Carytown — often affectionately referred to as “the mile of style,” owes its name to its prime location along Cary Street, which was named after Colonel Archibald Cary in 1927. Today, this district has become one of Richmond’s most beloved destinations, attracting both locals and tourists alike. Stretching across several blocks, Cary Street is lined with a delightful array of local restaurants, boutiques, shops, bakeries, and, more recently, a few national retailers. These businesses are primarily housed in historic structures, lending the area a unique charm and appeal that modern malls simply can’t replicate. Situated between the southern boundary of the Museum District and the Downtown Expressway, with I-195 and The Boulevard forming the western and eastern borders, Carytown occupies a central and bustling location within the city.
The Byrd Theater, recognized as both a State and National Historic Landmark, predates the development of “The Cary Street Park and Shop Center,” which ultimately served as the catalyst for the Carytown shopping district we enjoy today. The Cary Street Park and Shop Center made its debut in the late 1930s, marking Richmond’s first venture into the concept of a strip mall. This innovative idea quickly gained popularity, attracting many locals to the area. Retailers and other businesses recognized the potential and gradually expanded to numerous other blocks along Cary Street over the course of the next three decades.
Carytown is also renowned for hosting a variety of fashion, wine, and film events throughout the year. Additionally, the annual Watermelon Festival, held at the end of each summer, has become a beloved tradition in Carytown. These events contribute significantly to Carytown’s vibrant character, drawing large and diverse crowds of both city residents and tourists.
Carytown is not only a hub for shopping and dining but also a vibrant cultural and social center in Richmond. Throughout the year, the neighborhood hosts a variety of events that cater to diverse interests and tastes.
Fashion enthusiasts can enjoy fashion shows and events featuring the latest trends and designs. Wine enthusiasts can savor wine tastings and other wine-related festivities. Film lovers can partake in film screenings and film-related gatherings that add to the neighborhood’s cultural richness.
One of Carytown’s standout events is The Watermelon Festival, which takes place at the end of every summer. This beloved festival has become an integral part of Carytown’s identity, drawing in large and diverse crowds of both city residents and tourists. It’s a celebration of community, culture, and summertime fun, making it a must-attend event for anyone visiting or living in Richmond.
Here are a few places to check out while you are there:
The Daily Kitchen & Bar – A meal without the guilt… the menu is built upon healthier organic, local ingredients and includes a little something for everyone. Check it out for brunch, happy hour and/or an outdoor meal when the weather’s right.
Can Can Brasserie – This French style brasserie is yet another popular Richmond hotspot for brunchers and people watchers. Pop in for a pastry and coffee if you’re not up for a full meal.
Burger Bach – Some of the best burgers you’ll find in Richmond.
The Byrd Theater – $4 movies in a historic venue without the half hour of previews on the front end. Need I say more?
Plan 9 Records – Part of a dying breed of old school record shops that is still going strong in Richmond.
Chop Suey Books – The polar opposite of Barnes & Noble… small, locally-owned and a personality all its own.
Mongrel – How to describe such an interesting gift shop? I’m not sure I can do it any justice if I try. Trust me… it’s worth a visit.
World of Mirth – A throwback to a time when people bought toys in toy stores rather than stopping in a “big box” for a gallon of milk, a chain saw, underwear and a set of legos.
Carytown Homes For Sale:
Phone: +1 804.397.5078
Multiple-time Distinguished Achiever award winner, 2017 Richmond’s Finest Business Professional and a VIrginia Living Magazine Top 50 Realtor. Architecture lover, outdoor enthusiast and a true fan of all things RVA.