For other places with the same name, see Richmond (disambiguation).

Richmond is the capital of Virginia, a state in the American South. Richmond has a population of 200,000 and the adjacent counties of Henrico and Chesterfield combine to create a local population of more than 1,250,000 people.


Richmond has been called a city of neighborhoods, each one with a distinct look, flavor, and identity. All are recognized by Richmonders as unique neighborhoods, almost as though the city were a collection of several small towns.

Districts of Richmond
The Fan
Museum District & Carytown
Downtown (includes Shockoe (split into Shockoe Bottom and Shockoe Slip), Jackson Ward and Tobacco Row)
West End
East End (includes Church Hill, Union Hill, Chimborazo, Fulton)


Richmond skyline looking across James River

Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It was settled in 1607 by an English settler named Capt. Christopher Newport and Capt. John Smith. The site was previously inhabited by the Powhatan Indians. It was named Richmond after the London suburb of Richmond-upon-Thames by its founder William Byrd II. The settlement did not become a city until 1742, and in the 135 years in between served as little more than a trading post for furs, hides, and tobacco. In 1782 Richmond became the state capital of Virginia.

Richmond is one of the oldest American cities. The Shockoe Bottom entertainment area is where slave rebellion leader Gabriel had his head hung from a pike. During the American Civil War, it served as the capital of the Confederacy. When the Northern Army invaded Richmond, the fleeing Confederate government set fires to the city's munitions stores and government records they were unable to take with them. The fire grew out of control when winds picked up, and most of the city burned. The soldiers from the Union helped to put out the fires upon their arrival. The day after the city fell, Abraham Lincoln made a visit to the city. Though much of its colonial past has disappeared, it is rich in Civil War history and lore. There are, among other things, a Civil War prison site on Belle Isle, the house Robert E. Lee lived in, the state Capitol (which Thomas Jefferson designed and said was inspired by the Maison Carrée at Nimes, France) which served as the Confederate Capitol during the war, a museum of the Confederacy, the original Confederate White House, and Hollywood Cemetery in the heart of the city where more than 18,000 Confederate soldiers are laid to rest. Richmond has the most forged iron outside of New Orleans, and one of the first African American neighborhoods (Jackson Ward).

Visitor information

Lower Level - Baggage Claim Area Sandston, VA 23250,  +1 804 236-3260. Mon. - Fri. 9:30am-4:30pm, Sat. & Sun. noon-5pm.

Ashland, VA 23005),  +1 804 615-5412. Thursday-Monday 10am-6pm.

Get in

By car

Richmond is on I-95 about 2 hours south of Washington DC. I-64 runs east-west through the city which provides easy access to Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, and Charlottesville. In addition, several other major roadways such as the Powhite Parkway (Route 76), the Chippenham Parkway (Route 150), and Route 288 connect Richmond to other areas such as Chesterfield and Midlothian.

By train

See also: rail travel in the United States

Two Amtrak train stations serve Richmond.

By plane

See also: air travel in the US

  Richmond International Airport (IATA: RIC) is in nearby Sandston, about a $20 taxi ride east of downtown, and is served by most major domestic carriers plus discounters JetBlue and Southwest. Chesterfield County Airport (IATA: FCI) to the south of the city and Hanover County Airport (IATA: OFP) to the north handle general aviation.

By bus

Greyhound Bus Lines has a large terminal located on Boulevard...about 4 miles west of Downtown Richmond and 1 mile north of the Museum District.

The city is also served by Eastern Travel, a chinatown bus line that picks up and drops off passengers at its station near the intersection of Boulevard and Broad Street. It is half the price of Greyhound, and while it only runs one departure and one arrival a day (at 7AM and 10PM) is relatively reliable. This bus serves two destinations from Richmond: Washington, DC and New York City. Many more options of this type are easily reached in both of these cities.

Megabus offers service from Philadelphia, Newark, DE, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Hampton, Durham, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Columbia, Athens, and Atlanta. Buses arrive and depart at the Richmond Travel Plaza on E Main St across from Main St Station. Fares from $1 and up.

Get around

By car

The easiest way to get around Richmond is by car. Roadside parking spaces are relatively easy to find but be in the look-out for no parking areas - particularly the "Fan District." The city is laid out on a grid system and is easy to navigate, however, many streets in the oldest parts of the city are very narrow and one-way.

By bus

The Greater Richmond Transit Company, or GRTC, operates a bus service across the city and partially into neighboring Henrico and Chesterfield Counties. Their phone number is: +1 804 358-4782. The average fare is $1.50 for local routes and $2.00 for the express routes, exact change or Go-Cards are the only available methods of payment, you can find Go-Cards at local groceries and convenience stores. The system is best utilized if you are already downtown, and need to go throughout the city itself. Many find it easiest to Park at an all day garage and use one of the multiple lines along Broad street to avoid paying for more parking.


Tredegar Iron Works


The James River

The section of the James River running through Richmond offers many opportunities for a day out. Due to Richmond's location at the fall line, the James River has many rapids right downtown which are great for white water rafting. The rapids are class III but may become class IV in the right weather conditions. The ones closest to downtown can be quite dangerous without an experienced guide. However, there are many smaller rapids just slightly upstream which can safely be run in a raft or innertube. One can travel at a lazy pace, stopping to repeat rapids or swim through quickly. In order to run the rapids in this way, one must have two cars, parking the first at the bottom exit point and the second at the entry point.

There are parks on both sides of the James River above downtown, but the Pony Pasture section of the James River park is an excellent place to begin a few hours on the rapids. Just make sure to pull out when you see a sign on the right side of the river with an arrow directing you to do so; otherwise you will have great difficulty on the larger rapids. The river is quite clean and mostly surrounded by woods for this section. Make sure to try the rope swing under one of the railroad bridges. Many people simply swim around in between the smooth rocks at Pony Pasture without leaving that section. There are excellent trails through the woods on both sides and this section is used for the XTERRA Triathalon in June.

IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE - due to the river's currents, sudden drop-offs and large (and sometimes hidden) rocks, it has been known to get the best of even those with years of experience. As serene as it may look in places within the city, many locals have stories about someone they know who got in trouble with the river due to not taking the proper precautions, even just a few feet from the river bank. Do not risk it: when rafting or tubing, always wear a life jacket. Do not wade or swim outside of areas known to be safe by locals, such as between the rocks at Pony Pasture. In addition, be aware of weather conditions, as the river is prone to severe flash flooding during rainstorms, which changes conditions very rapidly and without much warning.

Live Music

Despite churning out a good number of internationally known rock, indie, metal, punk and R&B acts, many outsiders don't think of the former capital of the Confederacy as being a hotbed of diverse musical arts. However, largely thanks to the thriving arts scene associated with and around Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond has quite the music scene. Clubs offer a diverse selection of genres from rock, indie, metal, punk, hardcore, alternative, blues, jazz, jam, country and bluegrass. In addition to international and national acts that come through town, there is a vibrant (and often fiercely independent) local music scene which has spawned a good number of internationally renowned acts in recent years.


The Greater Richmond area was named the third-best city for business by MarketWatch in September 2007, ranking behind only the Minneapolis and Denver areas and just above Boston. The area is home to six Fortune 500 companies, including: electric utility Dominion Resources; CarMax; Owens & Minor; Genworth Financial, the former insurance arm of GE; MeadWestvaco; and Altria Group.[7] However, only Dominion Resources and MeadWestvaco are headquartered within the city of Richmond; the others are located in the neighboring counties of Henrico and Hanover. In 2008, Altria moved its corporate HQ from New York City to Richmond, adding another Fortune 500 corporation to Richmond's list.Five Fortune 1000 companies also have their headquarters located in the area. These include: Brink's; Massey Energy; Universal Corporation; and Markel. Of these, only Massey Energy and Universal Corporation are headquartered within the city limits. Other Fortune 500 companies, while not headquartered in the area, do have a major presence. These include SunTrust Bank (based in Atlanta), Capital One Financial Corporation (officially based in McLean, Virginia, but founded in Richmond with its operations center and most employees in the Richmond area), and the medical and pharmaceutical giant McKesson (based in San Francisco). Capital One and Altria company's Philip Morris USA are two of the largest private Richmond-area employers. DuPont maintains a production facility in South Richmond known as the Spruance Plant.



Many of Richmond's fine restaurants may be found in the historic district downtown called Shockoe Bottom.










Stay safe

Richmond has a fairly high crime rate, but the vast majority of serious crime occurs in and around the city's public housing projects, located mostly in the northeast, eastern and southside sections of the city. Muggings and purse snatchings, however, occur throughout the city, so be careful when walking or standing around at night.

Popular night-spots around downtown, such as The Fan District, the areas around Virginia Commonwealth University and Shockoe Bottom can become dodgy at night, so it is best to avoid walking alone or on side streets. While all of the night spots are generally safe, it is also wise to avoid any confrontations inside or outside of nightclubs, especially in Shockoe Bottom, as incidents have sometimes lead to stabbings or shootings. This goes for fights between other people; just go the other way.

In addition, much of the free and cheap parking in Shockoe Bottom is located under the freeway and train overpasses and have many dark areas; be aware of your surroundings when returning to your car after dark. As always, use common sense and avoid walking or parking in any areas that seem unsafe.

Most areas of the city are also notorious for car break-ins, so it is always best to have nothing visible inside your car, including shoes, clothing or trash if you park on the street, in open lots, or in unsecured parking garages.

Avoid swimming or wading in the James River within the city, as the currents and dropoffs are notorious for getting the best of even those most experienced with the river. If swimming, restrict yourself to public-access beaches or stretches of rocks such as Pony Pasture or Belle Isle's northern side, or avail yourself of local guidance. In addition, if on the riverbanks, be aware of weather conditions, as some areas around the riverfront are prone to flash-flooding.

Go next

Routes through Richmond

Washington, D.C. Ashland  N  S  Williamsburg Newport News
Washington, D.C. Alexandria  N  S  Petersburg Fayetteville
Washington, D.C. Alexandria  N  S  Petersburg Raleigh
CharlestonCharlottesville Jct N S  W  E  Williamsburg Norfolk
Washington, D.C. Ashland  N  S  Petersburg Fayetteville
Washington, D.C. Ashland  N  S  Petersburg Raleigh
WestonHarrisonburg Jct N S  W  E  END
CharlestonAmherst Jct N S  W  E  Williamsburg Norfolk
Annapolis Hanover  N  S  Petersburg Fayetteville

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