According to Charlottesville.org: “The City of Charlottesville is nestled at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in western Central Virginia. Home to a population of over 40,000 residents with a metropolitan population over 200,000. The City has earned a reputation as being one of the most livable places in the country. In 2004 the City was given the distinction by Cities Ranked and Rated as the Best Place to Live in America, and Charlottesville has consistently been listed among Money and Fortune Magazines’ Best Places to Live and Best Places to Retire.
A city deep in historic value, the area has raised three Presidents and is the home of the University of Virginia founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1825. With a growing enrollment of nearly 20,000, the University is consistently listed as one of the top five public universities in the country. In 2007, the area’s emphasis on historic preservation alongside modern development has earned the recognition by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a Dozen Distinctive Destination.
There is also a thriving art, music and theater community that keeps the creative spirit alive in Charlottesville. A recently opened 4,000 seat Charlottesville Pavilion amphitheater draws big named acts i nto the downtown area and hosts a weekly Friday After Five concert in the spring through the fall, a local favorite to kick off the weekend. The downtown pedestrian mall is one of the most successful of its kind in the country and boasts over 150 shops and award-winning restaurants. A magnet for art, music, dining, shopping and entertainment, the mall is now home to a newly renovated Paramount Theater, one of few community-supported restorations of historic theaters in the country. The 1,200 seat theater has hosted nationally-known entertainers. The 16,000 seat John Paul Jones Arena (JPJ) opened in 2006 and has already hosted national caliber events such as The Dave Matthews Band, Rod Stewart, Billy Joel and Cirque du Soleil. JPJ was recently voted as the Best New Entertainment Venue in the Country.
Tourism plays an important role in the City’s economy, much of it based on its rich historical legacy. Two million travelers visit the area each year to see the area’s historic sites and the spectacular scenery of Central Virginia. Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, sits on a nearby mountain overlooking the city and offers tours and special events and ceremonies. Ash Lawn-Highland, home of James Monroe, features beautiful gardens and furnishings reflecting the Federal style is just a mile down the road from Monticello. Montpelier, the home of James and Dolly Madison, recently reopened to the public for tours, tastings, and horseracing.”