With its whimsical mountains serving as the perfect backdrop to a lively town filled with culture, art, and gourmet cuisine, Charlottesville was made for lovers.

Charlottesville and Albemarle County are consistently rated one of the best places to live in the United States and we definitely know why. It’s beyond beautiful, it has a top-notch culinary scene, and the best public university in the United States, making it one of the most progressive towns in the Southern United States. It’s no wonder that two U.S. presidents have called Charlottesville home. Yeah, you heard me – TWO U.S. Presidents! While Charlottesville has its fair share of history, it’s also home to one of the best culinary scenes in the United States. Mmmm…Food. With its rich history, plethora of vineyards and craft breweries, and multitude of gourmet restaurants, Charlottesville VA has the recipe for romance.


While it was our first time visiting Charlottesville VA and Albemarle County as a couple, I, Collette, had the honor of living here from 2004 to 2005 as a first year student at the University of Virginia. I fell in love with the city of Charlottesville and with the values it stood by: Discussion, Collaboration, and Enlightenment – the ideals of Mr. Thomas Jefferson. It broke my heart to see the horrible rally’s invade the Charlottesville area in 2017 because it was a dreadful misrepresentation of everything that this sweet southern city stands for.

We’re here to show you the real Charlottesville VA. Charlottesville is history. Charlottesville is romance. Charlottesville is love.


  • University of Virginia: The University of Virginia is the masterpiece of Thomas Jefferson. After the third president of the United States and Declaration of independence writer retired, he decided to create UVA in 1819. Now, it is the top public university in the United States. Any visitor to Charlottesville should walk the grounds, explore the Rotunda, and marvel in the magnificent architecture and splendor of this glorious university.
  • Downtown Mall: The Downtown Mall is the heart of Charlottesville. This pedestrian mall is home to most of Charlottesville’s shopping, dining, bars, and entertainment. Downtown dining. You will find gourmet restaurants, delicious cocktail bars, fabulous shopping, and glorious galleries all in a beautiful outdoor pedestrian mall.

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello: Thomas Jefferson was the Third President of the United States and he loved the beautiful town of Charlottesville. Jefferson built Monticello, his palatial estate (5,000 acres!), in Charlottesville, about 20 minutes from today’s downtown. Jefferson designed Monticello in neoclassical design and he incorporated elements from his studies and his travels. Today, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation governs Monticello and runs tours daily.

James Monroe’s Highland: Monroe was the Fifth president of the United States and he was a buddy of Thomas Jefferson. After being encouraged by Jefferson, he decided to build his own farm in the Charlottesville area, just a few miles down the road from Monticello. While visits to both Monticello and Highland are fantastic history lessons, we preferred the intimacy of Highland (no offense, TJ).



There are so many hotels in Charlottesville VA that it can be hard to choose! These are our picks for the top Charlottesville hotels.

  • The Townsman: The Townsman wins the award for the BEST location in Charlottesville. Located right on the Downtown Mall, it’s walking distance to the best restaurants, shops, and bars in Charlottesville. This “unhotel” offers four individually themed rooms with none of the hotel fluff. There is no front desk, no staff, and no worries. Upon booking, you’ll receive check in instructions with a personal code that grants you access to the building.
  • Oakhurst Inn: The Oakhurst Inn is a boutique hotel located at the historic University of Virginia. There are 27 guest rooms and five extended-stay units at this charming hotel. The piece that stood out most about the Oakhurst Inn was its customer service. Every single person that worked at the Oakhurst went above and beyond to make sure that our stay was perfect.

Other options: The Charlottesville/Albemarle area is filled with a multitude of romantic hotels and inns. While we didn’t have the chance to stay at these hotels, the Boar’s Head Inn and Keswick Hall are two Charlottesville classics.



  • Red Pump Kitchen: Located on the downtown mall, Red Pump Kitchen is a divine Italian restaurant offering tasty Tuscan cuisine in an alfresco café space. Red Pump has the best pasta in Charlottesville and we highly recommend the fusilli and tortellini dishes. The Carbonara Pizzette and steamed mussels are also great additions to your dining experience.
  • Michie Tavern: Travel back in time to the 18th century for a taste of traditional Charlottesville. Michie Tavern was established in 1784 and has been serving the most delectable Southern foods for centuries! Located just down the street from Monticello, this 18th century inn dishes sumptuous southern cuisine such as fried chicken, biscuits, cornbread, and pulled pork.

The Alley Light: The Alley Light is one of the top rated restaurants in the Charlottesville and is known for its delicious French fare. Groups can share small dishes and nosh on rabbit rillettes, salmon tartare, and potted shrimp. They also make divine cocktails and the majority of their ingredients are made in-house!

Bizou: Located in the heart of the Downtown Mall, Bizou has a delightful mix of healthy fare and southern food. We loved the option of indulging in southern classics like shrimp & grits or country-fried cauliflower or keeping it healthy with pan-seared salmon or an avocado & beet salad.

Three Notch’d Craft Kitchen: Three Notch’d is the creator of the best beers in Charlottesville (and we think some of the best beers in the entire country). Their Craft Kitchen & Brewery serves its flagship brews alongside locally sourced cuisine.



  • Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards: Pippin Hill was definitely a highlight of our trip to Charlottesville. This picturesque farm is surrounded by the romantic Blue Ridge Mountains and offers some of the best views in Virginia. It serves farm-to-table foods prepared by a gourmet chef, delicious wines, and a fantastic atmosphere. We spent five hours here, eating, sipping, and enjoying all that the grounds have to offer.
  • Three Notch’d Sour House: As sour beer lovers, we were over the moon excited when we found out that one of Virginia’s best craft breweries opened up its very own sour house! Located on Grady Avenue, this taproom specializes in “sour, barrel-aged, and wild ales.” We highly recommend ordering a flight of beers to taste all the delicious concoctions that Three Notch’d has created.

Carter Mountain Orchard: Located just down the road from Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, Carter Mountain Orchard creates delicious and dry hard ciders. We stopped here and shared a cider tasting and it was by far, some of our favorite ciders in the world. Visitors to Carter Mountain Orchard can also talk a walk on the orchard and pick fresh apples during the fall months!

Shenandoah Joe Coffee Roasters: As coffee snobs, it takes a lot to impress us, but Shenandoah Joe Coffee Roasters served us some of the best Joe we’ve ever had! From their cortados to cappuccinos, every sip of coffee at Shenandoah Joe was heavenly. The coffee was so delicious that we even took a bag of beans home with us! When you visit, try their new Espresso Stout, a delicious collaboration with Three Notch’d Brewery.

Mudhouse Coffee Roasters: Located on the Downtown Mall, Mudhouse Coffee Roasters is consistently voted as the #1 coffee in Charlottesville. As a socially responsible coffee house, all of their beans are thoughtfully sourced in a sustainable manner. We highly recommend ordering their Nitro Iced Coffee on a warm spring day!