Charlottesville, Virginia is known equally for its lush rural countryside as its downtown museums and art galleries. It’s one of those historic locations where there is something for everyone — and it’s located just hours from DC — easily accessible by car, train, or bus!
Most people go to visit the University of Virginia, see Jefferson’s Monticello or Monroe’s Highland, or to check out the vineyards, distilleries, restaurants and shops that line this gateway to Shenandoah. But in addition to eating, drinking, and venturing out to visit the plantation homes of past Presidents, we’ve found five off the beaten path suggestions to really make a trip to C’ville stand out.
You don’t really want to visit Charlottesville without stopping by the campus, especially the dramatic Rotunda building. Guided free tours of the building are offered during the academic year showcasing the beautiful architecture. Here, interestingly, you’ll also find America’s first chemistry hearth. Uncovered in 2016, this hearth was part of an early science classroom, but had been sealed in since the 1850s.
Poe may not have graduated from UVA, but he did spend a year here — and his dorm room lives forevermore. Visitors can see West Range #13, restored to what it would have looked like for a student in 1826, at all hours of the day. ProTip: push the doorbell for a recording of information about the author and his short time at the University.
Walkable from campus is Charlottesville’s IX Art Park, where sculptures, murals and artworks of every medium cluster together in a park that’s free and open for public wandering day and night. Sometimes events happen, sometimes its peaceful, always it’s instagrammable.
New Dominion Bookshop, the oldest bookstore in Virginia, and a great one still for finding all types of interesting reads, is located downtown. But after you’ve perused all of the pages, seek out its hidden garden in the back.
3 Notch’d Brewing is quite the destination for craft beer lovers and foodies. Post up on the outdoor patio to enjoy the crisper weather while enjoying a menu of delicious food, cocktails, wine, cider, craft sodas… and beer, of course, brewed in house. We especially loved the Hydraulion Red; Cheers!
All of this is just about 3 hours from DC by scenic drive, Amtrak, or the newest Megabus route. With options starting at only $1 each way, it’s easier than ever to explore these five unique attractions on a Fall escape to Charlottesville, Virginia.