Downtown Mall, Charlottesville
This is what a pedestrian mall should be. It's lined with shops and restaurants, safe, centrally located, and very attractive. The Paramount Theatre offers live show, while the Regal Cinema has first-run movies. At the eastern end is the Charlottesville Pavilion. At the western end is a large ice-skating rink.
Charlottesville Historic Downtown Mall is the main, closed for traffic, street lined by numerous restored and renovated buildings that typified small "downtowns" throughout the country. It's dining, entertainment and shopping district which offers over 30 restaurants - many with outdoor cafes - and more than 120 shops/boutiques. For kids there is Virginia Discovery Museum and store by the East Pedastrian Entry.
The atmosphere and design of this street with oak trees planted along reminded me some European mountain spas in a bit dark and rainy fall day out of the high season. It's a great place to take a cup of coffee and watch people.
The older area of Charlottesville has been turned into a pedestrian mall with many small shops and restaurants. You can dine outside many of the restaurants amid pots brimming with flowers. It was a pleasant atmosphere but in the heat and humidity of July, we preferred to eat indoors in air conditioning. It seemed to be a place for many of the young to hang out. Some of the places are rather costly and parking seemed to be a problem. We had to pay $4 to park in a small lot.
Simply a great place to hang out, several blocks of East Main Street in downtown Charlottesville have been made into a pedestrian-only mall. The atmosphere here is great on a sunny spring day and one can lazily walk up and down browsing the many independently-owned shops (not many chain stores here) and eating in the wide variety of restaurants, many of which have al fresco dining areas. Many of the old buildings have been restored or are in a state of restoration to retain a historical element. The Mall is a great place to hang out and watch people which is always interesting in a university town like C'ville. Parking is usually available in the surrounding streets and in the various parking structures and lots. A shuttle runs between the mall and the University of Virginia as well. During the warmer months the Charlottesville Pavillion on the east end of the mall hosts Fridays after Five with live music and food booths and all with no cover charge. Check out the schedule at http://www.charlottesvillepavilion.com/fridays.asp
You can also see what's going on via a webcam at: