How to Shop Charlottesville
Charlottesville has always been fashionable. Jefferson had style, of course. By definition, equestrians and collegians look sharp. The outdoorsy, the music tribes, the urban escapist. Each has an explicit sartorial statement to make, and when it’s time for you to shop for your own personal fashion — or just to find a souvenir of your Charlottesville visit — there are countless possibilities. Here’s our best advice on how to go forth and shop!
Location. Location. Location.
You’re in town for a limited time. You need to be efficient about finding what you’re looking for that is also convenient to where you’re staying. Charlottesville has a half-dozen retail zones where shopping possibilities concentrate. Here’s our shortlist.
Hands-down this is a shopping experience without parallel. No visit to Charlottesville is complete without a stroll along The Downtown Mall’s six-block stretch of soft bricks anchored by handsome Willow Oaks. Beneath them await more than 150 stores and restaurants. Each has a distinctive personality to which the owners remain true. Virtually no national chain store will be found here. Bookending the Mall on one side is the Sprint Pavilion, home of Charlottesville’s popular “Fridays After Five” as well as high-caliber national shows in-season. If you’re in town, and you’re looking for some retail R&R, believe us. You’ve arrived!
Of course The Corner, located across University Avenue from The Rotunda and Main Grounds, has always been the go-to place for student needs from books to clothes to nourishment. What was true nearly 100 years ago, remains so today. Concentrated in a small area bisected by 14th Street are over 50 stores and restaurants, from Bodos to Finch. For an expansive directory of Corner businesses, click HERE.
Over the last decade The University and City have successfully collaborated to “connect” The Corner to downtown. Together they built a fabulous corridor of dining, hotels and apartments. Sprinkled between are numerous shopping jewels, from Eloise for women’s fashion to Shenanigans for toys. Don’t miss the Main Street Market, where an eclectic mix of specialty foods headlined by Feast! and Albemarle Baking Company await!
One of our newest retail zones is also one of our most fashionable. A “lifestyle” mall with wide sidewalks, trendy local and national boutiques, eclectic bars and restaurants, the town’s largest movie theatre, Trader Joe’s and The Hyatt Place, Stonefield Center has something for everyone. Located in the near North of Charlottesville, halfway between downtown and the airport, it’s as convenient as it gets!
A longtime staple of shopping in Charlottesville, this centrally-located center features an ocean of parking before numerous national stores and restaurants. Alongside are high-quality local purveyors like The Virginia Shop (perfect for the take-home gift) and Hotcakes! But true insiders know that Barracks Road North — just across Barracks Road — is the mightest draw for hip Charlottesville boutiques.
As Charlottesville sprawls to the south, this new retail zone which lies between 5th Street Extended and Avon Street, has emerged to delight many area residents and visitors alike. Anchored by Wegman’s, this center sports numerous and diverse restaurants (we recommend Timberwood Taphouse) and an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.
Normally we wouldn’t direct you the 20 miles or so from downtown Charlottesville to Gordonsville, but Gordonsville is far from normal. It’s spectacular! Really. Resembling a Hollywood movie set from a halcyon era of southern hamlets, Gordonsville is just up a gorgeous horse country road from Keswick. We highly recommend this excursion. You will find delicious restaurants, from BBQ Exchange to Kreceks to Rochambeau. Interspersed are charming boutiques and galleries.
The selection listed above includes over 400 specialty retailers, from saddle shops to consignment shops, from salad bars to juice bars. For our comprehensive GUIDE to Shopping in Charlottesville, click HERE. All are open to receive the happy shopper visiting Charlottesville with a keen eye for style to take home!