Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s famous estate, and The University of Virginia are some of the top attractions and well-known facts that Charlottesville is best known for, but there is so much more to explore and discover.
Thomas Jefferson had a love for wine and a keen interest in the wine-making process, and over the years the area has gained momentum and increased recognition in the wine industry and has since made a mark on the map with noteworthy wines.
The area is also blessed with great weather year-round, and the many farmlands, have allowed producers to continually supply top-quality grade meat and produce to local shops and businesses and for restaurants to continue their outdoor and to-go dining services. The cuisine in Charlottesville has proven itself worthy against some of the top restaurants and menu items around the world, yet it remains humble in its achievements.
When heading to Charlottesville you will be entering Virginia’s Piedmont Region, renowned for its Neo-classic architecture and beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, and expansive history that you can learn about at the many museums and cultural sites.
When taking a trip to Virginia you want to know where some of the top places to stay in Charlottesville are, and with this detailed list, we will help you choose the right location to suit your needs and interests, all the while being immersed in the Charlottesville local culture and community.
Best Places to Stay in Charlottesville VA
There are a handful of neighborhoods that make Charlottesville sought after and a must-see stop on your vacation travel itinerary. With attractions and excursions to enjoy for the whole family you will surely find a location that suits you, and experience Charlottesville for all that it has to offer.
- Blue Ridge / Meadowbrook Hills
- North Downtown
- Walker Square
You can see the best places on the map. Now, let’s move on to discovering the features of the best neighborhoods and the recommended hotels in these areas.
The Belmont area forms the southeast corner of the city, spanning over 403-acres, and this 19th-century neighborhood with its natural and artificial physical features of the landscape is a gateway to Downtown and the famed state of Monticello.
The nature and foliage in the area are appealing for families with children, and with most services and amenities within walking distance, it adds to the appeal. It has a rich history seen in monuments and the town’s architectural designs and has been known to have one of the friendliest and most welcoming communities.
Attractions: Private and bespoke tours.
- Custom Wine Tour from Charlottesville – No trip to Belmont would be complete without a look around the wineries and understanding why it is so famous. A complete travel guide with stops along the way for exquisite wine tastings and samplings, add-on lunch options available at selected venues, and customizable according to the size and ages of your party.
- The Corner Food Tour – And of course, where there is wine there is bound to be great food. This tour has it all. Stops at iconic eateries for small plate eating (smaller and similar to that of a sample menu) and taste the local cuisine in its natural setting. A great day out for the whole family or even for couples looking for some quality time together with good food.
Sightseeing: Seeing landmarks and what makes Charlottesville so unique.
- Charlottesville Scavenger Hunt – This walking tour is the best way to see the landmarks of Belmont up close and personal. You can do it as a large group, split into teams for a few friendly competitions, and have a great day out taking memorable photos and learning all that there is to know about the city. Kid-friendly.
Accommodation: Rated from luxury to budget-friendly (best places to stay in Charlottesville)
- Graduate Charlottesville (4-stars) – Attractions and sights are only a 5-minutes drive from the hotel which also offers a 24-hour reception service and the Trophy Room which has a bar and rooftop restaurant for dining with a view.
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson (3-stars) – Enjoy a buffet or continental breakfast on the sun terrace in this conveniently located hotel. It has a swimming pool and fitness center for a great way to start the day and free parking on-site for you to leave your vehicle and explore the city on foot.
- Econo Lodge North Charlottesville (2-stars) – If all you want are the basics and a place to rest then this, 20-minutes drive-out-of-town lodge is just for you. Not in the town center but close enough to enjoy a day out when you want it, and the lodge offers a complimentary breakfast and coffee during your stay. Humble and simple and a good spot for your home away from home.
Blue Ridge / Meadowbrook Hills
The Blue Ridge Mountains, one of the oldest in the world coming second to the Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa, gets its name from the frequent blue haze that nestles on top of the seemingly never-ending ridgeline. It is more than 1-billion years old dating back to the Appalachian era when the Earth’s tectonic plate lifting uncovered its creation.
Breathtaking views and trails are plentiful and one of the reasons why this area is so sought-after for visiting.
There are plenty of streams, rivers, and lakes to explore and drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile long stretch gives you a different perspective and appreciation of the region.
Attractions: Sorted by travelers’ favorites.
- Captain Joe’s Lake Adventures – The perfect way to see the areas lost while on land as the coastline changes as you sail up the river and lake. Get hands-on with this fishing excursion and enjoy a bite to eat on board with great commentary and information about the history of the lake and fish species.
- Shallow ford Bridge Tubing – If watersports and family activities are your cup of tea then this is the adventure for you. A perfect day outing to relax, paddle on the water, and enjoy nature while bobbing along the river. A superb choice for kids and excellent photo opportunities on the water.
Sightseeing: Uniquely iconic, one-of-a-kind sights.
- Mercier Orchards – Endless fields adorned with fruits of all flavors and colors,a café on-site to taste the beautiful hand-baked fruit-filled goods, and a chance to pick your own fruits to take home with you to enjoy the moment that little bit longer.
- Blue Ridge Motor Sports Park – One for the lads. A great excursion if you have never been to a dirt race track before (earmuffs recommended). Sit next to the locals as they cheer on their favorite drivers, eat takeaway food and beverages, and roar with the crowd as they cross the finish line. Tourists highly recommend this stop on the agenda.
Accommodation: Sorted by star rating.
- Fern Cabin (unique place to stay in Charlottesville VA) (4-stars) – Enjoy the whole property to yourself while being surrounded by the gorgeous Blue Ridge Nature and mountains. Enjoy dining outdoors in front of the fire, the kids can roast marshmallows, and embrace the quiet of being immersed in nature. A Tranquil hideaway from the nightlife and bustle of the city center.
- Whitetail Retreat Rustic Cabin (romantic place to stay in Charlottesville VA) (3-stars) – When you want to have some quality time with your loved one and away from the noise of the city, this forest escape is the ideal setting for those romantic moments. You can enjoy your morning coffee on the porch as you listen to the birds as the day wakes up, and breathe in the crisp cool air, ready for the day’s adventures.
- Reid Ridge Lodge (cheap place to stay in Charlottesville VA) (2-stars) – With restaurants and cafes only a 2-3minutes drive from the property, this hotel has all the home away from home amenities you need for a budget-friendly stay. There is a daily cleaning service and 24-hour help/check-in desk, a perfect spot to rest your head after a long day of sightseeing.
Listed as a historic district, North Downtown lies in the heart of Charlottesville. Formed in 1762 for the wife of King George the 3rd, the queen consort of the United Kingdom, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. It is scenically located alongside the Rivanna River and in October hosts the annual Virginia Film Festival which brings in great tourism for the area.
Attractions: For a great day out.
- Historic Downtown Mall – Historic buildings are home to more than 30 restaurants for the ultimate dining experience, and over 120 shops for souvenirs, local designer goods, and shopping moments. The brick-paved streets lined with trees make for an iconic setting and are great for walking and taking photo opportunities.
- Carter Mountain Orchard – The perfect family day excursion to get hands-on with fruit and enjoy vegetable picking, enjoy a sunset picnic while sipping on locally, hand-made cider. Lazing on the grass in the warm breeze is the best way to wind down for the day.
- The Glass Palette – The kids (recommended for ages 12+) will love this opportunity to create their own, bespoke piece of decorated glass, and is a perfect souvenir to remember the trip by.
Sightseeing: Iconic landmarks well worth a visit.
- Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello – home to the famed plantation and working farm of Mr. Thomas Jefferson. It has been considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is a wonderful choice of the tour to see the inside of the property and artifacts from the home where Jefferson stayed.
- University of Virginia – You may not consider this one of the usual sights to explore, but Jefferson with his commitment to education saw this as a cornerstone for learning. Enjoy daily tours, while the classes are in session to get a real feel for the academic atmosphere, and see 1826 constructed Rotunda that lies within the campus.
- Historic Civil War Sites – With such a rich, in-depth history it would be a crime not to learn all that there is about the history and the events that took place there. Future and life-changing battles, including significant moments that took place during the Civil War, show remnants of those times and the people that sacrificed their lives for it.
Accommodation: Within downtown.
- Residence Inn by Marriott Charlottesville Downtown (where to stay in Charlottesville VA dog-friendly hotels) (3-stars) – One of the few hotels that allow pets but which makes this hotel so bespoke and family-friendly. There is nothing more heartwarming than telling your kids they can bring the family pet on the road trip and it can stay in the room with the family. Truly a family outing location with breakfast included each morning.
- Home2 Suites by Hilton Charlottesville Downtown (where to stay in Charlottesville VA B&B) (3-stars) – Serving a full American Breakfast every day, this hotel is the perfect spot to rest for the evening and enjoy a hearty meal in the morning to fuel you for the day’s adventures. Pets are welcome and while the kids take the dog for a walk you can enjoy a gym session in the fitness center or a leisurely swim in the hotel pool.
This idyllic location is perfect to stay within a community setting, only a walk away from the downtown area with its shopping and restaurant scene, but far away enough to enjoy the tranquility that is nature and Charlottesville.
Court Square Park is conveniently located within the communal area of Walker Square and is a great meeting hub for residents and family gatherings. If you are looking for that picturesque, iconic movie setting place to live, this is it.
Attractions: Based on proximity.
- Virginia Discovery Museum – Taking the kids out to an interactive museum is a great way for them to learn about the areas and discoveries made within the region. The museum emphasizes the art, science, and history of the town with interactive exhibits.
- Monticello – The third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, began designing this plantation after inheriting it from his father at a young age. Jefferson was a groundbreaking leader of his time and as the author of the Declaration of Independence, he not only paved the way for religious freedom but the right to a proper education.
- Welcome Gallery – This gallery is home to both local, national, and international artists and has exhibits and exhibition seasons throughout the year. It is a studio space in the heart of downtown and a nice pit stop break in the day for an enriched experience.
- Ronald McDonald House Charity – check the schedule and if you are in town for one of the fundraising events held at the charity house be sure to make a day of it. You get to learn about what they do there, how they help, and how to get involved, and if your small contribution can help someone in need then why not.
Accommodation: Proximity to Walker Square neighborhood (best place to stay in Charlottesville VA). While Walker Square is a great location to set up shop for the long term and even better to relocate, vacationing nearby is just as beautiful.
- Hampton Inn & Suites Charlottesville at the University – With a hot breakfast and coffee served each morning and a gym on-site, what more could you want to start the day with a bang. Amenities and attractions within a 5-minute drive make this an ideal stopping point to see the area and be conveniently close to it all.
- Courtyard by Marriott Charlottesville; University Medical Center – In the city center close to eateries and live music performances off-site for an additional charge. The fitness center is a good way to kick start the day and is fully equipped with everything you need.
The Best Place to Stay in Charlottesville VA
Whether you are on a family vacation trip or in town on business, Charlottesville welcomes you with open arms. The rich history and iconic landmarks make venturing to the town worth every breathtaking moment, and when immersed in the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountain range, it makes for a relaxed holiday like no other.
There are plenty of scenic and idyllic locations for couples, families, and large groups, and suitable for all interests. You will not only find places to stay in Charlottesville VA that range from budget-friendly to luxury, but attractions and sightseeing that bring tourists to the area from far and wide.
Presidential accommodations that forged the future at the time and an arts and science culture that showcases pivotal events during the past are only some of the reasons to enjoy a few days visiting Charlottesville.
Because the rivers, lakes, and streams are so inviting you can be sure there is a water activity to suit every age and experience. With a fishing cruise to get the family and kids involved or bob along the river in a floaty tube for unforgettable photo opportunities, you can enjoy nature and the water up close and personal no matter what you decide to do.
If you are planning a trip to Charlottesville be sure to check out our list of not only quirky and unique places but also cool places to stay in Charlottesville VA for your ultimate getaway experience. Charlottesville is a holiday location worth visiting.