6.8 out of 10

Shockoe Bottom

37.5251350597352 -77.4193302017496
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"Historic Neighborhood on the James River Undergoing Revitalization"

The Shockoe Bottom neighborhood of downtown Richmond, Virginia is literally "at the bottom," meaning it is a very low-lying area adjacent to the historic James River. Originally home to a number of tobacco warehouses owned by companies that are long gone, the neighborhood has always been a mix of old, new and eclectic. Every few years a hurricane or bad storm comes through and the "bottom" gets flooded ... which sets in motion a new wave of renovation.

Currently, Shockoe Bottom is in the midst of a revival. A new seawall along the banks of the James River will keep the water in the river next time a major storm passes through. Old warehouses are being converted into trendy condominiums and restaurants. Lots of new restaurants are joining those which have been there for years. Tourism is increasing, as a local company is offering Segue tours.

Main Street Station, the Amtrak boarding location for Richmond has been restored and sits at the western end of Shockoe Bottom. Adjacent to the station is a Farmer's Market, that operates seasonally and sells fresh fruit, vegetables and crafts from local growers. The Edward Allen Poe house is in Shockoe Bottom -- it is one of the places that Poe lived in as a young man.

On the drawing board for Shockoe Bottom is a new minor league baseball stadium for Richmond. This is still in the planning stages and approvals will be needed from a variety of constituents to make it happen. But if it comes to pass, Shockoe Bottom will likely become a shining star in Richmond's economy and night life. Also in discussion is the possible development of a National Slave Museum.

Right now, Shockoe Bottom is one of the best places for night life in Richmond, maybe second in stature only to Carytown. Living in Shockoe Bottom currently means an expensive condo overlooking the river, or one of the apartments over the numerous stores or restaurants. There are some private homes and small apartment houses. Nearby Church Hill also offers some outstanding opportunities for living in an historical area.

When in Richmond, head for Shockoe Bottom for good food and good views. Walk along the river on the canal walk. Visit some of the trendy shops. Enjoy the history of Virginia's capital city.
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