Tourism plays an important role in the City’s economy, much of it based on its rich historical legacy. Two million travelers visit the area each year to see the area’s historic sites and the spectacular scenery of Central Virginia.
Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, sits on a nearby mountain overlooking the city and offers tours and special events and ceremonies.
Ash Lawn-Highland, home of James Monroe, features beautiful gardens and furnishings reflecting the Federal style is just a mile down the road from Monticello.
Montpelier, the home of James and Dolly Madison, recently reopened to the public for tours, tastings, and horseracing.
Maintained by the Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Department, the Historic Downtown Mall is considered one of the finest urban parks in the country. This pedestrian mall is home to a vibrant collection of more than 120 shops and 30 restaurants located in the historic buildings on and around old Main Street Charlottesville. Enjoy dining at a number of fine restaurants, shop the unique boutiques, screen a new movie, take in a play or show, take the family ice skating at the indoor arena, or simply relax and enjoy the flowers with a beverage from one of the specialty wine, coffee or tea shops. Ample garage parking is available with most merchants offering free two hour parking validation. Children and families that visit the Downtown Mall can also stop by the Virginia Discovery Museum on the East End. The Museum is interactive and encourages hands on participation in learning with many exhibits that change during the year.
The Downtown Mall is also home to some of the best entertainment venues in Central Virginia. The Charlottesville Pavilion hosts a number of outside concerts from Spring to Fall featuring nationally known musical talent. The Paramount is a renovated historic theater that brings in comedy acts, musical theater, and some of the country’s best singers. Live Arts is a community theater providing full season productions, several special series, and extensive education programs.