Charlottesville is a unique city in that it’s both urban enough to provide great cuisine options and cultural events, while also being rural enough to offer scenic views and outdoor activities just a short drive out of the city limits. Luckily for M.S. in Commerce students, the program spans just enough time for you to enjoy each of the four seasons in beautiful Charlottesville and take advantage of all the city and surrounding areas have to offer. So if you’re looking to fill out your Charlottesville bucket list, here are a few activities to do in each season.
Swimming at Blue Hole
As students move in to their apartments in the late summer months, Charlottesville weather is at its peak heat and humidity. For those looking to cool off and explore their new home, Blue Hole is a great place to experience the surrounding wilderness and take a dip. After a short hike at the Sugar Hollow Reservoir, hikers will find a popular swimming hole frequented by locals where they can tan on the rocks or jump into the deep pool.
Fridays After Five
Another local summer favorite is the free Fridays After Five concert series hosted at the Ting Pavilion on the Downtown Mall. Just a short walk from Grounds and most student housing, these weekly concerts feature many local and traveling artists and are a great introduction to the downtown scene. These events continue until early September, so new students have plenty of time to get out and enjoy some live music.
Apple picking at Carter Mountain Orchard
Once the crisp fall weather begins to roll into Charlottesville and the leaves begin to change color, you’ll find many townies and visitors making the drive up to Carter Mountain Orchard. A Charlottesville landmark, Carter Mountain offers a variety of activities, from apple picking and hayrides to Bold Rock Cider tastings with a view. Famous for its delicious apple cider donuts and panoramic views, Carter Mountain offers fun for anyone looking to spend a day outside and is also a common stop before or after a visit to the historic Monticello.
Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive
Another way to enjoy the changing leaves and gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountain views is to take a drive up to Shenandoah National Park. With the purchase of an entrance or annual pass, you can enjoy the plethora of hikes and scenic overlooks available in the park. For those just wanting to take a drive, Skyline Drive is a great option that still allows you to explore the area from the comfort of your car.
Skiing and snowboarding at Wintergreen
Charlottesville has an outdoor activity for every season. A scenic 40-minute drive from the city to Wintergreen, VA, will deliver a ski and snowboarding resort you can’t find many other places in the state. For those who are experienced winter sports athletes or those who want to try out something new, Wintergreen is a great place to have fun during Virginia’s winter months.
Movies at Violet Crown
If the cold isn’t your thing, you can find reprieve from the chilly winter weather by cozying up to a movie at the Downtown Mall’s Violet Crown theater. This theater is not only the closest to Grounds, but it also boasts comfortable theater seats, a large menu of delicious food and snacks, as a well as wine and beer on tap. Grab your friends for a movie date to escape the dreary weather and post-winter break blues.
The Charlottesville and IX Art Park Farmers Markets
Once the temperature begins to warm up again, Charlottesville comes back to life. What better way to spend those first warm spring weekends than by shopping for local foods and artisan items at the two downtown farmers markets. The Charlottesville City Market in the surface lot across from the Water Street Garage and the market located at IX Art Park are both within walking distance of Grounds and boast fresh vegetables, delicious coffee, and breakfast foods, as well as an opportunity to get out in the sun.
Wineries and breweries
Finally, the wineries and breweries in Charlottesville and the neighboring Albemarle County are some of the best attractions in Central Virginia. Hop on a tour bus with your friends or plan to visit one or two of your favorites on a sunny Saturday to get an authentic taste of Virginia wines and microbrews. These destinations also sometimes feature local food trucks and live music, so it’s sure to be a fun time for everyone.
With these seasonal activities added to your list of must-dos for your time at UVA, you’ll never be bored as you take advantage of everything Charlottesville has to offer year round.