Richmond, Indiana is a fun town full of activities for all ages and interests. Whether you’re looking to go antiquing, venture into the outdoors, or explore local history this is the perfect destination. I spent two days on my first visit and barely scratched the surface. Begin your journey at the Old National Road Visitor Center. There you will find brochures and helpful locals to point you in the right directions. You can also find links to many of the places below on their website. Here are 18 things to do in Richmond.
Enjoy Nature Around Richmond
- Hayes Arboretum – 466 acre park includes trails for hiking and mountain biking, nature center and museum, and even an ancient Native American burial mound. Free to public
- Joeseph More Museum of Natural History – Located on the campus of Earlham College, the collection focuses on the natural world from ancient fossils and dinosaurs to modern day flora and fauna; including live animal encounters. There is also a planetarium to look beyond our own world. Fun fact: There are only two Egyptian mummies in Indiana and both are located in Richmond! One is at the Joseph More Museum; read on to find the other.
- Thistlethwaite Falls – Located in Springwood Park, Thistlethwaite Falls is a fun place to splash around and also find some fossils embedded in the rocks. The water is shallow enough for kids to wander around.
- Bike the Cardinal Greenway – Former railroad tracks have been repurposed as a paved biking trail. The Greenway currently extends from Richmond north through Muncie and up to Marion. (Did you know James Dean was born in Marion, Indiana? Read my article about tracing his early life and grave site)
Explore the Rich History of Richmond
- Levi and Catherine Coffin House – Known as the Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad, more than 1,000 escaped slaves are thought to have passed through this home. Today it is open to the public and features a new interpretive center. Read more about the Coffin House here.
- Richmond Veterans Memorial Park – One of the more extensive veterans memorials I have seen along my travels. The park features two Stuart light tanks from WWII, along with other items on display. There are small monuments to each of the wars and service branches.
- Ford Model T Owners Museum – The Model T may not have any history in Richmond, but the owners association has its headquarters here. There are several interesting and important variants of the Model T on display in the museum’s two buildings as well as a period machine shop and garage. Read more about the Model T Museum here.
- Wayne County Historical Museum – This local history museum is impressive in both size and the diversity of items. Inside you’ll find an early Conestoga wagon, displays detailing local businesses and inventions, and a wide array of items collected from around the world by founder Julia Meek Gaar, including Richmond’s other Egyptian mummy. Outside are more buildings featuring locally made cars, a one room log schoolhouse, and even a log cabin built by local settlers.
- Gennett Walk of Fame – Gennett Records was one of the early music recording companies and saw many famous artists walk through its doors, including Louis Armstrong, Gene Autry, and Lawrence Welk. They were most well known as a studio for jazz artists. Today there is a Walk of Fame celebrating many of these performers next to the remains of the Starr Piano factory, Gennett’s parent company. The walk consists of inlaid tiles resembling records and portraits of the artists embedded in the sidewalk. Sadly, the elements have taken their toll and options are being explored to mount the art works on a memorial wall to protect them in the future.
Get a Little Artsy in Richmond
- Murals in Depot District – There are numerous murals adorning the old buildings of Richmond’s historic Depot District. Take a stroll around to see what interesting scenes you can find. There’s also a giant chair on the side of the furniture gallery building. This isn’t the only place you’ll find murals. Several other small towns, especially along the Old National Road, feature unique murals.
- Antique Alley – Eastern Indiana and Western Ohio are a hot spot for antiquing. There are several shops in Richmond and all along the small towns of US 40, the Old National Road.
- Richmond Art Museum – A small but impressive collection attached to the local high school. In addition to their local collections, the RAC offers several programs throughout the year as well as special exhibitions.
- Paint the Towne – Located in the Depot District, this is a place create your own easy artworks. Pottery, painting, and other art classes are offered for both kids and adults.
Satisfy Your Cravings in Richmond
- Abbott’s Candies – Abbott’s has been hand crafting candies since 1890 in their small shop. Specializing in chocolates and caramels, you can take a tour of their kitchen to see how it’s done. Their soft caramels are seriously the best I’ve ever eaten. Read more about their history and the tour here.
- Chocolate Trail – If visiting Abbott’s wasn’t enough, Richmond has put together its own chocolate trail, which will take you everywhere from a candle company to wineries. Pick up your passport at the visitor center.
- Ullery’s Homemade Ice Cream – In the heart of the Depot District you’ll find a family run ice cream parlor serving up some of the best treats in Indiana. There are over a dozen flavors plus fresh made cones. Try the affoagto: espresso poured over ice cream and topped with caramel. It’s heavenly. Read more here.
- Fountain Acres – After touring the Levi Coffin house, stop in at this Amish market for one of their wonderful sandwiches and ice cream. You’ll also find shelves stocked with all sorts of foods, plus fresh produce and flowers in season.
- Norris Pub – In the small farming community of Liberty visitors will be surprised to find a classic English pub. Built inside an old gas station, the Norris Pub has several of their own distinctive British style brews on tap. A limited, but quality, menu of standard pub fare includes Scotch eggs, fish and chips, and bangers & mash.
Thanks to the Richmond, Indiana CVB for hosting me at some of the locations mentioned and the local business owners I had a chance to chat with along the way. For more information on area attractions, restaurants, and lodging options visit the Richmond CVB website.