Richmond is the capital of Virginia and the fourth largest city in the state. Straddling the scenic James River, Richmond's location is both beautiful and conveniently close to major East Coast metros, including the nation's capital, Washington DC.
Both out-of-state Americans and expats are increasingly choosing to base themselves in Richmond for a variety of reasons. The city has a stable, growing economy, a good housing market, low cost of living and great quality of life. Not to mention the stunning views and outdoor adventures that its location on the river provides.
Richmond has several large employers, including six Fortune 500 companies, and those with qualifications and experience in law, finance, advertising and government should have no trouble securing lucrative employment in the city.
The Virginia capital has a lovely range of areas and suburbs for newcomers to choose from. Young professionals will love living in vibey downtown close to the action, while families have a slew of quieter leafy neighbourhoods to choose from. Accommodation in Richmond, generally, is quite affordable and compares favourably to other state capitals and is certainly much cheaper than in larger East Coast cities.
Parents moving to Richmond will also have a large range of good schools to choose from. Though, if they're planning to enrol their children in a public school, they'd be wise to choose their neighbourhood carefully, as admittance is usually based on catchment areas. The city also has several private and international schools, but expats should be conscious of the fact that these often come with enormous tuition fees.
Although Richmond is conveniently located on several interstate highways and a number of railway lines, public transport in Richmond itself is nothing to write home about. Residents who live downtown are well served by the city's bus service but, on the whole, most Richmondians own their own vehicles.
The lifestyle in Richmond is laid back, and residents are quite active. Outdoor pursuits include running, cycling or strolling along the river, hiking through lush forested areas around the city, river-rafting or kayaking on the James River, or just kicking back on a picnic blanket in one of Richmond's many green spaces. There's also a surprising abundance of things to see and do, including a host of museums and galleries, theatres, botanical gardens, canal walks and myriad historical sites dedicated to the city's turbulent past as the Confederate capital.
Eating out is also a treat in Richmond, and there are so many restaurants, breweries and distilleries to choose from. Being a good mix of northern and southern America, one can expect to eat anything from smoky barbecued ribs and hearty Mexican fare to refined Mediterranean-style dishes. One could walk out of a down-to-earth brewery and into a high-brow wine bar next door. The city truly caters to every taste and budget.
Richmond also has a calendar brimming with fun annual events, which are great for newcomers to meet likeminded people and make friends.
Those who move to Richmond often stay far longer than planned, and it's no wonder. The city's residents are welcoming and warm, the quality of life here is excellent, and costs, in pretty much every category, are wonderfully low.
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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