Programs & Tours

Programs & Tours

Walking & Bus Tours

Explore 400 Years Of History 

Richmond History Tours is a service of the Valentine.  We offer a wide variety of guided tours that explore the rich and diverse history of the city. Guided walking tours, specialty bus tours, custom group tours, school tours and step-on guides are among the services offered by the Valentine.

 

Public Tours

To search by date, visit our Calendar. The full schedule is posted chronologically below.

As a service of the Valentine, these tours offer hundreds of opportunities to tour Richmond on foot, by bus, by bicycle or with your dog. Led by master guides, these tours are the best way to experience the city’s past, present and future.

Walking Tours: $15 per person, $5 for Valentine Members and children ages 12 and under. Tour guides accept cash or check. Charge in advance online or by phone.

Bus Tours: $25 per person, $20 for Valentine Members. Includes parking and same-day museum admission. Reservations required.

History Hounds tours are dog-friendly. Limit two dogs per party. Reservations required.

Bicycle Tours: $15 per person, $5 for Valentine Members and children ages 12 and under. Participant must provide their own bicycle and protective gear.

Tours are held rain or shine; however, in extreme weather conditions a tour may be cancelled. Call (804) 649-0711, prompt 4, to verify the tour will take place.

Information and Reservations: (804) 649-0711 ext. 301


Tell Us About Your Experience!

Already toured with us?  Tell us about your experience and take our online survey.

 

Pre-Paid Vouchers

If you have a Groupon, LivingSocial or any other pre-paid voucher for a walking tour that has expired, we will honor the voucher at face value (amount you paid) for any walking tour. Exclusions may apply.

Restrictions are as follows: Due to our reservation system, we are unable to accept your voucher for any tour that requires a reservation which includes bus tours, bicycle tours, Director's Tours, History Hounds and Holiday Glitter.

 

Purchase Online

For your convenience, you may purchase walking and bus tour tickets online with your credit card.  Our tour guides only accept cash or check if paying on-site.

Same-day online ticket sales are not permitted. Same-day walk-ups (cash or check only) are welcome on most walking tours and on some bus tours, space permitting. Cancellations: If you would like to cancel your reservation, call (804) 649-0711 ext. 301 no later than 48 hours before the start of the tour in order to receive a refund. No-shows will not be refunded. If a tour is cancelled due to inclement weather, you will be contacted directly by phone and issued a full refund.  In case of inclement weather, please call (804) 649-0711 option 4 to verify the status of the scheduled tour.

 

Step On Guides

Our master guides are well-trained, friendly and knowledgeable. Contact Dean Knight, Director of Tours at 804-649-0711, ext. 319 or tours@thevalentine.org, to schedule a step-on guide.

 

Sponsors

The 2015 Richmond History Tours Season is generously supported by:

richmond region tourism BS Logo Hollywood Cemetery Robins Foundation Logo


RICHMOND HISTORY TOURS 2015 PUBLIC SEASON
(listed chronologically)


JANUARY

Jan. 10 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Highland Park (bus tour)
A tie-in to the Valentine's Community Conversations series, this bus tour will explore the history of the neighborhood from its founding in 1891 as a streetcar suburb to today.  Meet at the Valentine.  Reservations required:  call 804-649-0711, ext. 301.

 

FEBRUARY

Feb. 7 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Church Hill (bus tour)
A tie-in to the Valentine's Community Conversation series, this bus tour will explore the history of this venerable Richmond neighborhood, from the historic section around St. John's Church up to the rapidly changing area north of Broad Street to M Street and beyond.  Meet at the Valentine.  Reservations required:  call 804-649-0711, ext. 301.


MARCH

March 7 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Manchester (bus tour)
A tie-in to the Valentine's Community Conversations series, this bus tour will explore the history of this neighborhood on the south side of the James River that was an independent settlement, town and then city until merging with Richmond in 1910 and is now experiencing a great deal of change.  Meet at the Valentine.  Reservations required:  call 804-649-0711, ext. 301.


APRIL

April 1-Oct. 30 (Monday through Saturday) from 10-11:30 a.m.
Highlights of Hollywood
Established in 1847, Hollywood Cemetery is a magnificent example of the rural garden style cemetery and was one of America's first parks.  Learn about the cemetery's history, artwork, symbolism and some of the more famous of its over 80,000 residents, including well-known writers, politicians, Confederate notables and two United States presidents.

April 4 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Court End and Capitol Square During the Civil War
An in-depth discussion of the people and places of Court End and Capitol Square during the Civil War and the reasons Richmond was chosen as the capital of the Confederacy.  Learn about Jefferson Davis, Varina Davis, Alexander Stephens, Matthew Maury, Mary Chesnut and other Confederate notables while touring the neighborhoods of their homes and offices.  Meet at the Valentine.

April 4 from 1-5 p.m.
Civil War Sampler (bus tour)
A look at Richmond's role as the capital of the Confederacy.  Includes Church Hill, Shockoe Bottom, Court End, the canal area, Hollywood Cemetery, Monument Avenue and the battlefields at Gaines' Mill, Beaver Dam Creek and Cold Harbor.  Meet at the Valentine.  Reservations required:  call 804-649-0711, ext. 301.

April 5 from 2-4 p.m.
Church Hill
Examine 19th century architecture and modern revitalization efforts in Richmond's oldest intact neighborhood.  Home to St. John's Church, where Patrick Henry made his famous "Liberty or Death" speech, and the city's largest number of antebellum structures.  Meet at Patrick Henry Park at East Broad and 24th Streets.

April 11 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Carver
A tie-in to the Valentine's Community Conversations series, this walking tour will explore the history of this vibrant African-American neighborhood that was first settled by Jewish and German tradespeople in the early 1900s.  The walk passes examples of Greek Revival, Italianate and Queen Anne style architecture.  Meet near the flagpole at Maggie Walker Governor's School, 1000 N. Lombardy St. (at West Leigh St.)

April 12 from 2-4 p.m.
Hollywood Cemetery
An extension of the daily "Highlights of Hollywood" tour, this longer version covers in more detail the cemetery's unique history, landscape design, architecture, symbols and residents.

April 19 from 1-5 p.m.
Selected Gardens from the Richmond Garden Trail (bus tour)
Discover private settings and public landscapes as we explore and discuss Richmond garden history at the Wickham House, Virginia Center for Architecture, E. Claiborne and Lora Robins Sculpture Garden at the VMFA, Maymont, and Capitol Square.  Meet at the Valentine.  Reservations required:  call 804-649-0711, ext. 301.

April 22, 23, 24 from 9-10:30 a.m.
Leading Women of Richmond
As part of Historic Garden Week, discover the unique history of the women of Richmond from the perspective of the Monroe Ward neighborhood.  Meet at the Kent-Valentine House, 12 E. Franklin Street.

April 25 from 2-4 p.m.
Hollywood Cemetery:  A Rural Garden on a Grand Scale
This tour will explore the cemetery from a historical and horticultural perspective with an emphasis on the beauty of nature and the impact of the 19th century Romantic Movement.

April 26 from 2-4 p.m.
Monument Avenue
Monument Avenue, the first street in the U.S. designated as a national landmark by the National Park Service, is one of America's most beautiful boulevards.  Learn about the homes, residents and history of this iconic piece of Richmond's Fan District.  Meet at the Lee Monument at Allen and Monument Avenues.


MAY

Don't miss our Hollywood Cemetery and City Center walking tours!  See April and May listings for details.

May 2 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Alleys and Parks of the Fan
The branching avenues that give the Fan its characteristic fan shape form several triangular green spaces, including Meadow Park and Howitzer Park.  Stroll through these, as well as landscaped alleys, and a hidden park, while we enjoy landscapes and gardens in the Fan.  Meet at Meadow Park at the intersection of Meadow Street and Park and Stuart Avenues.

May 3 from 2-4 p.m.
Ironfronts to High Rises:  The Sky's the Limit
The historic business district known for its 19th century iron fronts and 20th century high rises is viewed by developers as an opportunity for urban residential growth.  The tour focuses on the history, architectural styles and ornamentation of these buildings and their adaptive reuse for the 21st century.  Meet at the northeast corner of 14th and East Main streets.

May 5-Sept. 5 (Tuesday through Saturday) from 10-11:30 a.m.
and Sept. 19-26 from 10-11:30 a.m.
City Center Walks
The Valentine, in partnership with Richmond Region Tourism, presents a walking tour of downtown Richmond, including the State Capitol grounds and Court End.  The tour covers Richmond's history from its beginnings to present day and goes by sites including the former Miller & Rhoads building, CenterStage, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Monumental Church, Old City Hall, the Egyptian Building and the White House of the Confederacy.  Tours begin at the Richmond Visitor Center at 405 N. 3rd St. and end in the garden of the 1812 John Wickham House at the Valentine.

May 9 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Barton Heights
A tie-in to the Valentine's Community Conversations series, this walking tour will explore the history of this Richmond neighborhood that had its origins as a streetcar suburb in what was then Henrico County.  Meet at the North Avenue branch of the Richmond Public Library, 2901 North Avenue.

May 10 from 2-4 p.m.
Hollywood Cemetery
See April 12.

May 14 from 6-7:30 p.m.
Highlights of Hollywood
Established in 1847, Hollywood Cemetery is a magnificent example of the rural garden style cemetery and was one of America's first parks.  Learn about the cemetery's history, artwork, symbolism and some of the more famous of its over 80,000 residents, including well-known writers, politicians, Confederate notables and two United States presidents.

May 16 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
History Hounds Explore Church Hill
Dogs and their owners will enjoy this walking tour presented in partnership with the Richmond SPCA.  Dogs must have current shots, mix well with others and remain leashed.  Owners are responsible for water and cleaning up after their dogs.  Meet at Patrick Henry Park at East Broad and 24th Streets.  Reservations required:  call 804-649-0711, ext. 301.

May 17 from 2-4 p.m.
Canal Boats and Cobblestones
Explore architectural treasures and preservation efforts along the James River and the canals.  Includes Shockoe Slip, the Turning Basin and the warehouse district.  Meet at the James Center Clock Tower at 10th and East Cary Streets.

May 23 from 2-4 p.m.
Hollywood Cemetery:  The Civil War
From the pyramid monument in the Confederate section to the gravesite of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Hollywood Cemetery is the final resting place for over 18,000 Confederates, including J.E.B. Stuart, George Pickett, Fitzhugh Lee and many others.

May 24 from 2-4 p.m.
Capitol Square:  Jefferson, Washington and Spielberg
Take a walking tour of Capitol Square and tour the interior of the Capitol afterwards.  Learn about the Capitol building designed by Jefferson, the Executive Mansion and the many monuments and memorials on the grounds, and hear about the filming of Spielberg's "Lincoln", for which the Square was the biggest backlot.  Meet at 9th and East Grace Street entrance.

May 25 from 1-5 p.m.
Historic Cemeteries (bus tour)
Commemorate Memorial Day with a tour of Richmond's historic 18th and 19th century cemeteries, including St. John's Church, the African Burial Ground and Shockoe, Hebrew, Evergreen, Oakwood and Woodland cemeteries.  Meet at the Valentine.  Reservations required:  call 804-649-0711, ext. 301.

May 31 from 2-4 p.m.
The Museum District
The founding of the Confederate Soldiers Home initiated the residential development of this area, home to the Virginia Historical Society, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, schools, businesses, churches and residences.  Meet at the northeast corner of Grove Avenue and Sheppard Street. 


JUNE

Don't miss our Hollywood Cemetery and City Center walking tours!  See April and May listings for details.  

June 6 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Forest Hill
A tie-in to the Valentine's Community Conversations series, this walking tour will explore the history of the neighborhood of Forest Hill.  Meet at the stone house in Forest Hill Park.

June 7 from 2-4 p.m.
Highlights of the Lower Fan
Named for its distinctive shape, the fashionable Fan District boasts beautiful homes and churches that all thrive in this community today.  Learn about the luminaries who have called it home and the architectural details that make it unique and timeless.  Tour begins in front of the Pace Center (700 W. Franklin St.), at the corner of West Franklin and Pine streets.  

June 11 from 6-7:30 p.m.
Highlights of Hollywood
See May 14.

June 13 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Windsor Farms (bicycle tour)
This neighborhood, once a part of Henrico County, will be toured to view some examples of Richmond's architecture and landscaping.  Public properties to be explored include Virginia House and Agecroft Hall.  Meet at the parking lot behind Grace Baptist Church, 4200 Dover Road.  Reservations required:  call 804-649-0711, ext. 301.

June 14 from 2-4 p.m.
Hollywood Cemetery
See April 12.

June 20 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The Murals and History of Jackson Ward
Explore the diversity of one of Richmond's most vibrant neighborhoods.  During our walk we'll visit murals, buildings renovated and revitalized, and historic homes to learn more about a neighborhood that has had numerous incarnations.  From immigrant working class neighborhood to the Harlem of the South, see how art is shaping the face of Jackson Ward today.  Meet at the corner of 2nd and Marshall streets in front of the mural.

June 21 from 2-4 p.m.
Oregon Hill
Oregon Hill originated as a grouping of residences for workers from the Tredegar Iron Works and survives today as a tight-knit working class enclave that has continued to thrive with remarkable cohesion.  Learn about its history and newer developments on this tour of the neighborhood.  Meet at Laurel and Idlewood streets.

June 27 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
History Hounds Explore Bryan Park
Dogs and their owners will enjoy this walking tour presented in partnership with the Richmond SPCA.  Dogs must have current shots, mix well with others and remain leashed.  Owners are responsible for water and cleaning up after their dogs.  Meet in front of the gatehouse.  Reservations required:  call 804-649-0711, ext. 301.


JULY

Don't miss our Hollywood Cemetery and City Center walking tours!  See April and May listings for details.

July 4 from 1-4 p.m.
I Know Richmond (bus tour)

An overview of Richmond's history that shows off many of the city's unique sites and neighborhoods, including Church Hill and St. John's Church; Libby Hill and the James River, including the Fall Line; Shockoe Bottom and Main Street Station; the White House of the Confederacy and the Court End neighborhood; Jackson Ward and the Maggie Walker House; Monument Avenue and the Fan; Hollywood Cemetery and the State Capitol.  Includes a tour of the interior of the State Capitol.  Meet at the Valentine.  Reservations required:  call 804-649-0711, ext. 301.

July 5 from 2-4 p.m.
Capitol Square:  Jefferson, Washington and Spielberg
See May 24.

July 9 from 6-7:30 p.m.
Highlights of Hollywood
See May 14.

July 11 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Byrd Park and the Carillon (bicycle tour)
This new bicycle tour will be a leisurely exploration of the Byrd Park and Carillon area, including the Pump House.  Meet at the Christopher Columbus statue at the south end of the Boulevard.  Reservations required:  call 804-649-0711, ext. 301.

July 12 from 2-4 p.m.
Hollywood Cemetery
See April 12.

July 19 from 2-4 p.m.
Carytown and the Byrd Theatre
From buffalo trail to streetcar suburb, learn Carytown's fascinating history as you explore this shopping and entertainment district.  Includes an in-depth tour of the interior of the magnificent 1928 Byrd Theatre.  Meet at Nacho Mama's, 3449 W. Cary St.; end point will be Dixie Donuts across from the Byrd.

July 25 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
History Hounds Explore Hollywood Cemetery
Dogs and their owners will enjoy this walking tour presented in partnership with the Richmond SPCA.  Dogs must have current shots, mix well with others and remain leashed.  Owners are responsible for water and cleaning up after their dogs.  Reservations required:  call 804-649-0711, ext. 301.  

July 26 from 2-4 p.m.
Shockoe Bottom
Now an entertainment and residential district, Shockoe Bottom was once Richmond's commercial and transportation hub, as well as one of the country's busiest slave markets.  Meet at East Main and 17th Streets.


AUGUST

Don't miss our Hollywood Cemetery and City Center walking tours!  See April and May listings for details.

Aug. 1 from 1-4 p.m.
Richmond's Beer Industry (bus tour)
This tour will focus on chapters of brewing history in the Richmond area along with visits to the Beer Caves at historic Rocketts Landing, active breweries where the process of beer making can be seen, and a visit to the Huguenot Hops Farm to see how this crucial ingredient of beer is grown, harvested and marketed.  Meet at the Valentine. Reservations required:  call 804-649-0711 ext. 301 

Aug. 2 from 2-4 p.m.
Monroe Ward
From the early 1780s through Reconstruction, Monroe Ward was considered one of Richmond's most elegant neighborhoods.  Many historic buildings have been preserved and "recycled" for the 21st century.  Meet outside the Commonwealth Club, 401 W. Franklin Street.

Aug. 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Windsor Farms (bicycle tour)
See June 13.

Aug. 9 from 2-4 p.m.
Hollywood Cemetery
See April 12.

Aug. 13 from 6-7:30 p.m.
Highlights of Hollywood
See May 14.

Aug. 15 from 2-4 p.m.
Hollywood Cemetery:  Symbolism and Monument Styles
Learn to interpret the spiritual, occupational, vegetal and fraternal signs and symbols found on headstones and ironworks.  Discover the historical origins of monument styles including cradle stones, pyramids, pier stones, mausoleums and reliquaries.  

Aug. 16 from 2-4 p.m.
Monument Avenue
See April 26.

Aug. 22 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The Murals and History of Jackson Ward
See June 20.

Aug. 23 from 2-4 p.m.
Canal Boats and Cobblestones
See May 17.

Aug. 30 from 2-4 p.m.
Jackson Ward
Known as the "birthplace of black capitalism", Jackson Ward is rich in black history and culture and boasts the largest collection of antebellum homes in the city.  Meet at 00 Clay Street. 


SEPTEMBER

Don't miss our Hollywood Cemetery and City Center walking tours!  See April and May listings for details.

Sept. 5 from 2-4 p.m.
Hollywood Cemetery:  The Women of Hollywood

Explore the role that women's groups played in the cemetery's history from the Civil War to the present.  Visit gravesites of women who were educators, authors, preservationists, suffragists, humanitarians--or the power behind the scenes of famous and powerful men.

Sept. 6 from 2-4 p.m.
Byrd Park and the Carillon (walking tour)
Explore the history of this Richmond park and the adjacent Carillon neighborhood.  Meet at the Christopher Columbus statue at the south end of the Boulevard.

Sept. 10 from 6-7:30 p.m.
Highlights of Hollywood 
See May 14.

Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Byrd Park and the Carillon (bicycle tour)
See July 11.

Sept. 13 from 2-4 p.m.
Hollywood Cemetery
See April 12.


OCTOBER

Don't miss our Hollywood Cemetery walking tours!  See April listings for details.

Oct. 3 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
History Hounds Explore Forest Hill
Dogs and their owners will enjoy this walking tour presented in partnership with the Richmond SPCA.  Dogs must have current shots, mix well with others and remain leashed.  Owners are responsible for water and cleaning up after their dogs.  Meet at the stone house in Forest Hill Park.  Reservations required:  (804) 649-0711, ext. 301. 

Oct. 4 from 2-4 p.m.
Ironfronts to High Rise:  The Sky's the Limit
See May 3. 

Oct. 11 from 2-4 p.m.
Hollywood Cemetery
See April 12. 

Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Alleys and Parks of the Fan
See May 2.

Oct. 18 from 2-4 p.m.
Scott's Addition
Named for General Winfield Scott, this early 20th century commercial and industrial area contains what is perhaps Richmond's best selection of Art Deco and Moderne commercial architecture.  Today it is a thriving business, residential and entertainment district.  Meet at the southwest corner of the Boulevard and Norfolk Street.

Oct. 24 from 2-4 p.m.
Hollywood Cemetery:  Symbolism and Monument Styles
See August 15.

Oct. 25 from 2-4 p.m.
Ginter Park
This stately north Richmond neighborhood, planned by Lewis Ginter, has been home to many of the city's political and social elite.  Meet at the southwest corner of Brook Road and Westwood Avenue.  

Oct. 29 & 30 from 6-7:30 p.m.
Halloween History On Hanover
Modern Halloween boasts costumes, decorations and candy; yet, its origins lie in an ancient Celtic holiday and in Catholic All Hallows' celebrations.  Learn how the history evolved from early colonial practices and "play parties" held after the American Revolution, and how the immigrants in the mid-1800s influenced the way Richmonders celebrate in the 21st century.  Meet at Hanover Avenue and Strawberry Street. 


NOVEMBER

Nov. 7, 14, 21, 28 from 10-11:30 a.m.
Highlights of Hollywood Cemetery Walking Tour
Learn about the cemetery’s history, artwork, symbolism and famous residents, including two U.S. presidents, writer Ellen Glasgow, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals George Pickett and J.E.B. Stuart. Meet at the rear of the stone structure on the left at the entrance at Cherry and Albemarle streets. 

Nov. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 from 2-4 p.m.
Hollywood Cemetery Walking Tour
Learn about the cemetery’s unique history, landscape design, architecture, symbols and residents. Meet at the entrance at Cherry and Albemarle streets.

Nov. 28 from 1-4 p.m.
I Know Richmond: The Bus Tour
An overview of Richmond’s history that shows off many of the city's unique sites and neighborhoods, including Church Hill and St. John's Church; Libby Hill and the James River, including the Fall Line; Shockoe Bottom and Main Street Station; the White House of the Confederacy and the Court End neighborhood; Jackson Ward and the Maggie Walker House; Monument Avenue and the Fan; Hollywood Cemetery and the State Capitol.  Includes a tour of the interior of the State Capitol.   Reservations required: (804) 649-0711, ext. 301. Meet at the Valentine.


DECEMBER 

Dec. 23, 26, 27 from 6-7:30 p.m.
Holiday Glitter: Monument Avenue After Dark Walking Tour 
Enjoy the lights and glitter of Monument Avenue while learning about the history of the homes, residents and holiday traditions. Reservations required: (804) 649-0711, ext. 301. Meet at the Lee Monument at Allen and Monument avenues.