Dining on the Downtown Mall
Charlottesville Home

10 Things Law Students Love About C'ville

Most law students are hard-pressed to name just one thing they love about going to school in Charlottesville. This world-class city has a downtown pedestrian mall, an abundance of parks and natural beauty, and restaurants to suit every taste. Steeped in history and tradition, Charlottesville was home to two U.S. presidents (Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe), but it’s a city that lives very much in the now. "C’ville," as it's often called by locals, draws the nationally known bands and touring acts, and is still home to more than a few famous names in the world of art, music and literature.

  1. The Downtown Mall
  2. The Dining Scene
  3. The Corner
  4. Hiking, Jogging and Recreation
  5. Historical Attractions
  6. Entertainment
  7. Proximity to Washington, D.C.
  8. Diversity and a Sense of Community
  9. Traditions
  10. Vineyards and Breweries

10 More Great Things Every Law Student Should Know About C'ville
 

1. The Downtown Mall

Downtown Mall

The Downtown Mall

Tibbitts"After visiting the Law School as an admitted student, my wife and I took a stroll with extended family on the Downtown Mall, and I have been enchanted by it since. With plenty of shops, theaters, fine dining and quick eats, the mall is great for a peaceful stroll or an evening out. It just feels nice down there."Tayler Tibbitts '13

Linet"One of my favorite things about Charlottesville is the city market in the parking lot next to the Downtown Mall on Saturday mornings. For a small city, Charlottesville has an awesome  farmers' market, full of fresh seasonal produce, stands where local vendors sell delicious cooked food and baked goods, and a wide variety of beautiful or silly crafts. It's a lot of fun to spend an hour just wandering through."
Ariel Linet '13

Owolewa"Even when there isn’t an event, the variety of shops and restaurants located on the Downtown Mall make it a great place to visit on a warm spring day."
 
Bayo Owolew '13

City Market

The City Market

Harding"One of my family's favorite things to do in Charlottesville is to wake up early Saturday morning and walk to the city market near the Downtown Mall. We live by the Law School and it is about a 2.5 mile walk from there. My wife loves to look at all the crafts made by local artisans and my two kids love to listen to the local bluegrass band. By far the best part of the city market is the food — the local produce can't be beat. "
John Harding '14


2. The Dining Scene

Benedicto"One of my favorite things about Charlottesville is the excellent food scene. Despite coming from a big city, I never feel like I lack for interesting new food places to try and enjoy. We have restaurants at many different price points, and representing many diverse cultures. Some of my favorites include The Local, Mas, and Aromas."
Kevin Benedicto '15 

Feast!

Feast!, a sandwich shop and deli on West Main

Belote"Aromas Cafe in Barracks is one of my all-time favorites. The food is delicious, and the people are so wonderful! Get to know your servers and finish your meal with baklava and Moroccan tea; you won't regret it. ... One of my favorite lunch spots in Charlottesville is Feast! on Main Street. They serve fantastic soups, salads and sandwiches, but the best part is that you get to sample several local cheeses and treats while you wait.  You can also snag a bouquet at the neighboring flower shop to brighten up your apartment. If your parents are coming in town and you want to take them for dinner, The Local is a great choice. It has a very cozy feel, the food is delicious, and it's nestled in the heart of Belmont.

"Law students are known to be coffee lovers, and luckily, Charlottesville is home to several local coffee shops. The regular coffee is great at all of them, but if you want to get fancy, try the tea at Greenberry's, the hazelnut latte at Shenandoah Joe's, or the mocha at Mudhouse. You should also venture out to the Mudhouse in Crozet if you need a new study spot — it is absolutely worth the trip."
Chelsea Belote '14


Loftus"I love the small-town feel of Charlottesville, plus its big-city perks. For example, I can get great food here for under $10 (i.e., Bellair Market and their $6 gourmet sandwiches). That's hard to find in a major city."
Meghan Loftus '14

Splendora's

Splendora's

Mink"One of my favorite things about Charlottesville is the tremendous number of outstanding local restaurants. The Virginian on The Corner serves the best fried chicken and mac and cheese I've ever had, and Duner's, Positively 4th Street, and The Local all have excellent steaks. For dessert, try frozen yogurt at Arch's, which has dozens of delicious toppings to choose from."
Brian Mink '14
Blue Light Grill

Blue Light Grill, on the Downtown Mall


Lisson"Charlottesville's restaurant scene is incredible, and the city ranks 14th in most restaurants per capita in the U.S. In addition to popular favorites like Feast!, Duner's, Commonwealth, and Continental Divide, there are some true hidden gems. The Shebeen offers South African fancy pub fare. Riverside Lunch is a local, small and cheap burger joint with killer fried cheese balls. Last, my personal favorite is La Michoacana, an authentic take-out and award-winning taqueria.
Annalise Peters Lisson '14 

Young"Besides the late-night spots on The Corner like Christian's Pizza, White Spot (home of the Gus Burger), and Littlejohn's, Charlottesville has some excellent restaurants. I really like The Local, Zocalo, Maya and Downtown Thai. Blue Moon Diner is the best brunch in town and has a great collection of indie and classic rock vinyl to help you enjoy your huevos rancheros."
Jonathan Young '13

Reekie"Thai 99, Bellair Market (amazing sandwiches!), Mas (tapas) and Bodo’s Bagels. Peter Chang’s is the best Chinese food I have ever had! Also, the city market across from the Downtown Mall on Saturday mornings has great produce, jam and pies."
Jenna Reekie '14


3. The Corner

The Corner

The Corner

Young"Most of the Law School's social life happens at The Corner. The Biltmore is great when the weather's nice. December through February, The Virginian, Trinity and No. 3 are all fun. The best night in town definitely involves a game of paddles at Tunlaw, though!"
Jonathan Young '13

 
4. Hiking, Jogging and Recreation

Shenandoah

Hiking options abound, including in the Shenandoah National Park.

Barr"Along with Blue Ridge Parkway/Shenandoah National Park, C'ville has a nicely kept set of walking trails that loop most of the city and pass literally right behind the Law School — the Rivanna Trail. The paths all link up to form a ring around the city. The segment behind the Law School dips in the woods and is nice as a study break to go walking around in."
Randy Barr '13

Young"I love all the opportunities to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather and nature in Charlottesville. Shenandoah National Park is a popular draw for outdoor enthusiasts, but there are also great local trails like Ivy Creek Natural Area, located less than a 10-minute drive from the Law School, where you can take a leisurely hike and learn about some of Charlottesville’s history in the process."
Harrison Reback '15

Monticello Trail

Saunders-Monticello Trail

Matthews"There are a ton of opportunities to get involved with athletics in Charlottesville through the broader UVA community. The North Grounds gym down the street from the Law School was recently remodeled, expanded and will open up a pool in early 2014. UVA also has multiple sports, recreation and fitness facilities where undergraduate and grad students can get involved in all kinds of intramural sports (including softball, pickup basketball, flag football etc.). Students can also head to nearby Washington Park for ultimate frisbee and pickup soccer games. All of these opportunities make the campus more accessible and help to bring folks together as a community."
Alexander Matthews '15

Carter Mountain

Carter Mountain Orchard

Reekie"I visited Carter Mountain around Halloween and the leaves had just started to change. The view was beautiful and the apples were delicious!"
Jenna Reekie '14

Tibbitts"With two young boys, my wife and I are frequently in need of a place to let our children run off some steam. We have found sanctuary in many of the parks near the Law School and spread throughout Charlottesville. Some have water-play areas during the summer, and all that we have been to are well kept and safe. In addition, Charlottesville is such a safe town that we feel comfortable walking the boys in the stroller, and Charlottesville's slow pace makes these strolls all the more refreshing.
Tayler Tibbitts '13

 
5. Historical Attractions

Loftus"I live within one mile of one of the world's greatest architectural achievements (the Rotunda). Three presidents had their homes in the area [Jefferson and Monroe in the Charlottesville area, and James Madison in nearby Orange, Va.]. I am studying law in close proximity to where some of our nation's founders lived and created the laws of this nation that law students, myself included, are still studying."
Meghan Loftus '14

Monticello

Monticello

Tibbitts"Though I was hooked by Charlottesville on the admitted students day in April 2010, I did not get hooked on its history until I visited Monticello. Our third president's hilltop abode is a worthwhile trip. Equipped with shuttles and tours, the quick jaunt will help you understand and appreciate both the University of Virginia and our nation's proud history. I found many aspects of Thomas Jefferson's life inspiring, and I left with a greater appreciation of the freedoms we enjoy. The UVA campus and Charlottesville area are replete with similarly inspiring historical sites that give one insight into the early history of the U.S. and provide perspective on one's legal education." 
Tayler Tibbitts '13

Ashbrook"In all directions, Charlottesville is a short drive away from much of our nation's history, stretching from Jamestown to modern-day Washington, D.C."
Joey Ashbrook '13

 
6. Entertainment

Fridays After Five

Concerts are a staple at Fridays After Five

John Paul Jones Arena

John Paul Jones Arena

U2

U2 at Scott Stadium

Basketball

Basketball at JPJ

Yves Delorme

Shopping on the Downtown Mall

Shepherd"The music scene is great in Charlottesville! I have been to a variety of concerts ranging from Eric Church to the XX and Pearl Jam. So many great bands come, and the cost to see them is a quarter of what you would pay in other cities."
Jane Kutepova '14

Vinh"The city tends to attract some truly great shows, groups from the Black Keys to U2 to the Avett Brothers."
Ferras Vinh '13

"I have loved coming back to school in the fall and being able to catch a few concerts before the Fridays After Five series comes to an end. Also a great way to start the weekend with a concert and then dinner on the mall."
Melissa Harclerode '13

Young"This fall, the Avett Brothers, Ray LaMontage and the Hold Steady, among many others, came to C’ville. The Pavilion, John Paul Jones Arena and the Jefferson are all excellent venues and typically have very good lineups. This year, UVA's football team was extremely successful and provided some memorable wins at home. I also treated myself to Aziz Ansari's stand-up show at the JPJ." 
Jonathan Young '13

Mink"Charlottesville has plenty of entertainment to keep you busy outside of law school. JPJ and the Pavilion on the Downtown Mall are constantly hosting big-name music acts of all genres."
Brian Mink '14

Owolewa"I really enjoy attending live events at the Charlottesville Pavilion at the Downtown Mall. During the 2010-11 school year, I heard President Obama speak and saw Nas, Damian Marley and J-Cole in concert."
Bayo Owolewa '13

Linet"There's always a UVA sports event to attend (and law students can go for free)."
Ariel Linet '13

Reekie"The Corner and the Downtown Mall have a lot of great boutique stores. And there are a lot of antique stores off 29 that have really great, unique pieces of furniture at low prices for students who are looking to buy furniture once they get to Charlottesville."
Jenna Reekie '14


7. Proximity to Washington, D.C.

D.C.

Charlottesville is about two hours from Washington, D.C.

Tibbitts"Washington, D.C., is a couple hours away — which actually is the perfect distance. Close enough for great access to the job market; close enough for a day or weekend trip; close enough to take advantage of the great things Washington has to offer. But also far enough that Charlottesville can do its own thing, be its own town. And that's really nice."
Tayler Tibbitts '13

Loftus"Law school at times can be stressful enough, and it is nice to be able to live in a place that is not also moving a thousand miles a minute around you. And if I ever do crave that kind of experience (which, to be honest, I haven't since moving here from D.C.), both Richmond and D.C. are a short drive away."
Meghan Loftus '14

Family Day

Family Day at the Virginia Film Festival on the Downtown Mall

 

8. Diversity and a Sense of Community

Terrell"I recently attended a Charlottesville City Council meeting for a class on local government law taught by Professor Richard Schragger, and the political activeness of the residents truly amazed me. Even though Charlottesville is considered a college town, both the students and the residents possess a stake in their community. By the same token, because of UVA's strong presence in the area, Charlottesville boasts a unique commitment to cultural diversity. This commitment is evidenced by its great variety of local cuisine and programs like the city's Dialogue on Race."
Scott Terrell '13


9. Traditions

Lisson"UVA Law has many of its own traditions that make our school unique. Every Thursday afternoon, students gather around a keg in the quad to relax, chat and play cornhole. There is also an annual 1L picnic, a 3L bonfire and a fantastic Libel Show. Each spring, our student-run NGSL hosts a national softball tournament where dozens of law schools across the country send teams to compete and enjoy our city."
Annalise Peters Lisson '14 

Splendora's

Lighting of the Lawn

Reekie"The Lighting of the Lawn takes place in early December. It is really beautiful, festive and a nice opportunity to check out Main Grounds." 
Jenna Reekie '14

Reekie"Karaoke. There is nothing like singing your heart out with your friends on a Saturday night."
Jane Kutepova '14

Belote"Softball is a fun long-standing tradition at UVA Law. My section teammates are incredibly encouraging and endlessly patient with my lack of softball skills. An afternoon on Copeley Field is hard to beat.

"There are several great churches in town. I attend Trinity Presbyterian Church, and I have friends that go to University Baptist, The Point, Portico, and St. Thomas Aquinas.

"UVA Law has been described as the 'Disneyland of law schools,' and I wholeheartedly agree. You won't find friendlier students, more fun traditions or a better setting to spend three years. Take advantage of the traditions and enjoy your time here!"
Chelsea Belote '14


10. Vineyards and Breweries

King Vineyard

King Family Vineyard

Mink"King Family Vineyards just outside of town hosts polo matches and inexpensive wine tasting, which is a lot of fun even if you're like me and know nothing about wine or polo. Packing a picnic there and enjoying the spectacular mountain view was one of the highlights of my first fall in Virginia."
Brian Mink '14

Reekie"Blenheim Vineyards (owned by Dave Matthews) and Veritas are both wonderful!"
Jenna Reekie '14

Shepherd "My favorite place to spend an afternoon in Charlottesville is Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards.  Everything about it is beautiful. It has a great tasting room, a gorgeous back porch with amazing views of the Blue Ridge, and a gourmet lunch and small-bites menu. You can even borrow a blanket and have a picnic on a sunny day."Chelsea Belote '14

Barr"The vineyards in the valleys provide excellent social outings that can happen in a matter of hours or last all day and involve driving from tasting to tasting in the middle of the very picturesque Shenandoah."
Randy Barr '13

Medlin "Sunday afternoons in Charlottesville are best spent at the vineyards. My friends and I love to grab lunch at Bellair Market and head over to Grace Estate Winery or the Glass House Winery. You can do a tasting and then enjoy a picnic with a chilled bottle of wine."
Lyndsay Elaine Medlin '15

Kutepova"The wineries wine, apple cider and breweries! Charlottesville was recently featured in The Washington Post and The New York Times for its up-and-coming winery scene. There are dozens of wineries to explore and all of them are fantastic. If you like beer instead of wine, the Blue Mountain Brewery is close by and is great. There is also a new restaurant that opened by the Law School, Sedona Taphouse, where they have a ton of beers on tap."
Jane Kutepova '14

 
10 More Great Things Every Law Student Should Know About C'Ville

Film Festival

Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection

Charlottesville Festival of the Photograph (LOOK) is billed as "three days of peace, love and photography." Well-known photographers appear to speak and exhibit, and image displays are plentiful both indoors and out.

Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers (CLAW) is a group of local women who arm wrestle for charity. Their popular matches are hosted every few months at the Blue Moon Diner.

The Danger Zombies 5K Run is a recent tradition, held in October. "Zombies" chase runners through the downtown area in this event held for charity.

The Foxfield Races are held in the spring and fall. This popular tailgating event brings together locals and college students for a day of steeplechase-style horse racing.

The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia is home to one of the world’s finest collections of Australian Aboriginal art and is the only museum in the United States dedicated to the study and interpretation of it.

Main Street Arena is a 40,000-square-foot space that hosts public ice skating, drop-in hockey and occasional roller derby contests. The nearby Wintergreen and Massanutten resorts also offer skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and more to students looking for a winter-sports fix.

Film Festival

The Virginia Film Festival has brought stars like Morgan Freeman and Liev Shreiber to Charlottesville.

UVA's Arts$ offers students free tickets to a range of University programs, including most drama, music and Virginia Film Festival events.

The Virginia Festival of the Book, held annually in March, is the largest book festival in the Mid-Atlantic Region, and plays host to a wide variety of authors. The mostly free literary events are open to the public.

The Virginia Film Festival, with major support from the University of Virginia, attracts a wide slate of new films and talented filmmakers to Charlottesville each fall.

What's your opinion? Add to the C'ville guide, report new information and let us know what you think. We reserve the right to edit or reject submissions.