The Richmond Arts District, which stretches from the Institute for Contemporary Art at Belvidere and Broad, down through the Jackson and Monroe Ward neighborhoods, is a bastion of creativity in the heart of downtown Richmond. Anchored by an impressive collection of theaters, art galleries, libraries, and museums, the area also boasts an eclectic array of locally owned restaurants and shops.

The Arts District is also home to the First Fridays Art Walk. Held the first Friday of every month, galleries and shops stay open late, encouraging visitors to wander the area and enjoy street performances, live music, and special deals. Interested in spending a day strolling one of Richmond’s oldest retail districts? Check out our can’t-miss stops!


But first, coffee…

You’ll need caffeine to power you through the day, so make your first stop at Richmond’s first social café for a cup of java and a tasty breakfast sandwich at Urban Hang Suite. Urban Hang Suite is only open during the week until 2 pm, so if you’re visiting on the weekend, duck into Lift Coffee Shop & Café or Birdie’s.

The Someday Shop in Richmond shows a bookshelf with vintage goods and a table filled with house wares

The Someday Shop

Time to shop…

Broad Street is a haven for handcrafted, unique, and vintage goods. Verdalina is a high-end women’s boutique focused on sustainability, while Little Nomad is equally focused on sustainability and quality but geared towards Richmond’s tiniest residents and visitors. Pop into Jolene for artfully made home goods and gifts sourced from independent makers and artisans worldwide, or head to The Someday Shop for nostalgic vintage housewares, plants, and arts.

Rappahannock oysters and wine


Bites and sips…

Whether you’re looking for drinks or a meal, the Arts District has plenty of options. Depending on the season, Q Rooftop Bar at Quirk Hotel is the place to go for drinks with a view, particularly at sunset, while Birdies is the perfect cozy spot for coffee, wine, oysters, and conversation. For more seafood, head to Grace Street and duck into Rappahannock for extensive raw bar and seafood farm-to-table options. For New American cuisine with southern flair, head to Lillie Pearl, or for more European style, visit Max’s on Broad – both of which have generous patios. For Jewish comfort food with a twist, check out Perly’s, and for exceptional sandwiches, visit Secret Sandwich Society.

Interior of The Sandman Comedy Club

Sandman Comedy Club


While the Arts District has its fair share of art galleries and museums, many of which we’ve already covered, the area also offers a variety of alternative entertainment options. Virginia Repertory Theatre is a non-profit theatre that puts on a variety of productions throughout the year, perfect for a night out. Sandman Comedy Club brings in national touring comedians for laughs, drinks, and food, and Godfrey’s serves up an unforgettable Drag Brunch and nightly drag shows.