My grandparents and extended family have lived in Charlottesville, Virginia since before I was born. Over the years, we've spent holidays and vacations visiting and exploring all it has to offer. Charlottesville is a college town in central Virginia, home to the University of Virginia. There are 3 presidential estates in the area, most famously Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, and it's nestled along Shenandoah National Park, creating many opportunities for hiking and outdoor exploration.
Charlottesville is easily accessible; fly into their airport, arrive by Amtrak or make the drive from any nearby city. No matter how you get here, it will definitely be useful to have a car for the weekend.
Whether you're a prospective student at UVA, in town for business, or looking for a relaxing weekend getaway, I hope you enjoy the charm of this beautiful city in Central Virginia.
Eat & Celebrate | Restaurants & Bars
Bodo's Bagels | A must stop - get a breakfast sandwich on the best bagels outside of New York.
Revolutionary Soup | A great spot for soup and sandwiches - and they've got two great locations.
Michie Tavern | A hearty buffet lunch based on 18th-century Southern recipes - think fried chicken, country ham, mashed potatoes, and biscuits.
Tavola | An intimate and inviting space with classic Italian dishes and a wonderful wine menu and great cocktails. There is also got a speakeasy-esque bar tucked in the back - grab a drink and share some small plates there if you prefer.
Timberwood Grill | This is a place my family from the area often frequents - and for good reason. If you're there when the weather is favorable, grab a seat on the patio and enjoy a beer.
Citizen Burger Bar | Great spot for a burger and sweet potato fries along the Downtown Mall.
Commonwealth | Whether you're stopping in to eat or just to grab a cocktail, get a seat on their rooftop SkyBar and do some people watching.
Roots Natural Kitchen | Create your own bowl or go with one of my favorites, the El Jefe, the Apollo, and Mayflower.
Draft Taproom | There's something on tap for everyone here - even non-beer drinkers. When you arrive, you open a tab and they give you a card to scan which allows you to pour your own beer and you pay per ounce at the end. It's super easy! I tried a small glass of a few different selections and then got a full pour of my favorite!
The Whiskey Jar | They've got a full bar with more than 125 types of whiskey; you can pick three and get an ounce of each. If you're hungry, they've got some great food that's all sourced locally and made from scratch. They also have live music almost every night. I call that a Win-Win-Win.
Camp Ten Four | Located at the Graduate Hotel, it's a fun spot for drinks. The atmosphere will bring you back to summer camp; play yard games, sip on a Capri Sun-inspired booze-infused juice pouch, and enjoy the sweeping views of the city from the ninth floor.
Play | Things to Do Visit one of the 3 presidential estates: - Thomas Jefferson's Monticello - James Madison's Montpelier - James Monroe's Highland
Get Outside: - Shenandoah National Park - University of Virginia / The Lawn - Historic Downtown Mall - Carter Mountain Orchard (Seasonal)
Discover the Birthplace of American Wine along the Monticello Wine Trail: - You can use the "Plan Your Visit" feature on the Monticello Wine Trail website to help you plan the best route. The wine trail consists of 33 wineries, but these are my recommendations, in alphabetical order.
Afton Mountain Vineyards
Blenheim Vineyards (owned by Dave Matthews)
Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery
First Colony Winery
Flying Fox Vineyard
Glass House Winery
King Family Vineyards (watch a Polo match)
Loving Cup Vineyard & Winery
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Veritas Vineyard & Winery
If wine isn't your thing, there are a number of local breweries, cider houses, and distilleries you can do tastings at;
Blue Mountain Brewery
Blue Toad Hard Cider
Bold Rock Hard Cider
Brewing Tree Beer Co.
Castle Hill Cider
Devils Backbone Brewing Company
South Street Brewery
Three Notch’d Brewing
Wild Wolf Brewing Company
Stay | Hotels We usually stay with family when we're visiting Charlottesville, but I'd stay at any of the following properties:
The Oakhurst Inn | 100 Oakhurst Circle, Charlottesville, VA 22903 "Historic character and modern amenities compliment your stay in an exclusive residential setting"
Complimentary espresso, bottled water, Italian citrus sodas, and trolley rides to the historic Downtown Mall area.
National Historic District
Extended stay and pet friendly suites available upon request
Graduate Charlottesville | 1309 West Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903 "Steps away from campus; you'll feel at home even if it's your first time in town"
Camp Ten Four, rooftop bar with sweeping views of the city
Complimentary Bike Rentals
The Clifton | 1296 Clifton Inn Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22911 "Set on 100 acres of pristine Virginia countryside, the perfect location for exploring the area's wine and horse country"
Constructed in 1799 for Thomas Jefferson’s daughter and husband, Martha and Thomas Mann Randolph.
Infinity pool, hot tub, private lake, walking trails, a croquet lawn and sprawling gardens.
Select accommodations have fireplaces, private patios, claw-foot soaking tubs, and rainfall showers by Waterworks.
The Townsman | 211 West Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902 "So unique, we call it the unhotel; four individually themed rooms for a one-of-a-kind experience."
Unbeatable downtown location on the historical walking mall
Expansive spa showers and comfortable seersucker robes
Pet Friendly - say hi to Bulleit, a Wheaten terrier and the hotel's dog concierge.
Shop | Local Goods Finch | Women's boutique on The Corner, near the University of Virginia campus - for my most recent trip, I made sure to save room in my suitcase for something from here! Bittersweet | Trendy, designer clothing, and accessories for women. O'Suzannah | Home goods and small gifts with monochromatic displays for colorful shopping Rock Paper Scissors | Stationary, paper goods, and unique gifts. The Impeccable Pig | Affordable women's clothing boutique. Alakazam Toys & Gifts | An independent toy store with fun and lighthearted toys and gifts.