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Why Richmond, Virginia Is The Underground Music City Everyone Needs To Visit

The skyline of Richmond, Virginia reflected in the James River. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Getty Images

Depending on what genre you like, you may be headed to Nashville, Austin, or even Miami to catch some of your favorite artists perform. Now it seems there’s one underrated city you need to add to your list. Richmond, Virginia may not host the most popular festivals around or draw the biggest stars, but one thing’s for sure, the Southern capital has an underground music scene people can’t ignore.

Think of it like a low key version of Music City with a range of musicians all trying to make their dreams come true. The energy is effortlessly unique and contagious without being overwhelming. One night out in Richmond’s downtown and all music lovers will realize why a trip out there is a must. You can go from a rising rapper hosting an album release to an open mic night with a standout country singer or an obscure DJ hyping up a crowd at a well-known rooftop bar, there’s definitely something for everyone.

With summer right around the corner, there’s no better time to start planning the ultimate music-filled getaway. Navigate your way through the area with an extensive guide obviously showing where to catch the most amazing live music to local hot spots for the best drink deals.

The suite life. 

A suite at The Commonwealth Hotel in Richmond, Virginia.

Courtesy of The Commonwealth Hotel

Stay at the historic Commonwealth hotel in the heart of downtown. The newly renovated property dating back to the 1840’s is a short five-minute walk to some of Richmond’s finest venues including Kabana rooftop bar, where there’s often an intriguing live DJ set on the weekends. The National, one of the town’s oldest establishments, is also nearby and this year, a variety of huge names like Nas and Gryffin are set to perform there.

Wait, there’s more as its convenient location isn’t the best part. Every room at the hotel is a spacious suite with some having their own kitchens. Yes you read that right, but don’t worry, the rates couldn’t be more affordable.

Explore a new side of town. 

A group bowling at Richmond’s River City Roll.

Courtesy of River City Roll

Scott’s Addition is the up-and-coming neighborhood locals and tourists alike can’t stop talking about. In the past, the area only had office buildings, but now it’s home to major breweries like Ardent Craft Ales, Blue Bee Cider, and more making up Richmond’s impeccable craft beer scene. It’s a great place to get a drink before a show.

In addition, you have to stop at the self-serve Circuit bar featuring Dance Dance Revolution along with a series of other games and the trendy River City Roll bowling alley. Both opened not too long ago and prove that the entertainment landscape in Richmond is completely changing. Just know, this part of town is a little far from everything else and tends to die down pretty early, especially during weeknights. Public transportation isn’t a common way of getting around, but consider the rapid bus transit route, which opened last year and will quickly get you downtown for only $1.50.

Hit up the theater.

A look inside Richmond’s Altria Theater.

Courtesy of Altria Theater

Check out the Altria Theater located within the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) campus for unexpected entertainment. It’s where you can see hit comedian Jim Gaffigan and the Richmond Symphony Orchestra doing a Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban inspired concert.

Outside of the music box.  

A snapshot of a show at The Canal Club.

Courtesy of The Canal Club

For less mainstream affairs, give smaller places like The Camel and The Canal Club a try. From hip hop to punk rock, you can find beloved local musicians performing at these iconic Richmond venues.

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