Richmond, VA skyline at dusk

12 Things to Know About Living in Richmond

Thinking about moving to Richmond? Virginia’s capital city has an affordable cost of living, a strong job market, a funky hipster vibe, and so much more—it’s no wonder it’s one of the top 25 best places to live in the U.S. Check out these 12 things to know about living in Richmond!

Move to an Affordable East Coast City

Richmond, VA skyline from the James River. Photo by Instagram user @harrisonkmirephoto
Photo via @harrisonkmirephoto

Richmond’s population has increased by 12% since 2010, growing faster than both the state of Virginia and the U.S. as a whole. What’s driving this population growth? It’s the city’s affordability! The cost of living in Richmond is right in line with the U.S. average and 7% lower than the state average. And the housing costs are budget-friendly, too! With a median home price at $199,300 and a median monthly rent at $916, it’s easy for new Richmond residents to find homes that will fit their needs.

You’ll Be Able to Find a Job

Dominion Energy headquarters in Richmond, VA. Photo by Instagram user @dominionenergy
Photo via @dominionenergy

Did you know Richmond is one of America’s best cities for job seekers? The city has an unemployment rate of 3.1% and offers job opportunities with Fortune 500 companies, such as CarMaxDominion Energy, and Markel. Richmond is great for entrepreneurs as well. The area has a strong startup community that encourages and supports local business growth. Companies like Paymerang and Workpath are among the many thriving Richmond tech startups, which are aided by Startup Virginia, a nonprofit organization that partners startup companies with mentors, investors, and donors to support their growth and long-term success.

Experience All Four Seasons in the South

Autumn in Richmond, VA. Photo by Instagram user @thekatieelliott
Photo via @thekatieelliott

If you want to live somewhere where you can enjoy all four seasons, move to Richmond! The summers are hot and humid with temperatures in the 80s and 90s. Fall and spring are incredibly pleasant with some rainfall here and there and temperatures in the 60s and 70s. Plus, Richmond residents even get to experience winter! Don’t be scared away by the prospect of snow, though, as this Virginia city only gets about 11 inches a year on average. Nevertheless, this weather variety makes Richmond a hub for fun events year-round, from the International Dragon Boat Festival in August to Shiver in the River in February.

FIND YOUR STORE

There’s Plenty to Do Outdoors

Kayakers on James River in Richmond, VA. Photo by Instagram user @jamesriverpark
Photo via @jamesriverpark

It’s a good thing the local weather is so agreeable because some of the best things to do in Richmond take place outside! Head to James River Park to battle whitewater swells at the Pony Pasture Rapids, run through scenic Floodwall Park, or get in touch with nature at Pipeline. View beautiful lakes and historic sites during a bike ride on the Virginia Capitol Trail. Take a leisurely pedal boat ride in the lake at Byrd Park. Explore the beautiful Japanese Garden and stroll among exotic trees in the Arboretum at Maymont. Or make your way out to Belle Isle, where you can just sit on the rocks and watch the river.

Get to Know the Local Richmond History

St John's Church in Richmond, VA. Photo by Instagram user @lookuprichmond
Photo via @lookuprichmond

Because Richmond was first incorporated as part of the original British colonies, its ties to American history run deep. In fact, you can visit several landmarks today that played a huge role in the area’s settlement, as well as in the American Revolutionary War and Civil War. Check out St. John’s Church, where Founding Father Patrick Henry delivered his famous “Give me liberty or give me death!” speech at the start of the revolution. Take a tour of the Old Senate Chambers at the Virginia State Capitol, the oldest legislative body in the U.S. Visit the American Civil War Museum to see exhibits featuring artifacts from the Civil War. Or peruse the Enchanted Garden and keep an eye out for black cats at the Edgar Allen Poe Museum, an homage to the country’s famous macabre author who grew up in the area.

Richmond Is a Hipster’s Paradise

Woman with iced drink from Lamplighter Coffee Roasters in Richmond, VA. Photo by Instagram user @heidisthriftyfinds
Photo via @heidisthriftyfinds

What do you get when you cross urban culture, a diverse population, a booming restaurant scene, and an abundance of thrift stores? One of the most hipster-friendly cities in America! Richmond’s free-thinking, nonconformist nature is most prominently displayed in Carytown, a nine-block collection of quirky local shops and restaurants. Sift through uncommon cards and gifts at Mongrel, grab a boozy confection at Tipsy Cupcakes RVA, and attend a drag show at Babes of Carytown. Cap off your visit with a $4 movie at the historic Byrd Theatre. Seen it all in Carytown? No worries—Richmond’s hip and thrifty personality is all over the city. Head over to Scott’s Addition Historic District to browse vintage furniture and clothing at Diversity Thrift or pick up a Gingersnap Iced Tea from Lamplighter Coffee Roasters.

There’s an Event for Every Passion

Richmond Folk Festival concert. Photo by Instagram user @rvafolkfest
Photo via @rvafolkfest

The list of festivals in Richmond seemingly goes on forever, so there’s something to excite everyone! Are you a music lover? Grab a partner and dance the night away at Richmond Folk Festival. Or get swept up in the soothing melodies of the Richmond Jazz Festival. Enjoy fitness competitions? Race against 25,000 other runners at Monument Avenue 10K, compete in the Filthy 5K-Ish Mud Run, or learn how to ride a standup paddleboard at the Dominion Energy Riverrock Festival. Prefer consuming calories as opposed to burning them? Sample signature dishes from 70 local restaurants and watch live cooking demos at Broad Appétit. Feast on whole hog ‘que while sampling brews and whiskeys at the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival. Or attend the HeART & Soul Brewfest for hearty soul food, hip-hop concerts, and an epic collection of modern art.

Everyone in the Family Will Have a Good Time

Family on water ride at Kings Dominion in Richmond, VA. Photo by Instagram user @kingsdominionva
Photo via @kingsdominionva

There’s no shortage of things to do with kids in Richmond! Ride the zany Woodstock Express, brave theParadise Plunge water slide, and visit Charlie Brown and friends at Kings Dominion amusement park. Feed giraffes and traverse the Treetop Zoofari Course at the Metro Richmond Zoo. Explore more than 50 acres of gardens at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. See the stars at a Planetarium Show and view train cars and submarines at the Science Museum of Virginia. Have some sports fans in the family? Experience the exhilarating rush of a NASCAR race at Richmond Raceway. Or get an autograph and see your favorite athletes up close when the Washington Redskins (NFL) visit Richmond for training camp in the summer!

The Arts Play a Key Role in the City

Street mural in Richmond, VA. Photo by Instagram user @dccitygirl
Photo via @dccitygirl

One of the easiest ways to understand Richmond’s unique personality is to experience its arts scene. Walk through the streets and admire all of the beautiful creations from the Richmond Mural Project, which has turned the city’s walls into a canvas for the country’s top street artists. Visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to experience some of the finest collections of Art Nouveau and South Asian art in the world. Bask in the odd, potato-inspired glory of the Markel Building, recognized as one of the world’s ugliest structures. Get out to Arts in the Park, a two-day outdoor festival in May, where you can view or purchase original works by standout artists. Or see the area’s finest young performers in action with a show at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Center for the Arts.

Richmond’s Food Scene Is on the Rise

Biscuit sandwiches from Fancy Biscuit in Richmond, VA. Photo by Instagram user @fancybiscuitrva
Photo via @fancybiscuitrva

Interesting Richmond restaurants continue to pop up each year, making this Virginia city a growing foodie destination! Experience the finer side of dining with Oysters on the Half Shell and Seafood Paella at Rappahannock. Order the Chicken Schnitzel or Boar Shank at Metzger Bar & Butchery. Try creative takes on breakfast classics with the Wavy Gravy at The Fancy Biscuit. Feast on Lump Crab and Scrambled Egg Enchilada at Millie’s Diner. Grab Croissants and Cinnamon Sugar Braids from Sub Rosa Wood Fired Bakery. Take your tastebuds on a trip to Italy with Mussels Marinara from Dinamo. Devour unique creations like the Lobster Pop Tart and Cat-Sea-Pig at Spoonbread Bistro. After you’re done dining at Richmond’s best restaurants, finish things off with a Pumpkin and Salted Caramel Pie from Proper Pie Company.

 

The Craft Brews Just Keep Flowing

Craft beer from The Veil Brewing Co in Richmond, VA. Photo by Instagram user @htothe2
Photo via @htothe2

If you want to fully experience all Richmond’s breweries have to offer, take a trip down the Richmond Beer Trail! Don’t have time to visit all 30? Stopping in at just one or two is enough to see why Richmond is one of America’s top beer destinations. Grab a Bourbon Barrel GPS and a bite from a local food truck at Richmond Brew House & Tap Room. Enjoy the diverse selection of IPAs, Hefeweissens, and more at The Veil Brewing Co. Sip on a Fresh Pair of Sambas or a Frozan Papaya Colada at The Answer Brewpub. Prefer hard ciders to beer? Sample varieties of apple ciders at Blue Bee Cider.

Fun Doesn’t Stop When the Sun Goes Down

People dancing at Visions Dance Club in Richmond, VA. Photo by Instagram user @jamilimages
Photo via @jamilimages

Whether you’re looking to party it up or have a quiet night with some friends, Richmond nightlife provides a vast array of experiences. Attend a drag show, game night, pajama party, or movie night at Fallout. Rock out with some of America’s best performers at live music venue The National. Dance your heart out while listening to all kinds of music at Visions Dance Club. Looking for something a bit more casual? Try unique cocktails like the Dr. Feelgood and the Hailstorm Julep at The Jasper. Enjoy live jazz with a glass of wine at C’est Le Vin. Or drink craft beers while playing skeeball, ping pong, and classic arcade games at Bingo Beer Company.

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