One of my favorite activities when the weather is warm is packing a sandwich (or salad), a beverage (La Croix or rosé) and a picnic blanket (or two) and heading to one of my favorite places to picnic in Richmond. Living in the city, I’m lucky to be close to so many scenic and historic parks, most of which are prime locations for a little break from #saddesklunches or an evening spent watching the sunset with friends.
Here are my five favorite spots to picnic in Richmond — hopefully a few of them are new to you!
Libby Hill Park
Libby Hill Park is one of Richmond’s original parks and it’s where the city got its name. More than 150 years ago, the view to the east overlooking the James River reminded William Byrd II of a view of the River Thames in Richmond, England.
There’s plenty of picnic real estate in Libby Hill Park, with picnic tables overlooking the James River and a view of Rockett’s Landing in the distance, and benches and open park spaces perfect for blankets, providing a view of the city skyline and the Lucky Strike building. This is an amazing spot to watch the sunset.
If you don’t have time to put together a meal beforehand or if you need to pick up last minute supplies, visit Union Market or Proper Pie.
Maymont Park is a Richmond institution and brings back such great memories of my childhood. My mom would bring my brother and me to Maymont to see the animals and run through the Japanese Garden. Today I still love going to this park, it is the perfect little oasis from the hustle and bustle of living and working in the city. I like to park by the historic estate entrance because it is close to the Italian and Japanese Gardens. While there aren’t many picnic tables, there are plenty of benches and open spaces for small or large groups.
If you don’t have time to put together a meal beforehand or if you need to pick up last minute supplies, visit Sugar & Twine, Coriander, Goatocado or Coppolas Deli — all in Carytown.
The Flood Wall
Floodwall Park offers unobstructed views of Richmond’s skyline and soon, it will be even more accessible when the Dam Walk opens — connecting Brown’s Island to Manchester. This is one of my favorite “picnic” spots because of the sound of the roaring James River. It is so incredibly peaceful to hear the sound of the rushing water, and because this is a lesser known park, you won’t be constantly surrounded by groups of Pokemon Go players here. If sitting on a picnic blanket is your thing, this might not be the park for you. There isn’t really space to sprawl out on a blanket. But there is a space with a few benches and that’s really all you need.
If you don’t have time to put together a meal beforehand or if you need to pick up last minute supplies, visit Camden’s Dogtown Market or Brewer’s Cafe, both in Manchester.
Scuffletown is a hidden gem right in the middle of Richmond’s Fan District. This pocket park is extremely well taken care of and might be my favorite place in Richmond. Its been serving the neighborhood since 1974, and I sure hope it sticks around for at least another 50 years.
In this secret garden of sorts, there is plenty of space for blankets and there are even a few tables if you want to get fancy. What I love about this park is that there is plenty of shade, so even on the hottest day, you’ll have some shelter from the sweltering sun.
If you don’t have time to put together a meal beforehand or if you need to pick up last minute supplies, visit Strawberry Street Market, 8 1/2, or Garnett’s Cafe — which are just steps away.
It is easy to get lost driving to Ancarrow’s Landing, but if you spot Richmond’s Water Treatment plant, you’re almost there. The park is just across the river from Libby Hill and has fantastic river views. This part of The James is deep enough for small boats, so you might see the occasional jet ski speed by. You may not run into many people while you’re in the park as typically it is pretty empty. There are even a few benches you can sit on along the water and grassy spaces for picnic blankets, too.
If you don’t have time to put together a meal beforehand or if you need to pick up last minute supplies, visit Plant Zero in Manchester, which is open for lunch and breakfast.
Now you’re ready to get your picnic on! I pulled together this map so that you can easily find the five parks I mentioned, along with the nearby markets and restaurants (for when you don’t have time to pack your own meal). If you have a picnic spot that deserves to be added to the list, let me know in the comments below.