Charlottesville with Teens: A Perfect Family Day

Charlottesville with Teens: A Family Vacation


Charlottesville boasts that it is one of the most family-friendly destinations in the USA. As a resident, I would agree. There are several ways to make the most of your time in this great city, so read on for a suggested list of things to do in Charlottesville with teens.


Wherever you are staying while on your family vacation in Charlottesville with teens, make sure to start your day at Nook, located at 415 East Main Street in the downtown mall (call 434-295-6665 for opening times). The breakfast menu is wonderful and they offer either indoor or outdoor seating. I would recommend enjoying the outdoors during the late spring, summer, and early fall seasons.

After a scrumptious breakfast, stroll east down the mall to the transit station and catch the free trolley to the University of Virginia (UVA) grounds. A pleasant walk through the grounds displays the artistry and mastery of its founder, Thomas Jefferson. Make certain to visit the Rotunda, designed by Mr. Jefferson, as well as the UVA chapel, as they are marvelous works of architectural genius. This walk could possibly solidify your teenager's decision to attend this prestigious university.


For lunch, there are a variety of eateries just east of the Rotunda on the infamous "corner," where you'll find UVA staples including the best pizza in town at the Mellow Mushroom (1321 Main Street West, 434-972-9366). The "Mushroom" offers an array of traditional and not-so-traditional pizzas, salads, hoagies, and calzones, all of which are worth the trip, especially since they're such good value - prices start at $6.50.

If you're not in the mood for pizza, step next door for the mouthwatering subs at Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches. The phone number is 434-975-2100 and prices start at $4.

After lunch, board the trolley for the short trip back to the downtown station. Feel free to exit at any point to soak in the local sights along West Main Street and at the west end of the downtown mall. These two areas provide ample opportunity to shop and browse through the locally-owned novelty and clothing shops.

Be sure to venture north to the McIntire Building, home of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historic Society. Here, on Thursday at 5:30PM and Saturday at 10AM, you can enjoy a guided tour through the historic Court Square where Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were once frequent visitors. This is one of the best things to do with teens if they are fond of history.

The McIntire Building is located at 200 Second Street NE. Telephone number: 434-296-1492. Hours are Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM, Sat 10AM-1PM.

Another popular Charlottesville family adventure is a trip to the local orchard for some fruit, fresh air, and breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley. To get there, take the short drive down VA-20 to the Carter Mountain Orchard. Grab a basket and head out into the orchard to pick your own summertime peaches or fall harvest apples. The folks at Carter Mountain Orchard also offer ready-picked fruit, homemade jams, handmade works of art, tantalizing apple donuts and cider, and locally produced wine from the Carter Mountain Vineyard. No purchase is necessary to enjoy the amazing view and friendly locals.

Carter Mountain Orchard is located at at 1435 Carters Mountain Trail. The telephone number is 434-977-1833. Hours vary according to the season, so be sure to call or check the schedule on the website before your visit.


After a wonderful day of local culture in Charlotteseville with teens, have a drink and expertly prepared meal at Siips Wine and Champagne Bar. Siips offers an exceptional variety of wines from around the world and perfectly made non-alcoholic beverages for your teens. If visiting on a Friday or Saturday night, enjoy the sounds of local jazz and swing musicians. Siips is the perfect spot to enjoy quality family conversation in either the dining room or outdoor patio and, if your teens like to party; it's a good place to dance the night away.

Siips is located at 212 E Main Street on the downtown mall and reservations can be made by calling 434-872-0056. The price of a main course starts from $7.95.

No matter what your tastes or budget, you'll find plenty of family vacation ideas and things to do in Charlottesville with teens.
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