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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NGS: Getting around Richmond

View of downtown Richmond, VA
from Libby Hill Park looking down
US-60, E Main Street
For those of you unfamiliar with the area I thought I would write about the terrain and getting about on foot.  It is a beautiful city to explore and you will find many people walking the canal or sitting on the lawn of the old state capital at lunch time.  One warning though, bring good walking shoes.  Richmond is hilly. 

Since most of us will be staying near the convention center or the Library of Virginia I will concentrate on that area of the city in this post.  But, in general, this advice will apply to much of the city particularly those areas around the River.  The further out from the river the flatter it becomes.

For background, Richmond is the highest navigable point on the James River.  The river begins in the Appalachian Mountains and ends at Hampton Roads where it spills into the Chesapeake Bay.  The James cuts through the middle of the city creating many breathtaking views and several rapids.  It is, however, the lowest point of the city and everything slopes down to it.

Now it is not a steep slope, but the grade is noticeable.  I always leave downtown feeling like I got a great leg workout.  From the Library to the canal is about a 10 minute walk straight down 9th street at a noticeable grade.  If you have any problems with hills I would drive or take a taxi as many places as possible.

Downtown, where most of us will be, is set up in a nice grid pattern.  The numbered streets run roughly north/south.  Well more like northeast to southwest, but you get the idea.  The named street run the opposite direction, east/west. 

The main thoroughfare through downtown is in front of the Library, East Broad Street (US-250/US-33).  This is a very busy 4 lane road and you should only have to cross it if you want to get to the canal, the old government area, sightseeing, or for dinning.  Just use common sense and watch out for the buses.  East Main (US-60) is on the south end of that district and runs through most of the shopping and eating areas along the river.

The Greater Richmond Convention Center is under a half a mile from the Library.  From the convention center you walk 3 blocks east on East Marshall Street and then one block south on 8th street to come in the front entrance off of Broad Street.  Note: between the two places, and inside of the Marriott, is a Starbucks.  Just in case you need a pick me up. 

If you decide to drive further downtown, and not walk, there is a lot of on street parking.  There are also a number of reasonably priced parking garages in the area as well.  Down in the River and Shockoe Slip districts (where most of the food and shopping are) you can choose from:

Central Parking System (1000 E Canal St)
James Center Parking (1051 E Cary St)
Central Parking (100 Virginia St)
Standard Parking (1400 E Cary St)

Still not sure where to park?  Check out this link to parking garages in the area to find the one nearest to where you want to go. 

Hope this helped!  We are only 2 weeks out and it’s going to be a great time!!

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