City Guide



Charlottesville is one of my favorite places on Earth. The happiness and sense of community radiate from every corner of the city. I went to graduate school at UVA and had the honor of spending some time in this wonderful place. It was one of the happiest times in my life. I tried to make this guide as simple as possible, but let me tell ya…Charlottesville is FULL of things to do, places to eat, and history to experience. For a small city, they have everything that big cities have to offer plus beautiful mountains and scenic views. So excited to share this guide with you!

xx, Kait♡




The Local: I love everything about this restaurant. Romantic environment but great for small groups too. As for the ingredients? Yep, you guessed it…local with many being organic, sustainable, and responsibly grown. Their menu may change, but if they have the gnocchi bolognese, meatloaf, and blackberry cobbler…get it all. Top 5 best meals of my life!
Open for Dinner. 

Whisky Jar: Great spot if you’re wanting some good Southern cookin’. They use sustainable ingredients like farm-raised chicken and local, organic greens. The cornbread w/honey & a side of apple butter are a must. The desserts are from The Pie Chest, which are truly the best pies ever.
Open for Lunch and Dinner. 

Oakhart Social: Classy, yet lively environment for a nice dinner or drink. There’s also a pet friendly patio, which is perfect for summer nights. The menu features items like artisan pizza, roasted beets, crispy Brussel sprouts, and ricotta toast.
Open for dinner. 

Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria: Lots of organic ingredients, high quality cheese, and grass-fed beef go into making their menu items. It’s probably why it tastes so freaking good. Pizza is my favorite in all of Cville and their meatballs are incredible.
Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Sunday.

Red Pump Kitchen: Tuscan inspired farm-to-table Italian food focused on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Their dynamic dishes include pizzettes, homemade pasta, and seafood alongside Italian and Virginian wines.
Open for dinner and weekend lunch. Closed Monday.

Citizen Burger Bar:  Another Cville restaurant that teams up with nearby farms to make sure your food is REAL. That means no antibiotics, rather happy grass-fed cows and free-range chickens. They also have an amazing vegan burger made from quinoa, millet, & beets & you don’t have to be vegan to love it. Each location uses local buns, fresh produce, hand-cut fries, and Virginia natural cheeses made from pasture-raised cows.
Open for lunch and dinner.

Boylan Heights: You wouldn’t expect it from a restaurant & bar that stays open until 2 am, but they use organic beef in all their burgers and have plenty of gluten-free options. It’s located right on the Corner and is the happening spot to watch the game or go to happy hour.
Open for lunch and dinner.

Burger Bach: A New Zealand inspired gastro pub providing ingredients flown in from Silver Fern Farms in New Zealand. It’s all pasture-raised, grass-fed beef and lamb and free-range chicken. I recommend grabbing an order of fries just to try one of their 16 dipping sauces!
Open for lunch and dinner.

Tavola: A charming, intimate restaurant in the Belmont district creating rustic Italian-inspired dishes using quality and local ingredients. Highly recommend, especially for date night.
Open for dinner. Closed Sunday.

Maya Restaurant: Locally sourced Southern fare you are sure to love. Classic dishes like pan seared crab cakes, whipped potatoes, corn bread, buttermilk biscuits, and chicken & waffles at Sunday brunch. There’s even plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
Open for dinner and Sunday brunch.

Corner Juice: Quality juice, delicious smoothies, organic coffee, and yummy toast. Great place to grab a quick bite or light breakfast. They also offer yoga classes.
Open for breakfast and lunch.

Revolutionary Soup: Sustainably raised, local food with gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. Their soups are THAT good. Great lunch spot.
Open for lunch and dinner. (Closes at 8 pm)

Oakhurst Inn Cafe & Espresso Bar: This cute cafe is open to the public, not just the Inn guests. They source local ingredients for their Southern dishes and have menu options including sandwiches, salads, housemade granola, egg dishes, and pumpkin waffles.
Open for breakfast and lunch. 

Public Fish & Oyster: This restaurant is a bit fancy smancy, but it’s also really good. The serve responsibly sourced seafood paired with local ingredients. And of course if you like oysters, get those!

Juice Laundry: This place is 100% organic. If they can’t find the organic ingredient they need, it gets taken off the menu for that day. Just pure, organic, & raw cold-pressed juice. They also have great breakfast options like oats soaked in cashew milk or an acai bowl.
Open for breakfast and lunch.

Back 40: Sara Miller, the owner of Timbercreek Farm (a pesticide-, herbicide-, antibiotic-, and hormone-free farm in VA) teamed up with chef Tucker Yoder to create a farm to fork experience where they feature the seasonal bounty of Virginia’s farmlands including their own. You won’t regret this dining experience.
Open for dinner Wed-Sat.

Fellini’s Italian: Great Italian restaurant, incorporating local Virginia produce and meats into each dish. They have excellent gluten-free options and live jazz!
Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Monday.

Lemongrass: I couldn’t not put Lemongrass on this list. Probably not the healthiest, but I used to go here all the time and love their pad thai. It’s a really cheap spot to eat lunch and there’s plenty of veg options!
Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Monday.

Bluegrass Grill & Bakery: A Charlottesville staple, so expect to wait! I recommend going early to jot your name on the list (you have to write it down yourself on the board by the door). The candied bacon is YUM and they do their best to accommodate all dietary needs.
Open for breakfast and early lunch. Closed Monday.




Carpe Donut: Organic apple cider donuts! Need I say more?

The Pie Chest: Seasonal and from-scratch desserts using simple and few ingredients. I dream about the apple pie every single night. They also make the desserts for Whisky Jar.

The Flat Takeaway Crêperie: YUM! They have weird hours, but if you can make it when they’re open…DO IT. The gluten-free crepe is delicious, so much so, I prefer it over the regular. Savory and sweet options.

Splendora’s Gelato: They have over 24 flavors to offer every single day, including dairy-free sorbettos and seasonally-inspired concoctions.

Paradox Pastry: A warm, cozy spot to curl up with a pastry in hand. Plenty of gluten-free options.




Mudhouse Coffee Roasters: A locally owned mini-coffee chain with 4 locations in the surrounding Charlottesville area, which is pretty awesome considering they started from a little cart 20+ years ago. The owners aim to purchase organic, Fair Trade, Rainforest, 4C, and bird-friendly certifications and also strive to support small farms.

Milli Coffee Roasters: One of my most frequented coffee spots during my time at UVA. The baristas are so nice, the coffee and tea selection if great, and the Liege style Belgian waffles are even better.

Shenandoah Joe Coffee Roasters: One of the best cups of coffee in Charlottesville. Their lattes are super good, just a little pricey.

Grit Coffee: Locations at Stonefield Shopping Center, the Corner, and downtown, they serve great coffee, tea, and light eats. The seasonal drinks are where it’s at, and I like the relaxed environment of all their locations.


Whisky Jar: Restaurant by day, bar by night. Don’t underestimate the ability of a bar to have AMAZING food.

Oakhart Social: Beer, wine, and cocktails. Intimate place to grab drinks at the bar before dinner.

Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar: Such a gorgeous venue and lively rooftop bar on the downtown mall. Great spot to grab a cocktail and hang with friends.

The Virginian: One of the most popular spots on the corner. I would go here on Tuesdays after my 5 pm class for their $5 happy hour. It’s nothing special, but it is cool to learn about the history of Charlottesville’s oldest restaurant, circa 1923.

Beer Run: Hundreds of beers to buy, if you’re looking for a “beer run”. But they also have a pub serving local beers on tap and food created with lots of organic ingredients.

Three Notch’d Brewing: Craft beer like Blackberry Gose and Jack’s Java Espresso Stout. Fun environment with several locations.

World of Beer: Yes it’s a chain, but it’s also a fun place to hang and grab a drink,. They even have 550+ beers from around the world, including many local brews.

Starr Hill Brewery: Located in the cute little town of Crozet, Starr Hill is brewed in Virginia and uses seasonal and real ingredients like real fruit….no syrup or flavorings. Only a 20 minute drive from Charlottesville.



Things to Do

Carter’s Mountain Orchard: See a pretty view of Charlottesville while picking peaches, nectarines, and apples (April to Nov). You can bring your dog and listen to live music every Thursday from mid-may to September. They also have a cute little shop with homemade goods, apple cider slushies, apple cider donuts, wine tastings, and a Bold Rock Cider tasting room.

The Corner: Originally named “the corner” because the entrance to grounds (campus) formed a corner where it met the main road leading to Charlottesville (aka Main Street). It’s home to restaurants, bars, and bookstores including Grit, the famed Bodo’s Bagels, Revolutionary Soup, Corner Juice, Boylan Heights, The Virginian, and a boutique shop, Finch.

Monticello: Thomas Jefferson started building this home at the age of 26! Can you imagine? It’s amazing to see the Neoclassical design and learn about the history of the home. You’ll also learn about the beautiful gardens and what they’re being used for today. The historians don’t shy away from the details, both good and bad. I truly appreciated that and highly recommend a tour! Along with the Academical Village at UVA, Monticello is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Skyline Drive: A drive that’s known for it’s scenic beauty. Stop to take in the breathtaking views or hike over 500 miles of trails, including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail. You may even see a waterfall, especially if you take the 1.4 miles roundtrip to Dark Hollow Falls. One of my favorite hikes, and one of the most popular, is a trip to Humpback Rock. Get ready for an incredible view.

Wineries & Breweries: There are some great spots within a 30 minute drive of Charlottesville, including wineries like Dave Matthew’s Blenheim Vineyards and Pippin Hill. They also have loads of breweries- Devil’s Backbone, Starr Hill Brewery, Blue Mountain Brewery, and Wild Wolf. You’ll see several of them if you’re near Skyline Drive or Shenandoah National Park.

The Downtown Mall: Eat, drink, shop, or see a concert. Whatever you want to do…there’s always something going on. The Downtown Mall is all about the food scene with delicious eats like The Pie Chest, Citizen’s Burger Bar, Splendoras, Paradox Pastry, and loads more. They also have great shops like Bittersweet, Caspari, and Alakazam Toys & Gifts.

Grounds at University of Virginia: Stroll through the Lawn, see where Edgar Allen Poe slept, walk through Lambeth field, and see UVA tradition and spirit at Beta Bridge. But most importantly…see the stunning Rotunda, modeled after the ancient Pantheon in Rome. The Rotunda is in Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village (the Lawn) and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Barracks Road Shopping Center: Typical shopping like Anthorpologie, Madewell, Nike, and Origins with Food Options including Ben & Jerry’s, Chipotle, HotCakes, & Rebecca’s Natural Foods. They also have a cute shop called The Virginia Shop. If you’re looking for anything local to Virginia…I’m talking jam, wine, snacks, gifts, or souvenirs- this is the store!

The Shops at Stonefield: Super close to Barracks with similar options. They have a Lululemon, Pottery Barn, movie theater, and my favorite boutique store…Altar’d State. There’s some pretty good restaurants here too! Hello Duck Donuts and Burger Bach.




The Graduate Hotel: We stay here pretty much every time we come to Charlottesville. It’s a trendy hotel and definitely caters to millennials, but all-in-all it’s charming, inexpensive, and in a great location. They have a beautiful rooftop restaurant & bar, which is a great place to grab drinks with friends & family.

Inn at Court Square: I’ve never stayed here, but have passed by this small boutique hotel many times. No doubt I’ll be booking a room next time I’m in Cville. Several people have recommended it and everyone raves about it in the reviews. It’s the oldest existing house (circa 1785) in historic downtown Charlottesville and the innkeepers have done an extraordinary job restoring and decorating the Inn. Overnight guests can enjoy a Southern-influenced breakfast featuring vegetarian options, local ingredients, and seasonal bread.

Oakhurst Inn: Yet another cute boutique Inn in a National Historic district of Charlottesville that doesn’t break the bank. It’s super close to UVA’s South Lawn, Scott Stadium, and the hospital. They have a delicious cafe & espresso bar highlighting local ingredients, and whether you’re staying at the Inn or not, everyone is welcome.


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