Exploring the Virginia State Capitol: Trip Advisor Richmond Top Attractions

We ventured downtown for the last stop on our Trip Advisor Top 5 list.  We will continue to explore other places on the Trip Advisor list but in retrospect I should have done a countdown. Clearly I should have saved the best for last! Oh well, this is a learning curve for me so bear with me. I already have a lot in store for the upcoming year so I’d like to focus on that now that summer is ending. With Little Big Guy starting school in September (how did that happen???) our adventure dynamic is sure to change. But that’s the beauty of exploring…life is one new adventure after another! I can’t wait to see what this upcoming school year brings for our family. But I digress…

So, we ventured downtown to the Virginia State Capitol. Driving downtown is my worst nightmare. It’s not so bad if I know exactly where I’m going, but on this trip I didn’t. I drove around for quite sometime trying to find street parking close by. I found some eventually but it was not worth the trouble for me. But I’m not a city person…if you’re used to high amounts of traffic and pedestrians I’m sure you’ll be fine. Don’t be me. Put the directions to the nearest parking garage (99 S 6th St Richmond, VA 23219) and just park there. It’s a four block walk to Capitol Square and it’s so much easier than driving around trying to find a close on street parking that you have to pay for anyway. Walk three blocks to 9th street. Turn left and walk one block to Bank Street. Here you can take a right on Bank Street and come upon the main visitor entrance, or if you want to walk around Capitol Square there’s also an entrance on 9th street if you keep walking. If you are traveling with a stroller or wheelchair my best suggestion would be to enter on the Bank Street visitors entrance, check out the inside of the Capitol and then exit the back so you’re at the top of the hill on Capital Square. The attendant at the help desk in the Lower Rotunda can help you find the exit if you have trouble locating it.

The interior of the Capitol is open from 8am-5pm Monday- Saturday with free one hour guided tours are available 9am-4pm. Sundays the building is open 1:00pm-5:00pm with tours from 1pm-4pm. Capitol Square is open everyday from 7 am to 11pm. We went during the week around 10:00 am and it was not crowded at all. Capitol Square was absolutely beautiful with stunning statues and monuments. They are also planning a few upcoming art pieces as well so I’ll have to check them out once they are finished. For the most part the park is stroller/wheelchair friendly. There was just once small set of stairs we had any hold ups with. I just carried the stroller down, but if that’s not an option you could walk around the sidewalk outside of the Square. There were plenty of places to sit an relax. People were lounging on the lawns, running, walking their dogs but even so there was not too much traffic.

Admiring statues around Capitol Square

Inside the Capitol you have to go through security. The people a the help desk were nice and the security guards were jovial as well. Everyone seemed to be in a great mood! You walk into a beautiful statue of Thomas Jefferson, which makes me wonder how many statues of TJ are around Richmond. I might go on a hunt to find them all. I know of two already, so I’m curious how many there might be! There are plenty of elevators and ramps so it’s accessible for every one. Heading up to the second floor is the Merriweather Cafe. We weren’t planning on having lunch but truly even if we were we probably would have opted for something different. The ambiance was nice but it looked like they carried mostly prepackaged salads and sandwiches.

So we continued our journey through the Rotunda and up to the Mezzanine. We saw beautiful paintings, another gorgeous statue, this time of George Washington, and a beautifully preserved meeting room. The meeting room contained the Mace of the Virginia House of Delegates, which was part of the tradition of the House meetings. Little Lady oohed and ahhed over it for a while. I think that was her favorite part.

Over all this wasn’t our favorite spot in Richmond at all. BUT if we were coming to Richmond for the weekend I would definitely put it on the list of things to do. There is so much history, beauty and art in this one block that it’s absolutely worth a trip. You can linger or do a quick trip. Either way, check it out!

Would you add the Capitol to a list of your favorite places in Richmond? Tell me what you love about it! Or what you hate about it. Either way tell me something! Drop a comment below and share your everyday adventures with me 🙂

Check out the other places we visited in the Trip Advisor Series

VMFA

Maymont

Lewis Ginter

Hollywood Cemetery