Back in March, we spent the day exploring Priscilla's favorite places in downtown Richmond, but before we could share her picks, COVID-19 hit and changed all of our lives and our city. Four months later, and as Richmond enters Phase 3, we wanted to reflect on this perfect day downtown and encourage you to support downtown businesses in Richmond, like the ones mentioned in the recap of our day with Priscilla Wright, the City of Richmond's Recreation Service Manager.
Until someone figures out how to bottle and sell what makes Richmond so special, the next best thing you can do is buy a cup of coffee from Urban Hang Suite. Priscilla says that her favorite thing about Urban Hang Suite is its perfect mix of "conversation and reflection." Calling it a "community coffee shop," Priscilla talks about the moments she's had while at UHS. From hilarious to informative, "I find myself interacting and having conversations with people I have never met," Priscilla explains excitedly. The space mirrors Priscilla's effervescent energy and offers vibes that will make any local or tourist feel right at home. Urban Hang Suite is open for to-go only, M-F from 8AM-5PM.
Nestled between thrift stores and galleries is Little Nomad, a charming children's shop that will delight adults and kids alike. "If Solange shops there, then everyone should," Priscilla advises. While it's catered to kids, Priscilla is a personal fan of the "bad ass" women empowerment merch. In need of a thoughtful gift? Priscilla recommends Little Nomad's book selection. "When you are the auntie who never wants to give the basic gift, Little Nomad is unquestionably the best place to visit. Getting points with the babies and the mommas is a win, win"! Right now, you can only shop Little Nomad online here.
It's hard not to walk past Maggie Walker Plaza without taking a moment to recognize the impact that Maggie Walker's life had and the impact the Plaza makes in helping to tell her story. "No Richmond native, regardless of race, during her time, would have ever believed that she would be front and center in downtown Richmond. She tells the story of hope, courage, and resilience. Not only for the Black community, but for everyone. This is a shining example of why Richmond is steadily converting to RVA: a place of inclusion and hope."
When it comes to describing Soul Taco, only three words are necessary: Guy Fieri approved. For Priscilla? "You had me at 'taco'." Soul Taco is the spot where two of her favorite foods come together. "It's like my grandmother's Sunday dinner was added to my Abuela's Sunday dinner. It's the best of both worlds!" Some of Priscilla's must-have menu items are a toss-up between the Cornmeal Crusted Catfish Taco and the Buttermilk Battered Fried Chicken Taco. Lucky for Priscilla, she never has to choose, because she always orders three. Enjoy Soul Taco at the Kabana Rooftop or order food online from their Jackson Ward or City Center location here.
If you are looking for a new outdoor space or a change of scenery, Kanawha Plaza is the perfect place to take a break while you explore all that downtown Richmond has to offer. Before COVID-19, Priscilla's plans for Kanawha Plaza looked like Sunday Brunches with live music. While those plans are put on hold, she is still looking forward to creating programs that show the greatness these spaces have to offer to the city.
Despite the 17th Street Market not having quite the year it was hoping for, the businesses and restaurants along the Market are bringing new life to the space with expanded patio dining options. That's the best part of downtown Richmond, Priscilla says, "it's a world of wonder filled with old traditions meeting new and exciting additions." While we can't necessarily gather and celebrate together like we normally do, groups like the City of Richmond's Parks and Recreation and Venture Richmond continue to work hard to create and maintain spaces for people to enjoy all that life has to offer in downtown Richmond.
Photos by Courtney Jones / Special Thanks to Priscilla Wright, Kanawha Plaza, 17th Street Market, Urban Hang Suite, Little Nomad & Soul Taco!