When is the best time of year to visit Charlottesville?

Like many small towns, Charlottesville shines in select seasons. There’s always something to do throughout the year, but Forbes Travel Guide’s editors love visiting in the fall. The leaves transform to vibrant shades of orange, red and yellow, and the scenery looks like it’s straight out of a postcard. With the foliage in the background and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate in the foreground, you can’t help but revel in the beauty of Charlottesville. The temperatures hover around the 60s (even into November) and the days are filled with the refreshing smell of autumn. No matter how the University of Virginia’s football team is doing that year, it’s always fun to catch a game during the season and tailgate at Scott Stadium.

  • On July 30, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best things to do in Charlottesville?

    Many of Charlottesville’s attractions involve history, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t fun to be had. From cheering on the University of Virginia Cavaliers at a sporting event to wine tasting at vineyards just outside of town, you won’t be bored during your stay in Charlottesville. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the best things to see and do in Charlottesville:
     
    1. Discover Monticello. This hilltop estate is a classic example of American architecture. Both the house and gardens were designed by Thomas Jefferson himself and are worthy of a visit. Most of the interior furnishings are the originals, adding to Monticello’s deep history. A tour of the estate includes a walk through its vineyard, orchard and vegetable garden.
     
    2. Taste some wine. Though not as famous as California’s Napa Valley, Virginia produces some top-notch wine from its numerous vineyards. Like most things in Virginia, winemaking here dates back to Thomas Jefferson. These days, you can hop on the Monticello Wine Trail for a tour of the various vineyards, or visit each one on your own.
     
    3. Cheer on the horses. At the end of each April, thousands of people flock to the track to watch the Foxfield Spring Races. It’s one of Charlottesville’s major social events, attracting tons of college students and locals. There’s another race in September, which is geared more toward families.
     
    4. Explore Ash Lawn-Highland. The 535-acre estate that was once home to President James Monroe is now owned by Monroe’s alma mater, College of William and Mary. This early 19th-century working plantation offers guided tours of the house, spinning and weaving demonstrations, old boxwood gardens, peacocks and picnic spots.
     
    5. Hike in the park. Head to nearby Shenandoah National Park where you’ll find a portion of the Appalachian Trail. While you don’t have to hike along the rugged trail, you can explore the more than 500 miles of trails that the national park has to offer.