Music and the Arts

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Music and the Arts

The local music and arts scene is vibrant! You can see plays, rock out at concerts, cry through an opera, and so much more.

In recent years, Charlottesville venues have hosted a variety of major musical artists, including Dave Matthews Band (our hometown boys), U2, Elton John, Muse, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga… the list goes on and on.


John Paul Jones Arena – Known affectionately as “JPJ,” this facility is where the UVA basketball teams play, but can be easily converted for concerts, Cirque du Soleil, Disney on Ice, and more. This is where the really big concerts are held.

The Pavilion – Located on the eastern end of the Downtown Mall, this open-air amphitheater hosts Fridays After Five – weekly free concerts held every Friday from April through the fall – as well as other acts that come to town. Bring a picnic dinner and a blanket to sit on while you enjoy the music.

The Paramount – Originally a movie theater, this venue on the Downtown Mall hosts everything – music, the ballet, plays, movies, and more. The Paramount also hosts live feeds of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

The Jefferson – This too was a movie theater on the Downtown Mall, but all the seats have been removed and now the space is used for standing room only concerts.

Cabell Hall – Located in one of the older buildings at the University, this 900 seat theater hosts the University orchestra, various choral groups, and other musical events. If you have time in December, make sure you attend the Virginia Glee Club’s Christmas concert, which is a tradition that goes back almost a century.

Live Arts – A theater on the edge of the Downtown Mall that offers edgier, less  traditional shows.

Culbreth Theater – Part of the University’s Drama Department and where you’ll see UVA’s finest actors.

American Shakespeare Company – This dramatic gem is actually located over the mountains to the west in Staunton, but the 35 minute drive is worth it. Designed to look like an Elizabethan theater, the Blackfriars theater is cozy and intimate, so there are no bad seats in the house.

UVA Art Museum – The University has an incredible art collection. Free to the public, so you can pop in for a quick perusal in any of the galleries.

Kluge Ruhe Museum – This University-owned museum is located on the outskirts of town and is the location of an impressive collection of Aboriginal art from Australia. Free to the public, the collections are rotated a few times a year, so there’s always something new to look at.

Movies – From IMAX to indy, you can see just about any movie ever made. 

Regal 14 – The newest movie theater in town, this is where you’ll see blockbusters, Oscar winners, 3D, and Imax. Located at the Shops at Stonefield.

Regal Downtown – Located on the Downtown Mall, this theater specializes in independent movies. If it was shown at Sundance, chances are you can see it here.

Vinegar Hill – Located just on the edge of the Downtown Mall, this theater shows mostly foreign flicks with subtitles and indy films.

Cinebistro – Coming soon to the Charlottesville Downtown Mall!


There’s always something going on around here!

Fridays after Five – Free concerts in the Pavilion on the eastern end of the Downtown Mall Friday evenings from April through the fall.

City Market – The Saturday farmers’ market is a favorite for locals and is always bustling. Other spin-off markets are scheduled in other locations during the week. Saturday mornings from early April through the fall.

The Virginia Festival of the Book – Held every March, this is a five day festival of mostly free literary events that are open to the public and which promote reading and literacy. There are usually at least one or two major authors who speak every year.

The Foxfield Races – Twice yearly steeplechase races – A Saturday in late April and a Sunday in late September. A favorite with both the horse crowd and UVA students.

Virginia Film Festival – Held every November, this festival is well known and is usually hosts at least one or two famous actors and directors every year. Lots of free movie screenings, as well as interesting discussions.

Fall Harvest Festival at Monticello – A celebration of farming and the harvest up on Mr. Jefferson’s little mountain.

UVA Football – Gridiron in Scott Stadium several Saturdays in the fall. Tailgating beforehand is great for people watching. Make sure you wear orange and blue.

Charlottesville Vegetarian Festival – Since the 1980s, this festival has been showing carnivores that there’s more to vegetarianism than just tofu. Held on a Saturday afternoon in September in Lee Park.

Charlottesville Chocolate Festival — Since 2006, this festival has been tempting us with an array of sweets and treats. Burn off some of your chocolate research by registering for (and actually running) the Chocolate 5K.

Top of the Hops – Charlottesville’s beer festival. Held on the eastern end of the Downtown Mall, you can sample a variety of beers and nosh on some great street food.

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