Charlottesville is surrounded by the beautiful hills and mountains of the Blue Ridge, which alone have much to offer—from hiking and picnicking, to a simple stroll along Skyline Drive. There are plenty of lakes and ponds just outside of town where students like to lay out and cool off in the summer and spring. The real cultural center of Charlottesville is mainly in and around the Downtown Mall, where there are many art galleries, music clubs, bookstores, and theaters. There is a great artistic tradition in Charlottesville. Many writers, musicians, and artists reside and work in and around the town, which no doubt inspires them. Despite all there is to do and see in Charlottesville, many students neglect to recognize the town’s rich culture and numerous opportunities. UVA students sometimes arrogantly forget that they are in the greater Charlottesville community and get too wrapped up in being a part of the University. As a result, there seems to be quite a bit of tension between students and locals. The University certainly makes up a large part of Charlottesville, and many students take this as an excuse not to explore the area.
The town remains vibrant and intellectual, but also laid-back. Charlottesville has a unique feel to it. It is the ultimate small city and complements UVA perfectly. It is simultaneously artsy and preppy, wild and laid back. It has the ability to keep you captivated and engaged for all four years, but if you ever get bored and want a little adventure, Washington D.C., is only a two-hour drive away.