Richmond, Virginia played an important role in the history of the United States, so most people know a great deal about the city. But RVA has a few more secrets up its sleeve, and they’re guaranteed to make you love it even more.
Here are 8 things newcomers most likely haven’t heard about Richmond:
- Rat basketball is a thing here
- Tacky lights are an attraction
- You can go whitewater rafting without leaving the city
- It’s home to some of the best street art in the US
- Edgar Allan Poe lived here
- Patrick Henry delivered his famous speech here
- You just might find ghosts in the city
- Richmond is home to one of the grandest hotels in the US
At the Science Museum of Virginia, basketball is not played by tall, brawny players but by rats on a miniature court. And they’ve been enthralling guests with their underrated skills.
During the holidays, Richmond lights up like no other city. The light displays here are considered among the best in the country, and have earned the city a spot in USA Today’s 2012 list of the top 10 places to see for Christmas lights. The city’s Tacky Lights Tour is a big hit each year, and some of the individual displays have gained national recognition.
Richmond is the only city in the US with class IV rapids within its borders. The James River is the 12th longest river in the United States, and the upper section with its turbulent, raging waters runs through downtown Richmond. You can go whitewater rafting right in the city, but make sure you have the needed skills to navigate these waters.
Known for its historic attractions, Richmond is not exactly the first place you’d think of when it comes to street art. But the Richmond Mural Project has successfully installed more than 100 murals around the city, created by street artists from around the world. One of them – Moonshine by Etam Cru – was named the “best piece of street art in the world” by Buzzfeed in 2013. The city also holds the annual RVA Street Art Festival.
The famed author of the macabre was born in Boston but spent most of his life in Richmond. The Poe Museum on E. Main Street, which opened in 1922, was never the author’s home but features the largest collection of Poe memorabilia in the world.
The immortal line, “Give me liberty or give me death,” was delivered by lawyer and Founding Father Patrick Henry at the St. John’s Episcopal Church in Church Hill during the Second Virginia Convention in 1775. Church Hill is one of the biggest neighborhoods from the 19th century that still exists to this day.
Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery is said to be the home of the legendary Richmond Vampire. The Iron Dog statue found in the cemetery is believed to move on its own and even howl occasionally. The 90-foot Confederate Monument built in the cemetery is allegedly haunted by the ghosts of unidentified soldiers buried here. You can find out for yourself if these stories are true on a ghost tour of the site.
The Jefferson Hotel on W. Franklin Street is one of the few hotels in the country with both Forbes 5-star and AAA 5-diamond ratings. Opened in 1895, the hotel was one of the first in the US to provide contemporary features like running hot and cold water, and electric lights and elevators. Today, the hotel’s grand architecture and other luxurious features continue to make it a standout in hospitality.
Are you looking to buy or sell a home in Richmond? The team of Shaheen, Ruth, Martin & Fonville are the local experts to call. Get in touch with them at 804.288.2100 or email them at info(at)srmfre(dotted)com.