The holidays have come and gone, and we at Foxfield Inn recognize that many folks make commitments to cut back in the New Year. If spending less is one of your resolutions, and your travels bring you to Charlottesville, Virginia in the new year, check out some of the top free things to do for entertainment, education, or both. You won’t have to spend a penny!
Visit the Downtown Mall and Catch a Ride on the Trolley
|The Freedom of Speech Wall on the Downtown Mall|
The Downtown pedestrian mall is one of the top attractions in Downtown Charlottesville. Window shopping and people-watching are always free, and you will likely find street musicians filling the air with tunes as you stroll. Check out the Freedom of Speech Wall at the Pavilion end of the Mall for crowd-sourced art and leave your own mark as well. Park in the Water Street Parking Garage, and check this list for shops and restaurants that validate parking. If you tire of walking, you might like to take a little tour of the city and UVA grounds, hop on the Charlottesville Area Transit Free Trolley whose route loops from the Downtown Mall, through UVA grounds and back (you could even hop off on Grounds to take a tour of the UVA Lawn – see below).
Tour the University of Virginia Lawn
|Inside the Dome Room of the Rotunda|
Historical tours of the UVA Lawn are free, and start at 10am, 11am, 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm daily (when school is in session) in the basement of the Rotunda. (If you’re taking the Trolley from Downtown, ask the driver to let you off at the Rotunda stop). Tour the Pantheon-inspired Rotunda that once served as the University’s Library, and learn about Thomas Jefferson’s vision of the “academical village” through engaging stories and anecdotes. After the tour, if the weather is nice, tour the gardens behind both sides of the Lawn or find Edgar Alan Poe’s old room on the West Range.
Explore Art at the Fralin Museum
Just a short walk from the Rotunda is the newly-renovated Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia. Exhibits change seasonally, and you can learn about them here. Breeze through the collection, or linger at a favorite piece. A great way to spend a peaceful afternoon.
Gaze at the Stars
If the first or third Friday of the month is clear, head up to the McCormick Observatory at UVA to gaze at the stars through a telescope and spark your sense of wonder. The telescope, museum, and audio-visual presentations are open to the public from 7-9pm with staff on hand to answer questions. Makes a great date night!
Boost Your Spirits through Laughter
Laughter Yoga is a popular, if surprising, way to lower stress, increase energy and mental clarity, and, as the Charlottesville Laughter Yoga’s webpage notes, tone abdominal muscles! Classes are held Saturday mornings (check the website for upcoming classes for a date that corresponds with your visit). Even if you feel shy at first, you might be surprised just how good you feel after giggling, chuckling, or guffawing in unison.
|There are plenty of hiking options near Charlottesville,
including the Ivy Creek Natural Area, pictured here.
Go for a Hike
With the Blue Ridge Parkway nearby, Central Virginia offers a wide selection of hiking opportunities for all skill levels. Check out this post in which we detail some of the most popular nearby hikes.
Taste Local Wine or Cider
Ours is a region that lures wine enthusiasts. For a small fee, you can sample some of the region’s best varietals. Some of our favorites include King Family Vineyards and Veritas Vineyard & Winery, as well as Bold Rock Cider. And if you don’t have the leisure of enjoying an afternoon at a winery, why not stop by the Market Street Wine Shop near the Downtown Mall to sample blends from around the world under the expert guidance of their staff?
No matter your budget, Charlottesville offers plenty of fun activities that will allow you to experience the riches of the area for free. What sounds enticing to you? Let us know how we at Foxfield Inn can make your visit as resolution-friendly as possible.
Dan and Kathryn Bundy
Foxfield Inn | A Charlottesville, VA Bed & Breakfast