Richmond, Virginia

Where Urban Edginess Meets Southern Charm

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What's it like to live in Richmond?

What is it like to live in Richmond, VA?

It’s actually quite nice. After growing up here, I moved to Northern Virginia for five years. In those five years, I made long commutes, paid out my nose for a tiny apartment, and getting anywhere was a struggle that just ate up my time. Food and drinks were expensive, and home ownership seemed like an impossible goal for those not interested in owning a condo or townhome.

Richmond is the opposite of that. Life is easier here. Traffic is barely an issue compared to up north, and my commute is now only 15 minutes. Buying a house is a possibility for people in their 20’s, and while there aren’t as many huge companies here like Northern VA, you can still get a pretty good job.

Best of all, there’s still stuff to do! Richmond is full of craft breweries, cideries, and distilleries, and the local restaurant scene is top notch (while remaining completely reasonable in price). There’s also a ton of outdoorsy things to do, especially down by the James River, with people hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, trail running or just hanging out on the rocks soaking up the sun. Downtown around VCU, the city is full of hipsters and could be seen as a smaller, east-coast version of Portland, OR or Austin, TX.

The other huge advantage of Richmond is its geography. The city is in the center of the state, making day trips to places like mountains or to the beach possible. While traffic can get really bad going north, if you leave early enough and come back late enough, you can make DC or Baltimore a day trip as well.

While it may not be a big city, it is still full of life and a fantastic place to live.

What is it like to live in Richmond, VA?

Richmond sits in the middle of a medium-sized metro area with a lot of small-town charm. As a Richmond native who has also lived in other cities (DC, Boston, Denver), I can say that the area has matured tremendously and has become quite cosmopolitan in the last 20-30 years.

On the cosmopolitan side, metro Richmond has several outstanding museums, some very nice parks, excellent ballet and opera companies, and an outrageously diverse selection of wonderful restaurants. In fact, Richmond has become quite a “foodie" town. The architecture and housing are diverse; there are 100+-year-old homes in the inner city, as well as newer construction, both within the city and in surrounding counties. The James River bisects the city, providing a very picturesque environment in the midst of downtown and numerous recreational opportunities. There are also three colleges/universities and one community college within the city limits, so there are ample opportunities for continued education.

Travel is relatively easy by car; it's generally possible to get anywhere in the core metro area in 20-30 minutes, using a combination of interstates and city/county streets. There are some tolls involved in crossing the river, but they are not oppressive. Public transportation is not the greatest, but it's generally good, and the bus company just did a major upgrade. The cost of living is very affordable.

On the small-town side, metro Richmond is very welcoming and friendly. The many organizations and activities (including outdoor concerts and organizational events) provide numerous opportunities to meet new people and form new relationships. The influx of new Richmonders is proof of the attractiveness of the area as a great place to live.

What is it like to live in Richmond, VA?

It’s absolutely wonderful. No matter where you live, there are avenues of shops and eateries. We have a huge restaurant selection as well and a variety of grocery stores near by. We have the Folk Festival in the fall which is great too. There are so many events at Maymont Park too. I live in the Museum District which has two world class museums too. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has a gorgeous garden. It’s huge and like a Monet painting with people picnicking and they even have a wine night where you can bring a blanket, listen to jazz and enjoy your bottle. Northside just had “Porchella” where houses had local bands either on their porches or in their back yard. I think there were 30 or more houses that participated this year. The section called Scotts Addition is exploding too. It incredible restaurants that have gotten James Beard awards. What is one of my favs is the Theater Community and VCU. Our art community is incredible. VCU and the city just opened the Institute of Contemporary Art which is absolutely incredible. All I can say is Richmond is absolutely fabulous.

Hello Richmond! So what’s life like here

So I'm a Columbia native until my early 20s. I moved around to some larger cities after that (Nashville, Denver) and ended up in Richmond. I like it a lot, and it's becoming one of my favorite cities for sure. I'd say it blows Columbia out of the water big time. The only draw for Columbia would be college football but I sort of fell out of that once I started moving. The proximity to Charleston was a plus but that city is not the same from what I knew in the 90s and 00s.

The breweries and restaurants are way better than Columbias. Everyone was all about River Rat and a few others in your neck of the woods, and those don't compare to RVA's at all. Richmond really has some top tier breweries. Really lots of food gems too, we are all waiting for this pandemic to end so we can enjoy those a lot more. You're still very close to the beach here as well, and a lot closer to some great mountains in Shenandoah and the surrounding areas. Lots of good wineries with views too in that area, we do that a lot as well.

I'd say the weather is better too, but only if you like actual seasons. Not as hot and humid in in the summer, but we still get some super humid days. Fall and Spring are amazing and actually last months. Winter right now has been pleasant, sometimes can be cold and dreary but I do like to have some snow days.

We made a lot more DC trips before we had kids. It's a lot a fun for the day or an overnight trip. If you know when to dodge traffic it's a great day trip. Same for VA Beach.

Cost of living is a bit more, but I'd imagine you'd make a lot more money than SC as well. The economy here is certainly stronger. Richmond might remind you more of Charleston more actually. Lots of historic areas and dense rowhomes and good eats. Hipster vibe a bit but it's part of the charm. Let me know if you'd like any more insight. Also when things are back to normal, Richmond has a town of festivals and events in the city and they are a ton of fun. Waiting for life to get back to that.

Also, live in the city for sure. You wont have that sq footage but you'll be walkable to so much, bikeable to everything else. Lots of great parks and hiking trails by the river. The urban core is a lot different than Columbia's, sounds like you'd rather be in the city.

Pros And Cons of Living in Richmond Virginia