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Richmond, VA (Population: 192,913)

Richmond, known as the River City, is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia. An independent city, Richmond is located upon the fall line of the James River and has a population of 192,913 (2006). Rich in American history, the city played important roles in the Revolutionary War, as the site at which important speeches and documents were created, and in the Civil War, serving as the capital of the Confederate States of America.

Finance and law may be the driving forces in Richmond's economy, but the city itself is teeming with the arts. Richmond is home to Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, a nationally ranked university known for the strength of its art program. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, The Edgar Allen Poe Museum, the Virginia Opera, the Richmond Ballet and the Richmond Symphony are all located here as well. The downtown gallery district and the Manchester District host artwalks each month, while the Science Museum of Virginia and the Children's Museum can both be found near the Fan District. The city's historical significance is highlighted in the Museum of the Confederacy as well as in many of the city's monuments and historic locations, such as St John's Church and the Richmond War Memorial.

The city houses one of the oldest park systems in the nation, the start of which is Monroe Park, which was bought and has been maintained by the city since 1851. Other parks can be found along the James River, including two parks on the larger islands in the river. Richmond has much to offer to extreme sports enthusiasts. Since 2001, the city has hosted the XTERRA James River Scramble, an off-road triathalon which is part of a larger festival with live entertainment. Other annual events that take place in Richmond include the Virginia State Fair, the James River Writers Festival, an 8k race and a 10k race. The city also hosts the VCU French Film Festival and the James River Film Festival. From 2005-2007, Richmond had the honor of hosting the National Folk Festival, which is the oldest multi-cultural celebration in the United States and is historically significant for its presentation of equality among cultures and artistic traditions.