Richmond City Orientation Tour, Richmond

As one of the oldest cities in the United States, Richmond boasts a great cultural and historical heritage. In fact, it helped to shape American history. Take our City Orientation Tour to get a sense of the main institutions of Richmond and see some of its top sights.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Richmond City Orientation Tour Map

Guide Name: Richmond City Orientation Tour
Guide Location: USA » Richmond (See other walking tours in Richmond)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.8 km
Author: damon
1
Governor's Mansion

1) Governor's Mansion

The Virginia Governor's Mansion, better known as the Executive Mansion, is the official residence of the most important leader in the state. Designed by Alexander Parris, it is the oldest occupied governor's mansion in the United States. The house on Capitol Square has served as the home of Virginia governors and their families since 1813. During the Civil War, it was a center of leadership because Richmond was the second capital of the Confederate States of America and Virginia's statehouse held offices for the Confederacy. Renovated a number of times in the last century, it is now a listed historic monument.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Virginia State Capitol Building

2) Virginia State Capitol Building (must see)

When it first convened in Richmond in 1780, the Virginia State legislature met in a makeshift building near Shockoe Bottom. Plans for a new building centered on Shockoe Hill, a major hilltop overlooking the falls of the James River. Thomas Jefferson is credited with leading the design of the project, which was modeled after the Maison Carrée at Nîmes in southern France. Jefferson had the architect, Charles-Louis Clérisseau, put the columns in Roman Ionic Order over the more ornate Corinthian columns in France. The General Assembly first meet there in 1792.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
George Washington Statue

3) George Washington Statue

The Washington Monument on Capitol Square depicts George Washington on horseback, accompanied by Virginians Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson among others. The statues were Designed by Thomas Crawford and Randolph Rogers, the statues were manufactured in Munich, Germany. Below the sculptures there is a tomb which was intended as Washington’s final resting place, although it remains empty.
4
Capitol Square

4) Capitol Square (must see)

The Capitol Square was the center of the action in Richmond during the Civil War. The city’s population witnessed soldiers marching on their way to the battlefield here. Nowadays, the square remains the center of political life in Richmond. There are a number of important monuments dotted around the square and, inside the State Capitol building, you can find the final resting place of some of the South's fallen heroes.
5
Library of Virginia

5) Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia in Richmond is the library agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, its archival agency, and the reference library at the seat of government. The Library moved into a new building in 1997 and is located at 800 East Broad Street, 2 blocks from the Virginia State Capitol building. It was formerly known as the Virginia State Library. The Library of Virginia organizes, cares for, and manages the state's collection of books and official records, many of which date back to the early colonial period. It houses what is believed to be the most comprehensive collection of materials on Virginia government, history, and culture available anywhere.

Its history goes back to the collection of materials acquired for official use by the colonial Council and subsequent colonial and state authorities. The first permanent home of the Library was a small room on the top floor of the State Capitol. The state’s books and records eventually outgrew this space, and overflow books and documents were then stored in several rented locations across Richmond. In 1892, the General Assembly provided for a new State Library on Capitol Square in what is today known as the Oliver Hill Building. Over the ensuing forty years, the Library again outgrew that building, and in 1940 it moved to its third location at the edge of Capitol Square between 11th and Governor Streets.

The Library is open to the public Monday through Saturday: 9 AM until 5 PM.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Richmond Coliseum

6) Richmond Coliseum

Richmond Coliseum is an arena in Richmond, where the SPHL Richmond Renegades played until the 2008-2009 season and the SIFL Richmond Raiders play starting with the 2010 season. It is also the venue for various large concerts. The arena opened in 1971 and holds 13,500 people. A small fire occurred there in 1997, shutting it down for repairs.

The Richmond Coliseum is laid out on 6 levels. In order from lowest to highest they are the event level, the mezzanine, the lower concourse, the upper concourse, the 300 level and the ring. The event level is where the event floor is located, as well as all the support rooms for events and the building. Team locker rooms, star dressing rooms, Exhibition halls, the Coliseum Club and the kitchens are located on the event level. The Clay Street tunnel, one of the innovative features of the coliseum, is on the event level and allows vehicles, including tractor trailers and monster trucks, to pull into the coliseum. It is accessed at the intersection of Clay Street and Eighth Street. The tunnel provides storage for shows and parking for coliseum personnel. The mezzanine is where the administrative offices for the coliseum are located. The Leigh Street entrance is on this level. The lower concourse is the access for all lower level seating and suites. The Fifth Street and Sixth Street entrances are located on this level, as well as exits to the areas above Clay Street and Leigh Street. The upper concourse is the access for all upper level seating and the 300 level is access to the highest seats on either radius of the coliseum.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Richmond Police Department

7) Richmond Police Department

Founded in 1807, the Richmond Police Department is one of the oldest police forces in the US. You can’t miss this building as you pass, both because of the curious metal sculpture at the entrance and the many patrol cars outside.
8
The Commonwealth Club

8) The Commonwealth Club

The Commonwealth Club opened in 1891 as the home of a new gentleman’s club. Today the building is considered to be one of the finest pieces of architecture in the whole city. Characterized by its deep red brick and brownstone trim, the building mixes Colonial Revival and Richardsonian Romanesque architectural styles.
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart

9) Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (must see)

The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond. The property is located along North Laurel Street at 800 South Cathedral Place, facing Monroe Park one block north of Main Street. Construction of the Cathedral was begun in 1903, financed by donations of Thomas Fortune Ryan and his wife; it was the only cathedral at that time known to be constructed by the exclusive patronage of a single family. The cathedral was completed in 1905 and consecrated on Thanksgiving Day, November 29, 1906. The cathedral is a Virginia Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The building is an example of Italian Renaissance Revival architecture. The exterior is constructed from Virginia granite and Indiana limestone; ceramic tiles and a copper-jacketed dome 118 feet across complete the roof. The basilica's two front towers rise 90 feet. The portico is supported by fluted Corinthian columns; the entablature features the phrase "If Ye Love Me Keep My Commandments", while the underside of the pediment is lined with fireproof tiles designed by Rafael Guastavino.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Jefferson Davis Monument

10) Jefferson Davis Monument (must see)

Jefferson Finis Davis (1808 –1889) was an American military officer, statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. He served as the only ever President of the Confederate States of America between 1861 and 1865. A West Point graduate, Davis fought in the Mexican-American War, and was the US Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. He also served as a Mississippi’s Senator. A Civil War hero, his legacy is an important part of the history of the southern states.
Sight description based on wikipedia
11
Branch House

11) Branch House

Branch House in Richmond was designed in 1916 by the firm of John Russell Pope as a private residence of financier John Kerr Branch and his wife Beulah Gould Branch. The house lies within Richmond's Monument Avenue Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1967. Branch House itself was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. It was bought in 2003 by the Virginia Center for Architecture Foundation and reopened in 2005 as headquarters of its successor.

Branch House was thus elevated to the National Register because it was designed by one of the country's prominent architectural firms during the early 20th century because it is the only example of the firm's Tudor-Jacobean Revival residences in which the interiors have survived intact. In addition, the house is located within a historic district of cultural significance and is the largest house in the city of Richmond.

Branch House also accurately reflects a particular period of American history, in the early decades of the twentieth century, when English architectural styles were fashionable among wealthy industrialists and financiers. The client was also scion to a distinguished Virginia family and had assembled a substantial collection of Renaissance artifacts.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
12
Science Museum of Virginia

12) Science Museum of Virginia (must see)

In 1906, the Virginia General Assembly approved funds for the construction of a simple "exhibits center" to display mineral and timber exhibits. The "State Museum", as it came to be known, opened in 1910 and over the years displays of natural history specimens from a variety of State agencies were added to its collection.Today the museum’s collection includes natural history specimens and other artifacts from a variety of State agencies.

Operation hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 9:30 am – 5 pm; Sunday: 11:30 am – 5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Richmond, Virginia

Create Your Own Walk in Richmond

Create Your Own Walk in Richmond

Creating your own self-guided walk in Richmond is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Richmond Specialty Shopping Tour

Richmond Specialty Shopping Tour

The historic district of Carytown is Richmond’s premier shopping area. Here you can find many different high-quality specialty shops as well as top restaurants. Take our Carytown Shopping Tour to find the best shopping spots in this part of town.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 km
Richmond Civil War Trail

Richmond Civil War Trail

One of the most fascinating aspects of Richmond is its glorious past as the Confederacy's capital. If you are a history buff you’ll love taking this unique tour, which includes all the main sites in the city associated with the American Civil War.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km
Richmond Art Galleries Tour Part 1

Richmond Art Galleries Tour Part 1

Richmond is one of best cities in this part of the United States for art, with a large number of quality galleries in the city. You can see fascinating artworks by nationally and internationally famous artists here, as well as browse paintings for purchase at commercial galleries. Take our two-part tour to see the best art galleries in the city.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.6 km
Richmond Places of Worship Tour Part 2

Richmond Places of Worship Tour Part 2

Due to its past as an English colony, Richmond has a number of notable Anglican and Episcopal churches dotted around the city. Take our two-part tour to discover these beautiful buildings as well as many other places of worship in Richmond.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 km
Richmond Art Galleries Tour Part 2

Richmond Art Galleries Tour Part 2

Richmond is one of best cities in this part of the United States for art, with a large number of quality galleries in the city. You can see fascinating artworks by nationally and internationally famous artists here, as well as browse paintings for purchase at commercial galleries. Take our two-part tour to see the best art galleries in the city.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 km
Richmond Places of Worship Tour Part 1

Richmond Places of Worship Tour Part 1

Due to its past as an English colony, Richmond has a number of notable Anglican and Episcopal churches dotted around the city. Take our two-part tour to discover these beautiful buildings as well as many other places of worship in the city of Richmond.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Richmond for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Richmond has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Richmond, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.