One of my favorite places to experience the James River is from Brown's Island along Tredegar Street. Once you cross the bridge onto the island itself, you can walk onto a remnant of another bridge that once spanned across the river. A section in the middle has been removed, however the Brown's section was renovated and made accessible to pedestrians. Everyone can now go out over a section of rapids created by an old dam.
As you step onto the bridge and pass under the CSX train trestle, be sure to look down. The renovation team embedded a series of brushed stainless "planks" into the walkway with historical quotes. This little detail is a thoughtful touch and adds historical relevance to the place.
There are few legitimate places where the public can experience the river that is so much a part of Richmond's history and geography. This walkout is perhaps the most accessible and safest place to feel the river and its rapids without getting wet.