Free and cheap Richmond: fun activities for the family in Virginia’s capitol city

Destination Vacation

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The hilly terrain and vast history in Richmond make the capitol city a popular destination for tourism during the summer months. But how much can you do while still keeping the cost low?

Whether you are visiting the city for the first time or just looking for new things to do, there are plenty of fun opportunities to explore in the River City — and a lot of them are free or cost-effective so you don’t have to worry about blowing your budget.

From touring the American Civil War Museum to kayaking along Brown’s Island, there is no shortage of fun to be had in Richmond.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) has beautiful art galleries and you can simply walk right in. There is no admission fee – the VMFA reminds Virginians that it’s “your art.”

“Our entire permanent collection, all the galleries, are free,” said Celeste Fetta, VMFA’s Director of Education. “You don’t need a ticket to visit the museum except for some special exhibitions. The outside alone has our sculpture garden. There’s a lot of things to discover. It is a park in the middle of the Museum District.”

With art spanning over 6,000 years featuring several different cultures, the VMFA brings the world to Richmond.

“There is always time, a time of day, for you to come and enjoy the museum. And if you can’t get here, you can also discover us online,” Fetta added. “There is always something new to find out.”

VMFA’s featured exhibit, The Dirty South, opened in May and lasts through September 6.

If you prefer to spend more time outdoors, Maymont’s expansive 100-acre public park is the perfect stop.

The park is free to enter and has a variety of wildlife to discover.

“Maymont has something for everyone,” said Suzy Rohler of Maymont. “If you are interested in animals, we have those. If you are interested in nature and gardens, we have those. History, check. Nature center, check. There is so much for everyone to see and do.”

Over 350 different kinds of animals call Maymont home with most being rescued or rehabilitated.

With more people spending time outside due to the pandemic, the destination has only grown in popularity.

“Even throughout the past year, we have seen how important this special place is for our community,” Rohler said. “We have had an all-time high of visitation with over 800,000 people visiting last year.”

WEB EXTRA: The wildlife of Maymont

More free and cost-effective family fun activities can be found on the Visit Richmond website.

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