Richmond is a city on the rise, and it continues to receive national accolades for its progressive development. Residents who moved to Richmond from elsewhere in the US or abroad frequently comment on the welcoming nature of the city and how easy it was for them to fit in, and the collective and contagious pride that its residents take in the various treasures that the Virginia capital has to offer.
Richmond's craft-beer culture is famous and, more recently, the city's become something of a foodie capital too. New residents will take great delight in trying out the city's host of culinary and brew offerings, and art lovers will also be well catered for with a trove of galleries and museums. Avid shoppers will feel right at home too, as will outdoorsy types and nature junkies.
Arts and culture in Richmond
Richmond has a rich and storied history, which is celebrated by the multitude of museums and monuments in the city. Monument Avenue, which is rated as one of the top 10 most beautiful streets in the US, is a tree-lined mall originally named for its slew of statues honouring those who fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War. But with a city keen to shake its reputation as the erstwhile confederate stronghold, Monument Avenue now includes a varied mix of structures including beautiful churches and other splendid architecture.
Newcomers who enjoy the arts will discover that the city has plenty to offer, including a wonderful symphony orchestra, galleries celebrating visual and performing arts, ballet theatres and more. Residents can catch a show at the Altria Theatre, check out downtown's impressive selection of galleries during an art walk on First Fridays, or peruse the stunning collection at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The kids will also have plenty to gawk at at the Science Museum of Virginia, or the Children's Museum of Richmond.
Sports and outdoor activities in Richmond
New arrivals in Richmond with an affinity for the outdoors will be in their element. Sometimes nicknamed the 'River City' because of its location on the James River, Richmond is the only place in the US where river rafters can experience Class 3 and 4 rapids in urban surroundings. Those who are less keen to get wet can nevertheless enjoy the acres of secluded forest trails that straddle the river, where they can choose between mountain biking, hiking or a leisurely stroll through tranquil forest environs.
The city also has a number of local sports and hobby clubs that newcomers can join – social-networking sites are a good place to find these and sign up, and they're a great way to meet people too. Those more interested in following sports than playing them can get behind the Flying Squirrels, the city's baseball team, or the Richmond Kickers for those who are more into soccer. The Virginia Commonwealth University boasts one of the best college basketball teams in the country, while petrol heads can get their fix at the NASCAR track at the north end of the city.
Shopping in Richmond
Shoppers new to Richmond will want to head straight to Short Pump (the city's most fashionable neighbourhood) or Stony Point Fashion Park, where they'll be able to shop to their hearts' content at all the chain stores imaginable. For a more original and bespoke experience, newcomers should explore the quaint and quirky boutiques, bookstores, antique shops and vintage emporiums of downtown, Carytown and Broad Street.
Eating out in Richmond
Richmond is now considered one of the East Coast foodie hotspots, and its culinary scene has exploded in recent years. New arrivals will be able to experience anything from Southern soul food and moreish Mexican fare to Mediterranean cuisine and world-class fine-dining establishments.
Richmond is a beer lover's dream destination, and the city is home to several excellent craft breweries, favourites among them being Hardywood, The Veil and Ardent.
Nightlife in Richmond
Richmond might not have as raucous a nightlife scene as some of the bigger East Coast cities, but there's still plenty to do for night owls here. Revellers can choose between bespoke wine bars, breweries or dive bars; they can go check out a live gig or dance the night away at one of several big clubs; or they can take in a show at the theatre or get in a few laughs at a stand-up comedy club.
►For more on the city's best attractions check out our See and Do in Richmond page
Are you an expat living in Richmond?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Richmond. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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