Special/Signature Issues » And One to Grow On

21 Places to Celebrate


We're in a party mood, what can we say? But you don't need a 25th anniversary as an excuse to celebrate. And if you're looking for a place, Richmond has plenty of options. Here are some that Richmonders have enjoyed through the years.

1. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

Pros: About 40 acres of floral spectacle and a classically styled conservatory.

Cons: Gnats (hey, it's natural).

Good for: Wedding receptions, engagement


2. The Richmond Coliseum.

Pros: Its history: From Julius Erving's one-handed dunks in the '70s to "Disney's High School Musical on Ice."

Cons: "Disney's High School Musical on Ice."

Good for: Unique events that won't fit anywhere else.

3. Main Street Station

Pros: More ornate and romantic than the bus terminal.

Cons: The rumble from the 9:30 might drown out your best man's toast.

Good for: Nighttime gatherings of the formally attired.

4. The Diamond

Pros: Home of the Governor's Cup champion Richmond Braves.

Cons: Flooding.

Good for: Peanuts and Cracker Jack; family outings.

5. Brown's Island

Pros: Historical and well-kept.

cons: Narrow bridge and a long walk to the front of the stage.

Good for: Oversized music festivals and weekly concerts.

6. Stuart Siegel Center

Pros: Still has that new-building smell.

Cons: Rumored to be the secret headquarters of Eugene Trani's mind-control machine, used to manipulate city planners.

Good for: Sporting events and concerts by artists who think they're too good for the Coliseum.

7. Greater Richmond Convention Center

Pros: Big.

Cons: Echoes. No shuttle service from one end of the center to the other.

Good for: Simultaneous gargantuan events.

8. Kanawha Plaza

Pros: An urban oasis that's easy to find.

Cons: Clunky unattractive park furniture and an ugly fountain.

Good for: Concerts and food festivals.

9. Science Museum of Virginia

Pros: Holds more than 700, and if you're not careful, you might learn something.

Cons: No longer an Amtrak stop.

Good for: Charity balls, concerts, IMAX movies and parties.

10. St. Paul's Baptist Church

Pros: Two locations for worship and celebration.

Cons: Parking can be hell.

Good for: Plays, concerts, large funerals and worship services, too.

11. Plant Zero Art Center

Pros: Hip. An expansive space adorned with paintings and sculptures.

Cons: Not all art is good.

Good for: Film festivals, benefit galas, important meetings on city affairs and craft swaps.

12. Toad's Place Richmond

Pros: A much-needed, beautiful space that was worth the wait; a liquor license.

Cons: Canceled gigs (hey, it happens).

Good for: Burgeoning artists and seasoned performers who know how to work a midsize venue.

13. Poe Museum

Pros: Haunted.

Cons: Haunted.

Good for: Weddings, memorial services and "unhappy hours."

14. Valentine Richmond History Center

Pros: Quaint and romantic with a charming

moniker. Richmond history.

Cons: Parking space is limited.

Good for: Life-changing events such as weddings and staff retreats.

15. The Marquee

Pros: Smoking room, valet parking.

Cons: Only books one event per day.

Good for: Partying like it's 1939.

16. Chuck E. Cheese's

Pros: Animatronics, video games and pizza.

Cons: Noise, germs and stickiness.

Good for: A birthday party for a child at Chuck E. Cheese's is like skipping a mortgage payment for adults.

17. Maymont Park

Pros: Beauty and attention to detail.

Cons: Getting a reservation.

Good for: Weddings, receptions and photo shoots for cheesy photographers.

18. City Hall Observation Deck

Pros: The view from the top.

Cons: Dark and bare.

Good for: Parties, receptions and exorcisms.

19. Nina Abady Festival Park

Pros: Scenic space waiting to be repurposed.

Cons: Next to the remains of 6th Street Marketplace.

Good for: Intimate concerts.

20. University of Richmond's Jepson Alumni Center

Pros: Hotel-room accommodations upstairs available for the weary.

Cons: Hidden in the woods.

Good for: Corporate meetings, weddings and receptions.

21. Federal Courthouse Atrium

Pros: When finished, its reservable six-story glass atrium.

Cons: Not finished.

Good for: Celebrations for the not guilty.

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