Mad Bowl full of revelers during Midsummers.

Making It Through Midsummers: A Charlottesville (Survival) Guide

Editor’s Note: This year’s Midsummers weekend is officially, err unofficially, July 15-16. You are invited to keep it off the radar.

Ah, Midsummers- the Easter’s of the post-80’s classes. A time for reunion, discovery, and some good-hearted debauchery, when the convenient parking spaces are all suddenly filled, and the corner bars come to life once again. Whether you’re an incoming first year, a returning student, seasoned veteran alum, a visitor for the 4th, or a new Charlottesville resident, here’s how to make it through the weekend entertained and unscathed. 

Fourth of July Weekend Warriors: First off, welcome! Maybe you’re here for the naturalization ceremony at Monticello, are spending the fourth picnicking and listening to music at Monroe’s Highland or want to ring in America’s birthday with some fried chicken and ambiance at Michie Tavern, you can’t go wrong celebrating America’s birthday in Jefferson’s backyard. Weirdly, Midsummers (the weekend between UVA summer sessions, serving as an unofficially-official reunion weekend for students) happens to fall on the same weekend this year, which means people will be celebrating everywhere. Students generally stick to the Corner, meaning that Charlottesville’s historic Downtown area will be as ready as ever to serve you a walking tour, a craft cocktail, and a plate or two of unfairly delicious food. 

New Hoos: Midsummers is likely your first foray into UVA culture. There will be a lot of students sitting on roofs, singing, dancing, and sipping from sticky solo cups; there will be a lot of UVA ambassadors (the people in the yellow neon vests) hanging around; there will be a lot of Charlottesville police officers trying to keep you from walking in the street. I know it’s tempting, but try not to walk in the street. 

Do: Go check out the parties at Wertland apartments; make friends, stay hydrated, and wear close-toed shoes. This is not the time for summer wedges or rainbows unless you want a beer pedicure and a guaranteed skinned knee.

Don’t: Do anything you don’t want to see on TikTok. Midsummers is a prime opportunity to embarrass yourself for the rest of college- try not to. 

Returning Students: You probably have a plan for Midsummers, and a few brunch contingencies that will fizzle into you eating Bodos or, better yet, a Gus Burger at The White Spot, with your straggling friends in the church parking lot at 2 pm. Keep in mind that you’re sharing this weekend with a lot of families traveling in for the fourth, so try to set a good example for all the adults. Remember your lessons from last year, bring a phone charger, and don’t sing so hard you fall off a table at the Virg. 

Alums: Okay, this is where the 4th will make things interesting. If you’re not crashing with that one friend that stayed in Charlottesville, make some hotel reservations now. The airbnbs are probably full. Home2 Suites (downtown near ACAC)  is open for business. And then there’s always the Landmark… 

The busy weekend means: call ahead at wineries, watch out for Uber surge, and take the opportunity to check out one of the new brunch places on West Main, where you’ll have a quieter environment to catch up with old friends over bubbly and bloodies.

New Residents: If this is your first “big weekend,” stay calm. Traffic will be a little worse than usual, and avoid driving through grounds or the corner unless you absolutely have to. Do take the opportunity to grab a Lime around the corner or take a walk through grounds, though- UVA is part of Charlottesville, even if sometimes it seems like another world, and the camaraderie of Midsummers is totally infectious. Let some students teach you the Good Old Song, and relive your own college days with a beer from the balcony at Michael’s Bistro, looking out over the Corner.