Welcome to the captivating city of Richmond, Virginia, where history meets modernity and the skyline stands as a testament to its grandeur. Nestled along the picturesque James River, Richmond boasts an epic skyline that never fails to impress. Whether you’re a photography enthusiast seeking the perfect shot or simply an admirer of breathtaking cityscapes, this guide is your gateway to the five best spots to experience the awe-inspiring Richmond VA skyline. From iconic bridges to serene parks, prepare to be mesmerized by the architectural marvels and natural beauty that define this remarkable city. Join us as we embark on a journey through the epic Richmond VA skyline and discover the best vantage points for capturing its magnificence.
1) Waterside Between T Pott & Manchester Bridge
Nestled between the Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge and the Manchester Bridge, this puts you down where the action of the James River is. So much so, that you have to watch out for flooded areas. And may not be able to access it, depending on the water levels.
You can come across the T Pott Bridge or from Manchester, but you walk down the stairs off T Pott leading to the Manchester Climbing Wall and then venture to the river, opposite the climbing wall. There’s a little path. Be sure to watch your step and try to go after a big storm or lots of rain. It can get wet down there.
2) Libby Hill
Just about everyone’s favorite spot to watch a sunset in Richmond VA. And for very good reason. The view of the city skyline from Libby Hill is pretty spectacular. It’s also a great spot for a picnic or tossing a frisbee with friends.
To make sure you find a cozy spot to unwind, it’s best to arrive early at the park, especially when the weather is nice, it can get crowded. Luckily, parking nearby is pretty decent—just park right on the street or find a spot within a few minutes of driving around the neighborhood.
3) Robert E. Lee Bridge/2nd Street Exit/North End
This here is a favorite place of mine to catch a Richmond VA sunrise. It’s got a spectacular view of the city and it’s so easy to get to.
Use 2nd St to park or find somewhere else nearby within the Oregon Hill neighborhood, then head towards Robert E. Lee Bridge. The Oregon Hill Overlook is an excellent spot to check out as you walk by. But keep trucking underneath the bridge, then right up the exit ramp for the bridge.
You’ll pass your first mini view of the cityscape, but keep walking for the gold star view.
Once above the train tracks or even a little further onto the bridge, that’s the winning spot. And if you’re lucky you’ll catch a train driving off into the city and the sunrise.
I’ve been here a lot and haven’t seen many other people in the mornings. Maybe one other photographer occasionally. But nothing crazy.
4) Robert E. Lee Bridge/Riverside Dr/South End
Although similar city views to the Floodwall mentioned above, this one is a little bit different because of the foreground.
Yes, the trains from the Norfolk Southern South Richmond Yard add the sights. Catch it at sunrise and you’re in for a treat!
I normally park near the 2000 Riverside Apartments building, access the bridge via the exit onto Riverside Dr and walk across the bridge using the footpath before things open up too much. Once on the other side of the bridge, you’ll be able to see the train track and the city view!
If you’re a photographer, bring one of your zoom or longer-reach lens instead of a wide angle. Or just be prepared to crop a little bit.
5) 3rd Street Above Downtown Expressway / VA 195
Moving away from the James River for this one. But if you walk along the overpass Downtown Expressway / VA 195 on 3rd Street, you’ll be able to get a cool view of the Richmond VA skyline.
Time of day matters if you want to see all the lights and cars driving by like in my picture. My picture, of course, was also assisted by a 13-second-long shutter speed. Might be hard to recreate this exact scene in real life. But it’s still a pretty cool spot.
The floodwall in Richmond, VA offers beautiful views of the cityscape, making it a perfect spot for an evening stroll or to catch an RVA sunrise.
From the Tredegar/Belle Isle parking lot, walk over the Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge and follow the footpath under the Manchester Bridge for a scenic experience, or take the paved path if the footpath is too overgrown.
This will take you underneath the Manchester Bridge. Keep walking underneath it, take some pictures under the bridge while you’re at it, then keep following the path.
Everything opens up and you get to soak in this beautiful city from the Floodwall!
If you’re new to the area or haven’t had the chance to fully explore Richmond, VA, use this post as your guide to discovering the city’s stunning beauty and photogenic charm. As you venture out, also keep an eye out for me, running around with my backward hat and camera in hand!