My mom and I went on what I believe to be our 21st art festival vacation to Richmond, VA in May, for the Richmond Art in the Park. Our 21st art festival!!! I’m amazed that we’ve been able to see so much of our beautiful country, meet so many interesting artists, and buy so many cool pieces over the years. These memories and trips are some of my absolute favorite. And as always, we enjoy finding vegan food and art in Richmond… and all over this country! Below is a short list of what I recommend based on this trip.

In typical form, I’ll include a few of the better restaurants, shops and natural wonders we experienced while in VA. This trip was a stranger one as the landscape was gorgeous, the houses were cool, many of the shops were cool, but the restaurants for the most part were just OK, and the art festival was a true disappointment. As I don’t want to be negative on here like I often times am, I’ll not say much so you can form your own opinion…. but Richmond was great in some areas and not so great in many others. Here’s my list, with some additional notes…and I need to go ahead and say, if you’re looking for vegan food and art in Richmond… you might not have the easiest time.

I’ll start with the art fest, credited with 350 artists, and labeled one of the best in the U.S. I am not an artist, although I have been in the past, and have showed my own work at juried art festivals in the past…. so I am not totally without credit here when I say: this is not an art fest. A craft fest, maybe, but even craft fests (like in North Carolina and Georgia, for example) are great. I don’t know who juried this fest, but aside from about 10 tents, it was absolutely not an art festival. And I just deleted everything else I had written as I’m circling back to my new mantra of: be nice or leave. So I’m zipping it.

On to the food, and I’ll try to be nice here, too. I’m having a strange thing happen where I’m not sure if I’m just different in my 40s or if food really is that much greasier/homestyle in certain parts of the country. For example, I remember Nashville as having the best food scene ever: local, fresh, so many veggies, and delicious. I have a friend who just visited and said how disappointed she was: that everything was covered in butter and fat and fried and so heavy. So…. do I remember Nashville correctly? Have my tastes changed?? I don’t know. But what I do know is: Richmond is not the healthiest place to eat. Not that you always want to eat healthy, my gosh do I get that… but I still want to feel good, even on vacay. So the food was… not great. And, here I go again… BE NICE OR LEAVE. Hitting the backspace and moving on….

Here’s where I would suggest you eat, if you’re visiting Richmond, and please let me know if there’s some awesome place we missed, as I will certainly add it to this list!

Stella’s – this Greek restaurant is in the cutest neighborhood, has a lovely front patio, and is super hard to get into… for great reason. The food was delicious and filling, with a few vegan options to choose from, and the people were lively and entertaining. I loved this place and this cute hood and if I lived in Richmond I would be here all the time. I think the thing I loved the most about Richmond that reminded me SO MUCH of living in East Nashville is all the neighborhood cafes, gift shops, and bookstores. It’s a walkable, gorgeous city, with cute places around every corner. You gotta love that!

The Daily Kitchen and Bar – we went to both locations (again, not too many options for healthy food that we could find so when you find a great place, stick with it!) and I recommend the Carytown location over the Short Pump, mostly because Carytown is so dang cute and has SO MANY shops along their walkable street. The Daily has a lovely patio and delicious, healthy food, with plenty of vegan options to choose from, and yummy non-alcoholic drinks, too. I loved this place! (Tofu and grain bowl shown in the image above.)

Hobnob – we went for breakfast one morning and although not vegan, they have plenty of vegetarian options, and the patio is cute and it’s in a cute area, to boot. There were not a lot of nicer breakfast places that we could find, so we either did not search correctly, or there’s not a lot to choose from aside from a whole lotta diners or biscuit places. Hobnob was a definite win in the breakfast area.

Ironclad Coffee Roasters – I love a good coffee shop and this one is great with plenty of treats, too, although not many vegan options, and just a super cute place to take a break and people watch.

As for shopping and other things to do, you’ll want to spend an afternoon on Cary Street (we especially loved the Glass Boat and Mongrel). A little further away is an adorable shop called The Wild Wander filled with outdoors-type items that were fun to peruse. The Crossroads Art Center was filled with rooms and rooms of paintings that were fun to walk through as well. The art museum’s sculpture garden and grounds were lovely, as was the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. We were really excited to spend an afternoon walking along the James River, but I think we didn’t find the right location to begin our walk, so after two different attempts on two different days, we decided to drop the idea.

The highlight of the whole area, aside from quite frankly the stunning architecture and adorable neighborhoods was a drive out to Shenandoah National Park. The scenery was gorgeous, and stopping in Charlottesville, VA for lunch and shopping was nice, too. The park was not crowded at all, and not yet hot or humid so the perfect time of year to see so much beauty… although I can only imagine how gorgeous fall is in the Virginia mountains!

So, this is my recap of the best vegan food and art in Richmond. I hope you give a few of these places a chance if you’re visiting and I hope you find even more great places to add to your list!

Peace and love,