If you are wondering about the best things to do in Charlottesville, VA, then you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that there are a wide variety of attractions. Whether you are interested in history, nature, culture or the outdoors, you will be sure to find activities that will create lasting memories and an unforgettable vacation.
Our free Vacation Guide is a great resource for all of the best things to do in Charlottesville, VA, including delicious restaurants, exciting attractions and the best places to stay!
7 of Our Favorite Things to Do in Charlottesville, VA
1. Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello
Step back in time with a visit to Thomas Jefferson’s architectural masterpiece and beloved mountaintop home, Monticello. There are daily guided tours of the house throughout the year and from April through October visitors can tour the outdoor gardens and plantation.
2. Rotunda and Central Grounds of the University of Virginia
When Thomas Jefferson designed the original University grounds he envisioned it to be an “Academical Village.” The Rotunda is the signature landmark of the University and its Dome Room originally housed the University library. Tours of the Rotunda are offered daily at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4 p.m.
3. Virginia Film Festival
Each fall, the University of Virginia hosts the Virginia Film Festival. More than 70 films are previewed at venues throughout Charlottesville. In addition to film screenings, the festival presents panel discussions addressing both high and low budget filmmaking, which are free and open to the public. The festival attracts some big names in entertainment including Sandra Bullock, Paul Schrader, Stan Winston, Anthony Hopkins and Sigourney Weaver.
4. Virginia Discovery Museum
This museum is one of the best things to do in Charlottesville, VA, with kids. Little ones between the ages of 1-8 will enjoy a day of exploration at Charlottesville’s only hands-on children’s museum. The Virginia Discovery Museum includes two exhibit galleries featuring interactive and imaginative play environments as well as weekly and seasonal educational programs and events.
5. Shenandoah National Park
If you are looking to enjoy some time in the outdoors, be sure to visit Shenandoah National Park. The park is situated beside a beautiful section of the Blue Ridge Mountains with amazing views of the Shenandoah River. There are more than 500 miles of trails, including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Many trails follow a ridge crest, or they lead to high elevations with panoramic views of waterfalls in deep canyons.
6. The Downtown Pedestrian Mall
Looking for a bite to eat or some retail therapy? Then stop by the Downtown Pedestrian Mall, where you will find a collection of shops, restaurants, and ambiance all within an easy stroll. In spring and fall, the mall’s Charlottesville Pavilion hosts musical acts such as Ray LaMontagne, Wiz Khalifa, and The Decemberists.
7. Carter Mountain Orchard
Whether you visit Carter Mountain Orchard for the incredible views or for their fresh produce, you will not regret it. Fall is said to be the best time to visit when the autumn colors are in full bloom and apple picking is at its finest. From mid-August until mid-December visitors can pick their own produce or peruse the country store’s grand assortment of freshly picked fruit and other goodies. Depending on the season, visitors can also pick your own pumpkins and hop on a hayride.
Experience the Best of Charlottesville with By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages
As you can see, there are so many things to do in Charlottesville, VA! It’s no surprise that people come from all over the country to experience the charm, nature, history and culture of the area. Cap off your sight-seeing adventure by booking your stay at By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages. Visit our website to learn more about our inviting, romantic accommodations, and our delicious gourmet breakfast options. Make sure you download our free Shenandoah Valley vacation guide, too! Then contact us today to plan your next escape.