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Things to do in Charlottesville

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
University
“The university that TJ built. We are not biased or anything, but it’s the best university in the world. (We understand there are arguments for and against this claim.) But, truly, if you haven’t visited UVA, you should. The Lawn and Rotunda are historic and you’ll find them very beautiful and interesting, whether or not you are a ‘Hoo. Bring a picnic and a frisbee and hang out on the Lawn, gazing at the architectural genius of our third President. When you’re done, walk down to The Corner and enjoy the used bookstores, tons of restaurants and coffee shops, and soak in the vibe of this vibrant college town. We love Roots (yummy healthy bowls), Asado Wing/Taco, Boylan Heights (grass-fed burgers), and Mellow Mushroom for pizza.”
  • 92 locals recommend
Shopping Mall
“The downtown mall in Charlottesville offers a variety of food, music, entertainment.”
  • 87 locals recommend
Tapas Restaurant
$$
“Best lamb, smoked tomatoes, artichoke dip, bacon wrapped dates, and sangria... get a pitcher. They will not take reservations. OPEN LATE!”
  • 82 locals recommend
Cafe
$$
“Excellent French breads and pastries, plus brunch/lunch. Seating indoor/outdoor.”
  • 62 locals recommend
Speakeasy
$$$
“Best food, drinks, and atmosphere in town. You will need a reservation. No signs. It's located in the alley at Revolutionary Soup. ”
  • 57 locals recommend
Bagel Shop
$
“ C-ville "Best-Of" since 1996! "Hall Of Fame 2018" Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner you can't go wrong!! Charlottesville is well known for the home of the Best Bagel Ever!! If you are not in the mood for a bagel then try their salad and/or soups. Do not be intimidated by the lines as they move very quickly. A sure palate pleaser and the price is right!!! ”
  • 56 locals recommend
New American Restaurant
$$
“The Local has something everyone will like and they always do. The food and service is excellent. they also have a good wine list. they do take reservations which recommend even during the week because of the popularity of this favorite restaurant. It is just down the street, 1 and 1/2 blocks from my bnb ”
  • 51 locals recommend
Italian Restaurant
$$
“Small. Does not take reservations BUT the back bar is best kept secret if you are looking for a cocktail and or the best tiramisu. Go hang out here while you wait for your table or after dinner. Bar does close early though so watch that. ”
  • 55 locals recommend
Restaurant
$$
“Best pizza... it's gourmet. If you need to feed the kids go to Christians.... unless your kids will eat fancy pizza. Will not take reservations and it is a small place. Do not take a group here. ”
  • 45 locals recommend
Music Venue
“Live music venue on the Downtown Mall. Lots of restaurants/bars surrounding the venue on the pedestrian mall. Worth exploring during the day or in the evening.”
  • 33 locals recommend
Entertainment
“Immaculately restored grand old theatre with top entertainers, from music, dance, comedy, Ted Talks, etc. Also some family movies at less cost. NY Opera is shown here as well as major UVA games. Spaces for private catered parties.”
  • 33 locals recommend
Movie Theater
“DOWNTOWN - Upscale and lovely. Enjoy a local wine, cider or beer and good food while movie-ing. ”
  • 40 locals recommend
Store
“Every year we have Friday's After Five which is free and open to the public to enjoy live music, food trucks, and drinks from 5:30-8:30 from April to September! It's my favorite thing to do in C'ville!!”
  • 37 locals recommend
College Academic Building
“The historic buildings clustered around "The Lawn" located behind the Rotunda was voted best architecture in America - and was designed by Thomas Jefferson. To see the Rotunda, enter from the lawn at the ground level entrance under the stairs.”
  • 25 locals recommend
Bar
$$
“The C&O Restaurant opened it’s doors in 1976. From the beginning the restaurant enjoyed high praise from some of the nations most notable food writers and critics. The C&O staff is peppered with enthusiastic crafts people who are passionate about their work. The kitchen crew works tirelessly cultivating relationships with local farmers, cheese makers, vintners and ranchers bringing you the best of what’s around. The waitstaff is knowledgeable, attentive but unobtrusive, with a keen eye towards warmth and hospitality. The C&O is a multifaceted restaurant with six different areas for dining.”
  • 48 locals recommend
Neighborhood
“One of the largest shopping areas- includes some great restaurants, lovely boutiques as well as grocery and ABC store”
  • 19 locals recommend

Top restaurants

Tapas Restaurant
“Best lamb, smoked tomatoes, artichoke dip, bacon wrapped dates, and sangria... get a pitcher. They will not take reservations. OPEN LATE!”
  • 82 locals recommend
Speakeasy
“Best food, drinks, and atmosphere in town. You will need a reservation. No signs. It's located in the alley at Revolutionary Soup. ”
  • 57 locals recommend
Bagel Shop
“ C-ville "Best-Of" since 1996! "Hall Of Fame 2018" Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner you can't go wrong!! Charlottesville is well known for the home of the Best Bagel Ever!! If you are not in the mood for a bagel then try their salad and/or soups. Do not be intimidated by the lines as they move very quickly. A sure palate pleaser and the price is right!!! ”
  • 56 locals recommend
New American Restaurant
“The Local has something everyone will like and they always do. The food and service is excellent. they also have a good wine list. they do take reservations which recommend even during the week because of the popularity of this favorite restaurant. It is just down the street, 1 and 1/2 blocks from my bnb ”
  • 51 locals recommend
Italian Restaurant
“Small. Does not take reservations BUT the back bar is best kept secret if you are looking for a cocktail and or the best tiramisu. Go hang out here while you wait for your table or after dinner. Bar does close early though so watch that. ”
  • 55 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Best pizza... it's gourmet. If you need to feed the kids go to Christians.... unless your kids will eat fancy pizza. Will not take reservations and it is a small place. Do not take a group here. ”
  • 45 locals recommend
Movie Theater
“DOWNTOWN - Upscale and lovely. Enjoy a local wine, cider or beer and good food while movie-ing. ”
  • 40 locals recommend
Bar
“The C&O Restaurant opened it’s doors in 1976. From the beginning the restaurant enjoyed high praise from some of the nations most notable food writers and critics. The C&O staff is peppered with enthusiastic crafts people who are passionate about their work. The kitchen crew works tirelessly cultivating relationships with local farmers, cheese makers, vintners and ranchers bringing you the best of what’s around. The waitstaff is knowledgeable, attentive but unobtrusive, with a keen eye towards warmth and hospitality. The C&O is a multifaceted restaurant with six different areas for dining.”
  • 48 locals recommend

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