One Day in Charlottesville
What does a perfect day in Charlottesville, Virginia, look like? We polled our trainees to find out how they would spend a day in C’ville, if they only had 24 hours to do it. Here are their suggestions.
Start out with a hearty breakfast sandwich – the Deli-Egg is a particular fan favorite – at Bodo’s Bagels, a local bagel shop that has been a C’ville staple since 1988. Bodo’s is beloved in this area, and it’s usually the first stop for any former C’villian coming back for a visit.
If bagels aren’t your thing, try a stop at MarieBette Café & Bakery, a European-style bakery with tartines, pastries, and baked eggs as well as lighter breakfast fare like yogurt and granola. (Another option close to UVA’s campus and downtown: Albemarle Baking Company!)
Charlottesville has no shortage of awesome coffee shops, with established institutions like Shenandoah Joe to cozy hangouts like Atlas Coffee or Mudhouse Coffee Roasters. Have a cup (and maybe a donut, too!) and relax before you head out for your next adventure.
Even if you aren’t a seasoned outdoorsman, the hikes around Central Virginia are always worth the effort. With a 20-30 minute drive, you can head up to Shenandoah National Park, full of amazing views and beautiful scenery, and a large portion of the famed Appalachian Trail, which runs from Maine all the way to Georgia. Some of our trainees’ favorite trails in the park are Turk Mountain, Doyle River Falls, Jones Run, and, for experienced hikers, the famous Old Rag Mountain trail. Just south of the park, you can also do the popular Crabtree Falls trail, located on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Some favorite running trails in the area are the Saunders-Monticello Trail, Rivanna Trail at Riverview Park, and Sugar Hollow/Moorman’s River Trail. Also check out the Ragged Mountain Running Shop, located in The Corner near UVA, which is a locally owned running store that sponsors our annual C’ville Women’s and Men’s 4-Miler races.
South of Shenandoah Park, swing by one of the Nelson County breweries, cideries, or wineries, and enjoy a tasty lunch with a local beer or wine. Devil’s Backbone Brewery, Blue Mountain Brewery, Bold Rock Cidery, and the Flying Fox and Veritas Vineyards are all located on Route 151, which makes for a lovely, winding drive back up to I-64 to return to C’ville proper.
If you prefer a city vibe to a mountain one, skip the hike and head to the Downtown Mall, which is a great place for local shops and boutiques, unique restaurants, and people- and dog-watching while you have some lunch. The Downtown Mall is a pedestrian area where you can sit at one of the outdoor tables and enjoy your meal while listening to local street performers and admiring our dog-friendly community. Don’t forget to swing by the Pie Chest or Chap’s Ice Cream for dessert!
Another great spot for lunch and sightseeing is The Corner, a little wedge of businesses located right next to the UVA Lawn. Our favorites are Bodo’s (again), Take It Away, and Roots Natural Kitchen. From here, you only have to cross the street to take a leisurely stroll along one of UVA’s most famous locales, the Lawn and Academical Village. Take a look in the Poe Room, where Edgar Allen Poe spent a solitary semester as a UVA student, and pop into the Rotunda, an architectural gem designed by Thomas Jefferson. It even sports a chemistry hearth built in the 1850s, only discovered a few years ago!
It’s not a trip to Charlottesville without a trek up the “Little Mountain” to Jefferson’s home of Monticello. This house, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers several different tours, all of which are worth experiencing. When you’ve finished your tour, head next door to Carter Mountain Orchard for apple picking or an apple cider donut. Stick around long enough to watch the sun set from high above C’ville while you enjoy a local cider or glass of wine.
Our trainees love to eat, and C’ville is not lacking for great restaurants. Check out The Local, Tavola, Public Fish & Oyster, Brasserie Saison, and Oakhart Social for fine dining, or try some Peruvian dishes at Al Carbon, a short drive up Highway 29 – their street corn is perfection! Mas Tapas is also highly recommended for tapas and drinks, or try The Whiskey Jar on the Downtown Mall for good Southern fare. If you like intimate, speakeasy-style locales, check out the Alley Light, Lost Saint, or C&O for a post-dinner drink downtown.
After 24 Hours
Obviously, one day in Charlottesville is not going to be enough to check out all of our unique offerings, but the places above will give you a taste of what living in Central Virginia is like. We pride ourselves on good food, good drinks, and soaking in as much of our lovely scenery as we can. C-ville is a fun and safe place to live, with lots of focus on local businesses and well-being. It’s charming and comfortable without being pretentious – the perfect mix!
If you have even more time to spend, please take a look at some other great places in our area:
Dining & Drinks: Ivy Provisions, Bellair Market, Bizou, Grit Coffee, Kilwin’s Ice Cream, Fry’s Spring Station
Shopping: Barracks Road, Shops at Stonefield
Things to do: Cville Escape Room, Chiles Orchard, basketball games at John Paul Jones Arena, local music at the Downtown Pavilion, Broadway shows and festivals at the Paramount Theater