Richmond, Va., skyline at sunset

Richmond

Richmond, known to locals as RVA, is a dynamic mix of both old and new. Steeped in history from early colonial times, capital of the confederacy, and Jackson Ward, the Harlem of the South, Richmond is now also home to the capital of Virginia, fortune 500 companies, a robust art scene, unique foodie hang outs, craft breweries, performing arts and NASCAR. With downtown access to whitewater rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, climbing, hiking and a bustling outdoor culture; it’s easy to see why RVA was voted the best river city in America by Outdoor Magazine. Less than two hours to Washington, D.C., beaches, and mountains. Many residents who come stay because they love RVA!

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Sports and recreation

Spectator sports

Aerial photo of the Diamond, Richmond's baseball stadium

Baseball fieldRichmond offers a wide variety of activities for all interests. Sports fans can enjoy year-round attractions, including minor league baseball (Richmond Flying Squirrels External Link) and soccer (Richmond Kickers External Link), as well as thrilling collegiate sports here at VCU, where the men’s basketball team traveled all the way to the Final Four in 2011. Also, with the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area within a two-hour drive, the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB are all within reach. The Washington Redskins summer training camp is held in Richmond each summer. NASCAR is a fixture in Richmond, and one of the more important raceways in the sport. Richmond International Speedway hosting over 100,000 fans for each race.

Aerial photo of Byrd Park, Richmond, Va.

Fitness

For those who’d rather get in the game, there are several affordable athletic outlets in the city. Membership is subsidized for all housestaff at the university’s five athletic centers, including the Cary Street Gym External Link, which features two heated pools, a rock-climbing wall, four-court gymnasium, group exercise classes and an 18,000-square-foot fitness center. The MCV Campus Recreation and Aquatic Center External Link is dedicated to the Medical Campus and offers a fitness center, swimming pool, whirlpool, sauna and steam room facilities.

For residents who would prefer a private gym, the city offers several options to suit your taste, many of which are located a short walk or drive from the MCV Campus.

Outdoor life

A kayaker in the rapids in the James River

Three bicyclists smiling and posing for the photo

RichmondRichmond boasts plenty of opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast. The city is full of biking trails, many along the James River, which is, in itself, a popular weekend destination for white-water rafters and kayakers. The river runs right through the heart of Richmond, making it the only city in the U.S. with class IV rapids within its limits. In 2012, Outside Magazine even named Richmond the “Best River Town in America.”

Richmond’s convenient location gives residents several destinations that can satisfy every craving within a short drive. For water lovers, Norfolk, Virginia Beach and the Eastern Shore are just two to three hours away. Residents are even closer to the mountains. Charlottesville, just one hour away, serves as the gateway to hiking, camping, skiing and snowboarding in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

Bicylists racing in the UCI World Campionships in Richmond, Va.

Culture

The Carpenter Theater

Lewis Ginter gardens

Outdoor sculpture at the VMFA

CultureFor those in need of a culture fix, Richmond has plenty to offer. The renowned Virginia Museum of Fine Arts External Link brings exclusive international exhibits to the city, while also boasting an impressive permanent collection, including the largest public collection of Fabergé outside Russia. Residents also enjoy First Fridays External Link, when Richmond’s downtown art galleries open their doors late into the evening on the first Friday of each month.

Both high-profile and indie music acts make their way to Richmond, taking the stage at the Landmark Theater External Link and The National External Link, while Richmond’s many performing arts groups, including the acclaimed Richmond Ballet External Link and the Virginia Opera External Link, perform at Richmond CenterStage External Link.

Summertime brings outside music events and festivals to Brown’s Island along Richmond’s waterfront, while the annual Richmond Folk Festival External Link routinely attracts close to 200,000 people every October.

Then there’s the food. Richmond has a host of fantastic restaurants, a handful of which have made appearances on the Food Network and other popular TV food channels. Whether you’re craving authentic Cuban fare, old-fashioned Southern cuisine or spicy Vietnamese, you can find it in Richmond. Richmond is also home to an extensive craft beer scene, with additional brewery expansion and construction underway.

Many Richmond pictures provided with permission of Chris Johnson.