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 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. A Sense of Community
  9. Traditions
  10. Vineyards and Breweries

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

1. The Downtown Mall

Pedestrians on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville
Tang

“The Downtown Mall, with its walking streets and outdoor eateries, is an iconic part of Charlottesville. Enjoy a candy apple from Kilwins or sip on some iced coffee from Mudhouse as you wander around. Maybe catch a show at Violet Crown Cinema or The Jefferson Theater for the perfect evening.” 

Grace Tang ’21


Casey Schmidt

“When people talk about Charlottesville being a quaint southern town, the Downtown Mall is the image that comes to mind. I decided to live on the mall for my 3L year, which has been an amazing way to explore this special part of the city. You’ll find excellent restaurants, cute shops and bars with nightlife. My favorite tradition is getting lunch on the mall with friends after every final exam!”

Casey Schmidt ’24


Bajracharya

“I love going for tea at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar and then browsing bookstores on the Downtown Mall. There are some really great bookstores, and the Virginia Festival of the Book is incredibly fun. I also love going to see movies at the Paramount Theater when possible because it’s a beautiful old theater."

Sujata Bajracharya ’23

2. The Dining Scene

Dining
Lee

“Charlottesville has an amazing food scene. Everyone talks about places on The Corner or the Downtown Mall, and rightfully so! I have a few gems in other parts of town that I love to go to as well. Ace Biscuit & Barbecue and MarieBette are both in the Rose Hill area and excellent for breakfast. Any restaurant in the Belmont neighborhood, such as The Local or Lampo, is great for dinner with friends or when family comes to town.”

Jasmine Lee ’20


Tobar

“When in Charlottesville, taking advantage of the food scene is a must. Even though it may seem like a small city, it is bursting with so many local restaurants.”

Ana Tobar ’21


Ogale

“I am a big foodie, so I will always treasure the memories I have of eating out at my favorite restaurants in town with friends and loved ones. Mas Tapas, Tavola and Lampo are just a few of my favorites.”  

Arjun Ogale ’21


Casey Schmidt

“Charlottesville punches well above its weight when it comes to the dining scene. There is no shortage of great spots for dinner with friends, date nights, or places to take your parents when they come to visit. A few of my favorites are the oyster happy hour at Public Fish & Oyster, cocktails at Southern Crescent and lunch at Tilman’s.”

Casey Schmidt ’24

3. The Corner 

The Corner
Dragna

“The Corner is a great place. Law students consistently make Ellie's their bar. With so many bars and food places in proximity to each other, you can easily have a fun time and then grab a piece of pizza from Christian’s, which is always a great decision.”

Peter Dragna ’20


Tang

“The Corner is home to great dining options and drinks. Mellow Mushroom, Roots Natural Kitchen and Bodo’s Bagels are local icons. I recommend MÖGE Tee for fantastic fruits teas, smoothies and milk tea. Have yourself a picnic on the lawns by the Rotunda, or stroll around Main Grounds and explore the beautiful architecture after enjoying a great meal!” 

Grace Tang ’21


Rennert

“The Corner offers students a variety of restaurants, shops and bars for every occasion, from Bar Review on Thursday nights to brunch on Sunday mornings. The dining options are diverse and unique. If you are craving an inexpensive, delicious meal from a Charlottesville institution, look no further than Bodo’s Bagels. You might also consider swinging by Lemongrass for Thai cuisine, or even grabbing a sandwich from Take It Away to enjoy on The Lawn with the picturesque Rotunda as your backdrop.” 

Jessica Rennert ’20

4. Hiking, Jogging and Recreation 

Hikers
Ogale

“There are also so many beautiful hikes in the central Virginia region, including Humpback Rocks, McAfee Knob and Old Rag.”

Arjun Ogale ’21


 

Sabrina Mato

“I do a lot of fun exploring in nearby parks. A few of my favorites are Chris Greene Park and Walnut Creek Park. One of my favorite local activities is watching a sunset over the mountains at Raven’s Roost Overlook or a sunrise hike at Mountain Farm Trail.”

Sabrina Mato ’24


Sean Onwualu

“Being outdoors in Charlottesville is great. Playing softball and other rec sports on sunny days is hard to beat. Charlottesville gets all the seasons, so if you are someone who enjoys being outside, this is the place for you.”

Sean Onwualu ’24


Ono

"My law school stress relief has been hiking: I love nothing more than walking it out in nature along the Blue Ridge mountains."

Aspen Ono ’23

 

5. Historical Attractions

Monticello
Casey Schmidt

“While it’s not the area of Grounds that law students spend most of their time, the Lawn and Academical Village are the most amazing part of UVA. Steeped in history, it’s hard to look at the Rotunda without thinking about the past.”

Casey Schmidt ’24


Rebecca Fisher

“Within a short distance of the Law School, students can visit the homes of two Founding Fathers, view the architectural design of Thomas Jefferson on Main Grounds, and experience the remarkable Memorial to Enslaved Laborers off University Avenue. These sights give a personal and well-rounded perspective of our country's history — one I am grateful to experience so close to school.”

Rebecca Fisher ’24

6. Entertainment

band playing at Fridays After Five
Tang

“Charlottesville has lots of unique activities to offer. Point of View Alpacas is one of my favorite activities. You get to feed, pet and hug a friendly alpaca on a lovely one-mile walk through beautiful fields and woods down to the river. The owners are so lovely, and you can buy cool alpaca products (from their alpacas!) on site. I also highly recommend a glass-making class at The Glass Palette in town, where you can design and create dip bowls, picture frames, sushi plates, vases and more. The glass class is fun, easy and requires no experience. Finally, UVA has lots of amazing drama and music performances available, and law students can get all of these tickets for FREE through the Arts$ program, so I highly recommend attending UVA’s concerts and plays.”

Grace Tang ’21


Lee

“I am a big fan of UVA sports and try to take it to as many games as I can. Luckily, games are free with your student ID. The sports complex is in the Law School area, so it’s possible to watch part of a field hockey or baseball game as a study break on the weekends. I also found a friend group to go to UVA basketball games and watch together when the team was away. You quickly learn that UVA sports, but especially basketball, are big deals in Charlottesville.”

Jasmine Lee ’20


“There are a wide variety of options for entertainment in Charlottesville. Fridays after Five is a great way to catch some music outside on the Downtown Mall while celebrating the coming of the weekend. First Fridays is a great way to check out the various art galleries while enjoying some wine with friends. The annual Virginia Film Festival consistently brings intriguing and compelling films with many options to hear director and actor panels as part of the experience.”

Herminio Rivera-Sink ’19


Cypher

“Finding entertainment options isn’t the difficult part of living in C'ville, it’s discerning which to attend and which to skip. Many of my classmates faced this dilemma [in 2017] when Foxfield (horse racing) and the Unity Concert (Dave Matthews, Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake, Chris Stapleton, etc.) fell on the same day. We had the No. 1 basketball team last year and the tickets were free. Carter Mountain has a sunset series where you can watch the sunset overlooking Charlottesville while listening to live music and drinking Bold Rock Cider. I could go on, but you get the point.” 

Drew Cypher ’20

7. Proximity to Washington, D.C.

The Capitol

 

Rebecca Fisher

“Because I love Charlottesville, I spend almost all my time here. But, having our nation's capital only two and a half hours away (either by driving or train) is a major benefit of UVA. For one, students wanting to move to D.C. after graduation can network in-person and conveniently travel for job interviews. D.C-based lawyers also travel to UVA regularly to speak on panels and attend events on grounds. And D.C provides all the resources of a city for those looking for a weekend away.” 

Rebecca Fisher ’24


Adam Hemmeter

“One of the great things about being so close to D.C. is that many UVA students end up in the city after graduating. During the summer after my 1L, I got to see firsthand that there are a ton of UVA alums working in D.C. doing amazing things at law firms, in the government and as law clerks. They are all are eager to talk to current students, and many of them come back to Charlottesville whenever they have the chance.”

Adam Hemmeter ’24


Brianna Wainczak

“The Amtrak station in Charlottesville allows you to hop on a train and be in D.C. in just 2.5 hours, which was a real help when I had in-person job interviews there. When it came time to move to my D.C. job, that was also a breeze — I could move all my stuff in my car in under three hours. The other good thing about being close to D.C. is that UVA Law attracts professors who work or have worked in a range of jobs there. I’ve already had the chance to take classes taught by professors who worked in D.C. on the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, by a former legal director for Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, and by a partner at a D.C. law firm.”

Brianna Wainczak ’24


Ceara Badio

"It’s extremely easy to drive over for interviews, other law-related events or even just to visit for fun. Moreover, D.C. is full of UVA Law students and alums who are eager to meet, chat and stay connected."

Ceara Badio '24

8. A Sense of Community

Grad and kid
Sean Onwualu

“The community here is truly special. Your time at UVA will be what you make of it, but you will find no shortage of people willing to at least hear you out. This is a place where people care about being a graduate of UVA Law, and that really comes across when speaking to alumni.”

Sean Onwualu ’24


Rasmussen

“This place unquestionably prepares each student who passes through its halls to be a great lawyer, but more importantly, it helps him or her achieve balance. It reminds them that school and jobs are important, but not utmost. The community fostered here is like none other: It is a place where professors care deeply about their students and students care deeply about one another. I’m blessed to be a part of it.”

Avery Rasmussen ’21


Rennert

“If you ask any UVA Law student why they decided to attend this law school, chances are that they will talk about our amazing community. One of my favorite things about this school is that our students come from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences, but we all share the same commitment to collegiality. UVA Law students do not treat each other as adversaries or competitors, but rather as allies and teammates, working together to navigate the pressures and excitement of law school.”

Jessica Rennert ’20

9. Traditions

The Rotunda
Lee

“Every December the whole University gets together for the Lighting of the Lawn. It’s a great way to come together and hear music by the various a cappella groups (if you haven’t noticed the Hullabahoos in ‘Pitch Perfect’ or ‘The Office,’ now is your chance!) and drink plenty of hot chocolate outside with friends before the real finals studying season begins. Then, after all of the groups perform, there is a light show to actually ‘light the lawn.’ Every year it’s always different and always exciting. It’s also one of the events that brings the whole university and the larger community together.”

Jasmine Lee ’20


Rasmussen

“I had never played softball before law school, but it quickly became my favorite way to unwind and spend time with my section. During 1L, everyone would wear their softball jerseys to class before afternoon games, and sometimes the professors even got in on the friendly rivalry between sections. I'll never forget our small section contracts professor George Cohen playing first base for our team! It all culminates in the spring, when teams from law schools across the country come to Charlottesville to get in on the fun.” 

Avery Rasmussen ’21


Carpenter

“The oldest (and funniest) tradition at UVA Law is the Libel Show! Libel is a student-written comedy sketch show performed each spring that showcases the acting, singing, dancing and instrumental talents at the Law School. The show is near and dear to my heart because it gives UVA Law the much-needed opportunity to laugh, poke a little fun at ourselves and this profession, and share our friends’ amazing talents outside the classroom — professors too! ”

Katie Carpenter ’21


Dragna

“When you arrive on grounds, you are immediately aware of the impact softball has on the Law School. It may seem odd that softball is a tradition at the Law School, but once you experience a game, you’ll understand why. Whether you have never thrown a softball before in your life or you are an ex-Division One baseball player, everyone has a great time, and it brings your section and the school together.”

Peter Dragna ’20

10. Vineyards and Breweries

Lee

“Being a Double Hoo, I have had plenty of time to take advantage of the many wineries and breweries around town. A favorite memory of mine was going to King Family with a sectionmate to celebrate the end of our 1L finals. The area has so many wineries, it's hard to pick favorites, but Veritas, Mountain & Vine, and Glass House are three I really enjoy. I would also recommend going to Bold Rock Cidery. The views of the mountains in the distance are gorgeous! There’s really no better way to spend an afternoon than being outside with friends sharing some local wine and food.”

Jasmine Lee ’20


Rasmussen

“On the way out to Shenandoah, there’s a road called Nelson 151 that boasts dozens of vineyards, breweries and cideries all surrounded by some of the area’s most beautiful scenery. My favorite is Blue Mountain Brewery — the great beer and food tastes even better after a long hike or a full day exploring the route’s other vineyards!”

Avery Rasmussen ’21


Abby Hauer

“I love visiting the wineries around Charlottesville. My wife and I have been to 30 wineries in the area, plus a few breweries and cideries. A few of our favorites are Chisholm VineyardsBlue Mountain Brewery and Castle Hill Cider.”

Abby Hauer ’24


Cypher

“I never thought that I’d become a huge wine guy. But it happened. Charlottesville and the surrounding areas have more wineries than you’ll ever be able to get to in your three years here, but the spectacular mountain views, unbelievable wine and sunsets provide a welcome retreat from the busyness of law school.”

Drew Cypher ’20

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

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 Champion Brewing Co.

The Lighting of the Lawn each December gathers all UVA students for a night of singing, music and good cheer when holiday lighting is turned on around the Rotunda and Lawn.

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.

The nearby Wintergreen and Massanutten resorts offer skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and more to students looking for a winter-sports fix.

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.