Charlottesville Welcome Book Spring 2018

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.


Families visiting Charlottesville on their vacation will love the events and resources found in CharlottesvilleFamily's Bloom magazine, everything from fun to fill an afternoon to practical help like babysitters and pediatricians. CharlottesvilleFamily's Bloom is an award-winning monthly magazine dedicated to serving families in Charlottesville-Albemarle with engaging feature stories on parenting, education, health and recreation as well as useful resources designed to help "Make Parenting Easier & Growing Up Fun."


Grand Caverns

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.

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.

McGuffey Art Center

The McGuffey Art Center is consistently rated as among the best places in Charlottesville to look at art. There are five gallery areas and 40+ studios open at various times for the public to observe work in progress. It is definitely the place to go for an excellent selection of local artwork for purchase. Classes and private lessons are offered in art, dance and theater. Tours and demonstrations are available. Please stop by the office or check our website for more information.

Michie Tavern

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 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.

Natural Bridge Zoo

At Natural Bridge Zoo Park there are always numerous baby animals and typically a special exotic baby animal to have your picture take with. This spring, have your picture taken with baby tigers! Enjoy an African Elephant ride. Encounter mountain lions, White Tigers, Asiatic bears, zebra, and a large variety of monkeys. Many of the Natural Bridge Virginia Zoo animals are bottle fed from birth which creates closer, more friendly encounters than you have ever experienced. Have too much fun while feeding a herd of giraffe, camels, donkeys, pigs, deer and goats. Hundreds of animals to feed, pet and photograph.

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 2018 opens to the public May 5-21 in Keswick.Tickets available starting early May.

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!