Food and Drink
Charlottesville is a food-lovers paradise, with one of the highest per-capita restaurant counts in the United States. The vibrant food community also includes a thriving farmer’s market and dozens of area farms, ranches, and food producers.
Charlottesville is in the heart of Virginia wine country, home to more than 60 wineries (many of national distinction), as well as dozens of local breweries, cideries, and distilleries.
The Great Outdoors
How many cities can claim to be just 20 minutes from a National Park? In Charlottesville, Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains beckon, promising hiking, biking, kayaking, rafting, horseback riding, and more. Residents also explore dozens of other natural areas, orchards, trails, lakes and rivers. Click here for an overview of nearby outdoor activities.
Farther afield, Virginia Beach is just a 2.5 hour drive away, as are the sparkling waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
Music and Arts
Charlottesville is known for its music scene and for being the home of the Dave Matthews Band. Any night of the week, you can catch local and national acts performing in coffee shops, restaurants, bars, or at one of the larger venues in town like The Jefferson Theater, The John Paul Jones Arena, or the Sprint Pavilion.
Charlottesville has a wealth of classical music organizations and venues; art galleries, art parks and studio spaces; community and university theaters; and is a hub of architecture and design. It’s home to several annual festivals that bring in people from across the mid-Atlantic, including the Virginia Film Festival, the Virginia Festival of the Book, and the Tom Tom Founders Festival.
Sports and Fitness
Central Virginians keep busy with fitness, sports and outdoor activities. Residents can participate in community and intramural sports leagues through the city of Charlottesville or UVA. Multiple renowned golf courses are nearby, as are ski resorts, tennis and squash clubs, multiple fitness and aquatic centers, a plethora of on and off-road options for cyclists, a robust running community, and some of the east coast’s best hiking.
As a fan, you can cheer on UVA’s Division I athletic teams, including the 2018 National Championship Men’s Basketball team.
Charlottesville is the home of presidents – besides Thomas Jefferson’s beloved home, Monticello, James Monroe’s Highland and James Madison’s Montpelier are also nearby. Monticello, along with the rotunda and academical village that Jefferson designed for the University of Virginia, are major cultural and historical attractions that together comprise a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The University of Virginia recently opened a Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, as a small way to begin to recognize that the University was built and largely maintained by enslaved peoples.
Charlottesville and the surrounding area are home to an ever-growing number of distinctive and high-quality national and local retailers. Major retail destinations include the Downtown Mall, Barracks Road, The Shops at Stonefield, and 5th Street Station. For more information about local Charlottesville businesses, visit The Scout Guide: Charlottesville.