From breweries, to pubs and clubs, to museums- Richmond, Virginia seemingly has it all. The bustling capital of the Old Dominion has something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff who loves to explore historical sites, or a hipster who wants to be entrenched in urban art culture, Richmond has something for you. With a population of about 1,270,000 residents, the Greater Richmond Metro area is home to high-class museums, a vibrant food scene, and a wide array of entertainment options from concerts to theater to family-friendly festivals.
For millennials and young adults, Richmond (or RVA as we like to call it) is a fantastic place to live. Here are ten reasons why:
- The cost of living. It is extremely affordable, especially for those of us who have accrued college debt up to our eyeballs. According to RENTcafe, the average rent for a one bedroom in RVA is about $1k a month. Grocery costs, utility fees, transportation, and entertainment/ leisure expenses are in line with the national average. Trust me, your bank account will thank you.
- Job opportunities. They’re remarkably The metro area only has a 4 percent unemployment rate, compared to the USA’s 5.2 percent. Richmond is known for its large manufacturing base which supports local businesses and transports products like tobacco and paper by the masses. In the city center lies several Fortune500 companies, like Altria and Dominion Energy.
- To me, this is something that sets Richmond apart from so many other places. People from all races and ethnic groups, religions, ages, and socioeconomic statuses call RVA home. Richmond also has a very large LGBTQ population. No matter who you are or where you’re from, you’ll be accepted here.
- Whether we like to admit it or not, Americans LOVE food. And let me tell you, Richmond is a foodie’s true heaven. In fact, a few hole-in-the-wall restaurants have been nationally recognized, such as Mama J’s and L’Opossum. Potential Richmonders beware of the “Freshman 15”- because in RVA, you don’t have to be a freshman and it’s definitely more like 30.
- Breweries & wineries. Need I say more? The Veil, Legend Brewing Co. and Hardywood are some of the best in the city. Most of them are located near each other too, so you can make it a whole day’s adventure. Several are pet- friendly, so your puppies can have an adventure too!
- Downtown Richmond is home to Virginia Commonwealth University and its Medical Center, University of Richmond, and Virginia Union. These state colleges are amongst the best in the nation, renowned for their prestigious programs in medicine, art, and law.
- The James River. These whitewater rapids are the city’s playground for those of us who reside here. It is one of the only rivers in the USA to run through the inner part of the city. The James is the main body of water that Richmonders use for recreation for fun activities like swimming, tubing, kayaking, and fishing, and even hiking. The best part is that the river is also pet-friendly! Your pups can cool down in the watering hole and then you can walk to one of the breweries listed above.
- Festivals festivals festivals. There are countless and they’re always happening year ‘round- not just the summer. Want to know the best part? Most of them are free! No cost for admission, woo! Some of the most popular festivals include the Watermelon Festival, the Jazz Festival, the Folk Festival, and the Greek Festival. Dominion River Rock, Shamrock the block, and even the Monument 10k are the cool spots to be. Good food, good drinks, and good friends is all you need!
- Arts and culture. If you’re a self-proclaimed nerd like me than you love the fine arts. RVA has several museums scattered across the metro area. To name a few: the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), the Institute for Contemporary Art, and the Edgar Allan Poe museum all have something unique to offer. Downtown Richmond is also home to the Richmond Ballet and the Richmond Symphony, which is a world-class experience like no other. If you like going to concerts, don’t fret, there are multiple venues here that always have something going on. The National, the Broadberry, and Strange Matter are known for their sultry atmospheres and rockin’ shows.
- Historical sites. Here’s a fun fact- Richmond is actually one of the U.S.’s oldest major cities, established in 1607. Patrick Henry gave his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech in RVA’s historical Saint John’s Church in 1775. During the Civil War era, Richmond was named the capital of the Confederate States of America and many monuments dedicated to Confederate leaders still stand to this day. Iconic battlefields, monuments, and landmarks are scattered across the city’s limits.
This is just a small taste of why I love Richmond and why you would too. To my fellow millennials: take this information into account for the next time you need a vacation spot that’s urban, unique, and won’t break your bank. Or better yet, do just as I did, and come to call Richmond your home. Once you’re here, I promise, you’ll never want to leave.
By: Julia Robinson
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