Things to Do on a Free Day or Evening

Only have a couple hours to while away? This list includes easily accessible entertainment options.

Charlottesville City Market  STUDENT FAVORITE  faculty favorite

Held in the parking lot adjacent to the Downtown Mall. 
Open Saturdays, beginning the first Saturday of April through the Saturday in November immediately prior to Thanksgiving.

Local vendors sell produce, meat and poultry products, plants and flowers, arts and crafts and various prepared foodstuffs. Often you can find balloons and face painting for children as well. The city holds similar markets at Meade and Pen parks. For more information, visit the city's website.

McCormick Observatory


Free to the public on the first and third Friday nights of each month. Telescope viewing, slide show, and museum. Normally held at the McCormick Rd. location (on-Grounds), but once each April and October the public night is at the Fan Mountain Observing Station, 13 miles south of town.


Although Regal and Violet Crown currently dominate the movie scene in Charlottesville, movies are shown at various venues throughout the year, including the Paramount Theater on the mall.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Eat and drink at the theater. Employees sometimes dress up in character for the movie.

Newcomb Hall Theater

Venue for Cinematheque, a University-sponsored program that shows second-run films for $3 (434-924-3286). Also home to OFFscreen, a student group that screens independent films and classics. In the Newcomb Hall basement.

Regal Stadium 14 IMAX Theater at Stonefield
1954 Swanson Drive

The largest theater in Charlottesville, offering stadium seating and IMAX viewing experiences.

Violet Crown
200 W. Main Street

Located Downtown, the theater offers private bookings for smaller theaters, luxurious cinema chairs and a restaurant that allows you to bring food into the theater.

Virginia Film Festival

Yearly festival that showcases new features and documentaries, as well as screenings of classics. The festival brings in big-name actors and directors to provide their perspectives on their work.


335 Rivanna Plaza Drive (off Route 29 North)

Only bowling alley in Charlottesville. 48 lanes. Prices vary. Full restaurant, snack bar, and pool tables. Bowling leagues.

Kids' Activities

Check the Charlottesville Family website for seasonal and evergreen activities.

Rivanna Trails


A series of trails in town linking city parks along the Rivanna River. Trail sometimes gets overgrown in summer, but nice in spring, fall and winter. The section behind the Law School follows a gorge behind Darden to University Village.