The charming university town of Charlottesville is steeped in history, culture and prestige. It is surrounded by vineyards and fertile horse country and was home to two U.S. presidents. Since 1819 the town has grown around the University of Virginia. Today Charlottesville has a population of 43,000 residents who are passionate about their local community.
Located in the heart of the Civil War battlefields, the town is home to many important sites from the war. Join a downtown walking tour to discover historic attractions. Walk past colonial-era homes and Jefferson-style architecture. Throughout the tour you’ll be shown key sites from the lives of two presidents who lived here: Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. See Jefferson's house and gardens at the Monticello estate. Monroe's home is at Ash Lawn-Highland.
After the tour, spend time in the pedestrianized Downtown Mall area to sample local cuisine from a range of restaurants, delis and cafés. Barbecue is incredibly popular in Virginia, particularly in the summer when the smell of grilling meat wafts through town. If you are looking for after-dinner entertainment, consider attending a show at the Paramount Theater.
Explore the University of Virginia campus by signing up for a guided tour. Thomas Jefferson founded the prestigious university; its alumni include the author Edgar Allen Poe and comedian Tina Fey. The university area is a lively entertainment precinct where students congregate after dark. Make new friends as you drink in a cozy bar.
Charlottesville is well connected by Amtrak trains and an airport is located just 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of the town center. Renting a car is a good way to see farther afield but during your stay in the town you can walk or catch a bus to all the major attractions. Take a drive through the horse country that surrounds Charlottesville to discover wineries and independent farms. In fall the region is known for its spectacular palette of colors and excellent photo opportunities.