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.

Ash Lawn-Highland

Ash Lawn-Highland is a historic house museum, 535-acre working farm and performing arts site in Albemarle County, Virginia. President James Monroe and his wife, Elizabeth Kortright Monroe of New York, made Ash Lawn-Highland their official residence from 1799 to 1823. Ash Lawn-Highland is owned and operated by The College of William and Mary, Monroe's alma mater. Ash Lawn-Highland provides an authentic view of nineteenth-century life through examples of Early American and Victorian architecture, decorative arts from those periods and craft demonstrations.


Bedford, Virginia

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.


Carter Mountain, Chiles and Spring Valley Orchards

Since 1912, the Chiles family has welcomed guests to its orchards from spring through early winter. Carter Mountain Orchard and Vineyard offers pick-your-own peaches and apple, in season, and a Wine Shop along with breathtaking views, hayrides, Peach Festival, Thursday Night Sunsets, and other seasonal events. Spring Valley Orchard in beautiful Afton opens seasonally for pick-your-own sweet cherries. Chiles Peach Orchard offers pick-your-own strawberries, peaches, apples, and pumpkins, in season. Enjoy Old FashionedPeach Ice Cream Days, Pancake Breakfasts, and other festive events. The country stores at Chiles and Carter Mountain offer fresh produce, baked goodies, and specialty food items. School field trips and groups are welcome, packages are available.


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 Oriforme.


Frontier Culture Museum

The Frontier Culture Museum is a living history museum and educational institution of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The museum features permanent outdoor exhibits comprised of original farm buildings from England, Ireland, West Africa, Germany and Virginia. The museum tells the story of the thousands of people who migrated to colonial America and of the life they created here for themselves and their descendants. The Frontier Culture Museum's exhibits engage the public with a combination of interpretive signage and living history demonstrations.


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.


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.


Massanutten Resort

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!


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 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.


Monticello

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.


Shenandoah Caverns

Shenandoah Caverns has been thrilling visitors of all ages for over 90 years. It is the only cavern in Virginia with elevator service, so only the sights are breathtaking. Admission includes four attractions for one low price! See antique window displays at Main Street of Yesteryear. Be awed by the size of the 27 parade floats in American Celebration, and then check out the live beehive and unique gift shops in the Yellow Barn. Conveniently located only 2 minutes from I-81 exit 269 in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.


The Market at Grelen

Start with a gorgeous 600-acre tree nursery. Add a beautiful stone patio, pergola, covered porch & wide open farm field. Mix in a spectacular 360 degree view including the Blue Ridge Mountains and what do you get? A recipe for Central Virginia's hottest new "can’t-miss" special event venue. It's true...The Market at Grelen is very special...Please come see for yourself! We welcome weddings and tours of the event spaces are encouraged.  Please email our Venue Coordinator, Emily Grymes, at egrymes@themarketatgrelen.com.