumn air. As the weather cools, the city offers a variety of fall activities to ring in the season. Here are some activities VCU students can enjoy in Richmond before the semester ends.
- See a film at the Byrd Theatre
Named after Richmond founder William Byrd II, the Byrd Theatre is a classic staple in the city. The theater is hosting a variety of showings and events this fall, including films like “Addams Family Values,” “The Blind Side” and “Fargo,” among many others.
The theater has been present in Richmond for more than 90 years and seats over 1,200 people. It is located in Carytown, about a mile away from the VCU’s campus, which students can reach by taking the GRTC Route 5 bus. Tickets to showings at the theater are available at the building’s box office or online, and on average cost $5 to $8 per person.
- Visit a local farmers market
The Carytown Farmers Market occurs weekly, every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at City Stadium on Maplewood Avenue. The market boasts many of Richmond’s local businesses, which sell produce, baked goods, crafts and more. In addition, over half of the businesses who participate in this market are run by women or minorities, according to the market’s website.
The market runs from April through Dec. 5, and is part of the Richmond volunteer organization Capital Area Farmers Market Association, a coalition of farmers markets that provide the city with locally grown produce.
- Volunteer at a community kitchen for Thanksgiving
HandsOn Greater Richmond is an organization which offers volunteer opportunities for those interested in giving back this season. The organization is hosting its annual “Stock Our Shelves! Thanksgiving Food Drive” until Nov. 22.
Students can help fill HandsOn Greater Richmond’s virtual shelf for guests staying at The Doorways, a hospitality house for those who have to stay near the MCV hospital during the holiday season. Students can donate nonperishable goods both in person at The Doorways facility and virtually through the organization’s Amazon wishlist.
- Visit Belle Isle
Belle Isle offers a taste of nature within the city, where guests can hike, fish or simply explore the wooded areas and take advantage of the cooler weather. The isle is located on the James River and features an easy-to-navigate footpath for guests, as well as signs illustrating the rich history of the area, such as its past as a nail and ironworks factory.
The Belle Isle Trail spans about two miles around the river and features the Lee Bridge, which hosts a pedestrian suspension bridge that makes access to the inland easier for guests. The island is located about three miles from campus, and can be accessed via public transportation through the GRTC Route 87 bus.
- Visit a local cidery
About a 10-minute drive from campus, Blue Bee Cider is Virginia’s first cidery in a metropolitan area. It offers behind-the-scenes tours of the factory and cider tastings for those 21-years-old and older, as well as cheese tastings at Richmond cheese shop Truckle Cheesemongers.
The cidery also features events for guests such as the Virginia Cider Celebration, a celebration of Virginia Cider Week with food trucks, live music and an assortment of over 40 different ciders; and Cider Week Pop-Up, a collaboration with another cidery, Fine Creek Brewing, in which guests can taste the products from both of these cideries.
These fall activities are just some of the diverse and accessible options available for students and Richmond residents to take advantage of. These seasonal activities include something that everyone can enjoy, especially VCU students who want to get to know the city of Richmond better.