Spring has sprung. Do you know what that means? Let’s get out of Boatwright Memorial Library and start exploring off campus. Here are the top 10 places you should visit or things you should do outdoors in the Richmond area this spring: 

1. Maymont Park

Where: 1700 Hampton St., Richmond, Va. 23220

Maymont, a 100-acre estate, was gifted to the Richmond community by James and Sallie Dooley, who lived there from 1893 to 1925. Bring a picnic and spend a sunny afternoon strolling through the gardens. Maymont grounds and gardens are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

“Don’t leave Maymont without wandering around the hidden Japanese-inspired garden," senior Emma Thomas, an outdoor enthusiast, said. "It has a koi pond and a scenic waterfall. You may even run into some river otters or other wildlife.”

Maymont Park.


2. Riverfront Canal Walk 

Where: Along the riverfront between Fifth Street and 17th Street 

The 1.25-mile riverfront canal walk includes centuries of Richmond history, including a connection to the Virginia Capital Trail. Starting in April each year, you can take a 40-minute, historically-narrated canal cruise starting at $10. Keep your eyes peeled for new outdoor murals along the canals.

3. Pony Pasture

Where: 7310 Riverside Drive, Richmond, Va. 23225 

Skipping class on a nice day? We’ve all been there. Looking for a scenic running path? Or somewhere for a quick freshwater dip on a warm day? Grab your sneakers, or a swimsuit and an inner tube, and head to the trails or go float along Pony Pasture. The flat rocks are the perfect place to sunbathe. In the warmer months, you can go on organized kayak, canoe, raft or inner tube trips. 

Megan McNitt

View from Potterfield Bridge.


4. Brown’s Island 

Where: Along the riverfront between Fifth Street and 12th Street 

Decided to check out the Canal Walk? Six-acre Brown’s Island is a must-see stop on the riverfront walk. The island is a popular venue for outdoor events and concerts throughout the spring as well as historical exhibits and public art. Make sure to check out the skyline view and the April 1865 exhibit on the connecting T. Tyler Potterfield Bridge. 

5. VMFA Friday Happy Hour 

Where: 200 N. Blvd., Richmond, Va. 23220

Every Friday, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts offers happy-hour beverage specials starting at 5:30 p.m. and free half-hour gallery tours at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The museum hosts a variety of special events each Friday, including live music and wine tastings. Not to mention, it has a beautiful outdoor space with a prime sunset view in the downtown Museum District. Check the VMFA website to be up-to-date on events. You might even want to stay for dinner at its fine-dining restaurant, Amuse

6. Richmond Segway Tour 

Where: Location varies 

What better way to see the capital city of Virginia than on a Segway tour? Segway of Richmond offers both one-hour and two-hour tours of Richmond landmarks and locations including Church Hill, Hollywood Cemetery and Shockoe Bottom starting at $69. 

7. The Veil Brewing Co. 

Where: 1301 Roseneath Road, Richmond, Va. 23230

Richmond is home to a handful of craft breweries. The over-21 crowd should stop by The Veil Brewing Co. for a beer--or a cold brew coffee they sometimes have available. Located in the heart of Scott’s Addition, patrons can enjoy the outdoor seating before moving on to the next brewery. 

“Going to breweries is a nice way to interact with other young people in Richmond and get off campus for a new experience," said senior Maria Vennikov, who lived in Richmond last summer during an internship. "I usually go in the summer or during warm days, since we prefer to stand outside rather than sit inside.”

8. Flying Squirrels Game

Where: 3001 N. Blvd., Richmond, Va. 23230

With tickets starting at $8, head over to The Diamond to cheer on Richmond’s local Minor League Baseball team, the Flying Squirrels. The team is the Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants major-league team and part of the Eastern League.

“Considering the sporting events options in Richmond, The Diamond is a great place to kick back, enjoy a hot dog and a good ball game,” said senior Dale Weingarten, who is on the lacrosse team.

9. Kings Dominion 

Where: 16000 Theme Park Way, Doswell, Va. 23047

Looking for a thrill? Kings Dominion amusement park opens on March 30 and is about a 30-minute drive from campus. During the warmer months, the 400-acre park opens at 10:30 a.m. and includes a water park and various food vendors. Adult ticket prices start at $39.99.

10. Upper Shirley Vineyards 

Where: 600 Shirley Plantation Road, Charles City, Va. 23030

Upper Shirley Vineyards is a winery and restaurant perched above the James River located just 30 minutes outside of Richmond. This underrated riverside estate has beautiful views, wine tastings, event space and a chef. Lunch is served every day, except for Tuesdays, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Do it for the Instagram. 

Contact contributor Megan McNitt at megan.mcnitt@richmond.edu.