People often overlook Richmond, the charmingly Southern capital of the state of Virginia. Not me—it’s a go-to anytime I have a spare weekend and nothing to do. Because, the first thing I do with my summer weekends in Washington is get out of Washington. Richmond has great brunch spots, exudes Southern charm, and offers warm weather, friendly people, and great coffee. So, naturally, I enjoy it.
The Jefferson Hotel
We felt like turn of the century debutantes upon entering the Jefferson, with its gilded ceilings, marble columns, and Old World glamour. This hotel would parallels Europe’s most glamorous hotels, with its massive chandeliers, marble columns, and fancy carpeting. Our room was utter heaven: oh so spacious, with lots of closet space, a sitting area, a dressing area, and a bathroom with both a tub and a full shower. The beds were enormous and comfortable, and the service was impeccable. We enjoyed many a drink at the glam hotel bar, and the over-the-top Sunday brunch buffet was clearly the place to be for the who’s who of Richmond. The Jefferson Hotel, 101 W Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23220.
We can’t get enough of the playful, pink and posh Quirk Hotel. The historic building was renovated into a light, filled, pastel dream, with playful details in the rooms like pink sound machines, gourmet snacks, and stunning marble bathrooms. The white-and-pink lobby is a design dream, with beautiful staircases, plush velvet pink couches, and a beautiful bar toward the back. We love shopping in the boutique, plus the brunch can’t be beat. Quirk Hotel, 201 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220.
The Graduate Hotel
This playful hotel lies nearby Quirk and the Jefferson, with similarly easy access to downtown Richmond. It’s another great option should you find yourself in Richmond. The Graduate Hotel, 301 West Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23220.
We ventured across town to an up-and-coming neighborhood to visit a brand new, buzzworthy restaurant, Brenner Pass. The European restaurant has a Scandinavian aesthetic: bright, white, airy and minimal. The restaurant is built into an industrial space with floor-to-ceiling windows, cement warehouse flooring, and light oak tables.
We loved the restaurant’s vibe, which was filled with beautiful people. The French-European fare was incredible—we loved the pastries, the Coq A Vin, and the peach tatine—as well as the inventive cocktails made with house-made ingredients.Brenner Pass, 3200 Rockbridge Street, Suite #100, Richmond, VA 23230.
Housed in an old gas station, this coffee and doughnut spot is a Richmond institution for breakfast and worthy of this accolade. You can’t go wrong with iced coffees, piping hot and fresh doughnuts, and massive breakfast sandwiches. The Lamplighter roasts its own beans right in Richmond—and the coffee is really very good, smooth and not at all bitter. Read our brunch review here. Lamplighter, 1719 Summit Ave., Richmond, Va.
This charming Southern spot is built into an old garage, with brick walls, an old garage door, and lots of industrial charm. It’s been gussied up with dark green leather booths and quirky, bright modern art. The service was beyond friendly, and the cocktails were on point. We enjoyed the elevated American fare—particularly the steak. Laura Lee’s, 3410 Semmes Avenue, Richmond, Va.
Maple & Pine
Quirk is our go-to hotel as it contains a charming lobby bar and restaurant, coffee shop, and boutique—all in millennial pink. The hotel restaurant, Maple & Pine, is a great spot for brunch, dinner, or special occasions. The service is Southern-style friendly, as the food is Southern comfort: think pimiento cheese, breakfast burgers served on moist, house-made biscuits, and plenty of fried chicken. Maple & Pine, 201 West Broad Street, Richmond, Va.
Millie’s is a hole-in-the-wall that’s wildly popular for brunch in Richmond. Nestle in to a cozy booth (complete with a jukebox) and indulge on cheap mimosas and massive, Southern-style Eggs Benedicts loaded with Hollandaise. Don’t forget a slice of cake for dessert. Read the review here. Millie’s Diner, 2603 E Main St, Richmond, VA 23223
The gents behind Rappahannock Oyster opened a restaurant focused on elevated American fare and seafood—with plenty of oysters. The enormous, beautiful space is a great place for happy hour with a group, dinner, drinks, or brunch—it has it all. We loved our whole meal, from the oysters and pearls to the potato rosti to the blueberry cobbler for dessert. Read our full brunch review here. Rappahannock, 320 E Grace St., Richmond, VA 23219
This Belgian spot serves inventive cocktail and the best roast chicken we’ve ever had. It’s a great place for craft cocktails with friends, or a cozy dinner for two at their small, European-style wooden tables. And, as the name would imply, they have a great beer list. Saison, 23 W. Marshall St., Richmond, VA, 23220.
The Jefferson Hotel
We spent our early, and late, evenings at the bar at the glamorous Jefferson Hotel, enabling us to try quite a few of the menu items. The wine list was impressive, as was the Aperol Spritz. We were utterly blown away by the burger, and the fried devil eggs, which were coated in panko crumbs for an utterly delicious late night snack. The Jefferson Hotel, 101 W Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23220.
Virginia Museum of Fine Art
A beautiful modern building with a stunning courtyard, the VMFA has an impressive art collection, and great seasonal exhibits, including a current Yves St. Laurent exhibit. It is most certainly worth making the time to visit. VMFA, 200 N Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220
Shopping in Carytown
This charming neighborhood is filled with boutiques, ice cream shops and restaurants. Plus, vintage shops and old book stores. It’s a great place to spend the afternoon wandering.
Thanks to Visit Richmond for partnering on this post!