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Richmond is no New York or London, so you won't be attending internationally recognized theaters and music halls. Nevertheless, you might be able to catch visiting productions and artists at several venues. The city has its own ballet company and theater groups, and pierced-set bands rock Shockoe Bottom.

Current entertainment schedules can be found in the Thursday "Weekend" section of the Richmond Times-Dispatch (www.timesdispatch.com), the city's daily newspaper. The free tabloid Style Weekly (www.styleweekly.com) has details on theater, concerts, dance performances, and other happenings. It's widely available at the visitor centers and in hotel lobbies.

Fun Freebies -- A nonprofit organization called Venture Richmond (tel. 804/788-6466; www.venturerichmond.com) keeps Richmond hopping with a series of free outdoor concerts, beer blasts, and street festivals from May through September. Check the website for what's happening.

The Performing Arts

The city's version of the Lincoln and Kennedy centers in New York and Washington, respectively, is the dazzling new Richmond CenterStage, 600 E. Grace St., between 6th and 7th streets (tel. 804/327-5755; www.richmondcenterstage.com). Occupying the Thalhimers original downtown department store building and the renovated Carpenter Theatre, the complex hosts Broadway shows, touring artists, and performances by the Richmond Ballet (tel. 804/359-0906; www.richmondballet.com); the Virginia Opera (tel. 804/643-6004; www.vaopera.org); the Richmond Symphony (tel. 804/788-1212; www.richmondsymphony.com), and the Richmond Philharmonic (tel. 804/673-7400; www.richmondphilharmonic.org).

Next to the Greater Richmond Convention Center, the Richmond Coliseum, 601 E. Leigh St. (tel. 804/780-4970; www.richmondcoliseum.net), presents everything from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus to rock concerts. It seats about 12,000. Major sporting events -- wrestling, ice hockey, and basketball -- are also scheduled.

In the summer months, Richmond goes outdoors to Dogwood Dell Festival of the Arts in Byrd Park, at Boulevard and Idlewild Avenue (tel. 804/646-3355; www.ci.richmond.va.us/parks/dogwood.aspx), for free music and drama under the stars in this tiered grassy amphitheater. Bring the family, spread a blanket, and enjoy a picnic.

The nonprofit Theatre IV (tel. 804/344-8040; www.theatreiv.org) stages family-oriented performances in the Empire Theater, 114 W. Broad St., at Jefferson Street. Dating from 1911, the Empire is the oldest theater in Virginia.

Virginia Commonwealth University presents a wide range of performances at its W. E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts, 922 Park Ave., at Harrison Street (tel. 804/828-6776; www.vcumusic.org). Likewise at the University of Richmond's Modlin Center for the Arts (tel. 804/289-8980; www.modlin.richmond.edu), which does not have a street address but is on Crenshaw Way off Westhampton Way.

Tickets for most events are available through Ticketmaster (tel. 804/262-8003; www.ticketmaster.com).

The Club & Music Scene

Shockoe Bottom is the city's funky nightlife district, although the usual weekend revelers are more likely to have pierced eyebrows than packed wallets. It occupies the square block beginning with the 17th Street Farmer's Market going east along East Main and East Franklin streets to 18th Street. Its joints attract the "let's see your ID" crowd, and they go up and down in popularity. If you can find a parking space, you can see for yourself what's going on by barhopping around Shockoe Bottom's busy block (but do not wander off onto deserted streets). Note: Many Shockoe Bottom establishments are closed on Sunday and Monday.

Up Cary Street in the more affluent (and well-behaved) Shockoe Slip, several restaurants and pubs have live music, including The Tobacco Company, 1201 E. Cary St. (tel. 804/782-9555), which has acoustic jazz upstairs Tuesday through Saturday and dancing downstairs Wednesday through Saturday from 8pm to 1am.

Many other restaurants and bars have live music, especially on weekends.

Check the Richmond Times-Dispatch (www.timesdispatch.com) and Style Weekly (www.styleweekly.com) for who's playing where.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.