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Moving to Richmond

The capital of Virginia, Richmond, is the fourth largest city in the state. Straddling the scenic James River, Richmond's location is picturesque and conveniently close to major East Coast metros, including the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

Both out-of-state Americans and expats are increasingly choosing to base themselves in Richmond. The city enjoys a stable, growing economy, a low cost of living and unmatched quality of life. Not to mention the stunning views and outdoor adventures its river location provides.

Living in Richmond as an expat

Richmond has several large employers, including eight Fortune 500 companies. Newcomers with qualifications and experience in law, finance, advertising and government should have no trouble securing lucrative employment in the city.

The metropolis has a diverse range of charming areas and suburbs. Young professionals will love trendy downtown close to the action, while families will have their pick of quiet leafy neighbourhoods. Although Richmond is close to numerous interstate highways and various railway lines, public transport in the city itself is nothing to write home about. Richmond's bus service serves Downtown Richmond residents well, but by and large, Richmondians own vehicles.

Cost of living in Richmond

Accommodation in Richmond is quite affordable and compares favourably to other state capitals, and is much cheaper than in larger East Coast cities. Eating out is also a treat in Richmond, and newcomers can expect to only make a small dent in their pockets. There are also so many restaurants, breweries and distilleries to choose from. 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.

Expat families and children in Richmond

Parents moving to Richmond will also have access to a range of good public, private and international schools. Though, if planning to enrol their children in a public school, they'd be wise to pick their neighbourhood carefully, as catchment areas determine admission. Expats and new arrivals should secure comprehensive medical insurance to avoid hefty healthcare costs. 

There is a surprising abundance of things to see and do during new arrivals’ leisure time, while the general lifestyle in Richmond is quite active. The city boasts an exciting variety of museums, art galleries and festivals for parents and their children to enjoy. Outdoor pursuits include running, cycling or strolling along the river, hiking through lush forested areas, river-rafting or kayaking on the James River, or just kicking back on a picnic blanket in one of Richmond's many green spaces.

Climate in Richmond

Characterised by hot and humid summers, the climate in Richmond is subtropical. Thanks to the barrier effect of the mountains to the west, the winters in Richmond are mild. The city sees the bulk of its rainfall in July, and light snowfall occurs between November and January. 

Those who move to Richmond tend to stay far longer than planned, and it's no wonder why. The city's residents are welcoming and warm, the quality of life is excellent, and costs, in pretty much all categories, are wonderfully low.

Weather in Richmond

Richmond has a subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and mild winters. The mountains to the west act as a partial barrier to the worst of the cold continental air in winter, while the open waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean contribute to the humid summers and mild winters. Late May heralds the start of warm summer days, and the peak summer months between June and August can be rather hot and humid, with temperatures ranging between 65°F (18°C) and 100°F (38°C).

Some relief from the summer heat is provided by rain showers, with July being the wettest month of the year. Days stay warm to mild through to October, when colder nights characterise the beginning of autumn. December and January are the coldest winter months, with temperatures falling between 28°F (-2°C) and 51°F (11°C). Light snowfalls occur from the end of November, but the most snow falls in January.

 

Working in Richmond

The capital city of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States, Richmond has long been a commercial hub. Thanks to its strategic location, boat pathway in the Great Turning Basin, its triple crossing rail lines (the world's only) and two major interstates, Richmond has a thriving economy that continues to attract droves of new residents every year. 

Businesspeople relocating to the city will be delighted to know that it is one of the most business-friendly in the US. It boasts low to zero corporate and manufacturer inventory taxes, while the government offers credits and abatements for job creation in impoverished areas.


Job market in Richmond

Primarily driven by finance, law, advertising and government, Richmond's economy is stable and employs an enormous workforce across a range of sectors.

The city is home to two US Courts of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond (one of 12 in the country). Four of the biggest law firms in the US also have bases in Richmond, including Hunton & Williams, McGuireWoods, Williams Mullen and LeClairRyan. Its Fortune 500 companies include Dominion Resources, CarMax, Owens & Minor, Genworth Financial, MeadWestvaco/WestRock and Altria Group.

The city is also an advertising mecca and is home to numerous major advertising and communications agencies (including The Martin Agency). New arrivals with qualifications in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries will be delighted to know there are plenty of opportunities in this field as well, with many companies based in the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park.

The city's tourism sector is also growing steadily. Richmond's food scene is considered one of the most underrated in the country, not to mention its multitude of acclaimed craft breweries and distilleries. Even the film and television industry is on the up and employing many residents, with numerous high-profile films shot in the city over the last few years.


Finding a job in Richmond

It's always better, when relocating, to secure employment before the move. Many professionals move to Richmond as part of an intra-company transfer, but those without a job offer will do well to scour online job portals, social networking sites such as LinkedIn and individual company websites in their fields.

Recruitment agents are also a good option. These professionals will have unique insights into the job seeker's specific industry and can link qualified candidates with employers. 

Networking is another viable avenue to make business connections and get insider tips on the local industries and job market.


Work culture in Richmond

Richmond's economy is a hive of activity, with a well-educated workforce employed across various industries. That said, the city's 'rat race' isn't nearly as frantic or cut-throat as that of major US cities. While people in Richmond are career-driven and well paid, the city's work-life balance is healthier and its pace is far more relaxed.

Like many other prominent US commercial hubs, Richmond thrives because of a willingness to accept new ideas and nurture budding entrepreneurs. The business culture is individualistic, and the workplace rewards 'go-getters' while those who lack independence and initiative lag. Status and age are mainly obsolete and, instead, merit, good ideas and hard work are the vehicles for advancement.

Cost of living in Richmond

With a convenient East Coast location, a thriving economy, and excellent quality of life offering plenty to see and do, Richmond's cost of living has stayed surprisingly low. But, it’s on the rise, in fact, in Numbeo's 2022 Cost of Living Index, Richmond ranked 235th out of 578 world cities analysed, making it more affordable than most American cities but also more expensive than it was in the previous year. 

As in most cities, the biggest portion of a Richmondian's salary will likely go to accommodation, transport and utilities. 


Cost of accommodation in Richmond

Richmond boasts a variety of accommodation options, from inner-city apartments and condos to suburban Cape Cod-style mansions, rowhouses and cottages. New arrivals will undoubtedly find something to their style and liking – and at a reasonable price too. Rental costs here are low compared to the US average. Thanks to the influx of new residents, which increases housing demand plus the incline of the city’s economy, purchasing a house in Richmond is considered a solid investment.

The cost of utilities is also below the US average, so newcomers can often lead a better quality of life than they did in their home state or country.


Cost of transport and driving in Richmond

Public transport in Richmond is relatively affordable compared to other East Coast cities. But, given that Richmond's public transport infrastructure is limited outside of downtown and central areas, most Richmondians own a vehicle. Driving isn't cheap considering the purchase, maintenance, gas (petrol) and insurance as well as parking costs, but those who choose to settle in Richmond's suburbs will have no choice but to budget for these costs.


Cost of healthcare in Richmond

For those who can afford it, the standard of healthcare in Richmond is world-class. For patients without insurance, healthcare can be mediocre at best and inaccessible at worst. Major traumas can easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and, although everyone is legally entitled to emergency services, patients can typically expect to pay hefty fees subsequently.

Therefore, we recommend that newcomers and expats invest in a good health insurance policy. This comes at a hefty price, though, so we advise that employees negotiate for a healthcare subsidy before starting their new job.


Cost of entertainment in Richmond

Of course, entertainment costs come down to lifestyle and preference. Generally, having a good time in Richmond doesn't cost an arm and a leg. One could visit a good restaurant or brewery, take a walk through a museum, enjoy a game at one of the local stadia and top it all off with a shopping spree, and walk away relatively unscathed. Some free activities newcomers could enjoy include picnics, strolls down Richmond's historic streets or water adventures on the James River.


Cost of education in Richmond

Public education in Richmond doesn't cost a cent, aside from buying stationery and the like. Admission to schools is based on catchment areas, so parents must carefully consider their choice of an area or suburb, as not all public schools in Richmond are of a good standard. 

Parents can also choose from several private schools in Richmond, which aren't bound by zoning regulations but come with steep tuition fees, not to mention myriad extra costs such as uniforms, field trips, and books.


Cost of living in Richmond chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for September 2022.

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 1,464

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,177

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 2,042

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,635

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

USD 2.20

Milk (1 litre)

USD 0.86

Rice (1kg)

USD 3.02

Loaf of white bread

USD 2.59

Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 8.03

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

USD 7.50

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

USD 9.75

Coca-Cola (330ml)

USD 2.26

Cappuccino

USD 4.60

Bottle of local beer

USD 5.44

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

USD 57.50

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

USD 0.09

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

USD 70.08

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

USD 155.49

Transportation

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

USD 1.55

Bus/train fare in the city centre

USD 1.88

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

USD 1.18

Accommodation in Richmond

The Virginian capital, Richmond has become something of a new hotspot that is attracting both out-of-state Americans and foreigners with its promising economic opportunities and laid-back lifestyle. We recommend prospective newcomers and expats considering a move to Richmond research the housing options, scout suitable neighbourhoods, and decide whether to buy or rent.

The latter determination will, of course, depend on the duration of their stay, budget and the state of the housing market. Regardless, new arrivals in Richmond tend to rent first and set down permanent roots once they have a feel for the city. And, given the influx of new residents, housing demand increases, and the robust nature of the city's economy, purchasing a house in Richmond is considered a solid investment.


Types of accommodation in Richmond

House hunters will discover that Richmond boasts a wide variety of housing options. From inner-city apartments and condos to spacious houses in the outlying suburbs, newcomers will be spoilt for choice. The standard of housing in the city is equally varied, but generally satisfactory.

Apartments

Apartments are modern self-contained units within a larger building and are largely found in downtown Richmond. They are more affordable and tend to suit young professionals who haven't yet started a family.

Condos

Condos are a happy medium between houses and apartments. New arrivals will find this option allows them to have extra space along with the benefits of communal living. Condos are self-contained units within a bigger complex where residents share a range of amenities, including swimming pools, gyms, gardens and laundry facilities.

Houses

New arrivals in the city and expats tend to gravitate towards the suburbs, where they're afforded more space, a garden, quieter surroundings and good schools.

Types of houses in Richmond include Cape Cod-style houses, colonial mansions, rowhouses (also called townhouses) and cottages.


Finding accommodation in Richmond

A few important considerations for house hunters in Richmond include budget, amenities, proximity to workplaces and schools, and how much space they require.

Online is usually the best place to start the search. Property portals, community pages and social networking sites are all useful. Real-estate agents are also a valuable resource, as they will have intimate knowledge of the city's various neighbourhoods and the housing market in general. They do charge commission, of course, but they remove a lot of the hassle from the house-hunting process. Prospective renters or buyers simply submit their desired specifications, and the agent does all the legwork. 


Renting accommodation in Richmond

The demand for accommodation in the city is rising, so prospective renters should move quickly when they find something they like.

Making an application

Once prospective tenants have found a property to their liking, they’ll need to express their interest directly to the agent or landlord. They will then conduct various credit and reference checks, and if they come back with no issues, the tenant and the landlord can sign a lease. For expats, it's a good idea to open a US bank account and have a social security number before applying for a rental property.

Leases

Rental contracts are usually for a year or more, though new arrivals can sometimes negotiate shorter leases. At the end of the lease period, the landlord and tenant can either agree to renew or terminate the agreement. Tenants can terminate a lease early, but the landlord generally has the liberty to choose whether the tenant will be liable to pay the full lease amount or not.

Utilities

Renters need to pore over the terms of their lease agreements to determine which utilities form part of the contract. In most cases, the landlord covers standard utilities such as water and electricity. Optional extras such as internet, cable TV and other luxuries are typically for the tenant's account.

Deposits

Prospective tenants will be required to put down a security deposit of one month's rent to secure the lease on a property. These rental deposits are fully refundable once the lease is terminated, provided the property is in an acceptable state. For this reason, it is important to carry out a detailed inventory at the beginning and end of the rental term, as damages will be deducted from the deposit.

Areas and suburbs of Richmond

The best places to live in Richmond

Relocating to a new city can be daunting, and a smooth transition into the new surroundings largely depends on the neighbourhood new arrivals choose to settle. Richmond offers a wide variety of neighbourhoods, each with unique character and charm, we encourage newcomers to do a thorough recce before picking one.

Richmond consists of five distinct districts: Downtown, East End, North Side, Southside and West End, with each made up of several neighbourhoods. 

We have listed the most popular areas and suburbs in Richmond below.


Trendy neighbourhoods in Richmond

Richmond Skyline

Scott’s Addition

A lively historic Bohemian district, Scott’s Addition is one of Richmond’s trendiest and fastest-growing neighbourhoods, known for its slew of lifestyle amenities such as breweries, distilleries and vibrant eateries. Scott’s Addition boasts a mix of rowhouses, condos and modern apartments popular with young creative professionals thanks to the various advertising agencies, marketing firms and film studios present in the area.

Manchester

Located south of the James River, Manchester is a bicycle-friendly area popular among young professionals, particularly techies and artists. The housing here consists mainly of apartments and single-family homes and combines all the amenities of urban living with easy access to outdoor river-based activities and the midtown area. Nearby Brown’s Island and Belle’s Island are also fun spots to explore.

Short Pump

The affluent suburb of Short Pump is a firm favourite across all demographics. It’s a mix of residential and commercial properties, with older and modern single-family homes, apartments and rowhouses. Residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining and shopping options, which include the famous West Broad Village and Short Pump Town Center, an open-air mall with high-end stores and boutiques. Short Pump residents also have a very short commute, and those with kids will have a wide selection of schools.

Downtown

Newcomers who want to be right in the mix should set their sights on Downtown Richmond. The area is amid a dramatic upswing, and the Broad Street corridor, in particular, is highly sought-after. Accommodation here consists of high-rise apartments, condos and funky industrial lofts. There also isn’t a shortage of amenities, with a host of excellent restaurants, galleries and theatres on their doorstep.


Family-friendly neighbourhoods in Richmond

Lakeside

Lakeside is located in Henrico Country north of the city and is an ideal area for families. Bordered by Joseph Bryan Park and the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Lakeside offers plenty of opportunities for joggers, strollers and picnickers to enjoy nature. With so much space and greenery, newcomers to Lakeside may be surprised that it is mere minutes from the city. Housing mainly consists of spacious single-family homes, many complete with big lawns and garages.

James River

Chimborazo

Chimborazo oozes charm and offers spectacular views of the James River. The neighbourhood is part of the Oakwood-Chimborazo Historic District. Indeed, history buffs will be excited to learn that Chimborazo boasts numerous 19th and early 20th-century brick homes ranging from Late Victorian to Queen Anne and Colonial Revival. Families will love exploring Libby Hill Park, while Broad Street has great eateries, coffee shops and pubs. Parents will be pleased to know that the area has plenty of good schools too.

Wakefield

A little further afield, but with an abundance of space and greenery, Wakefield lies about an hour southeast of Richmond and is perfect for families looking to avoid the city bustle. Besides the spacious homes and yards, Wakefield offers quick access to Virginia Beach, a great selection of schools, restaurants and quaint shops with lots of small-town charm. 

Healthcare in Richmond

Healthcare remains a concern for many US residents, not only in Richmond, but across the country. Former president Barack Obama made establishing affordable healthcare for all one of the key objectives of his presidency and, although he did some admirable work, it remains a disjointed and contentious issue.

US medical facilities and treatment are world-class for those who have private and comprehensive medical insurance. For those without insurance, healthcare can be mediocre at its best and inaccessible at worst.

According to US law, everyone should have access to emergency services, but patients often pay hefty fees afterwards.

Therefore, we recommend that newcomers and expats in Richmond get comprehensive medical insurance. This allows access to excellent facilities, some of the best medical technology in the world, and highly trained doctors and specialists. Other advantages include short waiting times for operations and specialists.

Pharmacies are available in grocery stores, department stores, hospitals and clinics all over Richmond, with some staying open 24/7.

New arrivals can get almost all prescription medication at a pharmacy. Though, it can be quite costly and new arrivals will need to keep all receipts to claim the costs from their health insurance provider.


Hospitals in Richmond

St. Mary's Hospital | Bon Secours

Website: www.bonsecours.com
Address: 5801 Bremo Road, Richmond

VCU Medical Center Main Hospital

Website: www.vcuhealth.org
Address: 1250 E. Marshall Street, Richmond

Henrico Doctors’ Hospital

Website: www.henricodoctors.com
Address: 1602 Skipwith Rd, Richmond

Education and schools in Richmond

Richmond has a variety of schooling options for parents to choose from, including public, private, charter and international schools. New arrivals in the city can enrol their children at any of these, those who pick public schools will likely have their choices limited to the neighbourhood they decide to settle in. Private and international schools tend to have better facilities and teacher-to-student ratios, but often come at a hefty price.


Public schools in Richmond

The city of Richmond governs and operates 28 elementary schools, nine middle schools and eight high schools. Public schools accept students based primarily on their catchment area, so new arrivals with children should think carefully before settling on an area or suburb.

Charter schools

Parents also have the option of sending their children to public charter schools in Richmond which, despite being publicly funded, function independently of government regulations. Such schools, therefore, have more flexible academic programmes and curricula than traditional public schools.

Charter schools have grown in popularity over the past decade due to the perceived flaws of the traditional public schooling system. But, they sometimes have quality inconsistencies, and many have been closed down in the past for failing to maintain adequate standards. That said, they usually offer a higher standard of education than traditional public schools.


Private schools in Richmond

Many newcomers and expats opt to send their children to private schools in Richmond. These schools have complete control over their curricula. Therefore, parents should familiarise themselves thoroughly with an institution before enrolling their children. Although private schools often come with exorbitant fees, they offer quality education in terms of small student/teacher ratios, specialised programmes, religious instruction and same-sex classrooms.


International schools in Richmond

Several schools in Richmond offer the International Baccalaureate Programme. These are ideal for families who aren't planning to be in the city for an extended period or whose children are moving from an international school in another country. International schools will provide a more familiar environment, an expat community, and continuity with their previous curriculum.

International schools typically have steep fees and space limitations, so parents should start the application process well in advance.


Special-needs education in Richmond

Virginia’s laws stipulate that if a child has a learning difficulty or physical disability, they are entitled to additional support through the public school system. Federal law further states that all children are entitled to free and fair education, including anyone with a disability. 

Parents new to Richmond can rest assured that their children with special needs will receive sufficient support. Not only are there many dedicated special-needs schools, but both public and private schools are also mandated to have structures in place to support children with various developmental, behavioural and physical disabilities. 

The priority is always to have a child integrated into the mainstream school system, and only once it is established that their issues are too severe will they be referred to a specialist facility.


Tutors in Richmond

Tutoring has become highly popular across the United States, and Richmond is no exception. Tutors can be a valuable resource for several reasons, including for students who require help in specific subject areas or to learn English or prepare for university entrance exams, or for students who need some help to build confidence in a new school environment. Often, the first reference point for a private tutor would be to arrange one directly through the school or on their recommendation. Otherwise, parents should look online. Some established companies in Richmond include studyBuddyJ.com and WyzAnt Tutoring.

Lifestyle in Richmond

Richmond is a city on the rise that continues to receive national accolades for its progressive development. Residents who move to Richmond from elsewhere in the US or abroad frequently comment on the city’s welcoming nature and the collective and contagious pride that its residents take in the various treasures the city has to offer. 

Richmond's craft-beer culture is famous, and the city's become something of a foodie capital too. New residents will take great delight in trying out the host of culinary and brew offerings. Art buffs will also be well catered for with a trove of galleries and museums. Avid shoppers and nature-loving newcomers will feel right at home, too.


Arts and culture in Richmond

Richmond has a rich and storied history, celebrated through the multitude of museums and monuments in the city. Monument Avenue, which is rated 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 Richmond keen to shake its reputation as the erstwhile confederate stronghold, Monument Avenue now includes a mix of structures, including beautiful architectural churches.

Newcomers who enjoy the arts will discover that the city offers plenty, 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 a lot to enjoy at the Science Museum of Virginia and 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. Fondly known as the 'River City', Richmond is the only place in the US where river rafters can experience Class 3 and 4 rapids in urban surroundings. Those less keen to get wet can enjoy the acres of secluded forest trails that straddle the James River, where they can choose between mountain biking, hiking or a stroll through tranquil forest environs.

The city also has several local sports and hobby clubs that newcomers can join – social networking sites are a fantastic place to find these and sign up to meet new people. Those more interested in following sports rather than playing can get behind the Flying Squirrels, the city's baseball team, or the Richmond Kickers for those who are into soccer. The Virginia Commonwealth University boasts one of the best college basketball teams in the country. Petrol heads can get their fix at the NASCAR track at the north end of the city.


Shopping in Richmond

New arrivals in Richmond will want to head straight to Short Pump (the city's most fashionable neighbourhood) or Stony Point Fashion Park to shop all the latest chain store trends. For a more original and bespoke experience, newcomers should explore the quaint and quirky boutiques, bookshops, antique shops and vintage emporiums of downtown, Carytown and Broad Street.


Eating out in Richmond

Thanks to the recent explosion of the city's culinary scene, Richmond is now considered one of the East Coast foodie hotspots. 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 also a beer lover's dream destination as it 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 bigger East Coast cities, but there is still plenty for night owls to do. Revellers can choose between bespoke wine bars, breweries, or dive bars; they can check out a live gig or dance the night away at one of the numerous big clubs or get in a few laughs at a stand-up comedy club.


See and do in Richmond

Newcomers to Richmond will soon learn that the city has a wealth of activities and attractions to engage art lovers, history buffs, and adventurists alike. Below is a selection of the best things to see and do in Richmond.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Newly arrived aesthetes in Richmond will want to put this right at the top of their to-do lists. Boasting impressive German Expressionism and French Impressionism collections by great artists such as Matisse, Picasso and Braque, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a wonderland. 

Maymont

Perfect for a family day out, the estate of Maymont has something for everyone to enjoy. Left to the city of Richmond by the Dooley family in the late 19th century, the estate sports a 100-acre park, many gardens, a kids’ petting farm and a carriage collection. The mansion was converted into a museum, furnished in the overly lavish style typical of the late 1800s. 

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Not your typical botanical garden, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has plenty to offer kids and adults. The children’s garden is perfect for exploring, climbing, checking out the CWDKids Tree House and cooling off in the water-play area. Meanwhile, mum and Dad can marvel at the views from the 63ft (19m) tall domed conservatory, which houses plenty of spectacular floral exhibits, a model-train display, a butterfly experience and hosts seasonal events.

Canal Walk

Constructed on the advice of George Washington, the James River-Kanawha Canal features a charming 1.25 mile (2km) promenade. The promenade is home to significant sights, markers and monuments that tell Richmond’s history. Along the walk are Brown’s Island and the American Civil War Center, while guided historical river cruises are also available.

American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar

Along the James River are the five original buildings of the former Tredegar Iron Works, now a National Historic Landmark. The American Civil War Center is also here, where visitors can browse the fascinating Civil War exhibits.

Virginia State Capitol

Another landmark not to be missed is the imposing State Capitol, built in 1785 and designed by Thomas Jefferson. The impressive structure was modelled on the Maison Carree, a Roman temple in Nimes, France, and houses the 1813 Governor’s Mansion, an 1824 bell tower and two statues of George Washington.


What's on in Richmond

There is never a dull moment in Richmond, and newcomers will discover that the city's calendar is chock-full of fun events for revellers of just about every persuasion. We have listed our favourites below.

The Virginia Wine Expo (March)

Virginia has become a wine destination in recent decades, and the Virginia Wine Expo celebrates all the exquisite wines and winemakers of the area. Visitors get to meet the owners and sommeliers, and of course, sample their wares while enjoying live performances and delicious local cuisine. 

Dominion Energy Riverrock (May)

Held at the Historic Tredegar Ironworks and on Brown’s Island, this is the ultimate outdoor, adventure and music event. Events include rock climbing, slackline competitions, mud running, trail running, yoga on river boulders, and live music.

Juneteenth: A Freedom Celebration (June)

Richmond’s Juneteenth festival commemorates Virginia’s history of enslavement and honours the resilience and strength of African-Americans. Poignant and important, the Freedom Celebration has grown yearly. 

Richmond Jazz Festival (August)

One of the biggest jazz fests on America’s East Coast, the Richmond Jazz Festival attracts the best musicians from all over the country, with adoring crowds in tow. The festival is held at the beautiful Maymont Park and sees star-studded line-ups of jazz, blues and funk artists. 

2nd Street Festival (October)

Often referred to as ‘the Harlem of the South’, Jackson Ward has a rich history as the heart and soul of Richmond’s African-American community and hosts the 2nd Street Festival. The festival features four stages of live music performances, along with food trucks, shopping stalls, walking tours and even a Kidz Zone. 

Fire, Flour & Fork (November)

It’s been called one of the country’s top food festivals, and not without reason. Fire, Flour & Fork is a fascinating gastronomic journey of more than 40 dinners, food events, tours, talks and workshops. 

Getting around in Richmond

Richmond's public transport system is adequate and efficient, while downtown and its surrounding neighbourhoods are fairly walkable. The city also encourages residents to cycle with dedicated lanes and bike-sharing programmes. That said, many Richmondians still prefer to own a car for convenience, especially parents who have kids to haul around and adventurists who like to explore further afield.


Public transport in Richmond

Bus

The Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) runs the bus services in Richmond. However, this system is largely limited to the central areas and only serves small parts of the suburban counties. That said, the service is constantly expanding and has introduced routes in places such as Chesterfield County.

GRTC also runs a rapid-bus system called the GRTC Pulse, which (for now) runs along Broad Street from Willow Lawn to Rocketts Landing, and provides a faster commute.


Taxis in Richmond

There are several taxi companies in Richmond. Taxis can be hailed on the street or at ranks, but commuters who live in the suburbs will have to call and pre-book a cab. Ride-hailing services such as Uber, Lyft and Bolt are increasingly taking over the cab market thanks to their convenience and user-friendliness.


Driving in Richmond

Newcomers in Richmond usually purchase a set of wheels within the first few months of their arrival. Be that as it may, cars aren't strictly necessary for those living downtown and in central areas. But, most people living in suburbia own a vehicle.  

Traffic in Richmond is not as congested as in other major East Coast cities, but commuters should still plan carefully and factor in congestion in central areas. Richmond is conveniently located at the intersection of numerous highways, making commutes to surrounding areas relatively easy. The intersections include the major north-south bound Interstate 95 and the east-west bound Interstate 64, and is supported by Interstate 295 and Virginia State Route 288.

Those with a valid driving licence from another state or country will be allowed to drive in the US. Expats with driving licences in languages other than English should obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) before the move.

Once a resident of Virginia, drivers should visit the Virginia DMV to obtain a local driving licence.


Cycling in Richmond

The popularity of cycling is on the rise in Richmond, and the city is encouraging cycling with a continually growing bike-lane network. There are dedicated bike lanes all over downtown, and there's even a route all the way to Williamsburg called the Virginia Capital Trail.

Those who don't own a bike can use a bike-sharing programme such as RVA Bikeshare, which allows riders to pick up and drop off a (regular or electric) bike at any of the stations sprinkled throughout the city.