Best Things To Do In Charlottesville VA With Nightlife, Events, Day Trips

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What to do in Charlottesville VA? In this article, read about some of the best things to do in Charlottesville VA, where to stay, when to visit, and other valuable tips.

ALSO READ: Best 10 Days Virginia Road Trip Itinerary – Virginia Road Trip Stops

Visiting Charlottesville VA What to do in Charlottesville VA Charlottesville va things to do

Things To Do In Charlottesville VA – Visiting Charlottesville VA

Charlottesville, Virginia, is a charming city with a rich history, beautiful landscapes, and a vibrant cultural scene. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor activities, or exploring local arts and cuisine, Charlottesville has something to offer. Here are some things to do in Charlottesville:

Best Time To Visit Charlottesville

The best time to visit Charlottesville is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) when the weather is mild, and outdoor attractions, such as the blooming gardens at Monticello and the scenic beauty of Shenandoah National Park, are at their peak. 

Avoiding the peak summer months will also help you escape the heat and crowds, making for a more enjoyable and relaxed experience.

Charlottesville va things to do Charlottesville this weekend
Image Credits – Bob Mical, CC BY 3.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons

Where To Stay In Charlottesville? –

For a first-time tourist in Charlottesville, the Downtown area is often considered the best place to stay. The Downtown Mall, a pedestrian-friendly area, is lined with shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, providing a vibrant and convenient base for exploring the city’s attractions. 

Book your stay in a popular and well-regarded hotel in Charlottesville’s downtown area, The Omni Charlottesville Hotel.” Its central locations make exploring the Downtown Mall, the University of Virginia, and other nearby attractions convenient. 

Charlottesville this weekend – Charlottesville VA Things to do

With some fantastic options, let’s check what to do in Charlottesville VA, this weekend.


Visit Thomas Jefferson’s historic plantation, Monticello, and explore the stunning architecture, gardens, and the house itself. Tours are available to learn about the life of the third U.S. president and his contributions.

Things To Do In Charlottesville VA - Visiting Charlottesville VA

University of Virginia:

Stroll around the picturesque Grounds of the University of Virginia, designed by Thomas Jefferson. The Rotunda and the Lawn are iconic structures that reflect Jefferson’s architectural vision.

Things To Do In Charlottesville VA - Visiting Charlottesville VA

Shenandoah National Park:

Charlottesville is close to the entrance of Shenandoah National Park. Drive along Skyline Drive for breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, go hiking on one of the many trails, or enjoy a picnic surrounded by nature.

What to do in Charlottesville VA - Charlottesville va things to do

Downtown Mall:

Explore the Downtown Mall, a pedestrian mall with various shops, boutiques, restaurants, and entertainment venues. It’s an excellent place for shopping, dining, and enjoying street performances.

Charlottesville va things to do Charlottesville this weekend
Image Credits – Bob Mical, CC BY 3.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons

Carter Mountain Orchard:

During the fall, visit Carter Mountain Orchard for apple picking and enjoy the scenic countryside views. The orchard also offers fresh produce and baked goods.

Ash Lawn-Highland:

Explore the home of James Monroe, the fifth U.S. president, at Ash Lawn-Highland. The estate includes the historic house, gardens, and exhibits about Monroe’s life and times.

Vineyard and Brewery Tours:

Charlottesville and the surrounding area are home to numerous vineyards and breweries. Consider taking a tour of a local winery, such as Barboursville Vineyards, or a brewery like Three Notch’d Brewing Company.

Things To Do In Charlottesville VA Visiting Charlottesville VA

Historic Sites:

Visit Michie Tavern, a historic 18th-century tavern, for a glimpse into colonial life. Also, explore other nearby historic sites like James Madison’s Montpelier.

Live Performances:

Check out live performances at the Paramount Theater or the Sprint Pavilion. Charlottesville has a lively arts scene, and you might catch a concert, play, or dance performance.

Culinary Delights:

Charlottesville boasts a diverse culinary scene. Explore local restaurants and cafes to taste the region’s cuisine, and remember to try some Virginia wine.

Day Trips From Charlottesville – Visiting Charlottesville This Weekend

Charlottesville serves as an excellent hub for exploring the surrounding areas, offering a variety of nearby trips that showcase the region’s history, natural beauty, and cultural richness. Here are some must-do nearby trips from Charlottesville:

ALSO READ: 10 Best Scenic Drives In Virginia – Best Day Trips In Virginia + Scenic Stopovers

Things To Do In Charlottesville VA Visiting Charlottesville VA

  1. Montpelier: Take a short drive to James Madison’s Montpelier in Orange, Virginia. This historic estate offers a glimpse into the life of the fourth U.S. president and features beautifully restored gardens and exhibits.
  2. Shenandoah National Park: Go for ascenic drive along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, just a short distance from Charlottesville. Hiking trails, panoramic viewpoints, and abundant wildlife make this a must-visit destination for nature lovers.
  3. Wineries and Breweries Tour: Explore the picturesque countryside surrounding Charlottesville, known for its vineyards and breweries. Famous wineries include Barboursville Vineyards and Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. The Brew Ridge Trail offers a selection of craft breweries for beer enthusiasts.
  4. Carter Mountain Orchard: Experience the charm of Carter Mountain Orchard, located just outside Charlottesville. Depending on the season, you can pick your apples, enjoy fresh cider, and take breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  5. Scottsville: Drive to  Scottsville, a historic town on the James River. Enjoy a stroll along the riverfront, visit the Scottsville Museum, and consider a river excursion for kayaking or tubing.
  6. Walton’s Mountain Museum: Fans of The Waltons” TV series can visit Schuyler, the hometown of Earl Hamner Jr., the show’s creator. 
  7. Ash Lawn-Highland: Explore the home of James Monroe, the fifth U.S. president, at Ash Lawn-Highland. This historic site offers guided tours of the house, gardens, and exhibits on Monroe’s life.  Things To Do In Charlottesville VA Visiting Charlottesville VA What to do in Charlottesville VA
  8. Blue Ridge Parkway: Take a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, known for its stunning vistas and hiking opportunities.  
  9. Michie Tavern: Experience colonial-era dining and history at Michie Tavern, located near Monticello. This 18th-century tavern offers tours and traditional Southern fare.
  10. Appomattox Court House: Travel to Appomattox Court House, where General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the Civil War. The Appomattox Court House National Historical Park preserves this significant moment in American history.

These nearby trips provide a diverse range of experiences, allowing visitors to delve into history, savor local flavors, and enjoy the natural beauty of the Charlottesville region.

Festivals – Events : Visiting Charlottesville VA

Charlottesville hosts various events and shows throughout the year, so the best time to visit depends on your interests. Here are some notable events in Charlottesville, along with an indication of the typical months they may occur:

Visiting Charlottesville VA What to do in Charlottesville VA Charlottesville va things to do

  1. Virginia Festival of the Book (March): This annual literary festival brings together authors, readers, and literary enthusiasts for a series of readings, discussions, and book-related events.
  2. Tom Tom Founders Festival (April): Celebrating innovation, music, and culture, the Tom Tom Founders Festival features live music performances, public art installations, and forums on entrepreneurship and technology.
  3. Dogwood Festival (April): The Dogwood Festival is a springtime celebration with various events, including a parade, art shows, and live performances.
  4. Fridays After Five (April to September): Held at the Sprint Pavilion on the Downtown Mall, Fridays After Five is a free concert series featuring live music every Friday evening during the warmer months.
  5. Monticello Wine Trail Festival (April): Wine enthusiasts can enjoy the Monticello Wine Trail Festival, which showcases the region’s wines with tastings, workshops, and events.
  6. The Festival of Cultures (May): Celebrating the diversity of Charlottesville, The Festival of Cultures features performances, food, and cultural exhibits from various communities.
  7. Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival (May): Another wine-related event, the Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival focuses on the local wine scene with tastings and educational sessions.
  8. Summer Concert Series at Carter Mountain Orchard (June to September): Enjoy live music amidst the orchards during the summer concert series at Carter Mountain Orchard.
  9. Independence Day Celebration (July): Celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, parades, and live music in and around Charlottesville.
  10. LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph (June): Photography enthusiasts can attend the LOOK3 Festival, featuring exhibitions, presentations, and workshops by renowned photographers.
  11. Virginia Film Festival (October/November): Organized by the University of Virginia, the Virginia Film Festival showcases a diverse range of films, attracting filmmakers, actors, and cinephiles.

Charlottesville Nightlife Options 

Charlottesville has a vibrant nightlife scene with various bars, clubs, and live music venues. Here are some spots known for their nightlife in Charlottesville:

Visiting Charlottesville VA What to do in Charlottesville VA Charlottesville va things to do

  • The Whiskey Jar: 
  • The Southern Café and Music Hall: This venue combines a restaurant with a live music hall, hosting a variety of musical genres. It’s a great place to catch live performances while enjoying dinner or drinks.
  • Commonwealth Skybar:  Situated on the Downtown Mall, Commonwealth Skybar offers rooftop views of Charlottesville. 
  • Kardinal Hall:  Known for its beer garden and communal atmosphere, it offers a wide selection of craft beers and European-inspired cuisine. 
  • Miller’s Downtown: A long-standing establishment, Miller’s Downtown is a popular bar with a diverse beer selection, pub fare, and live music. 
  • Rapture: Rapture, located on the Downtown Mall, is a two-story restaurant and nightclub offering a lively atmosphere. 
  • The Ante Room:
  • Three Notch’d Craft Kitchen & Brewery:
  • Coupes:  Coupes is a cocktail lounge with a stylish, retro vibe. The bartenders are known for their craft cocktails.
  • IX Art Park: IX Art Park is not just a nightlife venue but a community space that hosts events, concerts, and gatherings. 

Vegan Dining Out Options – Charlottesville This Weekend

Charlottesville offers several vegan-friendly restaurants and eateries, reflecting the growing interest in plant-based dining.

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  • Roots Natural Kitchen:
  • Revolutionary Soup:
  • The Juice Laundry:
  • Brazos Tacos:
  • Greenberry’s Coffee & Tea:
  • Feast!
  • Beer Run:
  • Parallel 38: Parallel 38 is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant with vegan-friendly options on its menu. 
  • Eppie’s Restaurant: Eppie’s is known for its vegetarian and vegan-friendly options, offering a range of salads, wraps, and grain bowls with plant-based protein choices.
  • Marco & Luca Dumplings: While known for their dumplings, Marco & Luca Dumplings also offer vegan options, such as vegetable dumplings. It’s a quick and casual spot for a tasty vegan bite.

Now you know What to do in Charlottesville VA, after reading these fantastic and beautiful things to do in Charlottesville, VA, you can soon plan a trip to Charlottesville this weekend.

Must Do Tours In Charlottesville – Charlottesville VA things to do

Visiting Charlottesville VA What to do in Charlottesville VA Charlottesville va things to do

  1. Monticello Tour
  2. University of Virginia Campus Tour
  3. Shenandoah National Park Tour
  4. Carter Mountain Orchard Visit
  5. Vineyard and Winery Tours (e.g., Barboursville Vineyards)
  6. Historic Michie Tavern Tour
  7. James Monroe’s Highland Tour
  8. Blue Ridge Parkway Scenic Drive
  9. Downtown Mall Walking Tour
  10. Paramount Theater Show or Tour

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