Looking for a great girl’s trip destination or weekend away with your significant other?
There are so many amazing things to do in Charlottesville, Virginia! From spending a day at the vineyards and tasting some delicious wine to exploring the city’s unique history and culture, you’ll never be bored. No matter what your interests are, Charlottesville is sure to have something for you. So if you’re thinking of traveling to Virginia this summer, be sure to add Charlottesville to your list of places to visit. You won’t regret it.
For history buffs, Charlottesville is a must-visit destination. The city is home to Monticello, the estate of Thomas Jefferson, as well as several other historical sites. If you’re interested in Civil War history, you’ll want to check out the Albemarle County Historical Society Museum as well.
If you love spending time outdoors, you will appreciate Charlottesville’s many parks and trails. The city has miles of trails, as well as a beautiful riverfront park that’s perfect for a picnic or a leisurely stroll. Being surrounded by mountains, Charlottesville also offers great opportunities for hiking, camping, or even driving to see the stunning views.
Charlottesville is also home to the University of Virginia, which was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819. The university’s grounds are definitely worth a visit, even if you’re not a student. The Rotunda, designed by Jefferson himself, is one of the most iconic buildings on campus. Gil and I took a long stroll through campus for one of our outdoor walks (we are doing 75 hard at the time of me writing this – post on that coming soon!) and couldn’t stop talking about how beautiful all of the landscaping and buildings are.
And of course, no visit to Charlottesville would be complete without spending some time at one of the city’s many wineries. With over 50 wineries in the area, you’re sure to find the perfect bottle of wine to enjoy while taking in the stunning views of Virginia. Keep reading to see which ones you MUST visit!
History of Charlottesville
Charlottesville, Virginia was founded in 1762 by Colonel John Carter. The town was named after Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III. Charlottesville is located in central Virginia and is known for its rich history, natural beauty, and vibrant culture.
One of the most significant events in Charlottesville’s history was the Revolutionary War. The city played a strategic role during the war, serving as a supply center for troops and a hospital site for wounded soldiers. In 1781, the city was the site of the Battle of Charlottesville, a significant battle that played a role in the defeat of the British forces.
Charlottesville also played a significant role in the Civil War. The city was home to several Confederate generals, including Robert E. Lee, who led the Army of Northern Virginia during the war. Today, visitors can explore many historical sites related to the Civil War, including the Monticello estate, the home of Thomas Jefferson, and the University of Virginia, which was founded by Jefferson in 1819.
The history of Charlottesville has shaped what visitors see when they visit today. The city is home to many historical landmarks, museums, and cultural events that celebrate its rich history. Visitors can explore the city’s historic downtown district, which is home to many shops, restaurants, and galleries. The city also hosts several annual events, including the Virginia Festival of the Book, the Virginia Film Festival, and the Charlottesville Festival of Cultures.
When to Visit Charlottesville
The best time to visit depends on your preferences, but many people enjoy visiting in the early summer when the weather is warm and the flowers are in full bloom. I visited Charlottesville in the early summer and loved it. The city was lively, with plenty of outdoor events and activities to enjoy. The scenery was breathtaking, with rolling hills and lush greenery everywhere you looked.
In addition to the early summer, Charlottesville is also a great destination in the fall. The foliage is stunning, with vibrant colors that make the city feel like a painting. The weather is cooler, making it the perfect time to explore the many parks and trails in the area. Charlottesville is also home to many wineries, and the fall harvest season is a great time to visit and sample some of the region’s delicious wines. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a family vacation, Charlottesville is a wonderful destination any time of year.
The Best Things to Do in Charlottesville, Virginia
As someone who has visited Charlottesville, Virginia, I can confidently say that it is a city that has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, food, or outdoor activities, Charlottesville has it all. In this blog post, I will be sharing my personal recommendations for what to do, where to stay, and where to eat in Charlottesville.
Charlottesville is perhaps best known for being the home of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and the founder of the University of Virginia. Visitors can explore Jefferson’s beautiful Monticello estate, which offers tours of his home and gardens. But Charlottesville’s history goes far beyond Jefferson – the city played a pivotal role in the Civil War, and many of its historic sites and monuments reflect this. I will be discussing some of these sites in more detail later in this post.
No trip to Charlottesville would be complete without sampling some of the city’s famous food and drink. From farm-to-table restaurants to craft breweries and wineries, Charlottesville has a thriving food and beverage scene that I am excited to share with you. And if you’re looking to burn off some calories, I’ll also be recommending some of my favorite outdoor activities in the area. So whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an adventure-seeker, Charlottesville has something to offer you.
Where to Eat in Charlottesville, VA
Charlottesville is a foodie paradise, with something to suit every taste. Here are my top recommendations:
For a casual breakfast or light lunch, Brazos Tacos is the perfect spot. The breakfast tacos are delicious, and the guacamole is made fresh to order.
For a heartier breakfast , Guajiros serves up some of the best Cuban food in town. I recommend the breakfast tacos here as well, and the plantains are also very good.
If you’re looking for a great cup of coffee, head to Mudhouse downtown. They have a wide selection of coffees and teas, and the pastries are also excellent. Since Gil and I were on 75 hard when visiting, we drank lots of coffees!
For lunch, I would recommend Dairy Market food hall. There are several vendors offering everything from wood-fired pizza to gourmet sandwiches. I got a sandwich from the well known, Take It Away Sandwich shop and it lived up to its hype.
Early Mountain Winery
For amazing appetizers with a view, Early Mountain winery has an excellent restaurant with a beautiful view of the mountains. You cannot beat relaxing here while enjoying a glass of wine while the sun sets!
Oakhart Social is another great option for dinner. The grilled pork steak is quite literally one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth. I also loved the cabbage pancake!
Tavola is a great choice if you’re in the mood for Italian food. The pasta dishes are all outstanding, and the service is top-notch. If you can’t get a reservation (aka us last minute), we had some friends recommend to go sit at the bar and drink, and it turned out perfect!
A place we did not get to eat but I really wanted to was The Alley Light! It was the top recommended restaurant for dinner from several friends we know. Unfortunately, it was booked all weekend but I cannot wait to go back and try it one day.
What To Do in Charlottesville, VA
Charlottesville, VA is a beautiful city located in the United States, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are plenty of activities to do in this city, from visiting art galleries to exploring the locally sourced food scene.
Thomas H Bayly Memorial Building
One of the must-visit attractions in Charlottesville is the Thomas H Bayly Memorial Building, which houses the Fralin Museum of Art and the Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection. The museum has an impressive collection of art from around the world, including contemporary and ancient works. The Kluge Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection showcases indigenous art from Australia and is a unique experience for art lovers.
For those who love the outdoors, a drive in Shenandoah National Park is a must-do activity. The park is home to stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is a great place to hike, camp, or simply enjoy the scenery. Stop in a country store to grab some lunch on the way.
If you’re interested in history, a visit to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is a must. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a National Historic Landmark and was the home of the third president of the United States. The estate is a beautiful example of neoclassical architecture and is a great place to learn about American history. Make sure to add this to your itinerary – you will be so glad you visited Monticello!
For those who enjoy wine, the Monticello Wine Trail is a great way to explore the local wine scene. The trail includes over 30 wineries and vineyards, each offering a unique experience.
Finally, for those who love fresh produce, a visit to Carter Mountain Orchard is a must. The orchard offers a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as homemade jams and baked goods.
Overall, Charlottesville, VA is a great place to visit for those who love art, history, the outdoors, and locally sourced food.
Best Places To Stay In Charlottesville, VA
When it comes to finding somewhere to stay, I was recommended some great options by my friends at Visit Virginia! Depending on what you’re looking for, any one of these hotels or bed and breakfasts would be amazing.
Keswick Hall is a beautiful resort located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Gil and I decided to go see it while we had some extra time and I was blown away! It has a stunning golf course, an amazing pool, and a great bar. Whether you are looking for a room with a view of the golf course or a romantic suite with a private balcony, Keswick Hall has something for everyone. In addition, the resort offers a variety of activities and amenities to keep you busy during your stay, like tennis, basketball courts, and hiking/bike trails. After walking around with Gil and both not wanting to leave, we decided we want to come back and spend a long weekend here for one of our anniversaries!
The Dinsmore Boutique Inn is perfect for those wanting a luxurious and relaxing experience. Its convenient location means you can easily explore all that Charlottesville has to offer.
The Oakhurst Inn is another great option, especially if you’re looking for something with character. It’s a historic inn that has been lovingly restored, and its grounds are simply beautiful.
If you’re looking for something a little different, The Cadus Cottage at Afton Mountain Vineyards is a great choice. Surrounded by vineyards, it’s the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the stunning views.
Finally, The Graduate is ideal for visitors who want to be in the heart of the action. It’s right in the center of downtown Charlottesville, so you can easily walk to all the best sights and shops.
Whichever option you choose, you are going to have the best stay in Charlottesville!
Wineries in Charlottesville, VA
Charlottesville is located in the heart of Virginia wine country. There are dozens of amazing wineries to choose from, but if you’re looking for a few standout spots, Early Mountain Vineyards and Merrie Mill Farm & Vineyard are two that should definitely be on your list.
Early Mountain Vineyards is surrounded by mountains, offering a stunning view from the back patio. It’s a very peaceful and relaxing spot, perfect for enjoying a glass of wine with friends. The vineyard hosts various events throughout the year and is known for their award-winning tasting room.
Merrie Mill Farm & Vineyard is another great option, especially if you’re looking for a more unique experience. The decor is cute and quirky, and there’s often live music outdoors. The farm and vineyard are located on beautifully landscaped grounds, making it one of the most picturesque spots in Charlottesville. They even had an oyster food truck!
I definitely recommend visiting both of these wineries because of how different the atmospheres are. Together, these two experiences give a great picture of the Virginia wine experience. I cannot choose a favorite!
If you’re looking for a new fun and relaxing getaway this spring or summer, I hope this post made you consider Charlottesville. With plenty of things to do and see, as well as delicious food and charming accommodations, this city is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. And with so many wineries in the area, there’s no shortage of wine-tasting opportunities either. I already cannot wait to plan another trip. As always, let me know if you have any questions at all and I would be happy to help!