I’m so excited to be sharing this with y’all today! As you may know, I was born and raised in Charlottesville and I’m lucky enough to still call it home today. I also realize that people can have a negative opinion or think they know Charlottesville from what they’ve seen on the news. Charlottesville is definitely not what is being constantly portrayed in the media, and I want y’all to see the Charlottesville I know and love.
There are several different “neighborhoods” so to speak that make up Charlottesville and the surrounding county, Albemarle. I broke it up a little bit to share with you my favorite places and places that are a true Charlottesville tradition.
Pantops (this part of town is toward Keswick, going east toward Richmond).
-Chandler’s Ice Cream. Chandler’s is a family owned ice cream shop that is actually housed in the Tractor Supply parking lot. It’s absolutely delicious!
-Kohr Brothers. This is another custard/ice cream place and they actually have multiple locations across town.
-TipTop. This is near the Carmax and is Greek/Americana food. It’s typically always busy but always has good service and fantastic food.
Downtown (historic Downtown is near the courthouses, along Market Street and Main Street).
-The Nook. Delicious home cooking and it is definitely a Charlottesville tradition. The inside is still the same as it’s always been, but they do have outdoor seating during good weather.
-Chap’s Ice Cream. This place has every ice cream lovers dream when it comes to traditional ice cream. It’s a definite stop on a hot summer afternoon.
-Sal’s Italian Restaurant. Another delicious restaurant. This is traditional Italian food, with classic decor. Outside seating is also available.
-Citizen Burger. I’ve actually never eaten here (it open when I was in high school or college) but it is always packed and they have every kind of burger you can ask for.
-Splendora’s. This is a local coffee shop and has tons of speciality drinks all year long.
-Timberlake’s Drugstore. This is not your typical drugstore. In the back is an old fashion soda fountain. They have the absolute BEST milkshakes (handspun!). They serve breakfast and lunch, so if you want to stop by for delicious hand squeezed limeade, you should plan on stopping by earlier in the day.
-Tuel Jeweler’s. This is a family owned jewelry store and always has a wonderful selection.
-Rock Paper Scissors. A locally owned stationary store that has everything from cards and pens to planners. They also offer appointments to select stationary for special occasions like wedding invitations.
-Bittersweet. A locally owned clothing boutique. In the fall and winter they have the best selection of Frye boots. I would say the boutique airs on the side of a bohemian style.
-Caspari. Caspari is another stationary store, but they also have gifts and home goods. They have a generous dog section as well. They even have a children’s section filled with books and stuffed animals.
-New Dominion Bookstore. A true old fashioned bookstore that sells modern books. I love going in even just to visit because it reminds me of the shop in Beauty and the Beast. They often have books that large chains, like Barnes and Noble, doesn’t have.
-Miller’s. Miller’s is a bar that has a little bit of everything. It’s most well known for having Dave Matthews play acoustically on their stage back in the day.
-Mincer’s. This is the hometown UVA apparel store. This store has better pricing then the bookstore and honestly has more selection. The original is on The Corner on Grounds, but there is a newer store in the Shops at Stonefield which has the same selection.
-Ragged Mountain Running and Walking Shop. The best customer service for athletic shoes, I’d go to say in the state if not the nation. When you walk into the store you have a sales person one on one with you watching your gait and helping you select the perfect athletic shoe for your needs. They recently added the “and walking” because so many of their customers were walking, not running! When I go in, I make sure they know about previous injuries (like to my right foot and my knee) to make sure they understand why I want a shoe with extra cushion.
-Purvello Cycle Studio. This is a little bit past the Corner, but still in the general location. I’ve never been here because I honestly can’t figure out parking, but I’ve heard good things.
-The White Spot. Traditional Charlottesville. I think of this as classic American food. It’s definitely in a hole in the wall but always has great food.
-Boylan Heights. This came when I was in middle or high school. It’s super delicious and has tons of different burgers to chose from. I know it recently switched ownership, and I haven’t been there since the change happened. One super unique think about Boylan is that you can create your own burger and the order sheet is like a scantron (again, this is what it was like before an ownership change, I’m not sure if the new owner kept the same process).
-Finch. A clothing store that definitely caters toward college students, but has some great universal pieces as well. It’s definitely worth stopping in to see what’s new.
-The College Inn. When I was growing up, this was owned by the absolute cutest old couple. They sold after the husband passed away and the women was in poor health, but the menu has mostly stayed the same. It’s definitely worth stopping in to see the cool memorabilia from different UVA athletes.
-The Villa. This used to be closer to the Corner, but moved a year or so ago. It has different hours and a slightly more condensed menu but still has wonderful food and great service.
-Zoom Cycle + Train. I love this place. I go to spin here at least once a week. There has never been a bad playlist and I always leave having burned a ton of calories and feeling good-exhausted. Sometimes, in spin, I do feel like I’m the oldest in the room as there are a lot of students in the classes. However, I took a fight class and there were definitely some non students in the class.
-Bodo’s. Talk about classic Charlottesville. Bodo’s actually has three different locations (one on the Corner, one at Barracks, and one on Preston close to Downtown). I will say this one is probably the easiest one to get to. You never have to worry about quality because it’s always fantastic and the service is outstanding.
-Fink’s. I tell my mom all the time I want my engagement ring to come from either Tiffany’s or Fink’s. The perk of Fink’s is that you get the family feel all the time. Fink’s has a huge selection of fine jewelry to chose from and so many options. They will also help you design a ring or piece if what you want isn’t in their cases. This store is not necessarily a local Charlottesville store, but the service is always wonderful. There are a few stores in North Carolina and multiple in Virginia.
-Whimsie’s. This store used to be in Barrack’s Road but is now in the Shops at Stonefield, which is very close by, just go north on 29 and you’ll be there in less than 5 minutes. Whimsie’s is a children’s store that sells everything from clothes to toys to necessities like nightlights. They have a wide variety of brands and styles to chose from. Highly recommend taking a peak if you’re shopping for a little one!
-Natalie Dressed is behind Barrack’s Road in the Shops at Millmont. It’s a high end consignment shop that has a little bit of everything. I actually found my senior year formal dress here! They often have Lilly Pulitzer and J.Crew.
-Flydog Yoga. I’ve never personally been to Flydog yoga, but I’ve heard good things about their classes.
-The Elements. Hot yoga in the Shops at Stonefield. I’m not much of a hot yoga person but one of my good friends goes pretty much daily to hot yoga and loves it.
-Greenberry’s Coffee. If you like Starbucks, you’ll love Greenberry’s! It’s got everything a Starbucks has and more. So many options and they always have great recommendations.
Charlottesville is home to a ton of great locally owned businesses that you should definitely go check out if you stop in to town.