The stately Southern grand dame of Richmond has been Virginia's state capital since 1780. Although a bastion of history, it also has all the hallmarks of a lively and modern urban centre, acting as an ideal gateway to the rest of the state. A range of attractions is within easy reach and visitors can enjoy the neighbouring sights and sounds of the ocean, mountains, historic colonial Williamsburg or even drive into Washington DC to visit the nation's capital.
Richmond has played an enormous role in American history, particularly as the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Today, visitors can discover a host of monuments, battlefields and museums harking back to the days when Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee held out against the Union.
But this isn't a city stuck in the past and there are numerous modern attractions including an active nightlife, plenty of restaurants and outdoor concerts. Strolls along the attractive Canal Walk and the restored Haxall and Kanawha Canals are a great way to relax. There's also the option of catching a boat, with some tours including an historical narration, or there you can simply hire a car and get around by yourself.l
The cityscape is an interesting combination of modern high rise office complexes housing financial institutions, Fortune 500 Companies, government offices, hospitals and universities, and the more charming cobblestone, gas-lit streets flanked by 19th-century warehouses, and a 300-year old farmers' market, filled with the scent of ripe fruit and fresh flowers.