Headed to Charlottesville or just looking for a fun city to explore in the Southeast? I’ve got you covered with this weekend guide: all the best things to do in Charlottesville VA!
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A few weekends ago, Michael and I headed up to Charlottesville for a long weekend to celebrate a friend’s wedding! I have been through a few times because I toured UVA in high school and my now husband went to school about 45 minutes away from Charlottesville, but I never get tired of visiting this charming city! We are already naturally drawn to traveling to the mountains, so to get a bit of hiking and a bit of city life makes for the perfect weekend trip. Take a weekend trip and use this guide for what to do in Charlottesville VA.
Below I am outlining the best places to stay, eat, and explore so you’ll know exactly what to do in Charlottesville VA!
Where to stay in Charlottesville
Graduate Charlottesville is right in the heart of The Corner, which is on Main Street right across from the University of Virginia. It is a big spot for college students to hang out. The Graduate hotel is very eclectic and unique. It’s a bit on the pricier side, but the location can’t be beat.
This is where we stayed for a 3 night stay for a friend’s wedding. It had two queen beds, a pull out couch, and a little kitchenette. It was incredibly affordable so this would be a good option for a group of friends or a longer stay where you want the option of cooking for yourself.
If you are staying with a group or want to get out of the city a bit, I always recommend checking out Airbnbs. They book up quickly in this area, so plan early!
Where to eat
Talk about the BEST BRUNCH I think I’ve ever had. I wisely split 2 entrees with a friend: a sweet and a savory. The bananas foster french toast was to die for and everything else looked equally delicious.
Margaritas the size of your head? Yes, please! They also have a good assortment of traditional-with-a-twist Mexican dishes as well. It’s right in The Corner so you can also walk to bars and other attractions near UVA after you eat.
We didn’t make it here, but it’s marketed for beer and sports lovers alike. My husband’s paradise!
This is about 30 minutes outside of Charlottesville, but well worth the trip! We visited a few times when my husband was in school at JMU. Beautiful views, good food, and good beer. What else could you need?!
What to do in Charlottesville, VA
Explore UVA and The Corner
The University of Virginia is in the heart of Charlottesville. UVA is Thomas Jefferson’s creation and is full of beautiful architecture and history. The fall is the best time to go, because the leaves make everything look very magical and collegiate.
Walk around historic downtown
I always thought the area around campus was downtown but it turns out there’s actually another historic downtown area! Here you’ll find a “mall” that is brick paved and lined with shops and restaurants.
Go for a hike
Seated in the middle of Virginia’s Appalachian mountains, there is an abundance of beautiful hikes around Charlottesville. Humpback Rocks Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the area! The rocks at the end of the trail are iconic, so be sure to snap a pic for Instagram.
You’re also located right near the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, so hop over to AllTrails to find the best hike for your experience and time!
We went to 3 different wineries and I would recommend them all! There’s about one billion wineries around the Charlottesville area on the Monticello Wine Trail so you’ll have to do a little research to see what you’re looking for and pick from there. We knew we didn’t want to drive far between each so we choose that way.
Here are my recommendations:
This is Dave Matthews’ winery! During Covid restrictions, you do need to make reservations for a picnic table ahead of time. The views were beautiful and the wine was my favorite of the day.
A much smaller vineyard, but it has a great view of a mountain in front of you. This one is a little bit pricier and they are veryyyy strict with Covid, so you can’t go in groups of more than 6.
Wow. This one is absolutely gorgeous. It has horse stables, tons of open space, and beautiful buildings on the grounds. On Sundays, they even have polo matches!
This is of course a short list of all that Charlottesville has to offer. I think if you’re able to hit a few of the things in this guide, you’ll have a good feel for Charlottesville! As always, if you have questions let me know!
What To Do in Charlottesville VA