Charlottesville Travel Guide

  • Murals along a staircase in Old Cabell Hall
    Murals along a staircase in Old Cabell...
    by mikelisaanna
  • Rotunda
    Rotunda
    by apbeaches
  • Monticello, Jefferson’s beloved home, 05/09
    Monticello, Jefferson’s beloved home,...
    by von.otter

Charlottesville Things to Do

  • Monticello

    Monticello was the home of Thomas Jefferson for most of his life. Thomas Jefferson was born in 1743 and died on July 4 1826. He was America’s Third President of the United States, Congressman, Author of the Declaration of Independence, Governor of Virginia 1779-1781, US Secretary of State, Minister to France, Founder of University of Virginia,...

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  • University of Virginia

    The University of Virginia is the heart of Charlottesville. It sprawls out on the western edge of the town, with a huge campus and plenty of Palladian architecture. The university is a UNESCO World Heritage Site- in fact, it is the only university in North America with that honor. That designation has much to do with its founding- Thomas Jefferson...

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  • Ash Lawn Highland

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    The marker reads: This estate was the home of James Monroe, fifth president of the United States. In 1793, James and Elizabeth Kortright Monroe purchased 1,000 acres adjoining Jefferson's Monticello. Called Highland, the plantation, eventually totaling 3,500 acres, was their principal residence from 1799 to 1823. Known in foreign affairs for the...

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  • Downtown Mall

    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.

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  • Michie Tavern

    4 out of 5 stars

    Established in 1784 by Scotsman William Michie, served as the social center of its community and accommodated travelers with food, drink and lodging. In 1927, the Tavern was moved 17 miles to its present location close to Monticello. Today, visitors can enjoy encountering the Tavern's past, which creates its 18th century life. They have a lovely...

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  • Meadow Run Mill & General Store

    Not far from the Tavern, the Michie family owned and operated a mill and general store. At the turn of the century the mill fell from decay. In order to recreate the Michie's Tovern plantation (which stretched for several miles) Historic Michie Tavern relocated The Meadow Run Grist Mill from nearby Laurel Hill, Va. The 18th century mill was...

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Charlottesville Hotels

Charlottesville Restaurants

  • Don't miss Bodos!

    Bodo's Bagels is a Charlottesville tradition- universally loved in the town, it's an inexpensive and tasty place to dine. There are two locations in Charlottesville, both of which serve bagels and bagel sandwiches, as well as omelets, soups, and salads. The Bodo's on the Corner (near UVA) has a very idyllic mural, while the one on Emmet is slightly...

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  • Patio Shadowed by the trees~

    We had spent the day exploring Monticello, Michie Tavern Plantation and this lovely historical downtown mall. A really charming place filled with shops and restaurants. The Nook had this wonderful patio area located under these huge oak trees. We both had the open faced turkey sandwich dinner. Very delicious and very reasonably priced.Open 7 Days a...

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  • Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center Cafe

    Located within the visitor center courtyard is a cafe. The menu includes sandwiches, salads, pastries, kid-friendly options, and hot and cold drinks. Groups can order box lunches in advance. The Café is open daily year-round, with indoor seating for 24 and outdoor seating for 70 on the Café Terrace and Woodland Terrace, a wooden deck offering views...

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  • A timeless student hangout

    The Virginian is Charlottesville's oldest continuing restaurant. It was founded in the 1920s, and is still in the same location on University Avenue, in the middle of "The Corner", the commercial district adjacent to the University of Virginia. The Virginian's interior is long and narrow, featuring seating in booths along one wall and a bar along...

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  • Quite good sandwiches

    Just before leaving charming Charlottesville we entered the Nook as the name (Indian?) sounded somewhat exotic for us. We didn't like fast-food like interior design, but the very hospitable (southern hospitality!) waiter after a short talk encouraged us to buy their sandwiches we ate walking along the downtown mall. The restaurant offers...

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  • Italian capuccino and pizzas:-)

    In the end of our visit to downtown Charlottesville we entered this Italian restaurant which served pizza from a brick oven, Italian subs and pasta. The restaurant was already decorated for incoming Halloween. As we were not hungry after sandwiches from the Nook. We had only delicious grande capuccino with chocolade cake and juice . Next time I'd...

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Charlottesville Nightlife

  • Millers Disgusting

    Great place to get served by people with numerous diseases including open staph infection sores. Also you may get to see one of the many under aged employees drunk, passed out and being carried from the upstairs bar. Eat at your own risk!People getting hit with hammers & generally disgusting atmosphere unless you like junkie blood on the bathroom...

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  • Live Music on the Mall

    Here is my kind of place--a relaxed, informal, old-time bar. The inside has a rather quaint, 19th-century look. It reminded me of the old taverns in Williamsburg (see my tips for that town). There were two bands, both playing folk and bluegrass. Pretty laid back.

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  • An Excellent Place to Avoid

    This is one of those pretentious, stuck-up college clubs where people go to see and be seen. If you want to be part of the "cool" crowd, then it's for you--provided that you look and act like some diva on MTV. If you want to relax and have a good time, then forget it. I would never go back there. No formal dress code, but most people dress like...

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Charlottesville Transportation

  • Driving

    The best way to get to Monticello is by car. It was a bit of a drive from D.C. but quite an enjoyable one. We passed through some beautiful farm land and vineyards along the way which were very picturesque.

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  • Getting around - car and public...

    I got around Charlottesville mainly on foot and by hired car. First I drove to Monticello Visitors Center, then to huge Monticello parking lot when I bought tickets and got in a shuttle which took me to the Jefferson's house.Historic downtown is compact and easy to walk - the main street (the Mall) is closed for traffic. There is much space to park...

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  • Three hours from Washington, DC

    I got to Charlottesville from Wahington, DC (National Cathedral - some 110 miles) catching some common in the late afternoon traffic jams in and close to DC. I drove I-66 East and took exit 43A to US-29 towards Charlottesville. The drive took me some 3 hours in total including two stops: 1. in Manassas Welcome Center (along I-66, some 5 miles...

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Charlottesville Shopping

  • Historic and Charming~

    If you visit Charlottesville, you have to explore the historic downtown mall. Closed to traffic to make it safe, this outdoor mall has so many beautiful historical buildings to explore. Some wonderful shops and restaurants to choose from. Lots of places to sit and relax.

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  • Thomas Jefferson Museum Shop

    Near Mulberry Row is another shop that provides a convenient selection of gift items, beverages, and snacks. I bought a magnet and postcards from here. Lots of neat things here.

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  • Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center Gifts

    This shop has 250 titles of books—including one of the most comprehensive selections of Jefferson-related books and some very comfortable reading chairs. I sat in one waiting for my sister to finish browsing. Other departments of the store contain exclusive Monticello reproductions, educational games and toys, home décor pieces, Virginia wines,...

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Charlottesville Local Customs

  • Quirky University terminology

    The students and professors at the University of Virginia (UVa) have quirky terminology that is unique and immediately identifies the user as a member of the university community. For example, they call the university's campus "The Grounds" and NEVER use the word campus. Also, instead of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, UVa has "first...

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  • Upclass and university city?

    Looking at numerous small, luxary boutiques, then upclass houses and residencies located around compact downtown and near university as well, I had an impression that Charlottesville is a small (40,000) mostly upclass city with large (20,000) student population which succesfully tried to mingle tradition with modern living.Thomas Jefferson's town...

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  • Charlottesville is a southern...

    Charlottesville is a southern town but being a university town it's also quite cosmopolitan - if that's a good thing! Quite a few celebrities live in the area, so we have our share of the snobbish rich folk, and yuppies too, but you will find an active international community associated with the University (I find Russians everywhere I go around...

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Charlottesville Warnings and Dangers

  • Monticello - waiting in a line

    I was sure that tickets to Monticello were sold in Monticello Visitors Center located a few miles from the house of Thomas Jefferson. The center was opened from 9 am, so I was about that time at place. I was wrong, the tickets were sold in the ticket office located a few miles up, by huge parking lot and it was opened from 8 am. I should come 1...

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  • Do not use them!

    I found a lot of pretty copper (a reddish-coloured metal) and brass (alloy of copper and zinc) cookware both in the kithen of the Jefferson's house and in gift stores at Monticello.Do look at them, do buy them if you like but please never use them for preparing or cooking any food unless you want to catch copper toxicity syndrome. The most common...

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  • Thomas Jefferson Unique...

    Thomas Jefferson Unique Qualities: it's Jefferson thisLocation: it's Jefferson thatMore Info: The Jeffersons

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Charlottesville Tourist Traps

  • Keswick Hall

    Keswick Keswick Keswick. Bad bad bad. First of all: its in BFE. That means really far out of town, middle of nowhere. Don't plan on enjoying too much wine, because you WILL get killed on the drive home.The food was terrible. Especially for the price. It would have helped if it had been served fresh--but no. It was bland, luke warm, tough meat bad....

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  • Boar's Head Inn

    I find this place overrated both as an inn and as a restaurant. Food is blah. Catered events are awful. Its just not good. And I Don't like driving out there.The accomodations are nice enough, but who wants to stay so far away? If I want to stay that far, I'd rather (and do) stay at Farmington.

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  • Duner's

    Now, let me preface this by saying most people LOOOOVE this place. I think its not so great. Even went back twice more to make sure I hadn't gone on an off night. THere are just too many GREAT places in C'ville to eat to waste a night and a dollar here. Personal opinion.I also am biased against places that are "out of town." But really, I didn't...

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Charlottesville Off The Beaten Path

  • Spherical sundial

    Most visitors don't pay attention to this device in my picture. It's a spherical sundial indicating apparent solar time. The device was designed by Thomas Jefferson and placed on the North Terrace of Monticello. It was something of a novelty in Jefferson's time and probably the first spherical dial in use in North America.Walking off the beaten...

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  • Monument to great American explorers

    Walking around Charlotteville's downtown I've found many examples of great local architecures (see my next pictures) and impressive, historic statue of two guys standing on a post placed in the middle of green space of Midway Park. The statue of two Virginians: Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and Sacagawea was unveiled in 1919.The Lewis and...

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  • Simeon

    On the way to Jefferson vineyards I stopped for a while in a settlement called Simeon to visit a church built in 1892 - Saint Luke's Episcopal Chapel. But doors were closed in the late afternoon. Scenes in Ford's novel Janice Meridith are laid in Simeon. Ive got to know from the sign (picture 3) that there was a house of Jefferson's friend Philip...

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Charlottesville Favorites

  • University Chapel

    Surely Jefferson's house and plantation at Monticello is a must. But my foundest memory from Charlottesville is a taste of some wine in Jefferson's winery and this little, charming church in my picture - the University of Virginia Chapel located west of the Rotunda (corner University Ave. & McCornick Rd.) The Gothic Revival building was designed...

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  • On a clear day, you can see...

    On a clear day, you can see for miles in the Charlottesville area. Just to the west, you see the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains.

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  • See Monticello, Jefferson's...

    See Monticello, Jefferson's home. See the books and inventions that engaged his mind. Reflect on a life that took him to places like Philadelphia and Paris. Imagine him anticipating reports from Lewis and Clark. Finally, remember the slaves. Whether the Sally Hemings story is true or not, the good as well as the tragic have become the heritage of...

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