In neighborhoods east of the University of Richmond campus, like Carytown, the Fan, downtown, and Church Hill, students can soak up the history of Richmond, get involved through volunteer and internship experiences, or unwind at some of the many restaurants, cafés, and music venues.

Other areas around town — particularly neighborhoods in the Northside and Southside — offer more history, parks, and leisure. Students also spend time in West End neighborhoods like Short Pump, as well as the Near West End, which surrounds campus. 

Near West End

The University of Richmond is located in the Near West End, an area that covers a lush landscape near the James River. In spite of its proximity to downtown, the area is peaceful and residential.

Venturing just beyond campus into the Near West End area, you’ll find a few shopping centers with coffee shops, grocery stores, boutiques, and other conveniences. Stony Point Fashion Park is a few minutes’ drive away, just across the river. Walking distance from campus, the Westhampton area includes specialty corner store Libbie Market; Café Caturra, a popular coffee and lunch spot; and Regal Cinema’s Westhampton Theatre, a 1940s movie house that now shows foreign and independent films. Other popular spots include Superstars Pizzas and Subs, Osaka Sushi and Steak, and Mosaic Cafe.

Check out the Near West End News for neighborhood news and events.

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About five miles east of campus is one of the city’s favorite destinations — Carytown. Named for Cary Street, which runs the length of the city (past campus and to the city’s eastern border) Carytown fits more than 300 merchants into nine blocks — hence its moniker, “A Mile of Style.”

In addition to music stores, consignment shops, European-fashion boutiques, and a fine-dining selection, Carytown hosts a number of festivals and cultural events — the Watermelon Festival, the city’s New Year’s Eve celebration, a 10K run/walk, a food festival, and a number of sidewalk sales. It’s also home to the Byrd Theatre, a movie palace constructed in 1928, which plays second-run movies for just $1.99.

Some favorite stores include Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market, Plan 9 Records, Road Runner Running Store, The Yarn Lounge, Bev’s Ice Cream, Yoga Source, Carytown Bicycle Company, Second Debut, Clementine, Mongrel, Ten Thousand Villages, and Chop Suey Books. Get the latest news from the West of the Boulevard blog, which covers Carytown and the nearby Museum District.

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The Fan

Named for the way in which the streets fan out across the city, the Fan is the residential heart of the City of Richmond. The neighborhood borders Virginia Commonwealth University and Carytown, and envelopes a budding gallery district.

In the Fan, blocks are filled with Victorian houses, community gardens, and schools, with a restaurant or bar on every corner. Bordered on one side by Monument Avenue — home to events like Easter on Parade and the Monument Avenue 10k — the neighborhood has seen some of Richmond’s wealthiest residents throughout the years, but today is home to families, professionals, and students alike.

Some Fan favorites include the Strawberry Street Cafe, Sticky Rice, 3 Monkeys, Rostov’s Coffee and Tea, Artemis Gallery, Black Swan Books, and EcoLogic. Residents and visitors alike can easily get into the swing of things in this central neighborhood — check out Fan of the Fan, a neighborhood blog, to find out what's going on.

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Church Hill

On a hill overlooking the James River and what is now downtown, the first plan for the town of Richmond was laid out in 1737. The Church Hill neighborhood, named for its many churches, was Richmond’s first historic neighborhood and is home to one of Richmond’s most famous landmarks — St. John’s Church, where Patrick Henry gave his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech.

This is the place to go for great views of the city — Libby Park Terrace looks out over the river as it bends downstream from Richmond, and Jefferson Avenue Park offers larger-than-life views of the cityscape.

Though this east Richmond neighborhood is across town from the University of Richmond, students are encouraged to become part of the community by volunteering to mentor and tutor elementary school children through Church Hill Activities and Tutoring (CHAT).

Read more about what’s happening in the neighborhood in Church Hill People’s News, the first of many Richmond community news blogs. Captain Buzzy’s Beanery and the GlobeHopper Coffehouse and Lounge are neighborhood hubs of activity, and the newly renovated Robinson Theater Community Arts Center is the performing spot for local acts. Also check out the patio at Patrick Henry Pub and Grille as well as Sunday brunch at the Hill Café.

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Most Richmonders think of downtown as the business and government center, home to the city and state governments, several corporate headquarters, and venues like the Coliseum and convention center. Richmond’s downtown is all that, and much more.

What can loosely be called downtown includes the River District — comprised of Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom — as well as Monroe Ward, Capitol Square, Court End, and Jackson Ward. These areas have seen a troubled history, from serving as a major slave trade hub in the 19th century to being burned to the ground in two wars. More recently, much of Jackson Ward was demolished in the 1960s and 1970s in order to build the civic center and highways that now cover these blocks.

But today, downtown beats to a multifaceted rhythm. VCU Medical Center — which houses the medical school formerly known as the Medical College of Virginia — sits high on Shockoe Hill and is one of the major health centers in the area. City Hall, the State Capitol, and the Library of Virginia are among the main centers of government activity.

Meanwhile, social services, tourism, and the arts blend together on Broad Street. A recent revitalization boom included the renovation of historic buildings — the department stores and vaudeville houses of Richmond's past—that now house major attractions like The National, the Hilton Garden Inn, and UR Downtown — an innovative and collaborative initiative of the University’s law school and civic engagement center. The nearby gallery district is home to events like the First Fridays Artwalk and Broad Appétit.

Internship and community service opportunities abound downtown. With big players in medicine, law, government, business, banking, and the arts, downtown gives students access to fascinating real-world experiences. The University encourages students to head downtown, and offers transportation options to help students get to service or internship sites.

Check out these neighborhood news blogs to learn more: River District News, Carver and Jackson Ward News, and Oregon Hill.

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South of the James River, parts of the city of Richmond and neighboring Chesterfield County comprise the area loosely known as Richmond’s Southside. Major attractions include two shopping centers — Chesterfield Towne Center near Midlothian and the dog-friendly, outdoor Stony Point Fashion Center — as well as the Manchester Arts District close to downtown.

Students living on the Southside frequent Crossroads, a coffee shop and gathering spot on Forest Hill Avenue. Another draw for Southside residents is river access — the southern riverbank is low-lying and the James River Park System owns and maintains most of the adjacent land. Bikers and runners love the trails!

Check out the Southside Richmond blog, and Hills and Heights for the latest news and happenings in the area.

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Short Pump

Short Pump is one of the major areas of growth in the Richmond region. Short Pump Town Center, an outdoor mall, is the premier shopping center in the area. It features major department stores, popular restaurants, and exclusive retail shops.

The surrounding streets house a cinema, bookstores, and supermarkets — including Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Students can head here to pick up everything they need to adorn their dorm rooms.

In the summer, Short Pump holds a summer concert series, with free live music every Thursday evening.

The neighborhood blog, Downtown Short Pump: The Official Guide to Richmond's Far West End, has all the latest news from the area, as well as restuarant reviews, community events, and more.

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Collectively known as the Northside, the neighborhoods north of downtown and the Fan make up a unique part of Richmond, both historically and architecturally. The area includes parts of the city — Ginter Park, Laburnum Park, and the Hermitage Road Historic District, among others — as well as parts of neighboring Henrico County, such as Lakeside.

The Northside is home to one of Richmond’s gems, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, as well as the Richmond Raceway Complex — a NASCAR racetrack and host of the State Fair of Virginia, among other events. Another highlight is 175-acre Joseph Bryan Park. Bow-Tie Cinemas operates the 17-screen Movieland in a historic locomotive assembly facility at Boulevard Square in nearby Scott's Addition.

Northside hot spots include Kitchen 64 and the tearoom at Feathernesters, as well as a mix of vintage stores and gift shops including Nicola Flora, Consignment Connection, and Embellish. Check out North Richmond News for the latest on the area.

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