Virginia’s capital city is an eclectic blend of historic grandeur and modern quirk. Outdoor pursuits and spaces, swoon-worthy hotels, and charming dining tables make it the perfect spot to light a spark or rekindle a flame.
Richmond’s grandest hotel sets a benchmark for romance with its stunning Baroque architecture dating back to 1895, flawless yet unobtrusive service (staff members here average a decade-long tenure), and Southern-inspired upscale dining at Lemaire. The Romance Package includes an in-room floral arrangement, sparkling wine, and breakfast. Rates from $245 per night. 101 W. Franklin St., Richmond
Morning: On the way into town, spend time meandering through Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, which features more than a dozen themed gardens as well as the only domed conservatory of its kind in the region.
Afternoon: Stop for lunch at the sleek Perch in historic Scott’s Addition, where the mid-Atlantic meets the Pacific in dishes like Maryland crab soup with edamame and pork with truffle-sukang slaw. Save a little room to share a double-dip of grasshopper pie or sweet-corn-and-Old-Bay ice cream at Ruby Scoops in Brookland Park, which serves small-batch, natural frozen treats scratch-made by chef and owner Rabia Kamara.
Evening: After you settle into your hotel, head to Libby Hill Park, whose spectacular hilltop vista offers the perfect vantage point to enjoy a stunning sunset. For dinner, reserve a table à deux at L’Opossum, where the menu changes frequently but always offers playful spins on French cuisine, like escargots with ham biscuits, along with French wine (bien sûr!) and suggestive aperitifs like the vodka-and-Lillet-Blanc-based French Tickler.
Morning: Fuel up for an active day with some indulgence in the form of red-velvet doughnuts and a honey-lavender latte at Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee. Afterward, walk it off by looking for the Mending Walls, a collaborative public art project of 16 murals, each created by a pair of artists from different cultures and backgrounds.
Afternoon: Stop by Ms. Girlee’s Kitchen to pick up the fixings for an intimate picnic in the park. The Black-owned soul food restaurant serves up tot-able fare like Southern fried chicken, hush puppies, collard greens, wings, and po’boys. Find a nook in James River Park, a unique locale that includes acres of shoreline and islands along the James River; the 54-acre Belle Isle is the most popular spot, with wooded paths, mountain-biking trails, and rock climbing.
Evening: Lillie Pearl is a new can’t-miss destination for dinner, where husband-and-wife team Michael Lindsey and Kimberly Love-Lindsey combine West African heirloom ingredients with his North Carolina roots for a unique take on global cuisine, like obe ata–braised lamb shank and lobster and shrimp and grits. End the evening at hip lounge The Jasper for a nightcap like their Lux Manhattan.
Morning: After breakfast, take a half-hour drive to New Kent Winery, one of a handful of producers in the Richmond area’s newly developed wine region, where you can swirl and sip both red and white Norton. Or head south for a Basket and Bike Tour, a leisurely 14-mile jaunt along the Virginia Capital Trail, which includes a glass of wine from Upper Shirley Vineyards; add on the chic picnic upgrade, after which you can canoodle on a blanket before heading home.