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Photo courtesy of Bill Dickinson.
It can be intimidating to move to a new city, especially if you’re unfamiliar with what it has to offer.
Don’t worry, we got you! In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about the city of Richmond, before you call it home.
We’ve done the research for you, so you don’t have to (oh, and by way of introduction, we’re Bellhop—Richmond movers and movers throughout the country).
You’ve most likely seen the neighborhood section in our Richmond City Guide. This list is a more in-depth guide examining what it’s like living in each of these areas.
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A little bit about me
First off, why should you trust me? I’ve lived in Richmond for ten of the past eleven years, and I love this place. It’s a special city. Let me walk you through some of the best spots to live in Richmond.
A Little About Richmond
Richmond, Virginia is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It’s the fifth largest city in the state and is divided into five distinct districts – Downtown, East End, North Side, Southside and West End. Each of these districts has several neighborhoods. We’ll look at what we consider are the best ones based on popularity, amenities, location and well, whether or not we like the vibe. We’ll also consider suburbs of the area, places like Bon Air, Lakeside and Midlothian.
If you’re new to town, it can be hard to figure out your way around Richmond. Whether you’re better off living in the city’s thriving center, or in a cozier out-of-the-way neighborhood, it really depends on preference.
But the neighborhoods listed here offer something for everyone, from students and creatives to young professionals and growing families. And all of them have unique attractions and a tremendous amount of charm. One of them is sure to be perfect for you.
1. Scott’s Addition
Scott’s Addition has come a long way over the past ten years. Starting as a series of dilapidated warehouses, Scott’s Addition is now one of the premier entertainment districts in Richmond, with many of Richmond’s best craft breweries, and a few of its best restaurants. If you’re a young professional moving to Richmond for the first time, it’s hard to bet against living in Scott’s Addition, particularly if you’re looking to live in a newer condo or apartment.
What’s Happening in Scott’s Addition
We like craft beer. You most likely like craft beer, too. It’s what’s trendy right now. Scott’s Addition is the place to experience Richmond’s flourishing craft beer scene, where you can check out popular brew houses such as The Veil, Vasen Brewing, and Ardent Craft Ales. And if you love retro arcades, drink a beer at The Circuit Arcade Bar, while playing some video games. For some delicious food, try ZZQ, one of the best places for Texas-style BBQ outside of, well, Texas, and Lost Letter, a romantic spot for Northern Italian inspired cuisine.
Schools in Scott’s Addition
Top performing charter schools like Open High School and Richmond Community High School serve the greater Richmond area. William Fox Elementary School serves part of Scott’s Addition, with Hill Middle and Jefferson High School serving much of the neighborhood.
Homes in Scott’s Addition
Apartments and condos are springing up in a lot of the old industrial buildings around Scott’s Addition. The average sales price was $335,000 and the average rent is around $1,700. Almost all of the housing stock in Scott’s Addition is recently built apartments and condo buildings..
Located in Henrico Country, Lakeside is a great place for families. A suburb of Richmond located north of the city, Lakeside is named after an actual body of water, though that lake is now found at the Jefferson Lakeside Country Club, so it’s a little misleading. Bordered by Joseph Bryan Park and the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, this neighborhood has tree-lined streets and offers plenty of chances to commune with nature, even though the city center is only minutes away by car.
What’s Happening in Lakeside
We mentioned the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, which is a popular destination in Lakeside, there’s also places like Roy’s Big Burger, which locals say is one of the best burgers around. There are also antique shops and Lakeside also has a magic store, though we’re not sure if you can buy any wands there. If you like beer (and really, who doesn’t) stop by Final Gravity for a refreshing beverage. SB’s Lakeside Love Shack is one of the best brunch spots in Richmond – and if you love the B-52s, there’s really nothing better, anywhere.
Schools in Lakeside
Lakeside is part of the Henrico County Public School System, which is one of the stronger school systems in the state of Virginia. Parents can send their kids to area schools like Trevvet Elementary School, Moody Middle School, and Tucker High School.
Homes in Lakeside
The single-family homes, many complete with big lawns and garages, are surprisingly affordable. The average home in Lakeside is $173,100, and the average rent is $1,014.
Manchester was founded in the 18th century as a separate city, but it merged with Richmond in 1910. It’s located south of the James River and, as writer and resident Leah Small notes in her article about why she loves this area, Manchester is “urban convenience and outdoorsy fun.” If you’re looking for a bike-friendly place to live, Manchester is well on its way to becoming one.
What’s Happening in Manchester
Because Manchester is close to the James River, there are plenty of things to do outdoors. Ancarrow’s Landing has large-boat access to the river. Belle Isle and the Buttermilk trail are beautiful spots along the James River for an afternoon hike or a mountain biking run. Afterwards, you can cool off with a beer at Basic City or Benchtop Brewing, and check out Richmond’s newest food hall, Hatch Local.
Schools in Manchester
Manchester is part of the Richmond Public Schools system. It’s served by Blackwell Elementary, Binford Middle School, and Armstrong High School. Because of historic disinvestment in Manchester, the area’s schools are far from the best in the city from a rankings perspective. Other schools Manchester residents can choose from including Open High School, John B. Cary Elementary School, and Franklin Military Academy.
Homes in Manchester
Manchester has a mix of single-family homes and apartments. Though it’s a historic neighborhood, there are a number of more modern-style housing projects happening there. The average home value in Manchester is around $159,482, and the average rent is around $937.
4. The Fan
The Fan is the most iconic neighorhood in Richmond. Very walkable, with tons of corner bars and restaurants, and sitting next door to Virginia Commonwealth University. Called The Fan because of the unique way the streets ‘fan’ out into the Museum District, it’s by far Richmond’s most picturesque, scenic neighborhood. Seriously, just look at that photo above. It’s adorable.
The Virginia Museum of History & Culture and hte Virginia Museum of Fine Arts are both walking distance from most of The Fan, as is Carytown, one of Richmond’s most popular shopping destinations.
What’s Happening in The Fan
There are a ton of restaurants and bars to explore in The Fan, both older standbys as well as new and happening spots. For standys, Helen’s is one of the oldest restaurants in Richmond, with a bustling bar scene in addition to a robust fine-dining experience. Sidewalk and Curbside are both well-trod Richmond bars, though don’t ignore newer entrants – Celladora offers a romantic bespoke dining experience, and Jardin has quickly become a destination for wine drinkers from all over the city.
Schools in The Fan
Most homes in The Fan are served by Fox Elementary School, Binford Middle School, and Jefferson High School. Fox Elementary did suffer a fire recently, but expect it to re-built in the next few years.
Homes in The Fan
The Fan can run a bit pricey – expect to pay at least $700,000 for a home in the area, with rents ranging from $1,500 to $2,250.
Sitting next to Chimborazo in the northeastern section of Church Hill, Oakwood is one of the brightest spots in Richmond’s East End. Lying next to Oakwood Cemetery and adjacent to a series of running/mountain biking trails running through eastern Henrico, Oakwood offers gorgeous early 20th century homes that can still be found at an affordable price.
What’s Happening in Oakwood
Take the family and explore Libby Hill Park, home to the ‘view that named Richmond’ – where the bend in the James River looks eerily like the Thames River from Richmond, England. Chimborazo Park has an extensive dog park, as well as Chimborazo Medical Museum, which commemorates the park’s history as a Civil War military hospital. Some of Richmond’s best restaurants are within walking distance – Grisette and Alewife – while Sub Rosa offers some of the best bread and pastries on the east coast (in your author’s humble opinion).
Schools in Oakwood
Public school available near this community are Chimborazo Elementary, Bellevue Elementary, MLK Middle School and Armstrong High School.
Homes in Oakwood
A mostly residential neighborhood with single-family homes, Oakwood has a large collection of late 19th and early to mid-20th-century brick homes ranging from Late Victorian to Queen Anne and Colonial Revival. Prices average around $400,000 for a three-bedroom house, though there are some opportunities for fixer-uppers to be found.
There you have it: the top neighborhoods in Richmond, VA
Neighborhoods are about location and lifestyle, to be sure. But more importantly, they are about the people who live in them. These downtown neighborhoods are culturally rich and offer a range of diverse lifestyles that have helped make Richmond one of the most culturally diverse cities in the U.S. We hope this guide helps in your decision-making process. We offer local movers in Richmond, as well as long-distance Richmond moving services.
Need to move quickly? We also provide last minute moving services in Richmond!
Lastly, we help coordinate moves for nearby cities like Washington DC should you be interested!