What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Charlottesville, VA?

Paige Hanawalt
by Paige Hanawalt

Affectionately known as “The Birthplace of a Nation,” Virginia is one of the oldest and most historically rich states in the United States. Home to a handful of U.S. presidents and the seat of the first Thanksgiving, Virginia used to stretch all along the east coast.

While Virginia is now smaller than it once was, there’s a lot to explore within state lines. Very few states can call all four seasons their own, not to mention have both the ocean and the mountains within a day’s drive.

Charlottesville is at the heart of Virginia both locationally and culturally. Somewhere between a busy city and a sleepy village, Charlottesville is often called “Virginia’s Treasure.” In fact, the city makes it over and over again in the Top 100 Places to Live in America!

While there are dozens of reasons to move to Charlottesville, a few pros include the city’s commitment to community and history, its proximity to the ocean and the mountains, and its extensive network of breweries. There are few disadvantages to living in C-ville. The high cost of living and subsequent housing shortage, heavy traffic, and Virginia’s reputation as a swing state might give you pause.

The city has the unique ability to be all things to many different types of people: an artist’s haven, a business-friendly metropolis, a great place to start a family, and a popular college town. While it is more urban than the surrounding areas, Charlottesville still maintains a lot of the values of country living.

In short, there’s a little something for everyone in Charlottesville, Virginia.

This mid-sized college town has a lot to offer new residents. Read on to find out if Charlottesville, VA is worth the move!

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What Are The Pros Of Living In Charlottesville, VA?

Set in the picturesque, rolling green foothills of the Blueridge Mountains, Charlottesville is fast becoming one of Virginia’s most sought after places to live.

Commitment To Community

When thinking of moving to C-ville, it’s important to consider the city’s dedication to community as well as history. Having a sense of community is extremely important when choosing a place to live. Luckily, Charlottesville more than measures up.

The city is lively and enthusiastic, built specifically for the enjoyment, relaxation, and betterment of its residents. Dedicated to maintaining its streets, historic downtown, and a multitude of parks, Charlottesville doesn’t skimp when it comes to providing fun, safe, and clean spaces for its residents to explore.

It isn’t a stretch to say that Charlottesville is, at every turn, postcard-pretty. With a strong arts community, the city is constantly playing host to film, music, and arts festivals.

Add the renowned and historic University of Virginia into the mix, and there is no shortage of fun to be had for residents of all ages.

Historic University of Virginia

The University of Virginia is a huge part of what makes Charlottesville unique. The school has played host to such movers and shakers as:

  • Robert F. Kennedy
  • Tina Fey
  • Georgia O’Keeffe
  • Edgar Allen Poe

Designed and founded by none other than Thomas Jefferson, UVA is integral to the Charlottesville community. The school fuels an appreciation for knowledge amongst its residents both young and old.

The city is flush with educated young professionals as well as dedicated scholars looking to educate the up-and-coming generations. With its diverse student body and its dedication to history, UVA is one of the leading players in maintaining the rich historic legacy of both old and emerging American identity.

Rich In History

By far one of the best attractions Charlottesville has to offer is the iconic Monticello, home to founding father and third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. Perched on a high green hill overlooking the city, this monolithic ode to architecture is considered a national treasure. Monticello operates as a museum and educational institution, drawing thousands of visitors a year.

There is no shortage of rich history in Charlottesville, VA. If you’re a history nerd or a lover of old Americana, Charlottesville more than delivers! The spirit of the past is on vibrant display in C-ville.

Here are just a few more of the historic landmarks that make Charlottesville unique:

  • The Grounds of the University of Virginia (designed by Thomas Jefferson himself)
  • James Monroe’s Highland
  • Historic Court Square
  • Miche Tavern, est. 1784

Proximity To Mountains And The Ocean

Nestled along a section of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville is the gateway to Shenandoah National Park. There are tons of hiking and horseback trails, campgrounds, and kayak routes in the summer.

The winters are ideal for skiing and tubing, great pastimes for singles or families looking for some affordable fun.

The scenic countryside of Charlottesville is only two hours from the popular coastal community of Virginia Beach. If you’re not looking to spend a few hours in the car, Chris Greene Park is only 11 miles north of downtown Charlottesville.

There aren’t many cities in the United States that offer hiking and sailing excursions in the same day!

Breweries Galore

Craft beer is one of Charlottesville’s specialties. There are a plethora of places to choose from when it comes to a casual afternoon out with friends and family.

The Blue Ridge Trail self-guided brewery tour will ensure you hit all the best spots in C-ville!

Wine lovers don’t worry. Charlottesville is also known for its extensive network of wineries. Thomas Jefferson wore many hats in his day, including that of wine connoisseur. The Monticello Wine Trail has over 20 vineyards that have upheld President Jefferson’s ideas about winemaking.

What Are The Cons Of Living In Charlottesville, VA?

It’s more than easy to fall in love with life in Charlottesville. No place is completely perfect, however. There are a few downsides to living in Charlottesville, Virginia.

High Cost Of Living

The cost of living in Virginia is higher than the national average. Because Charlottesville is a university town, the average college student might have a more difficult time of it when it comes to the affordability of C-ville.

With the cost of living being so high, the housing market is tricky. There are plenty of people willing to pay over market value for property, which drives the prices up higher and higher.

Young families just starting out or college graduates will have a tougher time finding a home in their price range.

Heavy Traffic

When moving to Charlottesville, be sure to have GPS at the ready. You’ll want to get traffic updates before leaving the house. Many residents drive into D.C. for work, so you’ll see a lot of congestion throughout the week.

The average traffic jam in Charlottesville is around 33 minutes.

Life In A Swing State

While Virginia’s reputation as a steady swing state may not be an issue for some, it’s important to mention. Election time can be tough all throughout Virginia, including Charlottesville.

As a university town, you’re sure to be bombarded with political campaigns for a year leading up to any major election.

Radio and television stations are overrun with political ads. Door-to-door campaigners are a common nuisance in Charlottesville. Home phones are known to ring off the hook around election time. Find out if Roanoke, Virgina is a good place to live.

Related Questions

What Is Charlottesville VA Known For?

Undoubtedly Charlottesville is known for its rich history. Monticello and the University of Virginia are the leading attractions, but the city is building up a reputation of its own outside American history books.The foodie scene is growing as is the arts’ district.

What Is The Weather Like In Charlottesville, VA?

The summers are warm and muggy paired with very cold winters. Charlottesville is partly cloudy year-round. Temperatures are rarely below 16 degrees or below 95. You can certainly expect all four seasons in a year living in Charlottesville.

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Summing It Up

Charlottesville has so much going for it! Alive with history and a strong sense of community, Charlottesville just might be the perfect place for you. Residents are hard-pressed to find anything substantial to really complain about! Before taking the plunge, keep in mind some of those cons when scouting Charlottesville as a potential place to live. Adventure awaits in the Blue Ridge Foothills!

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Paige Hanawalt
Paige Hanawalt

Paige is an elementary school librarian with a passion for writing. Her hobbies include reading an exorbitant amount of fantasy, slowly teaching herself to draw, and home decor. While she isn't the most talented artist or interior designer, what she lacks in skill she more than makes up for in enthusiasm. When she's not curled up with a book, you can certainly find her curled over the keyboard.

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