Founded in 1905, the city of Richmond in California is part of the eastern San Francisco Bay Area. As a result, you can expect many of the signature elements here that the Bay Area has come to represent, such as sun, surf, and pretty white sand.
That said, with a population of just over 100,000 residents, Richmond still has a more laid back feel to it than some of the other cities in the Bay Area, and as such this can be a great place to explore if you are looking for a more intimate and relaxed trip to this part of the world.
Richmond was famous in the United States during the Second World War as a result of its nautical history, with many war ships being built in the shipyards here. Nowadays you will see relics of this proud past, as well as a continued revival, deep commitment and love of the sea along the legendary shoreline of this area.
Lets explore the best things to do in Richmond:
1. Richmond Bay Trail
One of the premium attractions in the area, the Richmond Bay Trail makes up part of what will be a 500 mile section of trails in the Bay Area that will stretch past San Pablo and San Francisco. The trails that skirt along Richmond Bay have stunning views and are a great choice if you want to get in some hiking while you are in the area. The Richmond Bay Trail is also a favorite with bikers, so you can also take in the breathtaking landscape in that way if you prefer. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to bring your camera to capture the stunning scenery here, as you will be treated to panoramic views over the bay.
2. SS Red Oak Victory
The SS Red Oak Victory is known in the Richmond area as a ship museum. The ship in question is actually an antique Second World War cargo ship which is now permanently stationed in Richmond and has been turned into an on-bard museum. The ship was made in the Richmond Kaiser Shipyards and you can watch the ongoing restoration project here as well as hop aboard to tour the museum. There are guides to explain the historical background to you and there is even a passport stamp station on the ship that will provide you with a memento of the trip.
3. Wildcat Canyon Regional Park
Wildcat Canyon Park is one of the best places to come if you are interested in catching of glimpse of some local Southern Californian flora and fauna. The park is a favorite among bird watchers and wildlife spotters and hikers also rave about the beautiful scenery here. Cycling is also common in the park or you can just bring a picnic and relax here in the sunshine.
4. Craneway Pavilion
The Craneway Pavilion in Richmond is known for one thing, its roller derby tournaments. If you have never been to one of these events before, then it is an American tradition that is not to be missed. The Craneway Pavilion hosts the Richmond Wrecking Belles games and you can come and cheer on the teams here including the Belles, the Oakland Outlaws, and the Berkeley Resistance. The teams make up the wider Bay Area Derby Girls teams and the Craneway Pavilion is known for being one of the best places to watch them in action, thanks to its waterfronts vistas. If there doesn’t happen to be a roller derby match on when you are in town then this venue also hosts other events such as live music concerts.
5. World War Two Home Front National Historical Park
Richmond used to be well known for the Richmond Shipyards which during the Second World War produced more ships than anywhere else in the entire United States. As such there was and still is a huge amount of pride in the ship building industry here, and you can see the best of this at the World War II Home Front National Historical Park. This includes the Rosie the Riveter Memorial which started life as an art project in the 1990s and has now become a symbol of World War Two veterans and all those who have given their life to service.
6. The Richmond Art Center
If you are interested in the arts scene in Richmond then head to the Richmond Art Center which was founded in 1936 by Hazel Salmi and where you will find a range of rotating exhibits that feature the best of the local artwork in the East Bay area. Not just limited to paintings, you can expect to find sculptures, textiles, and pottery on show here, and if you want to get in on the act then you can take one of the many classes and workshops here. These include fun projects such as silk-screening and even jewelry making, so if you are feeling artistic this is a great place to come.
7. Point Pinole
Point Pinole is an area of parkland in Richmond that sprawls over a whopping 2,000 acres and if you want to get back to nature here then this is one of the most comprehensive reserves to visit in the area. Point Pinole is made up of delightful hiking and rambling trails that skirt all over the landscape here, and jogging and biking are also popular pursuits. The trails are known for crossing diverse terrain which is what makes them so much fun to explore, and if you come here you can expect to pass by meadows, rocky bluffs, beaches, and even eucalyptus woodland.
8. The Magick Lantern
The Magick Lantern is a cinema located in Point Richmond that screens a huge number of films including not just the latest releases, but also classics, indie films, and foreign language films. If you like documentaries, then you will also find periodic screenings here, so if you enjoy niche cinema then this is a great venue to check out while you are in town. The Magick Lantern is small, with only space for around 40 spectators, although the feeling here is cozy and you can even eschew a chair and watch the film from a comfy beanbag in the front row. Some of the screenings here are the weekend are even free of charge.
9. Lucretia Edwards Shoreline Park
Lucretia Edwards was famous in the Richmond area for being a famous conservationist and the Lucretia Edwards Shoreline Park was opened in her honor. The park spans two acres along the coast and is known for its manicured lawns and grassy knolls, as well as its picnic area and playgrounds. The park also features local artwork in honor of the Bay Area Shipyards which contributed greatly to the war effort during the Second World War.
10. The Richmond Municipal Natatorium
As temperatures rise you may be looking for ways to cool off in Richmond, and if that is the case then head over to the Richmond Municipal Natatorium. The venue is also known as The Plunge and this indoor swimming pool was first opened in 1926. It has been renovated in recent years and now includes observation decks, solar panels that heat up the water, and a signature feature in the form of an open-truss ceiling.
11. Keller Beach
If you are in the Bay Area then you will want to check out the beach, so head to Keller Beach if you want to do while also getting away from the crowds. Keller Beach is known for being one of the most picturesque beaches in the region while also being quieter than many others, so you can relax and take in the unspoiled views here. Expect fluffy white sand and gentle waves here with shallow waters that are great for paddling in. You can sunbathe or bird watch during the day, or if you happen to be here at the right time, check out the breathtaking sunsets.
12. Richmond Museum of History
For a tour of all the history of the region, look no further than the Richmond Museum of History. Dedicated to showcasing the best of the local heritage here, the museum has a host of both permanent and temporary exhibitions and you can also take in special elements of the museum such as its photographic gallery. This consists of a large collection of antique photographs that depict Richmond from the 1920s until the 1950s so that you can see how the streets and city have changed over the years.
13. Miller Knox Regional Park
Miller Knox Regional Park is steeped in local history as it is named after two famous Richmond figures and state politicians. The park borders the waterfront so you will have stunning views over the Bay Area here. Miller Knox Regional Park spans 307 acres of prime promenade, so with that in mind popular activities here make the most of the park’s location on the water and you can try your hand at fishing, swimming, or even boating. If you prefer to stay on dry land then you can enjoy the many trails that loop around the area.
14. Caspers Hot Dogs
For some local fare, head over to Caspers Hot Dogs which have been serving customers from this very location since 1947. This hot dog restaurant is actually a Bay Area chain, and is much loved in Richmond due to its historical heritage. Reasons to come here include the succulent hot dogs as well as the signature steamed buns and the retro decor which will make you feel as if you are visiting a hot dog stand from back in the day. The location is also across from the Richmond City Hall building so you can take in the site at the same time.
15. Point Isabel
If you want to try one of California’s favorite pursuits then you need to make your way to Point Isabel, as this is one place in Richmond where you can try wind-surfing. The bluff here has strong winds that mean that you can enjoy this sport all round and take in the scenery at the same time. The park is known as a drop off point for windsurfers, or you can just bring a picnic and enjoy the views that way if you don’t actually want to get wet.