Big city vibe in a small package
Charlottesville has a small town feel with a big city vibe, thanks in part to the University of Virginia, ranked 3rd best public university by US News and World Report in 2022. The city is much more than a “college town” attracting people of all ages to the Downtown Mall – the heart of downtown Charlottesville – for the arts, great restaurants, and live music at Ting Pavillion.
The city is centrally located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Stay close to home to get outside and walk the Rivanna River Trail, a 20-mile trail that spans the city’s perimeter. Take a short walk or trolley ride to one of several neighborhoods, such as Belmont or Fry’s Spring, to discover a truly local restaurant.
Eat like a local. Charlottesville ranks #14 in the country of most restaurants per capita. Many restaurants on the Downtown Mall offer al fresco seating where you’ll find farm-to-table meats, produce, wines, and beers. Or just sit back and enjoy people watching and street performers. Try an upscale food court at Dairy Market. The Charlottesville Ale Trail, Virginia’s first and only walkable urban ale trail, guides you to new watering holes.
In warmer months meet your friends for Fridays After Five at the Ting Pavilion for free live music. Film lovers enjoy the Virginia Film Festival where you may run into a favorite actor. Charlottesville is also home to the Virginia Festival of the Book. The University of Virginia welcomes townies to sporting events, entertainment at John Paul Jones Arena, Easter egg hunts, trick-or-treating, and performances at the Culbreth Theater.
The University of Virginia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, welcomes visitors to stroll the grounds and take in the architecture. The Memorial to Enslaved Laborers portrays a broader narrative around all people who made the university successful. A very short drive from Charlottesville takes you to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Michie Tavern, James Monroe’s Highlands, and James Madison’s Montpelier.