All about Richmond
First things first. We fondly refer to Richmond as RVA.
People love this city. Because it’s awesome. And Virginia Commonwealth University is in the middle of it all.
What others say about RVA
- One of 52 places in the world to visit in 2020 (New York Times, 2020)
- One of the top 10 U.S. cities to visit (Forbes, 2018)
- No. 3 best place in the world to travel to (Travel + Leisure, 2016)
- One of the best American cities for creatives (Thrillist, 2019)
- One of the top 10 best U.S. cities for art lovers (Apartmentguide, 2019)
- One of the top 20 places to start a business (CNBC, 2016)
- One of the top 10 vegan-friendly cities (PETA, 2016)
- A top 10 dining destination for international food travel (National Geographic, 2016)
- No. 3 on "8 Cities Whose Entrepreneurship Communities Are Booming" (Entrepreneur.com, 2017)
- No. 5 hippest city in the U.S. everyone under 30 wants to move to (Business Insider, 2017)
- The underground music city everyone needs to visit (Forbes, 2019)
The city is our classroom
VCU’s downtown Richmond location provides loads of unique educational opportunities for our students. From service-learning projects to internships at local businesses to visits to state government offices, our students are constantly learning from the city they call home.
The city is our playground
Going to college in the city is completely different from going to a school with a more isolated, traditional campus. There’s so. much. to. do. And Richmond isn’t just any city. It’s got character. A state capital with an unlikely mix of qualities — historic, artsy, food-obsessed, Southern, diverse, laid-back — it has just the right dose of grittiness to give it an edge.
- Exterior of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts [View Image]
- Exterior of the National [View Image]
- A Shakespeare play being performed outside [View Image]
- Musicians playing on the street [View Image]
- Dancers leaping through the air [View Image]
- Exterior of the Virginia Museum of History and Culture [View Image]
- The two towers at the top of the Altria Theater [View Image]
- Gallery space inside the Institute for Contemporary Art showing bright-colored spools of thread attached to the walls [View Image]
- A cyclist rides a bike along the Canal Walk. [View Image]
- VCU MCV Campus skyline at night [View Image]
- Tredegar Lincoln statue [View Image]
- Exterior of Virginia State Capitol [View Image]
- A person reclines in a chair in front of a lit-up fountain at night [View Image]
- Exterior of Main Street Station [View Image]
- Graves at Hollywood Cemetery [View Image]
- Exterior of the Science Museum [View Image]
- Carytown restaurants and shops at dusk [View Image]
- Richmond skyline with fall foliage [View Image]
- Cobblestone street and historic buildings [View Image]
- Woman sitting in park looking at view of James River [View Image]
- People dining in the cafe at Can Can [View Image]
- Pedestrians walk past Lift Cafe [View Image]
- People dining at 821 Cafe [View Image]
- Pedestrians walk past the Daily Kitchen [View Image]
- People socializing in the outdoor space at Baja Bean [View Image]
- Exterior of Urban Farmhouse [View Image]
- People eating at a Food Truck Court [View Image]
- Baseball stadium [View Image]
- People walking down bike path [View Image]
- Woman walking over stepping stones in pond [View Image]
- Two men kayaking in rapids of James River [View Image]
- Pond in front of a greenhouse [View Image]
- Belle Isle pedestrian bridge [View Image]
- Students in woods wearing hiking backpacks [View Image]
- Four VCU students play pingpong in the park [View Image]
- A cyclist rides past the Jefferson Hotel along East Franklin Street [View Image]
- Runners in marathon [View Image]
- Tents and crowds of people at the Richmond Folk Festival [View Image]
- VCU Health team members staff a booth at PrideFest [View Image]
- People attending the Watermelon Festival on Cary St. [View Image]
- A large group of people stands on and in front of the stage at the Byrd Theatre [View Image]
- Holiday lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden [View Image]
- Runners crossing the finish line [View Image]
- Spectators watching extreme sports at festival [View Image]
- Boats in the James River decorated with dragons [View Image]
- Man reaching for drink at food festival tent [View Image]
1737 year founded
Capital of Virginia
1.2 million+ population in Richmond metropolitan area
Patrick Henry made his famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech here
A river runs through us
Richmond is the only city in the country with Class III and IV rapids roaring through downtown. But if you’re looking for a calmer form of recreation, the James River offers that, too, from fishing and swimming to hiking the trails of the river’s park system or sunbathing on the rocks. It’s an outdoor lover’s playground.
Richmond gets to work
Not only is Richmond a great place to live, it’s also a great place to work, and many of our graduates stick around and start their careers here, whether it’s at the state government, a Fortune 500 company or a startup. Here are some well-known companies where our students have found employment. *Number in parentheses indicates Fortune 500 ranking.
- Altria (#162)
- Capital One
- Carmax (#174)
- Dominion Energy (#238)
- Genworth Financial (#360)
- Markel (#441)
- Martin Agency
- Owens & Minor (#317)
- Performance Food Group (#176)
- Historic row houses [View Image]
North of VCU, the Carver neighborhood was settled by Eastern European immigrants in the 1840s and became a thriving African-American community by the turn of the 20th century. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this neighborhood has a diverse population, which includes many VCU students. Carver's neighborhood association joined VCU in establishing the Carver-VCU Partnership in 1996 to address long-term community development.
- Pedestrians walking past musician playing violin on Cary St. [View Image]
Carytown is an urban retail district lining Cary Street at the southern end of the Museum District. The area caters to a diverse clientele with a plethora of independent boutiques and eclectic eateries offering a wide range of styles and prices. It is also home to one of the city’s beloved institutions, the Byrd Theatre, a restored movie palace that has operated continuously since 1928 and shows second-run films for $4 a pop.
- Park with view of Richmond skyline [View Image]
Overlooking downtown Richmond, Church Hill is the oldest intact residential area in the city. Here you can find historic St. John’s Church, where Patrick Henry gave his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech. The neighborhood boasts the Chimborazo Medical Museum, which recounts Chimborazo Park’s history as a Civil War hospital, beautiful townhomes displaying a variety of architectural styles and a slew of hip, critically acclaimed eateries.
- Large brick historic house [View Image]
Bordering the west side of campus, the Fan offers the largest concentration of intact Victorian architecture in the country, spanning 85 blocks laid out in a fan shape. A popular place for VCU students to live, the neighborhood features many restaurants and shops that cater to a variety of tastes and cultures. It is also home to Monument Avenue, the nation’s only grand residential boulevard with monuments of its scale surviving almost unaltered to the present day.
- Historic brick row houses [View Image]
In the center of downtown lies Jackson Ward, a historically African-American neighborhood and National Historic Landmark District. Home to 19th- and 20th-century urban row houses, where many VCU students live, the neighborhood also boasts a museum dedicated to Maggie L. Walker, the first woman to charter and serve as president of an American bank. First Fridays, Richmond’s long-standing monthly art walk, includes galleries located in Jackson Ward.
- Exterior of an old brick warehouse [View Image]
Manchester is an industrial and residential area directly south and across the James River from downtown Richmond. Currently an area of rapid growth, the neighborhood is seeing numerous old warehouses and industrial structures transformed into interesting, attractive spaces for work and living. You’ll also find art galleries, a local brewery and the Manchester Wall, a 60-foot granite climbing wall.
- People dining outside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts [View Image]
The Museum District, sometimes known as West of the Boulevard, is located just west of the Fan district and north of Carytown. It is anchored by the contiguous six-block tract of museums along the west side of Boulevard, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia Historical Society, hence the name. You’ll also find a smattering of small restaurants, food shops and boutiques among its charming streets.
- Two women walking past shops [View Image]
Near West End
To the western edge of the Richmond city limits, the Near West End offers a peaceful suburban neighborhood just minutes from downtown. Here you’ll find the University of Richmond, as well as the Libbie and Grove shopping district, which includes cafés and restaurants, in addition to upscale clothing and home boutiques.
- Woman walking two dogs in park [View Image]
Consisting of multiple historic neighborhoods north of Broad Street, Northside offers homes in a wide variety of architectural styles, ranging from quaint bungalows to opulent Ginter Park mansions. The area also includes Joseph Bryan Park, Richmond International Raceway and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, as well as the campuses of Virginia Union University and Union Presbyterian Seminary.
- Woman watering plants in front of historic house [View Image]
Located close to the James River and just south of VCU, Oregon Hill originated as a working-class Victorian neighborhood. A tight-knit community, the neighborhood works to keep its identity with directed restoration and revitalization efforts. Here, you’ll find several popular restaurants, as well as the park-like Hollywood Cemetery, the final resting place of two American presidents and six Virginia governors.
- Two people walking past outdoor dining area at restaurant [View Image]
After spending most of the 20th century as an industrial area, in recent years Scott’s Addition has experienced a rebirth. Many former warehouses have been converted to loft-style apartments, restaurants, coffee shops and an ever-increasing number of breweries, cideries and even a meadery. Several shops sell antiques and vintage wares, and the Bow Tie movie theater, housed in a refurbished warehouse, is in easy walking distance.
- Cafe on a cobblestone street [View Image]
Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom
Located downtown, these neighborhoods are two of the city’s oldest. Shockoe Slip boasts cobblestone streets, restaurants, shops and the Shockoe Design District. Traveling eastward, Shockoe Bottom’s deep economic roots are seen in its huge tobacco warehouses, factories, shop fronts and the 17th Street Farmers’ Market. Formerly neglected warehouses have been renovated, and the area is now a hub of restaurants, nightlife, apartments and businesses.
- Houses with green lawns [View Image]
Westover Hills and Woodland Heights
Located directly south of the James River, across the Nickel Bridge from the city’s Fan District, these areas began as trolley-car neighborhoods in the early 1900s. Here, you’ll find well-established restaurants and businesses, as well as Forest Hill Park, now home to a popular weekly farmer’s market. The neighborhoods offer a number of houses with river views, as well as a variety of trails within the James River Park System.
We think you’ll love it here. But if you need the occasional getaway, there are lots of great places to visit less than a two-hour drive from Richmond, from sandy beaches to the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains.
Head north two hours to the nation’s capital and check out the White House, monuments, free museums, top-notch restaurants, plays at the Kennedy Center and more. Read more[View Image]
Get your history fix by making a one-hour drive to Williamsburg and immersing yourself in 18th-century American life. Read more[View Image]
starfish in the sand
Grab your swimsuit and some sunscreen and spend your day in the ocean, riding a bike on the boardwalk or eating fresh seafood, just two hours from RVA. Read more[View Image]
view of blue-tinted mountains
Wintergreen Ski Resort
This mountain retreat two hours away offers skiing, snowboarding, tubing and ice-skating during the winter season, but it’s a beautiful place to visit all year-round. Read more[View Image]
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Nobody loves their community like VCU loves Richmond.
Class of 2018