Attractions & Museums
Steeped in American history, Charlottesville is home to many world-class attractions and museums. From famous tourist attractions like Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and Michie Tavern to local favorites like the University of Virginia Art Museum. Even just strolling Charlottesville's charming Historic Downtown Mall there are places to see and things to do for everyone. Be sure to visit the following attractions and museums on your next trip to Charlottesville.
While in the neighborhood, follow Rt. 29 south to Rt. 460 West to visit Thomas Jefferson's private retreat, Poplar Forest. Poplar Forest was designed by Jefferson as a place where he could relax and unwind. A century later, Bedford provided other American heros who gave the ultimate sacrifice at D-Day, and The National D-Day Memorial overlooks the community that suffered the most per-capita on D-Day. Check out the art galleries, antique and specialty shops, cafes and restaurants of Historic Centertown. The legendary Peaks of Otter along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Smith Mountain Lake are also in Bedford.
Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia
Located a short distance from the Rotunda, the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia displays a variety of works from its own collection as well as special exhibitions of artwork from other institutions - all presented against the stunning backdrop of its renovated beaux-arts building. Enhanced gallery space and a variety of educational programs for all ages provide an opportunity for the general public to experience art. Winter exhibitions include: Looking at the New West: Contemporary Landscape Photography, Emelie Charmy, In the Shadow of Stalin: The Patterson Family in Painting and Film, Patrick Dougherty, the Object Study Gallery and Jean Arp’s
America's oldest continuously operated show cave, voted #2 in America by Parade magazine, and a National Natural Landmark, Grand Caverns is a stately and powerful example of nature's handiwork. Gigantic stalactites point down from above. Equally imposing stalagmites thrust upward from the caverns floor. Cathedral Hall measuring 280 feet long and over 70 feet high is one of the largest rooms of any cavern in the east. Massive columns, beautiful draperies, rippling flowstone, and hundreds of rare "shield" formations create a variety of fascinating sights. Come and experience the unique beauty of this cavern and the unparalleled hospitality of park staff.
James Monroe's Highland
Explore the estate of James Monroe, the United States’ fifth president and last founding father. Thomas Jefferson encouraged Monroe to purchase the land adjoining Monticello in rural Albemarle County. Monroe owned the plantation from 1793 until 1826. Today visitors can stroll through the historic boxwood gardens, visit with farm animals, admire breathtaking panoramic views, and learn about Monroe’s contributions to the early American republic over 50 years of public service, including a two-term presidency and more elected public offices served than any other president before or after him. Owned by the College of William & Mary, Monroe’s alma mater.
Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection
The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia is the only museum of Indigenous Australian art in the United States, and the most significant collection of its kind outside Australia. The museum comprises over 1,800 objects including paintings, sculptures and artifacts, such as paintings on bark from Arnhem Land and acrylic paintings on canvas from the desert of central Australia. Exhibitions are on display throughout the year and change regularly, showcasing artwork from the permanent collection and the contemporary art of visiting artists. A free guided tour is offered each Saturday at 10:30am.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden offers year-round beauty on a historic property with more than 40 acres of spectacular gardens, dining and shopping. A classical domed Conservatory is the only one of its kind in the mid-Atlantic. A Children's Garden offers a wheel-chair accessible Tree House, WaterPlay, an International Village and more. More than a dozen themed gardens include a Healing Garden, Sunken Garden, Asian Valley and Victorian Garden. With easy access off I-64, I-95 and I-295, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a must-see destination and one of the most-visited attractions in Richmond.
For more than 30 years, Massanutten Resort has welcomed vacationers as they experience the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. From Massanutten Peak, you can gaze out over amazing panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and surrounding valley. If you enjoy skiing, golfing, swimming or hiking; want to experience all the thrills of a huge waterpark or just relax in the mountains, Massanutten Resort is the perfect family vacation location. Being a four-season resort means there are things to do all year!
Michie Tavern, circa 1784, served as the social center of its community and accommodated travelers with food, drink and lodging. Located 1/4 mile from Jefferson's Monticello, this Virginia Landmark captures 18th-century Tavern life through bountiful southern fare, continuous self-guided tours and four unique shops. June 1-August 30 children receive $4 discount on lunch buffet per each paying adult. Coupons required and available at www.michietavern.com under "Coupons." Lunch buffet offered daily 11:15-3:30 April-October, 11:30-3 November-March. Ask about tours featuring Mr. Michie's Treasure Hunt.
Enter the world of Thomas Jefferson by exploring the iconic house and scenic grounds of Monticello, his mountaintop plantation and autobiographical masterpiece, designed and redesigned and built and rebuilt for more than forty years. Experience the renovations to the dining room, kitchen and wine cellar, and the exhibition "The Crossroads." Be sure to watch the introductory film and see the children's discovery room at the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and Smith Education Center. Reserved tickets are available online.
Orange County Tourism
Home to quaint, friendly towns, natural, scenic beauty, fine dining, distinctive shopping and an unparalleled selection of first-class accommodations, Orange County, Virginia has something for everyone. Visit Montpelier, the beautifully restored home of James Madison, take a moment to reflect at a Civil War battlefield or museum, or enjoy an afternoon at one of Orange County’s three award-winning wineries. Come, let us welcome you to Orange County, where serenity awaits and a short drive will take you a world away.
The American Civil War Museum
The American Civil War Museum tells the stories of our nation’s bloodiest conflict, through the perspectives of those who lived through it: North and South, soldiers and civilians, men, women and children, black and white, enslaved and free. Explore those stories and the legacies that still shape our world today at the Museum’s three locations in Richmond and Appomattox. Unrivaled artifacts, wonderfully preserved historic sites, and outstanding programs await you at The American Civil War Museum. (Appomattox address is 159 Horseshoe Rd in Appomattox, VA)
The Design House
Design House is the Shelter for Help in Emergency’s signature fundraising event to sustain services and programs that help victims of domestic violence and their families, while educating the community about its work. Each year, a Charlottesville-area homeowner generously extends the use of his or her residence. Close to 20 designers and vendors are assigned to individual spaces to showcase the latest in styles and techniques. It is a unique tour, where each room reflects a creative vision and provides inspiring ideas. Design House 2016 opens to the public May 7-22 in Keswick.Tickets available starting May 1.
Virginia Discovery Museum
The Virginia Discovery Museum brings young children and families together to engage minds, excite imaginations and explore the world around them. In the garage, you can build your own automoblox racecar and test its speed on our downhill track. After you finish with all things industrial, spend some time in our expanded Virginia Frontier area built around our Showalter log cabin. Harvest corn, cabbage, carrots, and more in the garden. Enjoy the permanent exhibits, A-Mazing Airways, the Toddler Room/Pirate Ship and the Open Studio.
East end of Downtown Mall
Waynesboro Department of Tourism
Just 25 miles east of Charlottesville, Waynesboro is nestled snugly between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. We invite you to savor the breeze on a leisurely drive along Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway, both found here. Take a fly fishing lesson on the South River, which flows through our downtown. Hike the 682 miles of Appalachian Trail found here. And if history is your passion, our museums and Civil War-related events beckon. No matter which adventure you're seeking, there are memories to be made in Waynesboro!