Charlottesville, in central Virginia, is ranked the number one place to live in the United States of America by Frommers. Charlottesville is a lovely university town of about 40,000 with lots to offer.
Charlottesville is a town steeped in history and culture. Of the eight U.S. presidents who came from Virginia, two — Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe — were from Charlottesville, and two more came from neighboring counties. Central Virginia was a major battlefield during the Civil and Revolutionary Wars. Jefferson, whom locals affectionately call "Mr. Jefferson," or "TJ," continues to cast a long shadow, particularly over local architecture. Many of Charlottesville's public buildings are made of brick and built in a Jeffersonian style, and many private homes are colonial. His home at Monticello and the Jefferson-designed University of Virginia have set the tone for the communities beautiful buildings. When visiting Charlottesville, be sure to stop by the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society to learn more about the area's rich history.
The culture of Charlottesville revolves around two points: the University of Virginia and the Historic Downtown Mall. Charlottesville is a major cultural center for central Virginia, and features more fine dining, shopping, and entertainment than one might expect for a town of its size. Ensconced in beautiful Albemarle County, Charlottesville is also surrounded by vineyards and horse country - the best of all worlds.
Charlottesville Albemarle Airport, (IATA: CHO). The closest airport to Charlottesville. This airport is approximately 10 miles from downtown, so a rental car (Avis, Hertz, or National), taxi, or hotel courtesy shuttle is required. It is often more economical to fly into Washington Dulles (IATA: IAD) or Richmond (IATA: RIC). Richmond is 80 miles away and Dulles is over 100 miles away. Rental cars are available at each and the drive to Charlottesville is straightforward.
Amtrak. Charlottesville is on the Cardinal, Crescent, and Northeast Regional routes. Two or three northbound and two or three southbound trains stop in Charlottesville each day (the number depends on the day). The station is on West Main Street, about halfway between the Downtown Mall and the University (3/4 mile to each), but within walking distance of several restaurants. Plan to call for taxi service or take the CTS bus or trolley if you are not walking.
The major highways leading into Charlottesville are US-29 and I-64. I-64 is a four-lane interstate leading to Charlottesville from east and west. There is rarely traffic on I-64 near Charlottesville, and the only major hill is crossing Afton Mountain, about 30 minutes west of town. US-29 is an extremely variable road. To the south, it is a four-lane road with frequent curves and at-grade crossings, but few traffic lights. To the north, the road alternates between being a four-lane commercial center with frequent traffic lights and buisnesses and being more similar to US-29 south of town. Traffic on US-29 north of town can be slow or dense at rush hour and around special events in Charlottesville, but speeds below 25mph are rare.
Greyhound, . The bus station is on West Main Street, about two blocks east of the Amtrak station. If you are traveling to or from Washington, DC, the train is generally faster, cleaner, and more comfortable than the bus.
University of Virginia
Getting around the University of Virginia is easy using the free University Transit System (UTS) buses. The Central Grounds area is very walkable, but some areas of campus (called "Grounds" by students) can be over a mile away. From the University to the downtown mall is a walk of 20-30 minutes and there is a free trolley bus that runs in a loop from the University to the Downtown Mall approximately every 20 minutes. It is not easy to find parking around the University area, including the Corner and between 14th Street and Rugby Road. There is a parking garage at the University Bookstore, on Emmet Street, that only fills up during certain University events (e.g., Days on the Lawn).
City of Charlottesville
The city is reasonably well connected by city buses, the Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT). Parking in nearly all areas of the city is free and easy to find. Parking at the Downtown Mall will often require paying a modest rate at a lot or parking garage.
Transportation outside of the city is best accomplished by car, although taxi or certain buses may be available for some locations. Main roads are well signed and in good repair, but can be hilly and curvy. If traveling to a unusual location or taking a shortcut through smaller country roads, be prepared for unpaved roads, limited signs, and frequent curves.
With the possible exceptions of the airport and the Downtown Mall, you must call for taxi service in Charlottesville. There are several taxi companies in the city.
A & W Taxi Service, William Walker: (434) 882-1822
The University of Virginia. AKA "Mr. Jefferson's University." Quite possibly the most beautiful college campus on this side of the Atlantic. Walk around the university and visit the Lawn and the Rotunda.
Monticello, the residence of Thomas Jefferson. The grounds include the house itself, the gardens, servant quarters, and Thomas Jefferson's grave. Open daily, $22 for adults, $8 children 6 - 11. Annual Pass $50.
Ash Lawn-Highland, the residence of James Monroe. Open daily, $10 for adults.
Michie Tavern, an inn dating to 1784, now a museum and restaurant. The fried chicken here is a life-changing experience. Open daily. $9.
The Downtown Mall. Several blocks in downtown Charlottesville have been closed off to traffic, creating a pedestrian-friendly area full of shops and restaurants. The old brick buildings, ecclectic stores, and people make this a great place to walk around. Just north of the Downtown Mall on Park Street is the town hall and some of the oldest buildings in town. See  for more information.
The Virginia Discovery Museum, on the Downtown Mall, has a variety of child- and family-oriented exhibits. Closed Monday, open until 5PM other days. Admission is $4 for all ages.
Dazzling fall colors. For the best sights in the Fall, drive into the hills south of town, or out US-250 West toward Afton Mountain. Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, west of town off US-250 or I-64, offer some of the best views.
Horse and Wine Country. Drive west of town to see farms, fences, and vinyards to make you feel as if you've stepped back into the 18th century. Garth Road is a particularly nice drive.
See Monticello, Ash Lawn-Highland, and Michie Tavern for $36 total with a President's Pass combination ticket.
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Hot air balloon rides through Boars Head Country Club.
The Jeffersonian Thanksgiving Festival in late November 
The Downtown Mall, Main Street between McIntire Rd. and Avon St., is Charlottesville's best and most eclectic shopping district. The street is open to pedestrians only, is paved entirely with brick, and features fountains, public art, flowering trees, and many benches. Both sides of the street are lined with local boutiques, outdoor cafes and other fine restaurants, three theaters, an ice rink, and the Virginia Discovery Museum .
Barracks Road Shopping Center, Barracks Road and Emmett Street, . This outdoor shopping center contains higher end stores, as well as mid-level clothing outlets and a variety of inexpensive restaurants. Conveniently located near the University North Grounds.
Seminole Square Shopping Center, Over fifty fine shops located on Route 29 just north of Hydraulic Road in Charlottesville. ATA Leadership Martial Arts,Ace Shoe Repair, Andrew Minton Jewelers, Asian Fusion Buffet,Big Lots, Bike Factory of Charlottesville,Boathouse Restaurant,Bounce-n-Play, Boy Scout Shop, Burger King, C'ville Oriental, Ci Ci's Pizza, CosmoProf, Crystal Cleaners, Dover Saddlery, Downtown Athletic, ERA Bill May Realty Co., Ebony Images, Edible Arrangements, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, F-Stop Photo, Family Christian Store, Fashion Bug, FastFrame, GNC (General Nutrition Center), Giant Food, Hair World, It's A Stitch, Kim's Hair Salon, Maharaja Restaurant, Marco & Luca, Marshalls, Mykonos Café, Nail Expo, Office Depot, Performance Bicycle Shop, Pete's Pet Forum, Plan9 Music, Premier Rental Purchase, Professional Optical, Royal Indian Restaurant, Seminole Carpet & Floors, Seminole Total Health, Snap Fitness 24/7, The Crystal Connection, The Party Starts Here, Tobacconist & Gifts, Total Soccer, Virginia School of Massage. Visit our WebSite for maps, store hours and phone numbers, coupons, bus schedules and more! Visit us on Facebook 
Pantops Shopping Center, Convenient to Eastern Albemarle and Interstate 64, Pantops Shopping Center is located just east of the Free Bridge in Charlottesville, ABC Store, Aaron's, Advance America, Cash Advance, Advance Auto, Alpha Medical Aids, Animal Medical Center of Charlottesville, Beauty Nail & Spa, Cellular Express, Chic Hair, Dollar Tree, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Food Lion, H & R Block, Insurance Dr. of Charlottesville, Jiffy Lube, Lazy Parrot Grill, Lloyd's Hallmark, Mid-Atlantic Fasteners, Mountain Kim Martial Arts Academy, Pack 'N' Mail, Pantops Pet Salon & Spa, Purrin' at Pantops, RadioShack, Rivanna Gear & Apparel, Roses, Rudy's Cleaners, Shanghai Chinese Restaurant, Subway, The Party Starts Here, Tuesday Morning. Visit our WebSite for map, store hours and phone numbers, coupons, bus schedules and more. See Pantops Shopping center on Facebook
Fashion Square Mall, on 29 North, . The main indoor mall, with the usual variety of chain clothing stores, bookstores, department stores, and restaurants.
There are a ton of great restaurants in Charlottesville, offering a variety of cuisines at reasonable prices. Main hubs of restaurants include 'The Corner,' an area of student-friendly shops in a traditional student area right next to the University, and around the downtown mall. From spring through fall, the outside seating on the pedestrian-only outdoor mall is highly recommended.
Al Dente. High end Italian, wonderful atmosphere.
Bang, 213 Second St. SW. Higher end Asian inspired Tapas.
Himalayan Fusion, +1 434-293-3120. Brings Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan Food to the Downtown Mall. Lunch Buffet.
Marco and Luca's. Noodles and dumplings. Super cheap and very popular.
Mas, 501 Monticello Rd. (in the Belmont), . Spanish tapas.
Miller's. This pub is an institution but is known for its music, not its food. Dave Matthews tended bar here back in the day and met his future bandmates here.
Mono Loco, 200 W. Water St. Cuban cuisine.
Monsoon, 113 W. Market St. Southeastern Asian cuisine.
Mudhouse, . Cozy couches and outside seating make this a popular coffee shop. Baked goods abound.
Nicola's Veggies. Organic, raw food. Fresh Salads, Wraps, Juice, Smoothies.
The Nook. Great breakfast, burgers, and sandwiches. High Quality products all around.
Petit Pois. Classic, casual French bistro.
Rapture, +1 434-293-9526. American food, billiards, bar and dance club.
Revolutionary Soup, 108 Second St. SW. M-Sa 11AM-8PM. Hearty soups, inspired sandwiches, fresh salads, fancy sodas, local and organic ingredients. Soups are about $5.
The Shebeen, 247 Ridge/McIntire Rd. South African restaurant and pub.
South Street Brewery, 106 W. South St. This is a brew-pub where they serve what they make on the premises. South St. also serves guest beers, cider, wine and has a full bar. Mix of cheap-moderate food.
Ten. High-end sushi and cocktails
West Main, 333 W. Main St., 'Virginian' restaurant with several levels with bars etc.
Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. Large selection of gourmet teas, with vegetarian food and hookah.
Vita Nova. Gourmet pizza by the slice.
Zocalo. Higher end Latin inspired cuisine.
Arch's. Located at the lower end of the Corner, closer to the hospital, this small frozen yogurt and salad bar is a Charlottesville favorite! $3-$10.
Bodo's Bagels, near Bank of America and Elliewood Avenue. This Charlottesville Bagel Bakery has fast service and yummy food; serving breakfast most of the day. $2-$6.
Buttz BBQ, on Elliewood Avenue.
Cafe Europa. Mediterranean food and inventive sandwiches. Vegetarian friendly. The tomato basil soup is highly recommended. Lunch and dinner are $5-$7.
College Inn, . Mostly Greek and Italian food. They deliver.
Coupe de Ville's. Small restaurant/bar with a varied menu tucked away on Elliewood Ave. Popular bar among undergrads.
Fox Park. Independently owned coffee shop behind Baja Bean Co. on Main St. delicious coffee, extensive selection of flavor shots, and free wifi.
Lee's International Grill. This small international grill has excellent food--from hamburgers, burritos, soup, and Chinese food. $5-$7.
Lemongrass. Good Vietnamese and Thai cuisine with a little twist. Offers a student discount for lunch.
Littlejohn's. Open 24 hours. Depending on the hour, serves either breakfast or sandwiches and subs.
Mellow Mushroom, +1 434-972-9366. Pizza & Subs. Good pizza, dozens of beers on tap. $2 pints during their happy hour.
Michael's Bistro. This establishment, perched above Littlejohn's, offers a wide range of beers and an eclectic menu.
Q'doba. Similar to Chipotle, this burrito bar restaurant is also equipped with a comfy back area with a large TV for watching sports.
Revolutionary Soup, or just "Rev Soup" - very good soup collection, bread & apple with each purchase
Sakura, near the corner of University Ave and 14th St., +1 434-923-0238. Japanese, including sushi. Delicious food in a calm, mature, relaxing atmosphere (unusual on The Corner).
St. Maarten Cafe,  A Corner classic - been around since 1985. Features delicious wings, burgers, nachos and cheese fries. Moderately priced, good tap and bottle beer selection and an awesome specialty cocktail menu that regularly changes. Drink specials available 7 days a week.
Take It Away Sandwich Shop, 115 Elliewood Ave. Serves a wide variety of sandwiches on fresh baked bread. Carries a large amount of Potato-chip varieties and drink selections. Limited seating. Popular with UVa students and people who work in the area.
The Virginian. Charlottesville's oldest diner is a cozy bar/restaurant featuring burgers, steaks and linguini. Various drink specials throughout the week.
The White Spot, on University Ave near the railroad overpass. Lunch-counter style establishment that is another Corner landmark. Locally famous for its Gus Burger, a cheeseburger topped with a fried egg.
Taste of China - Albemarle Square, opened by renowned chef Peter Chang. They serve a mix of authentic Szechuan and American Chinese food.
Peter Chang's China Grill - Barracks Road, a second restaurant opened more recently by Peter Chang.
Boathouse Row Restaurant - Seminole Square, located in Seminole Square Shopping Center next to Cheeseburgers in Paradise. Specializing in seafood, steaks, grills and pasta. Enjoy the lounge. But beware of the large ridiculous boats that hang from the ceiling, they are bound to fall at any time.
BRIX Terrace Café - Pantops, a casual eatery with a sophiscated flair, can be found in the Pantops Mountain area in Charlottesville Virginia. Brix Terrace Cafe provides a combination of California cuisine heavily influenced by Mediterranean foods, which does not mean spaghetti ’n’ marinara sauce. Instead, look for antipasti, bruschetta, salad specials and savory, sophisticated fare. In the morning Brix Terrace Cafe serves coffee and pastries, and you can buy bottles of wine too. You will find bruschetta platters, orzo salads and cinnamon rolls. Though lunch will be her focus, the cafe will stay open until 6PM, long enough to catch some after-work to-go customers. The interior of Brix Terrace Cafe will remind you of a Tuscan villa, patio seating, “beautiful real dishes, real napkins, and real silverware.” 
Lazy Parrot Grill - Pantops, For a family-friendly meal, this is a great place to go. Casual dining experience with 10 TV's for playoff evenings. Lots of good food, with hamburger's, 47 flavors chicken wings and salads galore. NTN Trivia, karaoke, and outdoor seating. Open daily from 11AM-10PM. Under $10 
Shanghai Restaurant - Pantops, Full Menu, Exotic Mixed Drinks, Eat In Or Carry Out, Cocktails, Authentic Hunan & Szechuan Chinese Food. Located in Pantops Shopping Center. 
Tiffany's Seafood Restaurant - Seminole Square, Casual sit-down dining, with full range of seafood dinners, steamed spiced shrimp, crab legs, and oysters and clams on the half shell. Also, steaks and chicken dishes. Lunch and dinner available. M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F & Sat 11:30AM-10:30PM, Su 5PM-10PM. Range $11-$20. 
Albemarle Baking Company, in the Main Street Market near the Downtown Mall, +1 434-293-6456, . Charlottesville's artisanal bakery. French-style baguettes, Italian-style ciabatta, rye bread, whole grain, and more - plus they bake pastries, cookies and cakes.
Bodo's Bagel Bakery, locations at 1418 N. Emmet St., 404 Preston Ave., and on The Corner.The best bagels south of New York. Really. A Charlottesville institution for nearly 20 years. Located at Great sandwiches, salads, and soup, cheap prices, blindingly fast service, and a trendy atmosphere. For a laugh, ask a local how long it takes Bodo's owner Brian Fox to open each new restaurant. Open until 8PM, 3PM/4PM Sunday. All meals are about $5.
The Brick Oven, 1966 Rio Hill Shopping Center, on 29 North. Gourmet pizza, sandwiches, and pasta. Dinner is $8-$10.
Crozet Pizza, 5794 Three Notch'd Rd., Crozet (about 15 miles out 250 West), . The best pizza in Albemarle County. Make reservations for parties of 10 or more.
Five Guys Burgers (and Fries), in Barracks Road Shopping Center. A popular D.C.-area chain. Its burgers are fresh, filling, and well made. Get a whole meal for under $5.
Riverside Lunch, In town location: 1427 Hazel St. Riverside North location: 1770 Timberwood Blvd. A Charlottesville institution. Some consider Riverside to have the best burgers in town.
Guadalajara, 29 North, East Market Street (downtown), and Fontaine (near UVA). A local Mexican institution. Entrees are $6-$10. The best in Cville. Try the Pollo con Mole, or Carnitas.
L'etoile, on Main Street midway between the Corner and the Downtown Mall, . L'etoile is a fine-dining establishment that serves French-Virginian style food
Lime Leaf Cafe, in the Rio Hill center on US 29. This hidden gem serves the most delicious and authentic Thai food in Charlottesville.
Maharaja, Seminole Square, 29 North. A full variety of Indian food. Dinner $10-$15.
Milan, 1417 Emmet Street, +1 434-984-2828. Wonderful Indian food, spicy and aromatic favorites cooked in authentic tandoori oven. Features a lunchtime buffet. Wide range of favorites, including vegetarian options. $10-$20.
Ming Dynasty, 1417 Emmet St., +1 434-979-0909. Traditional Chinese and extensive vegetarian menu.
Michie Tavern, down the hill from Monticello. Michie (pronounced Mickey) Tavern is a recreation of a Colonial tavern, where tourists can eat, shop, and tour the buildings.
Orzo, also in the Main Street Market, . Wonderful Med style food.
Royal Indian Restaurant The best Indian food in the area. Fine dining and friendly, attentive service brought to Charlottesville by owner and head chef Ravi Dahiya. A variety of flavors and sauces with a diverse menu with vegetarian and vegan options using exceptional ingredients including methi (fenugreek) and goat. On Route 29 North near Target - 3450 Seminole Tr.
Thai 99. Inexpensive and delicious Thai food. North-end and University-area locations.
Vivace, 2244 Ivy Road, +1 434-979-0994, . Italian, with charming indoor or two-tiered patio seating.
Wayside Ol' Virginia Fried Chicken, 2203 Jefferson Park Ave., (at the intersection of JPA, Fontaine, and Maury). Just what it says it is. A rare un-yuppified oasis. Pretty good chicken; disappointing dinner rolls, though.
Zazu's, 2213 Ivy Rd. Tasty wraps made with fresh ingredients. Wraps are about $5.
Like the eating options, the main hubs are either at 'The Corner', which has a predominantly student crowd, or downtown. Many options at both.
Beer Run, close to downtown and Belmont, has hundreds of craft beer bottles for sale, 14 rotating draughts, growlers to go, a full restaurant and lively atmosphere with patio seating. Frequent beer tastings and a focus on all natural, organic, local foods.
Michael's Bistro on The Corner has one of the best and widest selection of beers in town, and specializes in Belgian and European beers.
South Street Brewery (downtown) is a good micro-brewery and restaurant.
Mellow Mushroom on The Corner has the most beers on tap of any restaurant in Charlottesville.
For wine, both the C&O Restaurant (downtown) and Zocalo (downtown) have excellent selections. enoteca (downtown) is an Italian wine and panini bar, with a very large selection of wines. Fellini's #9 (downtown) also has many Italian wines. Mas Tapas Bar (Belmont) has a good selection of Spanish wines.
For beer and wine to go, visit Market Street Wine Shop just off the Downtown Mall and they have an uptown location in Shoppers World near Whole Foods Market.
To experience a world of teas in Charlottesville, head over to the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar on the Downtown Mall. Also available is a fine selection of wines, beers and sake. The evenings frequently bring music and cultural activities.
Nightclub: R2, a dance club located inside Rapture restaurant; Club 216, a gay and lesbian dance club (that also welcomes straight people) downtown
Maya, 633 West Main St (across from the Amtrak station), ☎ 1-434-979-6292, . 5-11. Southern comfort food done right.15-31.
Virginian, Corner. open late. Oldest bar at the UVA Corner. A classic, weeknights and weekends, for UVA students aged 18-24.
Brother's Bar & Grill, 2104 Angus Road, ☎ 434-293-6333, . 10AM -9PM. Best food around and coldest, cheapest beer in town.
Full range of options. Hotels fill up early for UVa football and basketball games and for graduation.
Alexander House Inn & Hostel, 1205 Monticello Road, ☎ (434) 327-6447, . A collectively owned inn and hostel. At $30 a night for a bed in the bunk house, it is the cheapest option in town. Even $75 per night for a private room is only beat by places like the Budget Inn or Super 8, which don't have the same character or location. Prices include tax. Basic, unprepared breakfast items are complimentary. Bicycle rentals for $15/day are also available.$30/bunk $75/private room.
Arcady Vineyard Bed & Breakfast, 1376 Sutlers Road (2 miles past Monticello off 732), ☎ 434-872-9475, . checkin: 4PM - 7PM; checkout: 11AM. Arcady Vineyard is a wine country B&B designed with the wine lover in mind. Junior suites with king bed, private bath, wine fridge with bottle of sparkling wine, wine & cheese check in, port & chocolate turn down. Full served country-fresh breakfast with room rate. Views of vineyard out back. Transportation (schedule permitting) included the 6.5 miles to downtown for dinner. Wine tour packages available.$220 - $275.
Comfort Inn Monticello, 2097 Inn Drive, ☎ 1-434-977-3300, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. Offers guests free deluxe continental breakfast and free wireless high-speed Internet access. 3 miles from Monticello.$80-$200.
Mason Lane Cottage, 1618 Mason Ln, ☎ 1(720)519-3463, . 2 bedroom cottage for up to 4 people, private yard, full kitchen, and on street parking. No pets/No smokers. $200/night with two night minimum.
Residence Inn by Marriott, 1111 Millmont Street, ☎ 434-923-0300, . All suites offer full kitchens, living rooms with pullout sofa beds and work desks with high speed Internet access. Complimentary full breakfast daily, grocery shopping service, on-site laundry and nightly social hours midweek.
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