The time has finally come. The beautiful and dazzling leaves have all fallen from their branches. The nights are a little longer. The days are a little colder. But winter is still an absolutely picture-perfect time to visit Charlottesville & Albemarle County! In fact, a trip to the Charlottesville area during the winter months can really pay off - quite literally! There are tons of deals to take advantage of during this time of year with regards to lodging and attractions, so get ready to pack your bags and make a trip to Charlottesville this winter!

Winters typically tend to be on the milder side in Central Virginia, with major, disruptive snow and ice events rather uncommon. Since heavy snow is such a rarity, when the snowflakes do start to fly, they contain a sense of magic, wonder and excitement, while turning the already picturesque historic Downtown Mall and surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains into a winter wonderland! Visitors can expect cool and crisp temperatures during the day and slightly below freezing conditions during the overnight hours - perfect for relaxing by a roaring, crackling fireplace! Most attractions are open and accessible year round and since the winter is a quieter season for tourism, guests can find spectacular discounts at area hotels, resorts, and bed & breakfasts. Some businesses are even offering gift certificates at a heavily discounted price which can be used as wonderful stocking stuffers! The Clifton Inn is offering $100 gift certificates for $75, $250 gift certificates for $175, and $600 gift certificates for $400! Michie Tavern is also offering a 20% discount on gift certificates purchased through December 24, 2016. Now that you're up to speed on all of the essentials, here is a suggested winter itinerary which will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside!

Downtown Holidays
(Historic Downtown Mall - Photo Credit: Bob Mical)

Day One

Start your day with a trip up the hill to visit Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Whether you choose a basic house tour or a more elaborate behind-the-scenes tour, you will marvel at our third president’s ingenuity, passion, and knowledge. Located just a few miles away, you'll find another Presidential home - James Monroe's Highland! Like Monticello, this home is also full of history and has a wonderful story to tell. After your tours, you will definitely work up a serious appetite, so your next stop should be at the historic Michie Tavern for an 18th century, hearty, and delicious midday meal by the fireplace. Be sure to visit the museum at Michie Tavern as well as the beautiful shops filled with Virginia-related items (some edible, some not) to take home. To walk off some of the calories, how about a leisurely hike along the Saunders-Monticello trail? Again, with average high temperatures in the 40s and 50s during the winter months, a hike along this winding path can be delightful at this time of the year, especially on a sunny day! With a total of only two miles each way, this easy path takes you from the intersection of routes 53 and 20 all the way up to Monticello. After you check-in at one of the area's fine lodging establishments, you can relax before heading out to grab dinner at one of the dozens of restaurants located on or near the historic pedestrian Downtown Mall. After dinner, you can catch a show at one of the many downtown music venues such as the Paramount Theater, the Jefferson Theater, The Southern Café and Music Hall, Miller’s, or The Whiskey Jar. The hardest part will be deciding which show to watch!

Monticello Winter
(Photo Credit: Thomas Jefferson's Monticello)

Downtown Mall Snow
(Historic Downtown Mall - Photo Credit: Brantley Ussery)

Day Two

This is the day to explore Albemarle County’s spectacular wine, craft beer, and artisan cider scene. There’s no need to worry about driving, as one of our local tour companies will pick you up at the hotel and take you to multiple stops where you can enjoy these delicious beverages, along with a scrumptious lunch which will be provided to you along the way. At each stop, you will linger and relax (sometimes by a fireplace or fire pit) and you may even be able to strike up a conversation with the wine maker, brew master, or cider maker during your visit!  In the evening, it is time to cheer on the Hoos at the John Paul Jones Arena with a lively college basketball game! Wahoowa!

King Family Vineyards
(Photo Credit: King Family Vineyards)

Pippin Hill Fire Pit
(Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards - Photo Credit: Justin Ide)

Day Three

If you feel adventurous, a short but beautiful drive through Nelson County to Wintergreen Resort will do the trick. There, you can enjoy downhill skiing, snowboarding, and much more. If extreme sports are not your cup of tea, why not visit one of Charlottesville’s fine museums such as the Fralin Art Museum, the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum, the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center, or the University of Virginia Small Collections Library, where historical documents are on exhibit. If you prefer to find your inner artist, an afternoon spent at The Glass Palette (to make beautiful glass art), at City Clay (to create your own pottery masterpiece), or at Wine & Design (to really let those creative juices flow!) are all great ways to go!

Wintergreen Resort
(Photo Credit: Wintergreen Resort)

When planning your visit, please be sure to check out the event calendar found on our website. Special events such as First Night Virginia, holiday concerts, or Restaurant Week all take place during the winter months. Hopefully this list is a great starting point for your winter visit to Charlottesville & Albemarle County! There's no way we could touch on everything in just three short days, so feel free to explore our website for other terrific ideas. Now all you have left to do is bundle up, pack up, and get ready for a terrific time in the Charlottesville area this winter!