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.
Agecroft Hall rests serenely on the banks of the James River in Richmond, more than 3,000 miles from its original home overlooking the River Irwell in Lancashire, England. Situated today in Richmond's Windsor Farms neighborhood, it is not a reconstruction, but a synthesis of Tudor and 20th century styles. It incorporates many of the decorative features and some of the structural elements of the original Agecroft Hall in England. It boasts original windows, ornately paneled wood interiors, period paintings and lavish furnishings. The grounds and gardens add to the charm. Visitors are attracted to the stately boxwoods, aromatic roses, and medicinal herbs, all typical of an English manor home of days gone by. The exhibits and various programs have helped history come to life for generations of modern visitors.
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.
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
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.
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.
Welcome to Montpelier, home of James and Dolley Madison. James Madison, 4th President and "Father of the Constitution," made his life-long home in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Montpelier. Come take a guided tour of the mansion, participate in hands-on outdoor cooking, stroll the formal gardens, investigate the archaeological digs or hike the 400-acre Landmark forest trails. Just 30 minutes from Charlottesville in beautiful Orange, Virginia.
Seneca Caverns is a complete destination and a great adventure. It's fun for the entire family where you can enjoy cave tours, adventure caving (in West Virginia's oldest recorded cave), gemstone mining, and plenty of outdoor fun in one of the most beautiful parts of West Virginia. Seneca Caverns offers group and educational tours and is located in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia, just eight miles south of Seneca Rocks on Rt. 33.
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 Market at Grelen
The Market at Grelen is well worth the trip! It is a casual café, event venue, farm market and gorgeous garden shop all wrapped into one. Set on a 600-acre tree nursery in Somerset, VA, the Market boasts 360-degree views and has a fabulous selection of gardening gifts and supplies, flowers, shrubs, and trees (not to mention local honey and pick-your-own fruit!). This magical venue is now available to rent for parties and weddings. In addition, Grelen Nursery, The Market’s parent company, circa 1992, offers superior landscaping, hardscaping, planting, and maintenance services! The Market is open March - December; Tuesday - Sunday, 10-4. The Nursery is Open Year Round.
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
Virginia Museum of Natural History
As the state’s museum of natural history serving the entire Commonwealth and beyond, VMNH has award-winning exhibits, ground-breaking scientific research and collections, and innovative educational programs for all ages. With its outreach education programs, online resources, and traveling exhibits and displays, the Virginia Museum of Natural History is truly an institution without walls.
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!