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Mr. Jefferson's University picture in Charlottesville
Stacy Smith / EyeEm / Getty Images

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  • Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.8
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    5.0
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    4.0
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    5.0

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A little trivia for you: Did you know the University of Virginia is the only university in the United States to be designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO? And it's not hard to see why  it's a bastion of U.S. education, and it holds an unofficial reputation for containing the country's most magnificent campus grounds. It's also historically significant, as it was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 as the first nonsectarian (or nonreligious) university in the country. Charlottesville visitors don't just tour UVA as prospective students, they also come just to relish in its spectacle.

Recent visitors gushed about the gorgeous grounds and highly recommended taking a tour. Historical tours begin in the Small Special Collections Library and are offered daily (except on football game days at the university); hourlong tours start at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The university also offers "specialty tours," which expand on singular aspects of the university's past, such as the history of African Americans. These tours are offered at 4 p.m. every Friday. You can also request different specialty tours.

You can stroll the grounds of Mr. Jefferson's University at any time, but do remember that it is a college where students live and attend class. In fact, some suggest that you swing by during a school break to enjoy a quieter campus. While planning your trip, stop by UVA's official website for more details on the college and its grounds.

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#1 Historic 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 ... Read more » Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau

#2 University of Virginia A little trivia for you: Did you know the University of Virginia is the only university in the United States to be designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO? And ... Read more » Stacy Smith / EyeEm / Getty Images

#3 Monticello Monticello is more than just Thomas Jefferson's former living quarters; it's also an architectural masterpiece. First-time visitors are amazed by the majesty of the mansion and the grounds ... Read more » Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau

#4 Shenandoah National Park & Skyline Drive Just ask any recent, frequent or past visitor, and they'll tell you the same: Taking the leisurely Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains is ... Read more » Steven Heap / Getty Images

#5 Carter Mountain Orchard According to recent visitors, fall is the best time to visit Carter Mountain Orchard, and it's not just because it's prime apple-picking season. The sweeping views of Charlottesville ... Read more » Stacy Knighton / Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau

Kevin Thomas / Flickr

#7 Jefferson Vineyards Jefferson Vineyards is one of Charlottesville's favorite wineries for several reasons. One, its heritage (commissioned by Thomas Jefferson who donated this part of his land to a viticulturist for ... Read more » Courtesy Jefferson Vineyards

#8 Blenheim Vineyards In 2000, Dave Matthews (of the Dave Matthews Band) and his family purchased some Piedmont region farmland. His original purpose was to preserve its historic significance (it was once the ... Read more » Charlottesville Tourism Board

#9 Michie Tavern Michie Tavern certainly has nostalgia in its favor. Originally erected in the late 1700s in Earlysville, Virginia, this historic landmark was once the hub for that town's passersby, providing ... Read more » Amanda Bennett / Flickr

Historic Downtown Mall  picture in Charlottesville
Mr. Jefferson's University picture in Charlottesville
Monticello in Reflection picture in Charlottesville
Shenandoah and Skyline Drive picture in Charlottesville
Carter Mountain Orchard picture in Charlottesville
Highland picture in Charlottesville
Jefferson Vineyards picture in Charlottesville
Charlottesville Vineyard picture in Charlottesville
Michie Tavern picture in Charlottesville
Historic Downtown Mall  picture in Charlottesville
Mr. Jefferson's University picture in Charlottesville
Monticello in Reflection picture in Charlottesville
Shenandoah and Skyline Drive picture in Charlottesville
Carter Mountain Orchard picture in Charlottesville
Highland picture in Charlottesville
Jefferson Vineyards picture in Charlottesville
Charlottesville Vineyard picture in Charlottesville
Michie Tavern picture in Charlottesville

This popular thoroughfare, on Charlottesville's Main Street, hosts a collection of art galleries, shops and restaurants.  Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau

The University of Virginia (and its gorgeous campus) was founded and designed by Thomas Jefferson in 1819.  Stacy Smith / EyeEm / Getty Images

Jefferson spent approximately 40 years perfecting his beloved home, and he chose to incorporate touches of Italian and Parisian architectural styles into the final design. Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau

Shenandoah's Skyline Drive has several pull-off points from which you can enjoy the scenery. Steven Heap / Getty Images

Some recent visitors said the views alone are worth the trip to Carter Mountain Orchard. Stacy Knighton / Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau

The former home of President James Monroe, Highland, is just 2 miles south of Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. Visitors often like to tour these two properties on the same day. Kevin Thomas / Flickr

The price is right for a tasting at Jefferson Vineyards: It costs just $12 and visitors get to walk away with a free souvenir glass. We'll cheers to that. Courtesy Jefferson Vineyards

Charlottesville Tourism Board

Experience what 18th-century tavern life was like with a visit to Michie Tavern. Amanda Bennett / Flickr

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