The 5 Best Neighborhoods in Richmond

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, really depends on your needs.

But the neighborhoods listed here offer something for everyone, from students and hipsters 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. Downtown: Scott’s Addition

Perfect for: singles, hipsters, craft beer lovers

Just west of The Fan, just north of the Museum District, Scott’s Addition is a neighborhood that went unnoticed for decades. A former industrial center, the factories and warehouses that dotted its streets had mostly shut down by the mid-2000s. But around the turn of the decade, the rise of Richmond’s flourishing craft beer scene found the perfect spot to take root and grow on the streets of Scott’s Addition.

Today, if you’re a beer fan, Richmond is the place to be — and if you’re looking for craft beer in Richmond, chances are you’ll end up in Scott’s Addition. Popular brew houses including Three Notch’d Brewing, Vasen Brewing, and Ardent Craft Ales can all be found within its borders. There’s even a craft-beer themed “barcade,” The Circuit Arcade Bar, where you can play a few games of skee-ball while you sample the wide variety of local beverages on tap.

With apartments and condominiums springing up in many of the formerly industrial buildings around the neighborhood, you don’t have to worry about finding a ride home. You’re also within walking distance of the city’s best museums. Great restaurants like Buz & Ned’s Real BBQ and Boulevard Burger & Brew complete the picture of a perfect neighborhood for people who love to get out and enjoy the nightlife.

2. Northside: Lakeside

Perfect for: young couples, starter-home seekers

For those seeking a quiet neighborhood in which to settle down, buy a house, and start a family, looking just north of the city to Lakeside is a sure bet. While this neighborhood is named after an actual lake—now found at Jefferson Lakeside Country Club—the proximity to bodies of water is beside the point for most Lakeside inhabitants these days.

Instead, they’re attracted to the tree-lined streets, on which detached homes with yards and garages offer an inviting suburban landscape. Joseph Bryan Park forms the neighborhood’s southern border, and the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens are just to the north, offering plenty of chances to commune with nature — despite the fact that the city center is only minutes away by car.

And for young couples ready to put down roots, Lakeside is something of a best-kept secret in the area. Housing prices are surprisingly economical, and the location just across the city line in Henrico County is a boon to the wallet when property tax time comes around.

3. Southside: Manchester

Perfect for: artists, bohemians, entrepreneurs

Located just south of the James River, Manchester has quite a history. Originally founded in the 18th century as a separate city, it merged with Richmond in 1910, although it retains quite a few signs of its past.

The area’s proximity to the river has quite a bit to offer, whether you’re interested in the area’s rich history or just in some sightseeing. The Richmond Slave Trail educates visitors about Manchester’s past as a central port in the slave trade. Belle Isle and Brown’s Island both offer pathways for exploring and views of the city’s most picturesque spots. Floodwall Park and the recently opened, instantly popular Dam Walk are great places for getting some exercise or strolling with loved ones amid beautiful surroundings.

In recent years, Manchester has found new life as a home for aspiring artists and young entrepreneurs. The founding of Plant Zero Art Center and Cafe kicked off a wave of artistic spaces that now constitute a young, vital scene, centered around galleries like Artspace and venues like Brewer’s Cafe and Dogtown Dance Theatre.

4. West End: Short Pump

Perfect for: white-collar professionals, families

Once a rural town located well outside the Richmond city limits, Short Pump in recent decades has been encompassed by the city’s extended metropolitan area. Today, this affluent area is a center of commerce and a desirable corporate location. Indeed, one of Richmond’s biggest corporate employers, Capital One, has offices in Short Pump. So if you’re going to be working in the area, shouldn’t you consider living there?

Short work commutes are only the beginning. The recently-constructed West Broad Village is centrally located and contains both a large commercial district featuring Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and a variety of upscale restaurant options, as well as a large residential area of apartments and townhomes which allow for a walkable, small-town feel in the midst of the city’s hustle and bustle.

Just up the road is Short Pump Town Center, an open-air mall featuring upscale department stores and clothing boutiques along with an elaborate yearly Christmas celebration that will delight children and leave them with lifelong memories. Bowl America and SkateNation Plus, both close by, will keep both you and the kids active and delighted.

5. East End: Chimborazo

Perfect for: homesteaders, nature lovers

Chimborazo developed around the turn of the 20th century, when electric trolley cars began looping through the area. Grand homes were constructed by well-heeled local residents around East Broad Street and Chimborazo Park. Many of the area’s original residents headed for suburbia in the mid-20th century, but their former homes remain, and their architectural glory has lured quite a few homebuyers back to the neighborhood in recent years.

They find plenty to explore once they arrive, especially in the park that gives the neighborhood its name, with its breathtaking view of the James River and historic Shockoe Bottom. It also features the historic Powhatan Stone, which commemorates the relationship between King Powhatan and Jamestown founder John Smith.

There’s plenty more to do in Chimborazo, from exploring Libby Hill Park to visiting the Chimborazo Medical Museum, commemorating the park’s history as a military hospital during the Civil War. And the adventurous gourmand need only take a quick walk up Broad Street to find a variety of fine restaurants and coffeehouses, including The Hill Cafe, Captain Buzzy’s Beanery, and Anthony’s On The Hill.

Marilyn Drew Necci