| Charlottesville, in Albemarle County, Virginia, is ranked the number one place to live in the United States by Frommers. Charlottesville is a lovely university town with lots to offer. |
Getting around the University of Virginia is easy using the free University Transit System (UTS) buses. And the city is reasonably well connected by city buses (CTS). There is a free trolley bus that runs in a loop from the University to the downtown mall approximately every 20 minutes. It is not easy to find parking around the University area, however it is easily available otherwise. From the University to the downtown mall is a walk of 15-20 minutes.
There are a ton of great restaurants in Charlottesville, offering a variety of cuisines at reasonable prices. Main hubs of restaurants include 'The Corner,' an area of student-friendly shops in a traditional student area right next to the University, and around the downtown mall. From spring through fall, the outside seating on the pedestrian-only outdoor mall is highly recommended.
A fuller listing of local eateries is available in either of the free local weekly newspapers, The Hook or the C-Ville. You can pick up copies in most coffee shops, restaurants, and book stores. Some of the eating options around the Downtown Mall:
• Marco and Luca's -- Noodles and dumplings. Super cheap and very popular.
• Revolutionary Soup -- Budget soups. Lunch and early evening only.
• Christian's -- Gourmet pizza by the slice.
• Sylvia's -- Gourmet pizza by the slice.
• Bizou -- moderately priced French-influenced comfort food
• Blue Light Grill -- fresh seafood and bar
• Zocalo -- higher end Latin inspired cuisine
• Bang -- higher end Asian inspired Tapas
• Mas -- (in the Belmont area near downtown) Spanish tapas
• La Fleurie -- high end French cuisine
• Hamilton's -- higher-end misc
• Downtown Grill -- higher-end grill, surf and turf
• The Hardware Store -- built in an old hardware store (landmark building since 1895), this booth-ridden restaurant is something of a Charlottesville institution. Toolboxes serve as condiment trays and beers can be ordered by the yard. Moderate-priced fare. You'll be sure to visit the candy store in the same building.
• Mono Loco -- Cuban cuisine
• The Shebeen - South African restaurant and pub
• West Main - 'Virginian' restaurant with several levels with bars etc.
• Cafe Cubano -- Particularly good for breakfast
• Bluegrass Grill -- Specializing in breakfast
• Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar -- Gourmet teas with vegetarian food
• C&O -- High end Virginia cuisine in a cozy environment. Excellent casual bar downstairs.
• Millers -- This pub is an institution, but is known for its music, not its food. Dave Matthews tended bar here back in the day and met his future bandmates here.
• Fusion -- wraps and sandwiches
• Bashir's -- Moroccan cuisine
• Downtown Thai -- cheap-moderate priced Thai cuisine
• South Street Brewery -- Specialized beers and mix of cheap-moderate food
• La Cucina -- Italian
• OXO -- high end
• Mudhouse -- Cozy couches and outside seating make this a popular coffee shop. Baked goods abound.
• Chaps -- Locally made ice cream in an old-style diner. Also burgers etc.
• The Nook -- Burgers etc.
• Splendoras -- Gelato
• Monsoon -- Southeastern Asian cuisine
Some options available at the Corner:
• Mesob -- Quality Ethiopian food, including a lunch buffet M-F.
• The Virginian -- Charlottesville's oldest diner is a cozy bar/restaurant featuring burgers, steaks and linguini
• Jaberwoke -- A popular restaurant specializing in sandwiches, salads and pizzas.
• Michael's -- This establishment, perched above Littlejohn's offers a wide range of beers and an eclectic menu
• Littlejohn's -- Open 24 hours. Depending on the hour, serves either breakfast or sandwiches and subs
• Cafe Europa -- Mediterranean food and inventive sandwiches. The Tomato Basil Soup is highly recommended.
• First Wok -- Authentic Taiwanese and Chinese food
Like the eating options, the main hubs are either at 'The Corner', which has a predominantly student crowd, or downtown. Many options at both.
• Michael's Bistro on The Corner has by far the best and widest selection of beers in town, and specializes in Belgian and European beers. Starr Hill Brewery (between downtown and The Corner) and South Street Brewery (downtown) are both good micro-breweries and restaurants.
• For wine, both the C&O Restaurant (downtown) and Zocalo (downtown) have excellent selections. Mas (Belmont) also has a good selection, specializing in Spanish wines.
• To experience a world of teas in Charlottesville, head over to the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar on the Downtown Mall. Also available is a fine selection of wines, beers and sake. The evenings frequently bring music and cultural activities.
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The major highways leading into Charlottesville are US-29 and I-64.
• From Staunton, about 45 minutes from.
• From Richmond, an hour to an hour and half.
• From Washington, D.C., between 2 and 2.5 hours. The trip is approximately 110 miles.
• From Roanoke, about 2 hours.
• Charlottesville Albemarle Airport, CHO. The closest airport to Charlottesville. However, it is often more economical to fly into Washington Dulles (IAD) or Richmond (RIC).
• Amtrak - Charlottesville is on the route, but it is notoriously late.
• University of Virginia - Walk around the university and visit the Rotunda.
• Monticello, the residence of Thomas Jefferson.
• Ash Lawn, the residence of James Monroe.
• Historic Michie Tavern museum and restaurant.
• Dazzling fall colors.
• Friday's After Five weekly summer time music (downtown) at the newly redone Charlottesville Pavilion.
• Visit two of the best hospitals in the nation.
• Hot air balloon rides through Boars Head Country Club.
Full range of options. Be prepared for hotels to fill up early for UVa football and basketball games and for University events like graduation etc. A great site for places to stay - Charlottesville-Albemarle Tourism
• Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive - Beautiful drives along the Appalachians, with many hiking trails, some of which connect to the Appalachian Trail.