Charlottesville, Virginia

Best Places to Retire in Virginia


Charlottesville (population 45,000) is in central Virginia within the gentle rolling hills of the Piedmont Plateau. It is located 70 miles northwest of Richmond, and 110 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. The city is minutes from the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains with its well-known Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, and Shenandoah National Park. The area offers backpacking and hiking, stunning mountaintop views, ski resorts, golf, and other outdoor activities such as fishing, canoeing, rafting or horseback riding. Charlottesville is also home to the University of Virginia, which is consistently rated as one of the most outstanding schools in the nation. The university’s presence ensures a culturally rich environment for the city as well as bringing big-time college sporting events to city.

Charlottesville has about 30 dining choices from up-scale restaurants to fast food. The Downtown Mall, which is at the heart of downtown, has a good number of restaurants and an abundance of specialty shops. The city maintains 25 parks with a wide range of amenities, including playgrounds, hiking trails, picnic areas, golf courses, tennis courts, gymnasiums, and swimming pools.

The Charlottesville area is rich in political history and not far from the city are the homes of Presidents Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, and James Madison. There are also numerous Civil War battlefields in the area. The grape business is currently the fastest growing agricultural industry in the region and 13 local vineyards offer tours. You will also see some of the estimated 13,000 horses that are stabled in the county on its many horse farms. One of the signature events is the Foxfield Races, steeplechase horse races held each April and September.

Arts & Culture

The Second Wind Band is a band made up of more than 60 seniors who are age 50 or better. It is affiliated with a national group called New Horizon Bands which includes approximately 50 bands across the country. The band plays music typical of municipal bands over the past 50 years — marches, musical comedy, and ballads, etc.

The Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra offers a five-concert series featuring masterworks of the orchestral repertoire. All performances are in Cabell Hall at the University of Virginia.

The Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival presents a music program featuring outstanding artists from around the world. Concerts are at the Jefferson Theater and the Walker Fine Arts Center at Woodberry Forest School, near Orange, Virginia.

Piedmont Council of the Arts is a regional organization dedicated to advancing the presence of the arts. Its Web site includes a comprehensive listing of special events, including theater, dance, music and exhibitions.

The Ash Lawn Opera Festival Company presents opera and musical theater. It performs in the summer months at Boxwood Gardens of Ash Lawn-Highland, home of President James Monroe.

The Shenandoah Shakespeare company performs at Blackfriars Playhouse, Staunton, Virginia

Heritage Repertory Theatre is the University of Virginia’s Department of Drama’s professional repertory theatre and has been around since the mid-1970s.

The Youth Orchestra of Charlottesville-Albemarle is comprised of two orchestras: The Youth Orchestra, with about 50 members of high school-age, and the Rita M. Evans Orchestra, with about 65 members who are less experienced players.

The Westminster Organ Concert Series, performed at Westminster Presbyterian Church, offers the organ in combination with other instruments and singers in a concert venue. The concerts are open to the public free of charge. The series begins in September each year.

Other resources and cultural opportunities: Live Arts presents live theater at its facility, City Center for Contemporary Arts.
University of Virginia’s Digital Media Lab offers support in the creation of digital media.
Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond –
Virginia Historical Society, Richmond –
Charlottesville Arts & Entertainment Magazine –
Skyline Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines –

Annual events include:
The Dogwood Festival (April) – Barbecue, concert, fashion show, parade and fireworks.
Historic Garden Week (April) – Tour of local city and country house and gardens. African American Festival (July) Monticello Wine and Food Festival & Bacchanalian Feast (October)
Foxfield Races (April and September) Steeplechase horse races.
Summer Festival Ash Lawn Highland (June, July, and August) Operas, musicals, and family performances.
Albemarle Country Fair (August-September)
Virginia Film Festival (October) Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival (October)

Jefferson Madison Regional Library has a circulation of 1.6 million, with two branches in the city. Central Library has 1.6 million volumes. Alderman Library is the main library at the University of Virginia with over 1.1 million books and 14.2 million manuscripts. University of Virginia Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library –


There are several fine golf courses in the area, including Birdwood Golf Course, one of the top 10 collegiate courses in the country.
Others include: Laurel Ridge –
Glenmore Country Club –
Wintergreen Resort –

Charlottesville operates 25 parks covering 890 acres and six recreational centers. Its facilities include playgrounds, picnic shelters, athletic fields, gymnasiums, golf courses and swimming pools.

Albemarle County Parks and Recreation maintains nine parks covering about 2,000 acres and includes four lakes. Facilities include picnic shelters, hiking trails, boating, and swimming. Active programs include dance and fitness classes, tennis and swimming lessons, soccer and baseball camps, and playground programs.


University of Virginia, the “academical village” established by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, has a rich history and ranks among the very best public universities in the nation. The university offers 48 Bachelor’s degrees in 46 fields of study. Enrollment is approximately 13,000 undergraduate students and 4,600 graduate students. There are nearly 500 on-campus continuing education students.

Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville is a state-supported two-year non-residential college academic offering a wide range of Associate degrees and workforce development programs. Current enrollment is approximately 4,300 students.

Senior Programs

Second Wind Band is a senior’s band of more than 60 members. (See “Arts and Culture” section above.)

The Charlottesville Senior Center offers recreational and educational programs, including games, book reviews, travelogues, musicals, ceramic classes, arts and crafts, parties, picnics, and out-of-town trips.

The Jefferson Area Board of Aging provides full information and a wide array of services dealing with the aging process. (434) 978-3644

The Charlottesville Transit System operates six days a week and traverses the whole city and parts of the county. All buses contain wheelchair lifts, and reduced fares are available for elderly and disabled citizens.


The University of Virginia Health System is among the top teaching facilities and provides excellent medical facilities, including a 591-bed hospital, a Level 1 trauma center and outpatient clinics throughout Charlottesville. Specialist centers include children’s health, women’s health, cancer, coronary, neurosciences, and digestive diseases.

Martha Jefferson Hospital is a regional non-profit community hospital with 200 beds and a medical staff of over 325 physicians. It is most noted for its Cancer Care Center, Women’s Health Center, the Endoscopy Center and other outpatient services.


The Charlottesvile Albemarle Airport offers approximately 60 non-stop flights daily to and from Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York (LaGuardia), Washington (Dulles), Cincinnati, and Atlanta. The airport is conveniently located eight miles north of the city.


Charlottesville has mild winters, and mild and humid summers. The mean temperature from June through August is 75 degrees and December through February is 37 degrees. Annual rainfall is 47 inches and average snowfall is 24 inches.


Charlottesville Daily Progress –

Property Taxes

State Taxes

Chamber of Commerce

State Aging Agency


Waynesboro – 27 miles
Staunton (I-81) – 39 miles
Richmond – 70 miles
Williamsburg – 123 miles
Norfolk – 164 miles
Washington, DC – 110 miles

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