Highland#6 in Best Things To Do in Charlottesville
Did you know that James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson were neighbors? It's true – and while many travelers delight in learning about Thomas Jefferson and his home life at Monticello, few realize that less than 2 miles south is Highland, the home of our fifth president. Recent travelers assure you that both houses are worth your notice; Monticello for its grandeur and Highland for its quaintness. Another bonus: this little-heard-of farmhouse rarely contains the stifling crowds of TJ's home and features some of the Monroe family's original furnishings. Plus, the admission fee is considerably more reasonable. Though its size makes it more manageable to tour, Highland doesn't offer as much to see as Monticello, according to recent visitors. Travelers said the quality of your experience depends on your guide. Luckily, according to reviewers, many of the guides are incredibly knowledgeable.
Monroe's abode is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from April to October. From November to March, Highland is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guided house tours, which last 35 minutes, are included in the entrance fee. Admission costs $14 for adults and $8 for children ages 6 to 11. If you plan to visit Highland, Monticello and the Michie Tavern museum in the same day (which is doable, according to travelers), consider purchasing the Monticello Neighborhood Pass, which includes admission to all three and offers a savings of $6 for adults. For more information, visit the home's official website.
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#1 Downtown Mall
Charlottesville's popular shops, restaurants and ambiance converge in one main area, known as the historic Downtown Mall. Located, as you would imagine, on Main Street, this thoroughfare is home to more than 120 shops, 30 restaurants (many with outdoor seating), 10 art galleries, multiple performance venues, an ice skating rink and a Saturday farmers market. Stretching for eight blocks, this pedestrian-only area is popular with both visitors and locals, who say it's the perfect spot to shop, eat or simply people-watch.
In the spring, summer and fall, the mall's Charlottesville Pavilion hosts musical acts like Modest Mouse, Wiz Khalifa and Alabama Shakes. You can also catch free concerts at the pavilion every Friday from mid-April to mid-September as part of its Fridays After Five concert series. The mall's historical Paramount Theater is a great space to catch fine art performances like the Ash Lawn Opera. The only gripe among recent visitors? Parking. There is limited street parking (which is free), but there are plenty of spots in the Water Street Parking Garage, which charges $2 per hour.
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