The Intersection of Southern Culture and Tech

Richmond’s tech scene

Richmond’s tech scene has been growing over the last decade and it is apparent when driving through the city. If you haven’t been to Richmond in the last 10 years, you would hardly recognize it. VCU sprawls through the fan, art galleries are abundant and the restaurant scene is booming. Scott’s Addition is home to a variety of start-ups and multiple Fortune 500 companies have established their headquarters in this great city. Educational opportunities are abundant with excellent colleges like VCU (Go Rams!) and UofR, as well as, technical specialty centers at high schools and the CodeRVA High School.

CodeRVA is a very exciting new addition to our technology community. In September 2017, CodeRVA Regional High School opened its doors to students from thirteen school divisions in the greater Richmond area. These students will focus on learning computer science through a next-generation school model. A primary goal for CodeRVA is the address the racial, economic and gender inequities in STEM-related education. Learn more about this awesome program here (http://coderva.org/faq/)!

I’m likely biased because Richmond is my hometown, but it’s an exciting city to be a part of right now. It is rich with history and going through what a lot of local residents consider a Renaissance. Here are a few of my favorite things to do, see and places to eat!

Neighborhoods:

Fan: The Fan has changed dramatically as VCU has sprawled across this part of the city. Filled with late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century homes, this area has a unique character that brings architecture students from all over the world to one of the longest stretches of Victorian architecture in the United States. (site https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_district) Check out Scuffletown park and catch a small intimate show while sipping some goodies from Strawberry St Market!

Museum District/Near West End: The Museum District is considered the part of the city west of the Boulevard. Here you can find a plethora of museums rich in Richmond culture such as Agecroft Hall, The Science Museum of Virginia and the Folk Art Society of America. End your day with a stroll through Carytown and a $4 movie at the Byrd Theatre.

Scott’s Addition: Home to startups and breweries, this is one of the fastest and most rapidly changing neighborhood in Richmond. For the craft beer lover, it’s imperative that they try Vasen, The Veil and Ardent to get a taste of what Richmond has to offer. Meander over to the newly opened barcade, The Circuit, for classic arcade games and air hockey.

Shockoe Bottom: Shockoe Bottom runs along the James River and down into the heart of the city where you can find the Virginia Capitol Building and Governor’s Mansion. Take a Segway tour down the cobblestone streets and take a stroll down the Canal Walk to admire the street art created by more than a dozen national street artists along the floodwall.

Church Hill: Church Hill is one of the most historic areas of the city and home to St. John’s Episcopal Church where Patrick Henry gave his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech in 1775. Grab a savory (or sweet!) pie from Proper Pie and walk (or roll) over to Libby Hill park to witness “The View That Named Richmond.” (Site https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libby_Hill,_Richmond)

Activities:

VMFA: The VMFA is ranked as one of the largest art museums in North America and free to the public. Major exhibits such as Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic and the Van Gogh, Manet, and Matisse: The Art of the Flower have graced the museum in recent years. Check out their happy hour on Fridays and grab a bottle of wine to drink on the lawn!

Pottersfield Bridge/Brown’s Island: The Pottersfield bridge is a new addition to the city, running parallel to Belle Isle and stretching across the James River to the Manchester District. During the Summer, you can find large acts such as Connor Oberst of Bright Eyes or Kurt Vile at Friday Cheers.

Poe Museum: A small gem tucked away in Shockoe Bottom, the Poe Museum is home to his “Enchanted Garden” which is an ode to his poem “To One in Paradise” and features flowers featured in his poems and short stories. On the fourth Thursday of each month, check out the Poe Museum’s “Unhappy Hour” featuring wine and beer, apps, live music and fun, Poe themed events.

Maymont Park: Maymont Park is in the heart of the city and consists of 100 acres of gardens, exhibits with local wildlife and the Maymont Mansion. My favorite is the Japanese Garden during the fall when the Japanese maples turn or in the spring when the Italian Gardens are in full bloom! It’s a must-see. The park hosts concerts, the Beer and Wine Classic and fun holiday events.

Restaurants:

Roosevelt: Located in Church Hill, the Roosevelt has been featured in Southern Living magazine and known for their savory southern cuisine and craft cocktails. Their menu changes seasonally, but a recent favorite is the gnocchi dish with short ribs.

Saison: Saison is found off of Broad Street in Jackson Ward. It has a warm, intimate vibe with “new American classics” and constantly changing beer selection and cocktail list. I highly recommend their brussel sprout small plate and the “Rundown,” a dish with varying seafoods, sweet potato and a coconut-habanero broth (last time it was served with rockfish, scallops and shrimp, YUM).

Stella’s: Stella’s is home to both traditional and modern Greek cuisine and every local’s favorite. The family (including Stella!) can be found talking with the guests and checking on the tables, giving the restaurant a personal and welcoming vibe. I have to get the Spanakopita each time I go and love the simplicity of their fish dishes, served with virgin olive oil and a lemon dressing.

Edo’s Squid: Edo’s is an Italian restaurant tucked in the heart of VCU with some of the best seafood and pasta dishes in Richmond. I recommend going with a group of at least 4 and being served “family style,” because you’ll want a bite of everyone’s dish when they come out! I love the broccoli rabe, rockfish and their veal scaloppini.

These are just a few of the great things to do in Richmond. If you are interested in making a move to the River City and work in tech, reach out to me at ally.mcginn@udig.com!

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