My ideal type of shopping, especially at the holidays, is to wander from one unique store to the next instead of fighting the crowds at the mall. So I was really pleased to spend a couple of hours exploring Richmond’s downtown historic Depot District during my recent girl’s getaway there.
Like many downtown areas, this part of town used to be full of blight. But now, you’ll find many revitalized old buildings, thriving restaurants, and really interesting shops throughout the Depot District. New spots are opening all the time. There’s a great map available here.
My favorite part was exploring and not really knowing what was around each corner, so I hope you’ll check it out and make your own discoveries. But here are a few of my favorite spots:
- Lunch at Firehouse BBQ & Blues Club. The food here is good enough to stand on its own two feet and worth a visit, but I love this place most of all for its incredible beginnings. Two Richmond firefighters, saddened over the terrible state of the town’s original fire station, painstakingly restored it themselves and opened a restaurant inside.
- Parker’s General Store, Richmond Hardware and Maria Mitrione’s Italian Market: When my sister, mom and I visited this enormous store, which is really three businesses in one, we immediately split up and started exploring on our own. Within a few minutes, you could hear each of us yelling out to the others, “Hey, come check this out!” or “Guess what I found?!” If you’re looking for the rare, the unusual, or just the plain old fun, you’ll find it here. Candy, tools, amazing spreads of food in the deli. You could get just about anything here.
- Dessert at Ghyslain Bistro. Promise me you won’t go to Richmond and not stop at Ghyslain. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind chocolate experience. The desserts here are a work of art, something you might expect to find on some crazy competition on the Food Network.
- Admire the murals. As you are enjoying your time in the Depot District, don’t forget to look up and on the sides of all these old, brick buildings. You’ll find countless painted murals that are a perfect fit in this historic part of town. They even have a sense of humor, like the painted scenes of a burning building on the side of the previously mentioned Firehouse BBQ.
I hope to get back for another visit soon. I never made it to Veach’s Toy Store or the Model T Museum. Plus, I hear the New Boswell Brewery just opened up. So much more fun than just another trip to the mall.
Thanks to Visit Richmond for hosting me during my trip this fall.