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10 Fun and Historic Things to Do in Charlottesville

A beautiful city with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville, Virginia, is steeped in history.

It’s also home to one of the best universities in the United States, world-famous architecture, and plenty of natural wonders.

Let us help you narrow down your choices with this list of the 10 Best Things to Do in Charlottesville. From history buffs to foodies, there is something for everyone in this gorgeous Virginia weekend getaway.

grid of 3 images: charlottesville downtown with blue ridge mountains in background, UVA campus in spring, and main street compass rose

Things to do in Charlottesville

 📜 Need the short version? Visit Monticello in the morning and stop by Mitchie Tavern for lunch. Spend your afternoon in the Historic Pedestrian Mall and exploring the University of Virginia, then have dinner at Beer Run

1. Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

Monticello is a plantation located on Thomas Jefferson Parkway just outside of Charlottesville. The home was the residence of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence. It is open to tourists and is one of Virginia’s most popular tourist destinations. Monticello is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is a plantation used to grow tobacco and other crops. It is located in Charlottesville, Virginia, and consists of 5,000 acres.

Thomas Jefferson began designing and building Monticello when he was just 26 years old. He wanted the house to reflect his personality, so he used various materials and design elements in its construction. The result is an impressive house that is now open to the public for tours.

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is a great place to visit if you’re looking for something fun to do in Charlottesville, VA. For most of his life, the estate was Jefferson’s home and is now open to the public as a museum.

It’s hard to explain how impressive it is to see the home of Thomas Jefferson so well preserved. You have to see it for yourself.

2. Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia

The Fralin Museum of Art is located within the University of Virginia, and if you’re already visiting the UVA campus, it’s worth a stop.

The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia has a collection of 13,000 art objects from ancient times to the present. The museum is free and open to the public Monday through Friday. There is an outdoor sculpture garden and a more “traditional” art gallery.

A statue of a tooth in front of the University of Virginia building.

As for the Fralin Museum of Art, it is one of the very best attractions that Charlottesville offers. You’ll find indigenous Australian art, aboriginal art, and more art from all over the world in this art museum.

In addition to the permanent collection and temporary exhibits, the museum offers docent-led tours for students and other groups and lectures and special events.

3. University of Virginia

The University of Virginia (UVA) is the cornerstone of Thomas Jefferson’s legacy and lifelong commitment to education.

(Yes, all of Charlottesville has Thomas Jefferson’s fingerprints on it!).

Thomas Jefferson is considered the founder of the University of Virginia, even though he never attended college himself. He designed the grounds and Neoclassical architecture according to his belief in classical education. One of his most cherished projects was the university, and he oversaw its construction.

The university’s design was based on his belief that education should be available to all people, not just the wealthy.

It’s a gorgeous campus with many brick buildings and paths, traditionally beautiful landscaping, and neoclassical trim.

A statue of a man in front of the University of Virginia.

The university provides free daily tours of the grounds while classes are in session. There’s no need to feel awkward if you don’ have college-bound people with you. It is very common for people to come for a tour to enjoy the campus. See our guide for how to visit the UVA Charlottesville campus.

Visitors can stroll along the arcades and corridors on the Lawn, the enormous grassy courtyard surrounded by ten pavilions housing students and faculty.

3. Keswick Hall

Keswick Hall is a golf course located in Charlottesville, VA. The course layout is very appealing to scratch golfers and high handicappers alike because it has multiple tee boxes, fast but true putting surfaces, and alternative routings.

Yes, you can play even if you aren’t staying at the resort! The daily-fee course has a complete practice facility, locker rooms, and access to a full-service spa. This makes it the perfect place to stay whether you’re in town for business or pleasure.

Keswick Hall is a luxurious resort located in Charlottesville, VA. After playing a round of golf, guests can enjoy other activities such as archery, croquet, tennis, and garden walk on the property. There is also plenty of opportunities to relax and take in the picturesque surroundings.

4. Carter Mountain Orchard

Carter Mountain Orchard is a significant family-friendly attraction in Charlottesville from April to November. There are a variety of activities available at the orchard, including picking your fruit, playing on the playground, and going on a tractor ride.

Carter Mountain Orchard is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a lovely day trip. It boasts beautiful views of the Charlottesville area and delightfully fresh fruits that you’re encouraged to pick for yourself.

A view of the mountains with picnic tables and umbrellas.

In addition to picking your own fruit, they also offer special events and activities throughout the year. Each Thursday night, they host the Evening Sunset Series, including live music, food trucks, and wine tastings.

There are different things to do at other times of the year, so you can always find something fun to do. In the fall, you can go on hayrides or pick your apples. In the winter, you can go tubing or skiing/snowboarding. And in the summer, you can watch musical performances or go on a nature hike! You can even go on hayrides or watch musical performances at different times of the year.

Carter Mountain is perfect for anyone looking for romantic things to do in Charlottesville for couples. With its fresh mountain breeze, gorgeous views, and sweet scents, this mountaintop spot is sure to give you a romantic escapade.

5. The Ivy Inn Restaurant

Ivy Inn is a romantic, tranquil and elegant restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia. The restaurant has been around for over 25 years and serves American cuisine with a Southern flair. The menu includes shrimp and grits, crab cakes, and beef tenderloin. The restaurant also offers a wine list and dessert menu.

The Ivy Inn is a restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia, serving fine food and wine since 1978. The restaurant has excellent wine lists that feature a few good Virginia wines.

The Ivy Inn is a hotel located in Charlottesville, Virginia. It features luxurious rooms and suites, an on-site restaurant, and a meeting and event space.

This is just one of the best restaurants in Charlottesville that we highly recommend!

6. Beer Run

Beer Run is a restaurant, bar, craft beer, and wine store all in one. They have a great selection of beers and wines and also serve food. This is a great place to go if you’re looking for something fun to do in Charlottesville.

The Beer Run is a great place to go for a run or bike ride during the day, and it also makes for a great neighborhood hangout in the evenings. There are plenty of activities to do here, and the staff is always welcoming and willing to chat.

Beer Run is one of the most popular places in Charlottesville to go for a drink. People come from all over to see what is on tap that day, check for the daily or weekly events, watch the game on TV while sipping on their favorite brew, or get something to eat. There are always plenty of people there, and it’s a great place to meet new friends.

Related Post: Best Wineries Near Charlottesville

The beer selection is carefully curated, with something for everyone. Beer Run offers a rotating selection of draught beers and an extensive bottle list, apart from the great food. They offer both classic and unique brews, as well as cider and mead. You can also find a wine on tap here.

If you’re looking for a great beer selection, then you’ll want to check out the Beer Run in Charlottesville. With 130 different microbrews and beers from all over the world, their beer cellar is sure to make you dizzy. Plus, they also have a wine selection that will please any palate.

It has outdoor seating available during the warmer months, so you can enjoy the beautiful weather while sipping on your favorite brew.

7. Virginia Discovery Museum

One of the great places to visit Charlottesville is the Virginia Discovery Museum. It is a hands-on museum for children that encourages exploration and learning.

The Virginia Discovery Museum is a great place to visit for people of all ages (but honestly, you’ll enjoy it more with kids). It has exhibits that focus on the arts, history, humanities, nature, sciences, and other fascinating topics. Visitors can explore everything from ancient Egyptian tombs to interactive science exhibits.

The Virginia Discovery Museum is a great place to visit for anyone interested in learning more about Virginian history. The museum has a variety of exhibits that explore different aspects of Virginian history, including its natural environment, art and culture, and civil rights movement.

If you’re traveling to Charlottesville with little people, be sure to stop here.

8. Michie Tavern

Michie Tavern is a restored 200-year-old tavern located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Visiting here is like stepping back in time, with lots of wood paneling and a massive wood-burning fireplace.

Beyond serving food, it offers visitors a look into 18th-century life. The tavern features tours of its oldest parts and exhibits on the history of the bar and information about life during the 18th century.

A white house with steps leading up to it.

Michie Tavern is a restaurant and museum in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was initially built in 1784 as a stagecoach stop and has been open to the public since 1969. The attached Meadow, Run Grist Mill store offers visitors a chance to see and purchase traditional Appalachian craft items in a cute county store setting. The restaurant serves typical Colonial Midday Fare, sampled during lunch hour.

It offers a variety of food and drink options, including traditional southern dishes and cocktails. Most of the food has a historic flair so that the pickiest eaters might have trouble.

9. The Glass Palette (An Interactive Glass Art Studio)

The Glass Palette is an interactive glass art studio in Charlottesville, VA. The studio provides a wide range of tools, materials, and instructions for people of all skill levels to create their glass art. They offer classes for all ages and experience levels and workshops, parties, and team-building events.

You can take classes in everything from Introduction to Glassblowing to Advanced Glassblowing.

The Glass Palette is an interactive glass art studio that provides various tools, materials, and instructions for people of all skill levels to create their glass art. No experience is necessary, and the studio offers workshops for all interests.

They also offer classes in glass painting and other types of glasswork.

Not interested in making your own? No problem. You can purchase beautiful handmade glassworks from the gift gallery.

10. The Historic Downtown Pedestrian Mall

The Historic Downtown Mall is a pedestrian-only shopping district in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s home to various shops, restaurants, and tourist destinations. The mall is a popular tourist destination, and it’s often crowded on weekends and holidays.

Even if you aren’t into shopping, it’s a gorgeous spot. The streets are paved with brick and lined with trees, making it a picturesque location to visit. There are a variety of shops, restaurants, and other businesses located in the mall, so you can easily spend an afternoon or evening sure to take your time strolling through the charming streets

The historic downtown mall features a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. History buffs will love taking a stroll down this landmark avenue and admiring the well-preserved architecture. Theater and cinema lovers will appreciate the presence of several theaters located in the mall. Families can spend a day out at one of the many amusement parks or children’s play areas located in the mall.

More ideas:

  • Are you visiting in the fall? There’s gorgeous Virginia fall foliage in the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can drive through Skyline Drive if you’re willing to travel about 40 minutes to the Swift Run Gap Entrance station in Elkton.
  • You’re also close to James Monroe’s Highland, which is next to Monticelllo and not as impressive but has beautiful grounds.
  • Check out the Monticello Wine Trail, a list of hand-picked vineyards in the area.

Enjoy your visit!

Charlottesville is a charming town with plenty of activities to keep visitors busy. Be sure to check out some of the theaters and amusement parks in the mall, and take your time strolling through the charming streets. Whether you’re looking for a fun family outing or an afternoon of shopping and dining, this historic city has something for everyone.