Hidden Gems of Richmond, Virginia

At over 400 years old, Richmond is one of America’s oldest cities. Within the city, there are many historic sites to explore, such as the Edgar Allan Poe House Museum and the Virginia Capitol Building. After visiting Richmond’s main attractions, travelers may be left thinking, “what’s next?” This insider guide will reveal some of Richmond’s best hidden gems and travel oddities.

Connecticut the American Indian

Image via Flickr by Mobilus In Mobili

For over 25 years, Connecticut the American Indian has kept a watchful eye over Richmond’s residents. In the early 1980s, local artist Paul Di Pasquale created the 10-foot-tall statue as a tribute to the area’s Native American community. Connecticut spent most of his days as a mascot at The Diamond, home of the Richmond Braves. However, when the Triple-A baseball team moved out of Richmond, Connecticut needed a new home. He now sits perched above the old Lucky Strike tobacco factory, where he gazes over the James River.

The Grand Kugel

Image via Flickr by Gamma Man

Outside the Science Museum of Virginia, visitors can get a hands-on look at a floating sphere sculpture called a kugel. The scientific marvel is nine feet in diameter and weighs 29 tons, but visitors can easily move it with a swipe of a finger. Several of these levitating sculptures exist around the world, although Richmond has the largest one ever constructed.

Belle Isle

Image via Flickr by taberandrew

Belle Isle is an outdoor escape in Richmond. It’s an island that lies within the James River. Locals visit to enjoy wildlife, picnic on the river boulders, and explore the abandoned buildings along the trails, called the Ruins of Belle Isle. There are places for kayaking, swimming, rock jumping, and hiking.

John Marshall House

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The historic home of John Marshall is worth a visit. Marshall played a significant role in the history of the United States, and he is often deemed the Greatest Man Never to be President. He was the longest-serving Chief Justice to date, a founding father, and a definer of the Constitution. Visitors claim that touring the home is like stepping back in time because so little has changed since Marshall’s lifetime.

The Markel Building

To some, the Markel Building is a bit of an eyesore. In 2009, it was even declared one of the world’s 10 ugliest buildings. Urban legend suggests that architect Haig Jamgochian was inspired to construct a building resembling the steaming baked potato that he was served at the American Institute of Architects’ annual dinner. His design was actually meant to be 1960s futuristic, a highly popular trend at the time of its construction.

Richmond Milk Bottle Building

Image via Flickr by Gamma Man

Those who love quirky architecture or classic Americana will want to catch a glimpse of the huge milk bottle building in Richmond’s historic Jackson Ward district. The building used to house an old dairy, but it’s since been converted into modern apartments. When driving by, be sure to check out the old fire station across the street.

Little Sister of Liberty

Image via Flickr by taberandrew

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, over 100 small replicas of the Statue of Liberty were commissioned and sold across the country. In 1951, a local department store purchased one for $350 and dedicated it in Richmond’s Chimborazo Park. The local scouts, who contributed a quarter to the purchase, were honored by having their names written on the scrolls that are sealed in the statue’s base.

Given that Richmond is over 400 years old, there are centuries of activities and tourist attractions to explore. Looking for deals on hotels for your stay in Richmond? Check out HotelPlanner.com.

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