For Elem you have Gayton, Twin Hickory, Glen Allen, Tuckahoe, and the new one Colonial Trail that I personally like. Middle & High Schools are all also very good.
Don't judge a school by it's SOL (Standards Of Learning) scores. They are good indicators but some schools with a little lower scores have fantastic arts programs and really teach the children...not to the tests. Like others have said, there is lots of shopping...& lots of traffic. Before we moved I tried to avoid Broad St as much as I could but you needed to be on it to get everywhere.
The near west end has also be described really well by other folks. The 2 main schools in the city are Mary Munford and William Fox. While they are trying to improve the middle and high schools most people do move or send to private after elem. I love the near west end style homes, sidewalks, families and "walkability" to school playgrounds/parks and shops. Also look at the Museum District, just below near west end which is the William Fox district.
Good luck! I hope that helped some.
You asked for personal experience; my wife and I both owned houses in the City (and still do) but chose to live in the Westham/U of R area when we started our family, as we both grew up nearby and felt the schools to be some of the best available. We have one in pre-school and one at Tuckahoe and have been very impressed with the schools as well as with our neighbors, many of whom have moved from out of town. There is lots of interaction with other parents and their kids and everyone takes time to volunteer at the school and be part of their kids' education.
As for finding the perfect house, that can be tough since lots of other people are looking for the same thing for their family. We bought our house sight-unseen for well over the asking price before it came on the market, as there was a waiting list of buyers.
When it comes to some neighborhoods, it is important to know about everything on the market as well as homes that may be coming soon.
We look forward to having you in town. Let me know if you need a hand finding the right place.
Keller Williams Realty
Selling Fine Richmond Homes for Over 25 Years
For information on schools you can visit my website, I have links to all of the schools in the area.
Also, if you prefer to live within in the city limits, there is a charter school due to open in July 2010 in the Richmond Public School System: http://www.patrickhenrycharter.org/
If you would like to send me an email of the amenities that you are looking for I will send you a MLS search of potential houses.
Century 21 Option 1
I recommend you select the best schools in the area and base your decision on that, there's no bullet proof neighborhood (no pun attended) however, if you select the best schools for your children many times it commensurate with the neighborhood.
Keller Williams Realty
1061 Technology park dr.
Glen Allen, VA 23059
We are familiar with Richmond as we lived there while attending grad school. However, that was many years ago prechildren. We loved the westhampton,south of cary area and U of R areas and love more traditional homes. A 4BR/2Bath home that is in a safe/low crime rate area/very family friendly neighborhood with the best available public schools would be our top priority. We also have family in Short Pump and know that area has really grown, but don't know much about the schools there. We know agents can't recommend one SD over another, so we were looking for local richmonders opinions that have had recent firsthand experience. Commuting a bit is not of large concern as we know that Richmond is pretty easy to get around and the traffic isn't anything like Hampton Roads. We have researched and seen lots of homes that we like/find attractive, but really narrowing down to a particular neighborhood/general area is our top priority right now. Thanks again. CHIN
Most county websites provide overviews and ratings of their school systems. You may want to look up Richmond City, Henrico, Hanover, Chesterfield, Goochland, and Powhatan for comparsion purposes.
Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you in your search.
The far west end has newer neighborhoods and some older more established neighborhoods. It really just depends on what lifestyle you are looking for. It may take a little longer to get downtown however Richmond is very easy to get around in and a good highway system makes getting just anywhere in a very short time.
Please visit my website at http://www.susancottrell.com or call me at 804-840-7186. I will introduce you to the historical older neighborhoods to the newest subdivisions. I am a native of Richmond and know all the areas very well. I look forward to hearing from you.