Seriously though, why not? Richmond has everything that millennials (in or out of college) want in a city: affordable food, nightlife, and entertainment, and lots of it. Summertime in RVA is like a treasure trove of awesome things to do, just make sure you find some time to hit the gym in between all of the food festivals.
Richmond skyline over the James at Rockett’s Red Glare 5/26/13
I come from a small town in northern New Jersey, and ended up at U of R for its beautiful campus, endless academic opportunities (I was far too indecisive to have any inkling of a potential major going into college), and its 6 hour
buffer zone drive from the small-town bubble I grew up in. Before coming here, my only knowledge or perception of Richmond was its history as the Capital of the Confederacy. Other than that, Richmond was just the location of my school— I had no attachments, and no idea what I was in for. Besides, I had childhood dreams of living in New York City with a glamorous job, a nice apartment, and lots of time to hang out at Central Perk with my friends Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe— Richmond wasn’t even on my post-grad radar.
Something you should know about me: I’m kind of a concert junkie. Given the option of clothes/food or seeing one of my favorite bands perform, I will hands down always choose the latter. Example: I spent a semester’s worth of paychecks to go to Bonnaroo last summer- and I would do it again in a heartbeat! In Jersey there are many concert options, but it either means a $26 train ticket to NYC plus food, cab, subway, etc., or an hour car ride to the PNC Bank Arts Center (Jersey Turnpike traffic time not included). Basically, its quite an ordeal, and an expensive one at that. Totally worth it of course, since some of my greates memories are at these concerts, but in terms of accessibility, it could be better. When it comes to live music, Richmond is my Disney World: Friday Cheers, Groovin’ in the Garden, local bands at festivals, the National, Innsbrook After Hours; the possibilities are endless—and all less than a 20 minute drive away! Not to mention ticket prices are nowhere near what they are up north. I can actually afford to got to all of these concerts AND still have money left over to eat—what a novel concept.
The other great thing about the Richmond music scene is all of the Richmond based artists. I’ve discovered so many great bands in the first 2 weeks of this summer just exploring around town, and checking out the lineups for the rest of the season. Indie, Folk, Country, Ska, Jazz, Celtic Rock..you name it, Richmond’s got it!
And then there’s the food. Greek Festival, Broad Appetit, Bacon Festival (seriously? A whole festival dedicated to bacon?!), RVA Burger week…need I go on? The festival scene alone is enough to make any foodie in another part of the country pack their bags and move to Richmond. But even if you took out all of the festivals, there’s still an endless supply of amazing restaurants to try out. I love finding random hole-in-the-wall places to eat (unless they look like the Brazillian restaurant from Bridesmaids), and Richmond is definitely accomodating to my adventurous side.
Just a few people gathered at Richmond’s 6th Annual Broad Appetit
You may not be able to take the Jersey out of the girl, but you can certainly take the girl out of Jersey. I mean, if my options are living in a cardboard box in NYC (or worse, my parents’ house) and eating Ramen 3 times a day, or living in a nice apartment in Richmond, attending festivals and concerts, and hitting up all the bars and restaurants on the same budget…well I think the choice is pretty clear.