As you explore the neighborhoods described below (moving from east to west), you'll get a good sense of Richmond's history.
Church Hill -- Named for St. John's Church, its major landmark, this east Richmond neighborhood is largely residential, with many 19th-century Greek Revival residences.
Tobacco Row -- Bordering Church Hill and paralleling the James River for some 15 blocks between 20th and Pear streets, this is the latest urban redevelopment area. Handsome redbrick warehouses are being turned into apartment houses. The Edgar Allan Poe and Virginia Holocaust museums are here.
Shockoe Bottom -- Roughly bounded by Dock and Broad streets and 15th and 20th streets, Shockoe Bottom was Richmond's first business district. It once encompassed tobacco factories, produce markets (farmers still sell produce at 17th Street Farmer's Market btw. E. Main and E. Franklin sts.), slave auction houses, warehouses, and shops, and it retains much of its original character. Today, old-fashioned groceries with signs in their windows for fresh chitterlings stand alongside trendy shops, restaurants, and noisy nightclubs aimed primarily at 20-somethings.
Shockoe Slip -- Bordering downtown roughly between 10th and 14th streets and Main and Canal streets, this warehouse and commercial area was reduced to rubble in 1865 and rebuilt as a manufacturing center after the war. With its cobblestones restored and old-fashioned street lamps providing light, East Cary Street features renovated warehouses containing restaurants, galleries, nightspots, shops, and two major hotels. The Richmond Riverfront Canal Walk boat rides begin here.
Downtown -- West and north of Shockoe Slip, downtown is Richmond's governmental and financial center. It includes the old and new city halls, the state capitol, and government buildings of Capitol Square; and the historic homes and museums of the Court End area, notably the Valentine Richmond History Center, Museum and White House of the Confederacy, and John Marshall House. On its western edges it encompasses the Coliseum, the city's convention center, and several blocks of East Broad Street, which was once home to Richmond's grand department stores and is being redeveloped, including Richmond CenterStage, the city's new performing arts venue.
Jackson Ward -- North of Broad Street, the National Historic District of Jackson Ward was home to many free African Americans before the Civil War ended slavery. Its famous residents have included the first woman bank president in the United States, Maggie Walker, and legendary dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, who donated a stoplight for the safety of children crossing the intersection of Leigh Street and Chamberlayne Avenue (where a monument to him stands today). Notable, too, is the fine ornamental ironwork gracing the facades of many Jackson Ward residences.
The Fan -- Just west of downtown, The Fan is named for the shape of the streets, which more or less "fan" out from downtown. Bordered by West Broad, Boulevard, West Main, and Belvidere, this gentrified area of turn-of-the-20th-century town houses includes Virginia Commonwealth University and many restaurants and galleries. The main drag is on West Main Street between South Harrison and South Lombardy streets. Monument Avenue's most scenic blocks, with the Civil War statues -- and one of African-American tennis star Arthur Ashe -- down its median strip, are in The Fan.
Carytown -- Just west of Boulevard, affluent Carytown has been called Richmond's answer to Georgetown. Cafes, restaurants, boutiques, antiques shops, and the Byrd Theater, a restored 1928-vintage movie palace, bring weekend crowds to West Cary Street between Boulevard and Nasemond Street.
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.