Walking Tour of Charlottesville, Virginia
Charlottesville was the home of one of America’s most revered and respected presidents and statesmen, Thomas Jefferson. It is an important tourist destination in the United States because of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s estate. It was both his ultimate retreat and his passion, since he was intimately involved in its construction and subsequent modifications. The home contains original furnishings and memorabilia from Jefferson’s eclectic life. One comes away from an experience at Monticello with a better appreciation of Jefferson, the man, and a much greater respect for his intellect. The estate is not included in my walk, since it is outside of town, but be sure to stop there while in Charlottesville.
My walk begins at Court Square, location of the Old Courthouse, a good example of Jefferson’s architectural influence on the town. Note some of the elegant homes surrounding Jackson Park, into which the square has been incorporated.
Exit the square by walking west on Jefferson Street, and then turn right on N. 7th Street, to reach Main Street, now the Historic Pedestrian Downtown Mall. The brick-paved walkway is lined with numerous shops and restaurants, as well as some distinctive city buildings, such as, the Town Hall and the restored Paramount Theater.
Take your time as you wander westward along the mall and then continue onto West Main Street, past the US Federal Building, until you reach the Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea Memorial. It is located at the Ridge Street intersection and is dedicated to the principal players in the exploration of the Louisiana Territory.
At the next intersection (4th Street), take a trolley (free) to the University of Virginia Campus (less than two miles west). The beautiful and highly respected university was founded by Jefferson in 1819. He designed many of the buildings. Spend some time exploring the campus, especially the Rotunda and Lawn area.
Then, return to the downtown via trolley, getting off at 2nd Street, SW. The City Market lies to the south, on 2nd Street, but is only in operation on Saturday mornings from April to October.
Continue eastward on the mall, and then turn left on 2nd Street NE, to reach Lee Park, on your left. After strolling through the park, exit onto 2nd Street and cross the street to check out the Jefferson Madison Regional Library, and the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society building. Now, walk north on 2nd Street, and turn right onto Jefferson Street which leads back to Court Square, where this walk began.