The One Thing for Which Richmond Should Best Be Known

Readers' Pick

First Place: The James River

Second Place: History

Third Place: Food

In September, Outside magazine told everyone what Richmonders already knew (and voted for): This is the country's best river town. The James River has it all: rapids for the adventurous, blue herons and bald eagles for naturalists, and lots of big, flat party rocks for the rest of us. The best part is that young river rats have never known the James as it used to be, spiked with broken glass and laced with the toxic insecticide Kepone. In December we parted with beloved James River Park System Manager Ralph White, who retired. He led the transformation of the James and launched a personal crusade against trash and graffiti. With the city's new riverfront access plan and the recent appointment of White's deputy Nathan Burrell as park manager, here's hoping the river keeps getting better. Voters also appreciate the city's rich history. We have stories galore from the days of the Revolutionary and Civil wars. Heck, we're the city that made Abraham Lincoln cry (although Steven Spielberg neglected to place the scene in his film). Another point of pride is that Richmond tastes good. Voters rally behind the city's thriving food scene. Virginia oysters, pimento cheese, chicken and waffles, pho, craft beer, gourmet doughnuts, Coca-Cola cake ... we're drooling a little just thinking about the options.

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