The Richmond Trolley Company bus makes a stop in Shockoe Bottom.Photo by Isaac Harrell
The Richmond region's biggest selling point is the treasure trove of historic sites that figure heavily in every chapter of America's story – including the settlers' arrival in 1607, the American Revolution, the Civil War and beyond. But the area's geographic beauty and foodie destinations also provide an endless list of destinations. Here's a healthy sampling of tours.
To The Bottom and Back 2BNB, aka To The Bottom and Back, is a nonprofit, free bus service that's operates like a designated driver and tourist shuttle bus rolled into one. Its original service, geared toward night revelers, travels routes underserved by public buses between the Fan and Shockoe Bottom. Newer additional routes connect the dots between the major museums in the city limits. The buses run Thursday through Saturday or Friday and Saturday, depending on the routes; museum routes run on a seasonal basis. Check the 2BNB website for more information on routes and times. 2bnb.org .
African-American Tours of Richmond Tour Richmond regional sites that highlight the achievements and historical turning points of African-Americans in the United States. 683-6630 or africanamericantours.com .
Ashland Walking Tours A self-guided tour from the Ashland Visitor Center includes more than a dozen 19th- and 20th-century homes. Guided tours are offered on Saturdays in May and October. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 112 N. Railroad Ave. 752-6766 or town.ashland.va.us .
Balloons Over Virginia Daily chartered hot-air balloon flights offer unique perspectives of the region. Hanover Air Park, 9988 Lickinghole Road. 798-0080 or balloonsovervirginia.com .
Capitol Tours The Virginia State Capitol building — the first state capitol erected after American colonists won independence from the British — is open to visitors Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Guided and self-guided tours are available daily, with the last guided tour beginning at 4 p.m. Groups of 10 or more are asked to follow guided tours only. 1000 Bank St., 698-1788 or virginiacapitol.gov .
Discover the James Bald Eagle Tours Just minutes from downtown Richmond, you can embark on a two-hour tour of the bald eagles' home turf along the tidal James River. Aboard the Discovery Barge II, a 24-foot pontoon boat, you can listen to a conservation success story and see and photograph bald eagles. Wildlife and history abounds. 938-2350 or discoverthejames.com .
Eagle I Cruises Take a scenic river cruise while enjoying lunch, dinner or a moonlight snack. 3101 Wharf St. 222-0223 or eaglecruises.net .
EagleRider Central Virginia Explore regional sites by guided or self-guided motorcycle tours. 3023 W. Marshall St. 353-3456 or eagleridercva.com .
Elegba Folklore Society This organization, which focuses on African and African-American culture and heritage, offers guided journeys into Richmond's history along the trail of enslaved Africans and other notable sites. Through techniques such as music, narrative presentations and dialogue, participants have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a past that still influences perspectives today. 644-3900 or efsinc.org .
Floodwall Walking Tours The Richmond Railroad Museum offers a brisk one-and-a-half-hour walking tour of the floodwall. Scheduled for every second Sunday of the month. Call for more information. 233-6237.
Guided Segway Tours Explore Richmond through a variety of tours on a self-balancing Segway Personal Transporter. 1301 E. Cary St. 343-1850 or segwayofrichmond.biz .
Haunts of Richmond Walking Tours These tours bring local legends and ghost stories to life. 9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, May-November. Private tours are available on request. 1914 E. Main St. 343-3700 or hauntsofrichmond.com .
Heart of Virginia Aviation Flying from Hanover Airport, Heart of Virginia Aviation offers sightseeing and photo tours. 11152 Air Park Road. 798-6500 or flyhova.com .
HeloAir Take a tour by helicopter. 5721 Gulfstream Road. 226-3400 or heloair.com .
Historic Richmond Tours The Valentine Richmond History Center's tours explore the region's rich and varied history. Sunday walking tours focus on historic areas. Guided walking tours of Hollywood Cemetery take place at 10 a.m. Monday-Saturday, April-October, and 2 p.m. every second Sunday. Themed bus tours are scheduled all year. 1015 E. Clay St. 649-0711 or richmondhistorycenter.com .
Let's Get Frank Tours Van and walking tours include "Richmond Then … Richmond Now" and "Glimpses of Richmond." 12613 Bradway Court. 360-1701 or lets-get-frank.com .
The Marinara Enterprises' BBQ Tours and Sunday Suppers Richmond food blogger Matt Sadler has turned his passion into a group affair by coordinating periodic Sunday Suppers and barbecue "crawls" — organized tours of barbecue hotspots and dinner events featuring local culinary talents. Tickets must be purchased in advance. themarinara.com .
Real Richmond Food Tours These Friday and Saturday tours stop at several local eateries and specialty food shops. Tours are seasoned with history and architectural highlights. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Private tours possible for a minimum of 12 participants. realrichmondva.com .
Richmond City Tours Themed tours include historic Richmond sites, museums, theater tours, gardens, movies and Civil War memorials. Available only for groups of 15 or more. By reservation. 744-1718 or
Richmond Discoveries Bus and walking tours are scheduled throughout the year. 1701 Williamsburg Road. 222-8595 or richmonddiscoveries.com .
Richmond Trolley Company Daily tours of key historic sites by way of trolley bus. Specialized tours are available for events, weddings and groups. 1301 E. Cary St. 343-1850 or richmondtrolley.com.
River District Canal Cruises Take a narrated historical tour of the James River and Kanawha Canal. Cruises depart from the Turning Basin along Richmond's Canal Walk between 14th and Dock streets. Cruises run from noon-7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday, spring and fall. During the summer, cruises run noon-7 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. 139 Virginia St. 649-2800, 788-6466 or venturerichmond.com .
Virginia Film Tours Get an insider's perspective on some of your favorite movie stars and 40 Hollywood films shot in Richmond. By reservation. 744-1718 or virginiafilmtours.com .