The University of Virginia was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, whose dedication to the pursuit of knowledge began a tradition that continues today through national and international recognition of many of the University’s academic programs. Mr. Jefferson’s original concept of the University of Virginia was as an academic village in which students and faculty lived and worked together, thus fostering a sense of community. That sense of community is one of the most prominent characteristics of the University today, and results in strong professional and social interactions within the School of Medicine and between the Schools of Medicine, Engineering and Arts & Sciences.
Centered around the buildings and lawn originally designed by Jefferson, the University is ranked among the very best public institutions in the Country. The School of Medicine is an integral part of the main campus of the University of Virginia, allowing students and faculty easy access to the entire spectrum of academic, athletic, and social resources available to the University community.
With over 100 different locally owned restaurants, grills, bistros and pubs, Charlottesville will certainly please the palate of those looking for a tasty meal. In Charlottesville it’s all about fresh and local, with many restaurants using locally sourced ingredients from nearby farms.
Interested in eating at home instead? Pick up fresh meat and produce at the local farmers market downtown on Saturday morning. Here you will find a wide selection of fresh, local foods, and numerous artisans selling their wares.
The tradition of locally crafted beer and wine dates back to Thomas Jefferson’s passion for good food and beverages. Today, breweries, vineyards, hard cider and whiskey distilleries can be found throughout the area. Travel down the “Brew Ridge Trail” to get a taste for the different flavors of each brewery; and be sure to try the locally crafted Monticello Reserve Ale. Visit any one of Charlottesville’s many vineyards for breath-taking views and award-winning wines.
Considered one of the best urban parks in the nation, Charlottesville’s historic Downtown Pedestrian Mall is home to numerous shops, restaurants, art galleries and music venues, all centered around the city’s old Main Street.
The nTelos Pavilion, a large outdoor venue for live music, is located on the east end of the mall. During the summer, the Pavilion hosts “Friday’s after Five,” a free community event featuring local and regional musicians.
During the winter, bundle up and see the Christmas parade and then strap on your skates for ice skating at the municipal arena situated on the west end of the mall.
In the warmer months, live music can be found bringing people together both indoors and outdoors, in numerous venues around town. Regardless of season, live music thrives in Charlottesville, from street artists playing banjos outside at the Downtown Mall to headliners performing at UVA’s John Paul Jones Arena. Local artists also find their way into the Downtown Mall’s celebrated theaters, The Jefferson and The Paramount Theater. Fun fact – the city set the stage for The Dave Matthews Band; they started in Miller’s bar at the Downtown Mall.
Art and Theater
As a world-class university, UVA houses historic yet diverse collections of art at its Fralin Museum of Art, providing all art-lovers with a variety of exhibits. In addition, the Monticello Artisan Trail that loops through Charlottesville showcases local artisans and their goods.
Both mainstream and locally-flavored theaters can be found in Charlottesville, from nationally recognized productions at UVA’s John Paul Jones Arena and The Paramount Theater to smaller shows at theaters such as Live Arts and Four County Players. In addition, the quaint town of nearby Staunton is home to the Blackfriars Playhouse in the American Shakespeare Center. Here, one has the unique opportunity of seeing Shakespearean plays as they would have been produced in the Elizabethan era.
From leisurely picking apples at local orchards to competing in nationally-recognized local runs, there are countless activities and happenings in the area to satisfy nearly any interest. One unique highlight of the area is the Rivanna Greenbelt Trail, an extensive trail system encircling Charlottesville for walking, jogging, cycling, fishing, or simply observing wildlife. And if you enjoy collegiate sports, Cavalier football and nationally ranked basketball and lacrosse programs are sure to please. In addition, UVA has a robust Intramural-Recreational Sports program offering first class recreation facilities and programming, sports teams, exercise instruction, equipment and wellness services.
Other local activities include:
Golf: Our picturesque city and its surrounding countryside offer courses designed for any level of play. Recognized by Golf Digest, our courses feature lush fairways and magnificent views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Hiking: Charlottesville, consistently noted as one of the most scenic places to live in the country, boasts miles of beautiful hiking and walking trails within its limits. Nearby Shenandoah National Park has over 500 miles of trails, including 100 miles of the historic Appalachian Trail.
Biking: A bike-friendly community with plenty of quiet country roads, Charlottesville is an ideal place for any cycle enthusiast. Bike trails through the surrounding areas offer picturesque yet challenging rides. The annual “Tour de Vine”, held by the Blue Ridge Chapter of Bike MS, meanders through Central Virginia’s most charming vineyards and countryside.
Running: Recreational running as well as road races are popular pastimes in Charlottesville. The many well-maintained running trails that weave through town and the surrounding areas support the running culture, and a diverse set of road races – including the Charlottesville Women’s Four Miler/ C’Ville 10K, Mud Runs, and even a Zombie Run – offer challenges for runners of all types.
Skiing: Located near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville is central to some of the best ski and mountain resorts in the Mid-Atlantic. From local Wintergreen Resort, only an hour away, to Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia, area residents are never far from great snow and fantastic slopes.
The list of festivals and events in the lively city of Charlottesville is nearly endless – from the Virginia film festival to the Tom Tom Founders Day Festival – there is always something to do!
Charlottesville/Albemarle Calendar of Events