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)
- A culinary powerhouse (Food & Wine, 2023)
- One of the top 10 U.S. cities to visit (Forbes, 2018)
- No. 9 of U.S. cities with highest hiring rates and open jobs (LinkedIn, 2021)
- One of the best American cities for creatives (Thrillist, 2022)
- 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.
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 (#165)
- Arko Holdings (#498)
- Capital One (#108)
- Carmax (#174)
- Dominion Energy (#257)
- Genworth Financial (#434)
- Markel (#289)
- Martin Agency
- Owens & Minor (#361)
- Performance Food Group (#112)
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.
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.
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.
Bordering the west side of campus, the historic Fan neighborhood features a mix of architectural styles such as Colonial Revival and Queen Anne and spans 85 blocks laid out in a fan shape. A popular place for VCU students to live, the neighborhood has many restaurants and shops that cater to a variety of tastes. It is also home to the iconic and controversial Monument Avenue, where protests resulted in the removal of Confederate statues in summer 2020.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Nobody loves their community like VCU loves Richmond.
Class of 2018