Moving to Richmond– what you need to know
So, you’re moving to Richmond, VA? Well, get excited because Richmond is not short on amazing things to see, do and eat! Regardless of what your interests are, you’re in for a fun-filled next chapter of your life!
Where to Live in Richmond, VA
First things first, where to live? The Richmond area has a diverse set of neighborhoods that can accommodate just about any pace – and stage – of life.
Richmond is a vibrant city, which attracts many young professionals who want to live, work and play in an urban environment. Young professionals find Richmond to have a more affordable cost of living compared to nearby Washington, D.C. And the amenities are endless — a burgeoning craft beer scene with more than 30 craft breweries in the area, running and biking trails along the James River and restaurants that have been featured in publications like Bon Appetit and listed among the semi-finalists of the 2019 James Beard Awards, a respected dining award in the country.
For aspiring millennials, Richmond has been recognized by CNBC as one of the top 10 cities with amazing opportunities and a top city for creatives by Thrillist.
Within the city limits, Richmond’s housing market attracts both homeowners and renters alike, and popular neighborhoods for young professionals include the following:
- The Fan
- Shockoe Bottom
- Scott’s Addition
- Church Hill
All have easy access to the city’s main highways, so even if you aren’t lucky enough to work and live in the city, accessing these hot spots is relatively easy.
Richmond is a wonderful place for young families to flourish. Maymont, the Science Museum of Virginia and The Children’s Museum provide outlets for kids to learn and play. There are also numerous food and music festivals held throughout the year, many of which are family friendly. Richmond’s rich history and close proximity to Jamestown and Williamsburg also provides young families the opportunity to immerse themselves in the early history of our country.
Liveability named Richmond one of the 100 best places to live in America— making it a great place for young families to settle down. Popular neighborhoods for young families include the following:
- The West End
- Bon Air
- Short Pump
- Westover Hills
The quality of schools vary wildly between the cities and neighboring counties, so it is important to do your research before deciding on a school zone.
Richmond is a city where empty nesters will find a variety of activities to keep them busy. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Capital Trail are popular attractions for all ages. Additionally, Richmond is located within about an hour’s drive of Charlottesville, where many of Virginia’s best wines are made.
U.S.News ranked Richmond as one of the top 100 places to live and retire, and empty nesters will find a variety of housing options available to them. Many new development projects, which incorporate popular amenities, can be found both downtown and in the surrounding more suburban counties. Traditional single family homes can also be found within walking distance of the James River and some of Richmond’s many museums.
Empty nesters may want to consider homes in these neighborhoods:
- The Fan
- The Museum District
- The Near West End
- Short Pump
- Glen Allen
What to do in Richmond, VA
The question in Richmond isn’t what to do. It’s what to do first.
Children’s Museum of Richmond
At the Children’s Museum of Richmond, toddlers and elementary-age children can exercise their minds, creativity and social skills. There are arts and crafts, a carousel, a theater-style playhouse and many more exhibits to choose from. Keep an eye out for upcoming and ongoing events, like Story Time with Jeff and Special Night for Special Needs. For more information, visit http://www.c-mor.org/.
Edgar Allen Poe Museum
The Edgar Allen Poe Museum is just blocks from Poe’s first Richmond home and first place of employment. The exhibit has the world’s best collection of Poe’s manuscripts, letters, first editions, memorabilia and personal belongings. For hours and information, visit http://www.poemuseum.org/.
The Science Museum of Virginia
The Science Museum of Virginia is located in the heart of Richmond and has interactive exhibits for all ages. See live astronomy presentations projected onto the most technologically advanced digital dome theater in the world, live science labs and demos and come face-to-face with scorpions, snakes and other reptiles in the Live Animal Lab. For more information about admission and exhibits, visit http://www.smv.org/.
The Valentine Museum
The Valentine Museum is filled with a collection of local art and artifacts that interpret more than 400 years of Richmond’s History. For information about admission, and hours, visit http://thevalentine.org/.
VCU Institute for Contemporary Art
The VCU Institute for Contemporary Art, commonly known as the ICA, is located on Virginia Commonwealth University’s Monroe Park Campus and opened in April 2018. The ICA is a non-collecting art foundation that displays an ever-changing array of exhibitions. Admission to the ICA is free. For more information about the exhibits, visit https://icavcu.org/.
Virginia Holocaust Museum
The Virginia Holocaust Museum has exhibits and collections to educate visitors about the realities of the Holocaust, commemorative programs, lectures, films and other events. Due to the serious, grave nature of the exhibits, the museum does not recommend bringing children under Grade 6. For information about events, exhibits, admission and more, visit http://www.va-holocaust.com/.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is open 365 days a year, displaying several rotating exhibits and a permanent collection of more than 35,000 works of art from almost every major world culture. For more information on current and upcoming exhibits, visit http://vmfa.museum/.
Virginia Museum of History and Culture
The Virginia Museum of History and Culture features award-winning and educational exhibits and is open year round, except for major holidays. Exhibits include The Story of Virginia, Football Hall of Fame, Memorial Military Murals, Murals of Landscapes in Virginia and much more. For more information about admission, exhibits and more, visit https://www.virginiahistory.org/.
Agecroft Hall was once the home of the distinguished English Langley and Dauntesey families during the Tudor and Stuart ages in England until it was disassembled and moved to Richmond in the mid-1920s. Today the manor is on display for the public to tour and learn about its history. For more information, visit https://www.agecrofthall.org/.
Capitol Square is a public park made up of beautiful grounds, walkways, monuments and historic buildings. The Executive Mansion has been the home to Virginia’s Governor and First Family since 1813; it is the oldest governor’s residence still used for its original purpose and is located in Capitol Square. The Capitol also resides in Capitol Square, and was designed by Thomas Jefferson to resemble a first-century Roman temple in France. Inside the Capitol, you can find the only sculpture of George Washington produced in his lifetime. For more information, visit http://virginiacapitol.gov/index.php/capitol-visitors-guide/.
Hollywood Cemetery is filled with history and scenic, winding paths that take visitors through 135 acres of valleys, hills and trees, burial sites of Civil War generals, famous personalities and more. For more information, visit https://www.hollywoodcemetery.org/.
Virginia War Memorial
The Virginia War Memorial honors veterans with the Shrine of Memory, where engraved on its stone and glass walls are the names of Virginians who died in WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and in the Persian Gulf War. For more information about the Virginia War Memorial, visit http://www.vawarmemorial.org
Altria Theater is Richmond CenterStage’s largest performing arts complex where you can see theatrical performances and musicals like Wicked, Disney’s The Lion King and and big names in music. For pricing, location and upcoming events, visit http://www.altriatheater.com/.
Dominion Energy Theatre
The historic Dominion Energy Theatre features modern, state-of-the-art amenities with an old-world feel and features performances from the Richmond Symphony, Richmond Ballet and more. For pricing, location and upcoming events, visit https://www.dominionenergycenter.com/.
The Virginia-Rep Theater
The Virginia-Rep Theater is a nonprofit, professional theater company that puts on a number of plays and musicals throughout the year. For information on upcoming shows, events and ticket prices, visit http://va-rep.org/.
The National is the spot to see some of the biggest names passing through Richmond. The venue has seven full bars, seating in the balcony, an open first floor in front of the stage and a capacity of 1,500 people, making it one of Richmond’s largest venues. For upcoming shows, pricing and tickets, visit http://www.thenationalva.com/.
The Broadberry is one of Richmond’s newest music venues, featuring a 40-foot bar, VIP seating and a patio. With two stages, this venue is perfect for any show. For upcoming shows, pricing and tickets, visit https://thebroadberry.com.
The Camel hosts live music seven nights a week and offers a more intimate setting to see locals and bands on tour. The Camel has a full kitchen, happy hour and even serves Sunday brunch. For upcoming shows, pricing and menu, visit http://www.thcamel.org/.
Innsbrook After Hours
Innsbrook After Hours is a seasonal concert pavillion just outside the city of Richmond. The venue has attracted national artists ranging from Lady Antebellum to Boyz II Men, Lynyrd Skynrd to X Ambassadors, and so many more. The pavillion hosts musical guests from May to mid-October. For upcoming shows and tickets, visit http://innsbrookafterhours.com/.
Richmond’s restaurant scene has exploded in recent years. In 2019, Richmond was named a ‘top food destination’ by Yelp, and four Richmond chefs and restaurants were honored as James Beard Award semi-finalists. Bon Appetit routinely features new restaurants, like Alewife, as some of the city’s top dining destinations. From farm-to-table, wild game, fine-dining and the best outdoor BBQ joint, Richmond has an endless number of restaurant options from which to choose. For a comprehensive list of some of the region’s best restaurants, look no further than Richmond Magazine’s restaurant guide: https://richmondmagazine.com/restaurants-in-richmond.
The Richmond area has more than 30 breweries and counting and was named the #1 Beer Destination in the World for 2018 by Vinepair. From sweet and dry-hopped ciders to triple IPAs, stouts and porters, there’s a brewery and a beer for every palate. Each of Richmond’s breweries opens its doors to the public daily where you can enjoy a flight or your favorite beverage. Several breweries have venue space for live music, food trucks, local pop-up shop market events and more. For a complete list of breweries, visit https://www.visitrichmondva.com/drink/craft-beer-cider/breweries/ or www.rvacraftbeer.com.
Quirk Hotel’s Rooftop Bar is the best place to see the sunset while enjoying a drink. The bar is open to the public and overlooks the entire city of Richmond. Its eclectic décor and craft cocktail menu combined are the perfect representation of Richmond. For more information, visit https://www.destinationhotels.com/quirk-hotel/the-rooftop-bar.
Graduate Hotel’s Byrd House is Richmond’s newest 21+ rooftop bar. The Byrd House is a seasonal rooftop bar and pool, open from mid-April through mid-November. Shareable appetizers and snacks accompany the cocktails at this hip new spot. You don’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy the 360-degree views either. For more information, visit https://www.graduatehotels.com/richmond/restaurant/byrd-house/.
Kabana is located on the 20th floor of 700 East Main Street. The space has an outdoor and indoor bar, VIP lounge seating and is open for dinner seven nights a week. Each Sunday, Kabana hosts yoga on the roof, followed by Sunday brunch, where you can order drinks by the rooftop pool or enjoy a seated brunch. For reservations, pricing and menu, visit http://www.kabanarooftop.com/.
Carytown is arguably Richmond’s most unique and trendiest shopping district. Located in the city’s midtown area, it features a number of boutique clothing stores to suit any budget, World of Mirth (a toy store like no other), and the Byrd Theater, one of the country’s last movie theaters that shows new(ish) movies for just $4 every night.
Short Pump Town Center
Short Pump Town Center is Richmond’s largest shopping mall, with stores including J. Crew, Crate & Barrel, Apple and Urban Outfitters. While an outdoor mall, Short Pump features a number of covered and heated walkways for the colder months of the year. For more information about shopping hours and a store directory, visit https://www.shortpumptowncenter.com/.
Stony Point Fashion Park
Stony Point is Richmond’s second outdoor mall. Smaller than Short Pump, it features “top shelf” stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany’s, Brooks Brothers and Anthropologie along with Cinebistro, a full-service restaurant and movie theater. For more information about shopping hours and a store directory, visit https://www.shopstonypoint.com/.
South of the James Farmers Market
Every Saturday, locally-grown produce, handmade items and local vendors can be found at South of the James Farmers Market in Forest Hill Park. From handmade clothing, soaps and local honey, to the freshest produce and Mrs. Yoder’s Donuts, you can find just about anything you could possibly need. This weekly farmers market is hosted by GrowRVA; for more information, visit https://www.growrva.com/soj.
Maymont is the perfect outdoors area for all ages. The 100-acre public park is made up of an array of things to do and see from farm and wildlife, to visiting mansions and gardens and exploring the nature center. Take a guided tour of the Maymont Mansion or walk through the Japanese tea garden and create your own path. Admission is free, although donations are recommended to help maintain the park. See Maymont’s calendar of events for upcoming shows and festivals. For more information, visit https://maymont.org/.
Virginia Capital Trail
Runners, walkers and bikers will enjoy the Virginia Capital Trail, an approximately 52-mile, fully paved trail which begins in downtown Richmond. The trail is filled with history and connects from Virginia’s capital to Williamsburg, running parallel with the scenic Route 5 corridor. For more information about the Virginia Capital Trail, visit http://virginiacapitaltrail.org/.
The James River Park System
The James River Park System has some of the region’s best trails for hikers, runners and mountain bikers alike. One minute you can feel like you’re out in the middle of nowhere, and the next you’re taking in picturesque views of Richmond’s skyline. For more information, visit https://jamesriverpark.org.
Byrd Park is one of Richmond’s most popular parks with lakes, trails and paths for running/walking, tennis courts, picnic tables and outdoor amenities for grilling. The pet-friendly park has 287 acres to roam, public restrooms, and even free Wi-Fi during the summer season. Byrd Park is located at 600 South Boulevard.
Jefferson Park is located atop a hill that oversees the city skyline on the corner of North 21st Street and East Marshall Street. Along the park’s path is installed fitness equipment, perfect for a complete workout.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has more than 50 acres of gardens and exhibits open year-round and was voted No. 4 public garden in the continent by USA Today. Lewis Ginter offers children’s and adult classes, self and staff-guided activities and workshops and is open to the public during its regular business hours. Each holiday season, Lewis Ginter hosts the Dominion GardenFest of Lights and a number of family-friendly events, exhibits and more. For more information about admission and the gardens, visit http://www.lewisginter.org/.
Libby Hill Park
Libby Hill Park is located at 28th and E Franklin Street and is one of the three original parks in Richmond’s park system. The park has an ornamental fountain, small park house and a great view of the city.
Chimborazo Park offers a 180-degree view of the city, is home to National Battlefield Park, and features a miniature monument of the Statue of Liberty. The park includes two dog parks, a playground and a community garden. It’s located at 29th and E Grace Street.
First Fridays RVA
On the first Friday of every month, Richmond’s art walk features its galleries, restaurants, organizations and more. See a comedy show at The Coalition Theater, grab cocktails and snacks at a number of restaurants on the strip or browse through the galleries and boutiques (which often offer wine/beer and light snacks). To learn more about participating restaurants, galleries and more, visit http://www.rvafirstfridays.com/
Get a taste of Richmond at this once-a-year event. Broad Street closes its lanes to traffic and hundreds of restaurants pop-up to sell small plates for $4 a piece. See live cook-offs with local chefs and live music. For details on next year’s event, visit http://www.broadappetit.com/.
Each year more than 200,000 people come to downtown Richmond’s riverfront for the Richmond Folk Festival. There are three different sound stages, food vendors, traditional crafts, beer and wine tents and free admission. See the lineup and get more information here: http://www.richmondfolkfestival.org/.
Each May, outdoor enthusiasts and music lovers alike come together for a fun-filled three day festival located along the James River in Richmond, VA. The festival hosts various outdoor activities such as slackline competitions and bouldering, as well as various concerts throughout the weekend and a plethora of food trucks and craft beer. Don’t miss out on the Subaru Ultimate Air-Dog competition, the premier dock jumping event that showcases the smallest of dogs to the largest. For details on this event, visit https://www.riverrockrva.com/.
Fire Flour and Fork
Fire Flour and Fork is Richmond’s top food event for the food curious occurring every fall. Fire Flour and Fork features 40-plus food and drink-related events over four days in and around Richmond. Many of the events pair local chefs and producers. Tours, brunches, lunches, dinners, classes and chef demos await all who partake in this potluck of events. Learn about the upcoming Fire Flour and Fork event by visiting https://fireflourandfork.com/about.