It is no secret that Greater Richmond is a top foodie destination. In the last two years, Richmond was voted a “Top Ten Best City for Vegetarians,” the “New Craft Beer Mecca of the American South” and a top 20 “U.S. City with an Unexpectedly International Food Scene.” These accolades are among many and do not go unnoticed, even by the prestigious James Beard Foundation.

The foundation highlights unique dining experiences ranging from favorite lunch spots to brewpubs to fine dining. The foundation has nominated restaurants in the region 22 times since 1995 and 15 times in the last five years.

This year, up for the award are Evrim and Evan Dogu’s Sub Rosa Bakery, Velma Johnson’s Mama J’s, An Bui’s Mekong and The Answer Brewpub and Sandeep Baweja’s Lehja. This is the third consecutive nomination for Evrim and Evan Dogu and second consecutive nomination for An Bui.

Not only is Greater Richmond a hub for fast-casual and fine dining restaurant experiences, it is also a major location for food and beverage production and packaging. The region is home to both domestic and international firms, including Mondelēz Global LLC, Maruchan and Sabra Dipping Company.

Interested to learn more about the region’s food and beverage scene? Read more here.

Region’s average cost of living declined in 2018

Every quarter, Greater Richmond Partnership collects data in the Richmond Region for the Cost of Living Index. This index includes prices for 60 items within six categories: Grocery, Housing, Utilities, Transportation, Health care, and Miscellaneous Goods and Services. Items are priced by visiting grocery stores, searching online, and calling local businesses. This data is submitted to the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) where data from other metros across the nation are compared. With a national average benchmark of 100, the Cost of Living Index can be used to compare relative costs between metro areas.

Between the 2017 and 2018, the Richmond Region’s index decreased from 96.1 to 94.9 according to the Annual Average publication which is released each February. This decrease was driven largely by the 10.4-point decline in the Utilities category (representing 10% of the overall index). Richmond also saw a 7.3-point increase in the Health Care category which represents 4% of the overall index and includes items such as doctor office visits and prescription medication.

The region’s Housing index remained relatively the same from 2017 to 2018. The price for a 4-bedroom, 2.5-bath new home rose by 3.7% in Richmond versus 3.4% nationally. However, Richmond’s new home price is still nearly 14% below the national average. Apartment prices also rose in the last year at a pace of 4.1% in Richmond versus 4.8% nationally. The region’s apartment prices are 7.6% below the national average for a 2-bedroom, 1.5-bath unit.

2017 Annual Average 2018 Annual Average
Overall 96.1 94.9
Grocery 88.7 86.7
Housing 88.7 88.2
Utilities 106.8 96.4
Transportation 91.9 92.8
Health care 108.3 115.6
Miscellaneous Goods & Services 101.3 101.2

Download the full Cost of Living index

Greater Richmond creates home for cyclists

Living an active and healthy lifestyle is easy in Greater Richmond. Recently ranked in the top 50 “Best Bike Cities in America,” the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, and Henrico and the City of Richmond have developed a safe and desirable location for those interested in the sport.

The Virginia Capital Trail (photo by Jeff Saxman)

Greater Richmond saw a spike in interest for cycling after hosting the UCI Road World Championships back in 2015 and have since introduced buffered bike lanes throughout the region to manage the increase in cyclists.

Greater Richmond is also home to part of the historic 52-mile Virginia Capital Trail, spanning from Richmond to Williamsburg. The path connects cyclists to major shopping and dining districts Shockoe Bottom and Rocketts Landing in downtown Richmond.

Well known for its recreation, Greater Richmond has many options for those looking to get outside beyond cycling. Individuals can whitewater raft, kayak, or canoe in the class IV rapids of the James River and enjoy more than 100 local parks. Visit Love What You Find to learn more about the recreational activities Greater Richmond has to offer.

Active lifestyle options abound in Richmond, Virginia

Named one of the nation’s fittest cities and among the best running cities in the country, Richmond, Virginia, and the surrounding area offer a plethora of options to keep and maintain an active lifestyle.

In fact, that’s the goal of SportsBackers, a local nonprofit charged with making its residents the most physically active in the country. The organization hosts multiple events in the region, including the annual springtime Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k called one of the best races in the country with more than 30,000 participants. The autumn Richmond Marathon has been called one of the top 15 races in the U.S. and named “America’s Friendliest Marathon.”

For extreme sports enthusiasts, the Dominion Energy RiverRock event is held here and has been named the nation’s largest sports and music festival. For those wishing to explore the nation’s only class III and IV urban rapids right downtown, kayaking, canoeing and whitewater rafting is available along the James River, a system of more than 550 acres to explore. Running parallel to the river is the 52-mile Virginia Capital Trail for cyclists connecting Richmond to Jamestown, Virginia. An extensive park system throughout the region also includes Pocahontas State Park with 7,700 acres of park and forest land and an additional 100 local parks and 6,500 acres of designated park land.

With so much to offer, Richmond, Virginia’s recreation and leisure scene is one of the best in the country. It’s no wonder the region has been named on the “Best Places to Live in the U.S.” With numerous running and sports events, art walks, live music events, cultural festivals, and many more options suited for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, in Richmond, the only issue you’ll find is deciding where to explore first.