Richmond is where East meets West, sea meets city, and urban meets nature. With popular attractions, celebrated parks, fascinating heritage, and a taste-tripping dining scene — as well as a mild year-round climate — this inviting Pacific destination provides easy access to neighboring Vancouver but also serves up a unique culture all its own.
Heavily influenced by its thriving Asian-Canadian population — whose independent stores, malls, and restaurants radiate from the central Golden Village commercial district — Richmond has firmly established a reputation for authentic international dining. From its celebrated night market to its self-guided Dumpling Trail and its ever-adventurous Food Street (aka Alexandra Road), the city lures visiting foodies who are hungry for truly original culinary experiences. It's no surprise to locals and savvy visitors that leading dining expert David Chan described Richmond as “North America's Chinese food capital.”
But there's much more to this city than its kaleidoscopic restaurant scene. Richmond has its own visitor-friendly wineries and microbreweries, from Lulu Island Winery, which specializes in icewine, to craft beermaker Fuggles & Warlock. And while cranberries and blueberries are key local crops, many of Richmond's outdoor areas are reserved for nature lovers. Among the more than 100 parks and green spaces, there are many scenic trails, cycling routes, and walkways to explore, with deer, hummingbirds, and bald eagles to spot en route. Want more wildlife? This is also a hotspot for whale-watching boat tours. And if golf is on your mind, Richmond has a wide array of options, including driving ranges and public and private courses. There are even go-cart circuits if you're looking for a memorable team-building activity.
Historic sites and landmark attractions
Richmond also has a fascinating variety of unique heritage attractions, including the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site and the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site, both located in the charming old fishing village of Steveston. Popular with visitors strolling its Fisherman's Wharf boardwalk and dining at lip-smacking seafood restaurants, this wood-built, gable-roofed village has become famous in recent years as the Storybrooke setting for ABC's hit TV series Once Upon a Time.
For ideal delegate downtime activities, these aren't the only Richmond hotspots worth adding to your itinerary. London Farm is a delightful pioneer-era heritage house; Richmond Art Gallery is a contemporary art space with a dynamic exhibition mandate; the fascinating International Buddhist Temple combines traditional tile-roofed devotional buildings with tranquil gardens; and the landmark Richmond Oval, an official 2010 Winter Olympics venue, invites visitors to find their inner sports star via state-of-the-art ski, kayak, and bobsled simulators. Each of these sites can be booked for off-site events or group tours and activities.
Richmond is also a great destination to exercise your credit cards. The popular McArthurGlen Designer Outlets center lures bargain hunters to stores including Armani and Kate Spade; distinctive malls such as Aberdeen Centre and Parker Place entice those looking for an authentic Asian-themed shopping experience (with adventurous food courts to match); and the city's celebrated seasonal night market — Canada's best — hooks fans from across Metro Vancouver.
Festivals and nightlife
Visitors also flock to Richmond's ever-expanding roster of multicultural events. Colorful Chinese New Year celebrations (in January or February) are a camera-loving crowd-pleaser; July 1's partylike Canada Day is combined with the community-favorite Steveston Salmon Festival; and September's Richmond World Festival transforms Minoru Park into an international celebration of diverse music, food, and culture. And if you miss one of these events, there are also regular live music and comedy shows at the River Rock Casino Resort, as well as cleverly staged plays at the celebrated Gateway Theatre. Add the summer-long Richmond Night Market, karaoke bars, and escape rooms for a full lineup of distinctive nightlife options.