The summer is definitely the best time to start your apartment hunt. If you start looking at the end of May, you should have no problem finding a great apartment by the time the end of July starts to approach. The fall is the worst time to look, as many of the rental apartments, especially those near the university, will be snapped up by the incoming crop of students.
Make sure that you've got good references lined up before you start filling out apartment applications. The truth is that many people who apply for apartments have the income requirements and credit rating needed to rent the suite. However, the best ones can also back up the financials with excellent references.
The majority of commuters in the Richmond area are drivers, and use their cars to get around most of the time. Driving downtown is difficult however, as the streets are not very wide and it can be difficult to find parking. For navigating downtown, or if you don't have a car, the Greater Richmond Transit Company bus routes are the best way to get around.
Walking down Monument Avenue will introduce you to statues of several confederate heroes. The entire downtown area is filled with beautifully restored historic buildings. People also go on white water rafting trips right within the city, as the James River provides the perfect setting for rafting. Rare Olde Times Irish Pub or the Sin e' Irish Pub are both good places to sit down for a friendly drink.