Looking for a special family date? Friends in town for the day? Richmond is filled with fun for all ages, and I’ve got all the details on how to spend a day in the city with kids in tow.
Here are three family friendly itineraries to enjoy all that Richmond has to offer.
Guest Blog by: Megan Ariail, @thewestendmom
For families who love things that go:
This kid-friendly itinerary features Richmond history, and the highlight is all the big machines: trains and boats!
Main Street Station: This historic train station is a must-visit for little ones & big kids. While it opened in 1901, Main Street Station got a major expansion in 2017 & now it has an official Welcome Center for tourists on the first floor! It’s free to visit 7 days a week & this is one of our favorite indoor adventures in the city.
Pro Tip: Plan your visit around the passenger trains’ schedule. These trains arrive at 6:35AM, 10:05AM, 6:00PM & 6:57 PM on weekdays and 9:34AM, 9:42AM, 6:00PM & 7:40PM on weekends. Cargo trains come through frequently too.
Bottoms Up Pizza: Located less than a block from Main Street Station, Bottoms Up Pizza is a family-friendly restaurant with inside seating and a patio next to the railroad tracks. It has a casual environment and quick service, even if you’re dining with a crowd!
Pro Tip: Sit outside for the best views of the train tracks. If loud noises startle your little ones, sit inside. You’ll still be able to see the trains.
Riverfront Canal Cruises: Located on the historic Kanawha Canal, Riverfront Canal Cruises take you on a 40-minute historical boat cruise. These flat bottom boats float in 3 feet to 15 feet of water by the Capital Trail, tobacco warehouses & the Low Line gardens. In addition to the historical narration, you can see river wildlife like otters, herons, and turtles. You will also pass by the Triple Crossing railroad tracks.
Suzy Sno: Located in historic Jackson Ward, this locally owned treat spot is less than 5 minutes from the canal cruise’s dock. Suzy Sno is the only place in the city that serves New Orleans-style snowballs. It’s an icy dessert that’s fine + fluffy like fresh snow! Suzy Sno has over 60 flavors – all made in-house with organic sugar.
Pro Tip: Dress for a mess! These treats are delicious, but they are very colorful & melt quickly on hot days.
For families who want a walkable adventure:
This family-friendly guide is perfect for families who only want to park once! It only takes about 5 minutes to walk from the restaurants to the playground, even with little legs!
Cameo Cakery and Cafe: Located on Libbie Avenue, this full-service cafe serves breakfast, lunch & dinner… plus it has a carryout window! You can order hot beverages + adult beverages, croissants + cinnamon rolls, charcuterie boards + savory cakes, or cupcakes, cookies & Nightingale ice cream. Cameo also offers vegan & gluten-free options.
Pro Tip: Sit outside on the patio. There are so many people, bikes and cars passing that little ones will be entertained!
Libbie Playground: Also known as Libbie Playground, this fenced-in park is located between Granite Ave & Libbie Ave. While it’s nestled in a neighborhood, it has its own parking lot & street parking. We visit this park a lot because it’s fenced in & it’s close to some of our favorite dining spots. It was also one of the places I could handle a 2-year-old & a newborn alone.
The Continental Westhampton: This neighborhood restaurant is a go-to for locals, college students, and families. It has inside seating, a covered patio, and sidewalk seating. The casual and lively atmosphere will keep your kiddos happy, and the American fare is perfect for picky eaters.
Pro Tip: Arrive around 5 on weekends to avoid a long wait. They don’t take reservations & this is a popular spot!
For families who want inside fun:
While exploring outside is one of the highlights of our River City, sometimes you need an indoor spot to escape the rain and beat the heat. These three spots all have indoor and outdoor fun available!
Children’s Museum of Richmond: This museum has been a favorite of families in Richmond, Virginia since 1981. The Children's Museum of Richmond is designed for children 0-8 & it has exhibits for interactive & imaginative play, learning & creating. Children can play in the dairy barn, a service station, ride a carousel & more! Recently, the Amtrak train exhibit opened, allowing children to “drive” a train, and the new outdoor playspace opened with a playground and musical instruments.
Boulevard Burgers: This diner has a retro vibe, and it’s such a fun spot to dine with the kids. It’s casual & fun with inside dining, a patio & heated tent (winter). The menu is also a crowd-pleaser for all of our picky eaters. Our favorites are Kelly’s classic, the black bean burger, kids’ meals w/ a shake ($5.95) & loaded tots. Boulevard Burgers also has vegan & veggie options!
What makes this spot extra special is that you’re dining in history! The building itself is on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places. It was originally Kelly’s Jet Burger System in the 1950s, a burger chain that was in Richmond before McDonald’s!
Science Museum of Virginia: This 223,000-square-foot museum has four floors of interactive exhibits on the massive 33-acre property! It has exhibits on wellness, innovation, physical science, and it features rotating exhibits like the Planet Shark exhibit open now through September 5. The Science Museum also has an exhibit just for little kids called The Light Place, and it has a climbing structure, puzzles, books, and more (0-5 years old).
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