The Collegian
Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Fun things to do in Richmond during winter break

<p>Pony Pasture Rapids, shown above, is a short drive from campus.</p>

Pony Pasture Rapids, shown above, is a short drive from campus.

Many University of Richmond students will be staying in Richmond during winter break. As finals loom, students have described their exceedingly busy schedules and a lot of added stress. However, many have also expressed the desire to take a much-needed break for time to enjoy themselves. Students who are not going home and will be in Richmond are in luck!

The University of Richmond is located in an ideal spot to access nature, historical sites and hundreds of restaurants -- as downtown Richmond is just a short drive away. There is never a shortage of things to do, but if you are unsure where to start, look no further! The following are great, physically-distant activities to do in light of the pandemic. 

If you want to get outside …

Enjoy a nature walk at Maymont Park 

With beautiful gardens, scattered wildlife, an elegant mansion and a nature center, Maymont is a great spot to get some fresh air . 

Explore the Belle Isle Pedestrian Bridge 

Accessible from Tredegar Street on the north side. Be sure to check out the view of the beautiful city skyline while on the bridge.

Go hiking at the James River North Bank Trail 

The North Bank Trail is an uninterrupted hike from Pumphouse Park to the Tredegar parking lot, with gorgeous views of the river along the way. 

Have a picnic at Forest Hill Park

This park features tennis courts, walking trails, wetlands and picnic shelters, making it the ideal picnic spot. 

If you want to explore Richmond’s art and culture …

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Check out the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 

The VMFA offers free admission to most exhibits, which is perfect for college students who are on a budget. On its website, students can find a calendar that lists several additional events, such as art-creation opportunities and guided meditation sessions.

Visit the Virginia Museum of History & Culture

New COVID-19 protocols require that guests buy their $10 ticket and register to visit in advance in order to explore all the exhibitions and collections. 

Experience a Carytown Food Tour

The food tour stops at six places, including Can Can Brasserie and Carytown Cupcakes. Tickets are $57 for a 2.5-3 hour tour. 

Catch a screening at the Byrd Theater 

The theater is a must-see historical site. Beginning on Dec. 5, there are weekly screenings of classic holiday films for your enjoyment. Tickets sell fast, so be sure to check the schedule

If you want to get in the holiday spirit … 

See the GardenFest of Lights 

Located at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, the Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights includes holiday lights, decorations, outdoor model trains and refreshments.  The event runs from Nov. 23 to Jan. 10.

Support local vendors at Over the River Maker’s Mart

The holiday market opened on Nov. 27 and is located in the Bon Air Shopping Center. The market, which highlights talented Richmond artisans, is a great spot for holiday shopping. 

Enjoy Richmond’s best hot chocolate at Shyndigz

Shyndigz is located on West Cary Street and is open for takeout. Alongside its toasty holiday hot chocolate, you can enjoy some of its unique desserts like their Christmas cake or S’more bar. 

Holiday shop at Short Pump Mall 

The Short Pump Mall is already decorated for the holidays and has over 100 stores, which makes it an ideal spot to get your holiday shopping done. 

If you want a delicious dinner … 

Feast at Bar Solita 

Specializing in Mediterranean cuisine from countries like Italy, France and Greece, Bar Solita has a great selection on their brunch and dinner menus. They also offer vegan and vegetarian-friendly options and are available for takeout. 

Pick up a meal from Nomads Deli & Catering Co. 

This family-owned and run deli offers fresh foods at extremely affordable prices and is available for takeout. They serve breakfast all day and are known for their unique sub and sandwich choices. 

Dine at Max’s on Broad

Max’s on Broad has a wide variety of menu items inspired by southern flavors and French charm. They will soon be offering brunch, pick up and delivery options.

Get your dessert from the  Well-Made Pastry Alliance Bakery 

What is dinner without dessert? Takeout at the WPA Bakery. This bakery offers a wide variety of delicious desserts including pies, pastries, cupcakes and cakes. 

If you invest in the community … 

Volunteer at the Chesterfield Food Bank 

The food bank, whose mission is to help the hungry families of Chesterfield County, has weekly volunteer opportunities students can sign up for.

Give to Feed More

Feed More is asking for food donations. It has provided over 24 million meals to those who struggle with hunger. Guidelines are located on its website

Create a children’s activity pack for the Ronald McDonald House 

Activity packs consist of items for children to play with that provide comfort and distraction to families in the pediatric areas of local hospitals. RMH provides specific directions on how to get involved. 

Donate to the Winter Coat Drive at Short Pump

Short Pump Town Center is partnering with Volunteers of America and asking for new coat, glove and hat donations from Nov. 20 to Dec. 11. 

Contact lifestyle writer Michelle Parente at

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