Richmond has so many neighborhoods. With the revitalization of downtown and many surrounding neighborhoods—each with their own feel, history, and flavor—it can be difficult to keep them all straight and to decide where to start exploring first. I decided to start with the neighborhood closest to me, Shockoe Slip.
Shockoe Slip is a very small neighborhood in the historic downtown area. According to the district’s website, “Shockoe” is derived from the Native American word “Shacquohocan,” their word for the large stones along the waterfront of the James River, and the “Slip” part refers to the the fact that this area once contained the locks system that brought merchant and passenger boats up into the loading basin that was once nearby on Main Street. The borders of this area are Main Street to the North, Canal and Byrd Streets to the South, 15th Street to the East, and 12th Street to the West, so it’s a pretty tiny district.
The original Shockoe Slip area was built prior to the Civil War, but was destroyed when the majority of the city was burnt down during the war as a way of stopping Union soldiers from obtaining anything from its many supply warehouses. After the war the city was rebuilt and many of the buildings standing today are those that were built from the ashes in the 1860s. The architecture here is of the “Italianate” style.
The main little “strip” of Shockoe Slip is contained along Cary Street between 12th and 14th Streets. This small two-block-long street is made up of old “Belgian Blocks,” which I’ve recently learned are not to be confused with cobblestones. (The more you know…) These two blocks are lined with locally owned restaurants, shops, and the beautiful Berkeley Hotel. The neighborhood might be small, but it packs a lot in. While I haven’t experienced many of the places here yet in terms of eating and shopping, I’m excited to know that I can simply walk a few blocks to try them out.
So far I have visited, and am a fan of the following:
- Fountain Bookstore 1312 E Cary Street | Small local bookstore selling a great selection of books, including many (and some signed) by local authors.
- Citizen 1203 E Main Street | Fresh food made from scratch. Great pork tacos and popular for cocktails.
- Jo-Jo’s Pizza 1201 E Main Street | Pizza by the slice. The barbecue chicken pizza is so tasty.
- Siné Irish Pub 1327 E Cary Street | Irish pub food. My friend Jared highly recommends their fish and chips.
- Urban Farmhouse Market & Cafe 1217 E Cary Street | Coffee shop and cafe serving soups, sandwiches, and other small plates using local and fresh ingredients. Lots of vegetarian and vegan options.
There are so many more places in this neighborhood I need to try out, from Shockoe Slip Yoga to Mom’s Siam Thai restaurant. There are also several attractions here, from the Canal Cruises a block south along the Canal Walk (or just the Canal Walk itself!) to the Haunts of Richmond ghost tour. Again, I’m amazed how much history and things to explore and/or try can be packed into such a tiny downtown district. I don’t know that someone should visit with the intention of spending an entire day in this neighborhood, but it would definitely be enough to fill an afternoon, especially with a long canal-front walk after a tasty lunch!
- The Berkeley Hotel 1200 E Cary Street
- Omni Hotel Richmond 100 S 12th Street
- Courtyard Richmond Downtown 1320 E Cary Street
- La Grotta Ristorante 1218 E Cary Street | Italian, Monday – Saturday, entrees $15-30
- The Kitchen on Cary 1331 E Cary Street | Locally-sourced seasonal food, entrees $9-25
- The Tobacco Company 1201 E Cary Street | Popular for its atmosphere and lounge, entrees $20-45
- The Hard Shell 1411 E Cary Street | Seafood, entrees $12-30+
To Do & See
- Antique Boutique & Delectable Collectables 1310 E Cary Street
- Segway of Richmond Tours 1301 E Cary Street
- Canal Walk 139 Virginia Street
There are several parking garages in the area: 111 S 12th Street, 100 Virginia Street, 1422 E Cary Street