Shop Small: Where to Shop Locally in Charlottesville, VA

Charlottesville, Virginia is best known for its University of Virginia campus and for being home to two former presidents of the United States. Over the years, the city has evolved, offering a vibrant food scene, as well as a large number of diverse local businesses. There’s even a thriving arts community just outside of town.

Shopping in Charlottesville, and shopping locally in general, helps build a welcoming, welcoming and fun community. Consumer support also helps keep a large number of Charlottesville residents employed and encourages other businesses to locate in town. The push to buy locally has been strong for this reason. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the thriving small businesses Charlottesville has to offer.

The downtown shopping center

Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall is a city staple, offering over 120 shops and over 30 restaurants. The mall spans the length of Main Street and includes restored historic buildings and a few modern buildings as well. In the middle of the mall is a beautifully paved brick walkway that makes the space easily navigable. Parking is easy to manage, with multiple lots and garages surrounding the mall. UVA students and their families can also take advantage of a free trolley service that takes you downtown.

Dozens of restaurants along the Downtown Mall offer everything from gourmet sandwiches to burger bars, bars and more. The Fitzroy is a classic bar where you can enjoy classic cocktails and upscale bar fare in a stunning interior. Another popular spot, The Southern offers rock fans a place to catch local and national acts most nights of the week. It has a basement rock-club vibe with a cafe-style menu.

Foodies who prefer a more diverse menu flock to options like Himalayan Fusion, which offers Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine. There’s also Cinema Taco, a movie-themed Mexican restaurant, Ten, a Japanese restaurant famous for its sake thefts, or Fleur, a French fine-dining option.

Between the delicious dining options, there are over a hundred shops to visit in the Downtown Mall. Shoppers who want more unique, one-of-a-kind items should head over to Low Vintage. Low Vintage is a curated thrift store with vintage clothing, records, and other eclectic items. Book lovers won’t want to miss 2nd Act Books, a massive second-hand bookstore run by a retired UVA professor, with a community space and occasional author readings. The majestic looking Oyster House Antiques is the perfect stop for anyone looking for traditional antique Chinese furniture, all selected and restored by the owner.

West Main Street

You could eat all your meals in one day along West Main Street. Historically part of the Three Notch’d Road, vital for traveling through Virginia in the 1800s, this street runs between UVA and the Downtown Mall, a prime location that led to its rapid revitalization. West Main Street now has a wide variety of restaurants and shops.

Today, you can find restaurants like the Blue Moon Diner. Once The Waffle Shop in the 1950s, this classic American restaurant is now a casual spot where you can enjoy your morning breakfast. Maya is a restaurant and bar that offers upgraded versions of southern dishes like shrimp and grits, fried oysters, and key lime pie. There’s also Tavern & Grocery, a local farm-to-table restaurant with a speakeasy in the basement.

Although you will find a number of hotels on this strip, largely due to the proximity to UVA, the restaurants dominate as you proceed down the street. The famous Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar will be any Italian food lover’s dream. Just on the outskirts of the city center, the menu consists of Italian, Spanish, Greek and French dishes. Next door is a Mexican restaurant called Little Star. Using local ingredients cooked over an open fire, the chef creates beautiful, photo-worthy plates.

Crozet Artisan Depot

Artists and artisans will thrive at the Crozet Artisan Depot. Less than 30 minutes from downtown Charlottesville, “The Depot” is a gallery and studio that hosts openings, workshops and art demonstrations. It is housed in a historic railway depot, with works by more than 80 artists covering its walls. Local artists of all ages are featured in monthly exhibitions. You can take a look at the 2022 artists here.

For gift shoppers, the Depot offers a variety of art, including painting, pottery, jewelry, photography, and stained glass. Handmade products sold in the Crozet Artisan Depot store change from season to season and may include clocks, hats, scarves, wood carvings and other handcrafted treasures. The Depot also sells locally made honey and jelly and has a Gearharts Fine Chocolates where you can buy handmade chocolates.

The Crozet Artisan Depot’s goal is to blend art and community, giving artists a living simply doing what they do best – and local residents a way to support them while buying unique gifts. and unique.

Do you want more ?

We have only approached a small number of businesses in Charlottesville. However, this small sample should give you a taste of the wide range of businesses located in the city. If you need comprehensive guides to the city and its local attractions, we have some suggested local directories below:

  • Shop local Charlottesville brands: BuyCville allows you to search and shop locally online for products available from Charlottesville businesses. A search experience similar to Amazon, the site makes it easy to find local products.
  • Cville Black Biz Directory: Want to support black-owned businesses in Charlottesville? The Cville Black Biz Directory will connect you with local Black-owned businesses.
  • Visit Charlottesville: The city’s tourist page allows visitors to search for everything from museums to restaurants, bars, hotels and outdoor activities. It also publishes a list of upcoming events.
  • Guide to Charlottesville: Charlottesville.guide allows you to search by activity (restaurants, hotels, catering, etc.). You can find popular locations with short descriptions, as well as parking notes and hours of operation.
  • daily progress: Charlottesville’s newspaper, The Daily Progress has a local store section that allows you to search through businesses and find contact information and location. There are virtually every business in town listed here.

Source: Google Maps

The bottom line

When you shop locally and support businesses like the ones in Charlottesville, you’re helping support the nation’s workforce. Small businesses make up over 99% of all businesses in the United States, and without them it would be difficult to grow and sustain communities. Plus, we wouldn’t have any of the unique local creations that often come from these companies. Swiping your card at local businesses on Small Business Saturday is an important step in helping those businesses thrive, but don’t forget to continue this support throughout the year as well.

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