Getting to know the Hill
Church Hill is the ultimate small-city neighborhood: its walkability to shops and restaurants is excellent, the food scene is more celebrated than many much-larger locales, and its views of the Richmond skyline are unparalleled. Neighbors know each other and greet each other on the sidewalk, our proximity to the river and to hiking and cycling trails is a balm for the outdoorsy types, and it’s so green with trees and foliage that it almost feels like not being in the city at times. What we’re saying is while it’s the best of both worlds for anyone who feels torn between city and country life, there’s something here that just about anyone can enjoy.
If you live here, you already know all this. If you’re looking to visit, we officially welcome you to the neighborhood and hope you’ll have a great time here sampling all it has to offer, while contributing to the neighborly vibe we’ve all grown to love.
Richmond began in Church Hill: when the city was founded in 1737, it was named “Richmond” because the view of the James River from Libby Hill is nearly identical to the view of the Thames from Richmond Hill, London. After this, the city grid was laid out and the first church in town was constructed—St. John’s Church, completed in 1741, whose striking white steeple you’ll see as you come up Broad from Downtown. In 1775, Patrick Henry gave his famous “Liberty or death” speech during a Second Virginia Convention meeting in the church. From this central point, Church Hill grew. It’s the oldest residential neighborhood in the city that still survives, and was the first area in Richmond to be named an Old and Historic District (1957).
Of course, there is way too much that’s happened in Church Hill during the past 285 years to encapsulate here, so we’ll let some of these deeper resources speak for themselves:
- Posts tagged “history” – Church Hill Peoples’ News (there are a wealth of good articles here)
- Posts mentioning “Church Hill” – Old Images of Richmond (Facebook group)
- High on the Hill – Style Weekly
- Rolling in Dough – Richmond Magazine
- The City’s Irishman – Richmond Magazine
- What Ethel Built – Richmond Magazine
- Living History in Church Hill – Richmond Family Magazine
- History of Church Hill Walking Tour – Valentine Museum
- Starting with the Church Hill tunnel collapse, a filmmaker is uncovering Virginia’s buried history – Virginia Public Media
- Church Hill [Richmond] oral history collection – The American Folklife Center
- Talking about North Church Hill – Richmond Magazine
- Living in Church Hill – Long & Foster
More to come here about the unique architecture you can see all over the neighborhood.
- Living in a Historic District – Historic Richmond Foundation
- Areas of Impact – Historic Richmond Foundation
- The Church Hill Old & Historic Districts (book) – John G. Zehmer
- The Church Hill North Historic District – Church Hill Peoples’ News
- St. John’s Church Historic District – Virginia Department of Historic Resources
- Union Hill Historic District – Virginia Department of Historic Resources
- Church Hill North Historic District – Virginia Department of Historic Resources
- Oakwood-Chimborazo Historic District – Virginia Department of Historic Resources
- Fairmount Historic District – Virginia Department of Historic Resources
- Old Richmond Neighborhoods (book) – Mary Wingfield Scott
With over 20 restaurants in the Church Hill area and counting, there are plenty of choices for your dining pleasure.
For the classic Church Hill experience, head for the Hill Cafe or Millie’s. For fine dining, try the Roosevelt, Grisette, Metzger, or Alewife. Pizza tonight? Go to 8 1/2, Pizza Bones, or Anthony’s on the Hill. For good coffee and baked goods, it’ll be Sub Rosa Bakery, Riverbend Roastery, Whisk, or JJ’s Makery. Craving barbecue? Find it at Alamo BBQ or Inner City Blues. And if you’re just looking for a spacious patio to set up camp on, you can try most of the places already mentioned plus Union Market, Front Porch Cafe, or Kahlo’s Cantina. But there are many more! Take a look at the Restaurants and Bars on our map for a full list.
- 10 Reasons Why Richmond, Virginia Is A Hidden Culinary Gem – Forbes
- The Best Places to Eat in Richmond, Summer 2021 Edition – Resy
- Where to Eat in Richmond, America’s Next Great Restaurant-Obsessed Town – Bon Appetit
- I’ll Eat Anything at Sub Rosa Bakery, But the Quiche Blew My Mind – Bon Appetit
- Zagat Names Church Hill One of ’10 Hot Food Neighborhoods Around the U.S’ – Richmond Times-Dispatch
- 22 Essential Restaurants in Richmond, Virginia – Eater
- Great Pastries? The Turks Have Been Doing Those for, Like, Millennia – Bon Appetit
- Eating Out In Richmond’s Hip Church Hill, Top 10 Restaurants – Culture Trip
- In Richmond, two enchanting reasons to drive and dine – Washington Post
- Where to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Richmond – Washington Post
- What’s new (and old) in Richmond, Virginia’s trendy capital – Washington Post
Our schools make up a vibrant, unique community that is always coming together to celebrate and improve our kids’ education. On top of regular instruction, there are lots of additional resources like the Lit Limo bookmobile, and fun things to get involved in for the whole community, like Chimbochella (Chimborazo’s outdoor concert and art festival).
Most of the schools have an active PTA and allow regular school tours, so reach out via the contact methods on their web sites to schedule a time to come check them out. It’s really worth walking around a school, talking to teachers and families, and seeing the learning environment for yourself to get an accurate feel for it.
- Bellevue Elementary School
2301 E. Grace Street
- Chimborazo Elementary School
3000 E. Marshall Street
- Henry L. Marsh, III Elementary School
813 N. 28th Street
- Martin Luther King Middle School (ATOM Stem Academy)
1000 Mosby Street
- Anna Julia Cooper School (private, non-profit)
2124 N. 29th Street
- Armstrong High School
2300 Cool Lane
- Franklin Military Academy
701 N. 37th Street
- Church Hill Academy (private, non-profit)
2010 Carlisle Avenue
Explore Our Map
Check out our Explore Church Hill map that shows you all the hot spots: local parks and playgrounds, restaurants, shops and salons, schools, childcare, museums, and cultural points of interest. Hover over the box icon at the top right of the map to open in a larger view, where you can uncheck any group of locations to remove that from your view and focus on only what you’re interested in.
Got a suggestion for the map? Email us.
How far is…?
Travel estimates from Church Hill proper (let’s say Broad and 25th St.):
- Shockoe Bottom: 3-minute car ride, 10-minute walk
- Shockoe Slip: 4-minute car ride, 18-minute walk
- Varina (Rocketts Landing): 4-minute car ride, 26-minute walk
- Downtown: 5-minute car ride, 19-minute walk
- Carytown: 10-minute car ride
- Northside (Ginter Park): 10-minute car ride
- Short Pump: 23-minute car ride
- Midlothian: 23-minute car ride
Nearby outdoor attractions
- Capital Trail / The Low Line: 2-minute drive, 10-minute walk
- Canal Walk: 3-minute drive, 14-minute walk
- Great Shiplock Park: 3-minute drive, 13-minute walk
- Gillies Creek Park: 4-minute drive, 23-minute walk
- Paddle Club RVA Cruises: 4-minute drive, 23-minute walk
- Riverfront Canal Cruises: 5-minute drive, 21-minute walk
- Anirav Swim Club: 9-minute drive
- Eastern Henrico Rec Center (Spray Park): 11-minute drive
- Hadad’s Lake: 13-minute drive
- Dorey Park: 14-minute drive
- Shockoe Bottom GRTC Pulse bus station: 2-minute car ride, 6-minute walk
- Main Street Train Station (RVM): 3-minute car ride, 13-minute walk
- Staples Mill Train Station (RVR): 13-minute car ride
- Richmond International Airport (RIC): 13-minute car ride