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Cville with Kids

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Cville with Kids

Food scene
This is a fun, yummy place (particularly good for brunch) with plenty of options that even picky kids will eat. Plus a great beer selection (as the name implies) and great outdoor seating. You could walk, but probably easiest to drive.
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Beer Run
156 Carlton Road
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This is a fun, yummy place (particularly good for brunch) with plenty of options that even picky kids will eat. Plus a great beer selection (as the name implies) and great outdoor seating. You could walk, but probably easiest to drive.
This is a great place to go to get quick, healthy food (it has been a staple for us and our kids for years). You order at the counter and can sit down inside or out. Offers a great kids’ combo meal of a chicken, steak, lamb, or vegetable skewer with rice and carrot sticks and a drink, all for $4.99. And it’s good.
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Sticks Kebob Shop
917 Preston Avenue
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This is a great place to go to get quick, healthy food (it has been a staple for us and our kids for years). You order at the counter and can sit down inside or out. Offers a great kids’ combo meal of a chicken, steak, lamb, or vegetable skewer with rice and carrot sticks and a drink, all for $4.99. And it’s good.
Our kids love eating here. There’s tons of outdoor seating on the downtown pedestrian mall, so people watching and general conviviality abounds. Inside there are pool tables and a big open space where kids’ energy and antics are just part of the atmosphere. Great choices very everyone.
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Rapture Restaurant & Night Club
303 East Main Street
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Our kids love eating here. There’s tons of outdoor seating on the downtown pedestrian mall, so people watching and general conviviality abounds. Inside there are pool tables and a big open space where kids’ energy and antics are just part of the atmosphere. Great choices very everyone.
My kids love this place- often we grab another family with kids and head here for a good, casual dinner and drinks while the kids (and sometimes the adults, too) run around and play arcade games. The service is friendly and laid back, and the food is good. Plus your kids are occupied and happy. Cool, hip vibe.
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FIREFLY Restaurant & Arcade
1304 East Market Street
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My kids love this place- often we grab another family with kids and head here for a good, casual dinner and drinks while the kids (and sometimes the adults, too) run around and play arcade games. The service is friendly and laid back, and the food is good. Plus your kids are occupied and happy. Cool, hip vibe.
On the historic downtown pedestrian mall. Huge booths inside to accommodate board games or drawing pads, plus a row of TVs over the bar (not turned on loud, so it isn’t distracting if you don’t care about sports) set to every imaginable type of sporting event will keep kids happy. The burgers (they have an amazing veggie burger and a paleo option as well) are great, and the service is quick and friendly. Great outdoor seating on the downtown Pedestrian mall.
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Citizen Burger Bar
212 East Main Street
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On the historic downtown pedestrian mall. Huge booths inside to accommodate board games or drawing pads, plus a row of TVs over the bar (not turned on loud, so it isn’t distracting if you don’t care about sports) set to every imaginable type of sporting event will keep kids happy. The burgers (they have an amazing veggie burger and a paleo option as well) are great, and the service is quick and friendly. Great outdoor seating on the downtown Pedestrian mall.
A great, fast pizza place to grab a quick slice. Located on the historic downtown pedestrian mall. Grab a slice and sit outside and watch the city walk by.
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Christian's Pizza
118 West Main Street
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A great, fast pizza place to grab a quick slice. Located on the historic downtown pedestrian mall. Grab a slice and sit outside and watch the city walk by.
Good, cheap Mexican food just off the downtown pedestrian mall (there are several locations in Cville, but this one is the most convenient to the house). They will do special orders for your picky eaters (my eight year old likes the fajita chicken, not the actual fajita, plus steamed broccoli- and they accommodate this). The chips and salsa are great. You could feed the kids, have a margarita and chips and salsa, and then stroll the downtown mall in search of something fancier for you, or you could dine here as well and be happy.
Guadalajara
805 East Market Street
Good, cheap Mexican food just off the downtown pedestrian mall (there are several locations in Cville, but this one is the most convenient to the house). They will do special orders for your picky eaters (my eight year old likes the fajita chicken, not the actual fajita, plus steamed broccoli- and they accommodate this). The chips and salsa are great. You could feed the kids, have a margarita and chips and salsa, and then stroll the downtown mall in search of something fancier for you, or you could dine here as well and be happy.
Great homemade ice cream on the downtown pedestrian mall. We love to grab a burger at Citizen and then walk across the street for ice cream.
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Chaps Ice Cream
223 East Main Street
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Great homemade ice cream on the downtown pedestrian mall. We love to grab a burger at Citizen and then walk across the street for ice cream.
Yummy, inventive flavors abound at this cool gelato place. Located on the historic pedestrian mall. Grab a cone (I love the bambino- a tiny little cone with a tiny little scoop of gelato- I love the hazelnut- it’s the perfect little after-dinner dessert that satisfies your sweet tooth but doesn’t leave you feeling overfull)- grab a cone and stroll on the downtown mall.
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Splendora's Gelato
317 East Main Street
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Yummy, inventive flavors abound at this cool gelato place. Located on the historic pedestrian mall. Grab a cone (I love the bambino- a tiny little cone with a tiny little scoop of gelato- I love the hazelnut- it’s the perfect little after-dinner dessert that satisfies your sweet tooth but doesn’t leave you feeling overfull)- grab a cone and stroll on the downtown mall.
It’s as easy to grab a good, kid-friendly taco here as it is to grab an amazingly delicious taco for you. You order at the counter and they bring the food out to you. Indoor and outdoor seating, absolutely kid friendly. Space outside for kids to run around and be kids. Great margaritas. Also located super close to the Stonehenge houses, and about a 10 minute walk from the Belmont house.
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Brazos Tacos
925 2nd Street Southeast
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It’s as easy to grab a good, kid-friendly taco here as it is to grab an amazingly delicious taco for you. You order at the counter and they bring the food out to you. Indoor and outdoor seating, absolutely kid friendly. Space outside for kids to run around and be kids. Great margaritas. Also located super close to the Stonehenge houses, and about a 10 minute walk from the Belmont house.
Walkable from the Stonehenge and Belmont Ave houses, this large and open restaurant has something for everyone, including a great beer menu and a dog-friendly patio. Space outside for kids to run around. Fun, lively vibe.
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Three Notch'd Craft Kitchen & Brewery
520 2nd St SE
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Walkable from the Stonehenge and Belmont Ave houses, this large and open restaurant has something for everyone, including a great beer menu and a dog-friendly patio. Space outside for kids to run around. Fun, lively vibe.
A great place to come for breakfast or brunch- relaxed diner atmosphere, with upscale diner food. Plentiful indoor and outdoor seating. Located on the historic downtown pedestrian mall.
The Nook
415 East Main Street
A great place to come for breakfast or brunch- relaxed diner atmosphere, with upscale diner food. Plentiful indoor and outdoor seating. Located on the historic downtown pedestrian mall.
If you’ve got kids who are super into American history (or if you are) and if you like Parker House rolls and people in Betty Ross caps, then you will love this place. Otherwise, not so much. But it’s historic, and it’s an experience, and you should do it once. It’s fun and it’s part of the whole Thomas-Jefferson-worship thing we’ve got going on in this town. You’ll be served fried chicken and mashed potatoes and other southern favorites family-style by servers in period costume. The structure itself is pretty and historic, and the little stores are cute. Actually, I started writing this description with lots of snark, but now I kind of want to go there today with my kids. It’s that kind of place.
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Michie Tavern ca. 1784
683 Thomas Jefferson Parkway
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If you’ve got kids who are super into American history (or if you are) and if you like Parker House rolls and people in Betty Ross caps, then you will love this place. Otherwise, not so much. But it’s historic, and it’s an experience, and you should do it once. It’s fun and it’s part of the whole Thomas-Jefferson-worship thing we’ve got going on in this town. You’ll be served fried chicken and mashed potatoes and other southern favorites family-style by servers in period costume. The structure itself is pretty and historic, and the little stores are cute. Actually, I started writing this description with lots of snark, but now I kind of want to go there today with my kids. It’s that kind of place.
Kid/Family Friendly Activities
If your kid is into skateboarding, this is a definite must. This newly constructed 2-million-dollar skatepark is state of the art and huge. It’ll keep your skater dude or dudette happy for hours.
Charlottesville Skate Park
If your kid is into skateboarding, this is a definite must. This newly constructed 2-million-dollar skatepark is state of the art and huge. It’ll keep your skater dude or dudette happy for hours.
A great place to take a gentle, pretty walk or hike. Lots of trails available, as well as a groomed, wide trail up the side of Monticello mountain to the visitors’ center. Little bikers and dogs can travel with you about 3/4 of a mile up and then another 3/4 down. Without bikes or pups, you can walk two miles up to the visitors’ center, use the restrooms (very clean!) and grab a snack at Monticello’s cafe, and then walk the two miles back down to your car. Located less than a five minutes’ drive from all of the houses.
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Saunders-Monticello Trail
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A great place to take a gentle, pretty walk or hike. Lots of trails available, as well as a groomed, wide trail up the side of Monticello mountain to the visitors’ center. Little bikers and dogs can travel with you about 3/4 of a mile up and then another 3/4 down. Without bikes or pups, you can walk two miles up to the visitors’ center, use the restrooms (very clean!) and grab a snack at Monticello’s cafe, and then walk the two miles back down to your car. Located less than a five minutes’ drive from all of the houses.
This is a Charlottesville tradition- probably every kid that has grown up in Cville has hiked this trail at least five times, mostly when visitors come to town. It’s a good hike, with a little bit of challenge, but worth it for the stunning view at the end. Located in the Shenandoah national forest about 15 minutes away.
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Humpback Rock
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This is a Charlottesville tradition- probably every kid that has grown up in Cville has hiked this trail at least five times, mostly when visitors come to town. It’s a good hike, with a little bit of challenge, but worth it for the stunning view at the end. Located in the Shenandoah national forest about 15 minutes away.
Great, flat trail along a river in the middle of the city (but it feels like the country) perfect for kids on bikes and dogs. There are off-leash days on the trails, so check the schedule to see when you can let Rover roam. About a five minute drive from the house
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Riverview Park
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Great, flat trail along a river in the middle of the city (but it feels like the country) perfect for kids on bikes and dogs. There are off-leash days on the trails, so check the schedule to see when you can let Rover roam. About a five minute drive from the house
Rent a kayak in the middle of the city (about a five minute drive from the house) and float down the tame Rivanna River. It’s pretty and fun and they pick you up at the end. Perfect for a hot summer day, which abound in Cville.
Rivanna River Company
1518 E High St
Rent a kayak in the middle of the city (about a five minute drive from the house) and float down the tame Rivanna River. It’s pretty and fun and they pick you up at the end. Perfect for a hot summer day, which abound in Cville.
I’m a little obsessed with this place. On a rainy day, this awesome movie theater is your saving grace. It’s about five minutes from all of the houses, offers reclining seats, and you can order good food (kids menu plus things like sweet potato quinoa salad for grown ups) and BOOZE and milkshakes from your seats and munch while you watch. The popcorn is crazy good. Pretty much I come here for the reclining seats, the popcorn, and two hours of no one asking me to find their lost shoe or the basketball that rolled down the hill into the woods.
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Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Charlottesville
375 Merchant Walk Square
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I’m a little obsessed with this place. On a rainy day, this awesome movie theater is your saving grace. It’s about five minutes from all of the houses, offers reclining seats, and you can order good food (kids menu plus things like sweet potato quinoa salad for grown ups) and BOOZE and milkshakes from your seats and munch while you watch. The popcorn is crazy good. Pretty much I come here for the reclining seats, the popcorn, and two hours of no one asking me to find their lost shoe or the basketball that rolled down the hill into the woods.
Carter’s Mountain is an orchard located right next to Monticello. So worth the trip up there for the views, the apple and peach picking, and the incredible apple cider donuts.
Carters Mountain
Carter’s Mountain is an orchard located right next to Monticello. So worth the trip up there for the views, the apple and peach picking, and the incredible apple cider donuts.
Located about 20 minutes from town (and close to the many vineyards that dot the county surrounding Cville) and in a really gorgeous area with mountain views and pretty countryside, Chile’s Peach Orchard offers a fun and pretty peach picking experience. And then you all can go to one of the vineyards or breweries. Bake a peach cobbler in the kitchen when you get back to the house!
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Chiles Peach Orchard
1351 Greenwood Road
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Located about 20 minutes from town (and close to the many vineyards that dot the county surrounding Cville) and in a really gorgeous area with mountain views and pretty countryside, Chile’s Peach Orchard offers a fun and pretty peach picking experience. And then you all can go to one of the vineyards or breweries. Bake a peach cobbler in the kitchen when you get back to the house!
It’s not a mall in the traditional sense- it’s more of an historic city street that’s been blocked off to traffic and lined with bricks- and it’s super fun and a must-do to come down here and stroll. You’ll find tons of eateries, and it’s a safe place to let kids run since there are no cars. There’s always something going on, from street performers to live music (catch Fridays After Five down at the pavilion) to interesting people watching. Get ice cream at Chap’s or gelato at Splendora’s and soak up the lively Cville vibe.
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Downtown Mall
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It’s not a mall in the traditional sense- it’s more of an historic city street that’s been blocked off to traffic and lined with bricks- and it’s super fun and a must-do to come down here and stroll. You’ll find tons of eateries, and it’s a safe place to let kids run since there are no cars. There’s always something going on, from street performers to live music (catch Fridays After Five down at the pavilion) to interesting people watching. Get ice cream at Chap’s or gelato at Splendora’s and soak up the lively Cville vibe.
A great rainy day activity for kids and athletic adults. Who doesn’t love a bunch of trampolines and loud pop music? About a 15 minute drive from the house. Your kids will be TIRED afterwards.
Jump Charlottesville
1005 Gardens Blvd
A great rainy day activity for kids and athletic adults. Who doesn’t love a bunch of trampolines and loud pop music? About a 15 minute drive from the house. Your kids will be TIRED afterwards.
Located just a few blocks from the houses, this park is a great place to bring kids of all ages when you’re looking to burn off some energy. You can run or walk around the perimeter trail while keeping an eye on your kids playing basketball on the court, splashing in the splash grounds, or playing on the play structures. If they bring scooters or bikes, this park is a very safe place for them to ride around the little trails. It’s a city park, but it’s relatively expansive, with beautiful mountain views and plenty of shade.
Belmont Park
725 Stonehenge Ave
Located just a few blocks from the houses, this park is a great place to bring kids of all ages when you’re looking to burn off some energy. You can run or walk around the perimeter trail while keeping an eye on your kids playing basketball on the court, splashing in the splash grounds, or playing on the play structures. If they bring scooters or bikes, this park is a very safe place for them to ride around the little trails. It’s a city park, but it’s relatively expansive, with beautiful mountain views and plenty of shade.
This is a great place to bring your little ones- the toddler and pre-school set will find this place particularly interesting, although older siblings can find ways to amuse themselves there, too. It’s small, but you can kill and hour or two here, and it’s located on the downtown pedestrian mall, so it’s easy to pop in and out of. There’s a little carousel outside of the museum that little kids enjoy.
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Virginia Discovery Museum
524 East Main Street
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This is a great place to bring your little ones- the toddler and pre-school set will find this place particularly interesting, although older siblings can find ways to amuse themselves there, too. It’s small, but you can kill and hour or two here, and it’s located on the downtown pedestrian mall, so it’s easy to pop in and out of. There’s a little carousel outside of the museum that little kids enjoy.
An extensive splash ground for kids, located about a five minute drive from the houses. Bring a towel, a bathing suit, and some water shoes!
Forest Hills Park
1022 Forest Hills Avenue
An extensive splash ground for kids, located about a five minute drive from the houses. Bring a towel, a bathing suit, and some water shoes!
If it’s hot and you want to take your kids swimming, take them to this super fun aquatic park. Slides, a diving board, all sorts of fun stuff, plus a zero entry pool great for little tykes. It can get very crowded, so get there early to get a chair.
Onesty Family Aquatic Center
300 Meade Avenue
If it’s hot and you want to take your kids swimming, take them to this super fun aquatic park. Slides, a diving board, all sorts of fun stuff, plus a zero entry pool great for little tykes. It can get very crowded, so get there early to get a chair.
It’s a vineyard, plus kids can run around. Great place to hang out with the whole family.
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King Family Vineyards
6550 Roseland Farm
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It’s a vineyard, plus kids can run around. Great place to hang out with the whole family.
Sightseeing
I mean. Really. You’re in Charlottesville. Thomas Jefferson’s home is here. It’s beautiful. The gardens and views are overwhelmingly gorgeous. The history virtually oozes off the mountain and spills like lava down over everything. Just go there. There’s a kid-friendly house tour and a kids’ room with fun activities.
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Monticello
931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway
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I mean. Really. You’re in Charlottesville. Thomas Jefferson’s home is here. It’s beautiful. The gardens and views are overwhelmingly gorgeous. The history virtually oozes off the mountain and spills like lava down over everything. Just go there. There’s a kid-friendly house tour and a kids’ room with fun activities.
If you’re in town for a while, it’s worth the hour drive to Crabtree falls, where you hike up a mountain literally right next to a waterfall. I was shocked the first time I saw it- it’s a huge waterfall. Really huge. The climb is steep but groomed. Probably not great for tiny tots but my 8 year old did it easily and happily.
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Crabtree Falls
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If you’re in town for a while, it’s worth the hour drive to Crabtree falls, where you hike up a mountain literally right next to a waterfall. I was shocked the first time I saw it- it’s a huge waterfall. Really huge. The climb is steep but groomed. Probably not great for tiny tots but my 8 year old did it easily and happily.
Go see UVA- particularly the Rotunda and the Lawn. The Rotunda is beautiful and awe-inspiring, and it stands at the head of a gorgeous stretch of old trees and lawn perfect for kids to run around and play frisbee while you attempt to interest them in the myriad architectural styles Thomas Jefferson integrated into the collection of grand faculty homes and student rooms that line The Lawn. Then walk down to The Corner District to soak up the undergrad vibe- there’s tons of eateries and shops. You can pick up some UVA gear (go ‘Hoos!) at Mincer’s.
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The Rotunda
1826 University Avenue
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Go see UVA- particularly the Rotunda and the Lawn. The Rotunda is beautiful and awe-inspiring, and it stands at the head of a gorgeous stretch of old trees and lawn perfect for kids to run around and play frisbee while you attempt to interest them in the myriad architectural styles Thomas Jefferson integrated into the collection of grand faculty homes and student rooms that line The Lawn. Then walk down to The Corner District to soak up the undergrad vibe- there’s tons of eateries and shops. You can pick up some UVA gear (go ‘Hoos!) at Mincer’s.