Are There Any Fun Things to do in Richmond? Tourists stink. They ask stupid questions. Often they are too drunk to remember to tip. They dress funny. But . . . my cab costs money and I have important bills like my monthly subscription to sexycats.com. So I guess I should behave and answer the question.
tbh, I don’t want to talk to you, dear cab customer. I really only want to know two things: where are you going and am I going to get paid? Of the two, whether I am getting paid is the important question. After that, I really don’t care. “You must meet some pretty interesting people,” she said. Not really. I meet a lot of people who can’t take transit or drive for one of many reasons. These are not interesting people. These are annoying people like you.
When I drove for Uber I met younger, inebriated people. I met young, inebriated women who heard the rumor that Uber drivers would hook up with them. Huge bad idea. So, not me. To repeat, if I have a passenger that wants to hook up with me she’s going home first, getting some sleep and we’ll do brunch while she’s still hung over. If there is a third date, then . . . maybe.
Uber Hook Up
There have been Uber drivers who believed she did want to hook up with him that found out she was just drunk and momentarily lost her damned mind. The next morning these drivers found themselves under arrest and in the news. There is even a website: whoisdrivingyou.org. So, yeah, it’s a thing, sadly.
I am a veteran cab driver. All told I’ve driven over 500,000 passenger safe miles. Many young, drunk and attractive women have gotten home safe because of me. I see her, saw her, chose a long time ago to leave her alone and do my job. If you are her and your driver is creepy, end the ride. Nothing is worth staying in a bad situation.
The big elephant on the street in Richmond is our place as one corner of the slave triangle and as the capital of the Confederacy. We have reasons to lament. It’s hard to tour this city and avoid the remains of the War for States Rights. I’m not with those who would pave over our regrettable past. I want us to remember. We are not 247365 morose about our dog in the fight against racism. There is a better answer to the question than just pissing on Monument Avenue statues and touring Hollywood Cemetary.
Are There Fun Things to do in Richmond?
So, on with the topic. There are many fun things to do in Richmond. Some of my favorites are:
- Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
- Buzz & Neds
- Proper Pie
- James River Park Trails
- River Rafting on the James
- Dogwood Dell
- Lamplighter Cafe
- Byrd Theater
Searching Yelp got me 2690 fun things to do in Richmond. I like cafes more than I like bars. Drunks are my money and by extension my food. Mom told me not to play with my food. I have a mercantile interest in making a drunk think I am friendly. But, it’s because you smell of money and look crunchy. By inference, bars are where my food can be found so I like them. As a place to socialize? No.
You will find me in a few cafes around Richmond. The last time I was in a bar with a friend was ten years ago. I spent the whole time studying the crowd trying to decide which of these assholes would actually pay me if I found them on the street needing a cab. Conclusion? None of them. The fish & chips were tasty. It was not fun.
The closest I’ve found to Berkeley’s Au Coquelet is Richmond’s Black Hand Coffee. I want a place with good WiFi where I can write. Black Hand Coffee offers that. One other way it is like Au Coquelet is the lack of parking. I recommend riding an Uber or taking transit to Black Hand Coffee. Driving there is annoying. When I am not at Black Hand I can be found at Starbucks on Robinson Street or North Boulevard.
I spend too much money at Proper Pie. My favorite order is a savory, a pastie and a roll. When I am feeling flush I’ll add something sweet to that order. Proper Pie changes their menu daily so check with them on what they are offering today. Their coffee is good as well.
Down the street is Riverbend Roastery. This is another place where you can spend an afternoon nursing a coffee and using their WiFi. My son tried their hot chocolate a few years ago and declared it to be his best ever.
I’m a huge movie goer. Richmond’s Byrd Theater is a surviving movie palace that kept its Wurlitzer pipe organ. They offer a different double feature each week for $4.00 per movie. $8.00 to see two movies and hear a pipe organ is a really good deal. The house organist only plays once a week on Saturdays. Plan accordingly. When I want to see a new release in a theater with an audience I go to Movieland.
I’ve only been to one Cinebistro. It was nice to have a beer and some fish & chips while I watched a movie. I haven’t been to the one at Stoney Point. But, P.F. Changs is there along with Cinebistro. Looking at the menu it’s a Benjamin for two people to eat and watch a movie. That’s a bit steep for me. It’s a couple hours of rides on an average day.
There is probably a MoviePass in my future. I let my Verizon FIOS subscription get canceled 18 months ago. I still have 4G on my phone & tablet. That’s where most of my movie viewing takes place. The other movie theaters nearby aren’t as good as Movieland.
I’m settled in my ways. If I eat out it tends to be Proper Pie. Other places include Kuba Kuba and Pho So 1. A coworker suggested Osaka Sushi & Steak. My favorite restaurant is actually my own kitchen. Featured menu items include French Omelettes with Home Fries, Red Beans & Rice, Roast Chicken, and Fried Rice. There is East Villa on East Main Street if I want authentic Chinese-American food. Last thing, the Empress found Full Kee on Horsepen Road almost twenty years ago. It’s as close to the Hong Kong Noodle & Barbeque style restaurant we liked in Oakland, Ca. as we could find.
West Main Street starting at Harrison and continuing up to Boulevard has the bar scene for VCU and those who think they are still twenty-something hot. There is also Pearl Raw Bar, 3 Monkeys, and Social 52.
Then there is Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom. The trashier townie crowd that is sick of VCU gownies can be found on East Cary Street starting at 14th Street and continuing to 18th or so. UofR students like this four-block stretch of East Cary Street. That’s not the really heavy dive bar scene, though.
To get the full dress code, metal detector, big Bubba bouncer experience you have to go a block over to East Main Street starting at 17th and continuing to 27th Street. The best of these is between 17th and 21st Street. Best of all the cops show up at bar close on weekends and close the street. Richmond had some bad gunfights inside these clubs a decade ago. As a result, the cops send everyone home at last call.
And All the Rest
Richmond is the capital of the Confederacy. We are a city with laments. Monument Avenue is an eyesore to those who can’t forgive, can’t forget what we did to brown people until the mid-twentieth century. When you ask us we tend to agree that there is a lot of history in our city. Then we ask you if you have tried brunch at the Jefferson Hotel.
Lumpkins Jail is a VCU parking lot now. The river landing where the slave ships off-loaded isn’t recognizable. The visible architecture of slavery was erased in many places. The wound on the souls of some is still putrid. Those that would continue the destruction of the memorials, museums and markers of our bitter past are fools. Instead of trying to erase the visible symbols of hate we ought to build more memorials, museums, and markers to tell the whole story. We should rebuild Lumpkins Jail.
This isn’t a polemic. I’ve posted over 270 essays on this site. If it’s polemic you want there is plenty here. This is an answer to the question, “Are There Fun Things to do in Richmond?” There are more fun things to do here that will fit in a single blog post. Even our AntiFa came here and had a good time. My favorite things to do are to eat, to write and drink coffee, and to walk. Richmond has all three and so much more.