University of Virginia

Top choice in The Piedmont

Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, and designed what he called an 'Academical Village' embodying the spirit of communal living and learning. At the heart of this 'village' is the Lawn, a large gently sloping grassed field fringed by columned pavilions, student rooms, the Standford White–designed Old Cabell Hall (1898) and Jefferson's famous Rotunda, modelled on Rome's Pantheon. Together, the original neoclassical and Palladian-style university buildings and Jefferson's Monticello comprise a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Free, student-led guided tours ( of the original university and lawn depart daily from the Rotunda at 10am, 11am and 2pm during the school year (September to April).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Piedmont attractions

1. Rotunda

The centerpiece of UVA is the Jefferson-designed Rotunda, modelled after Rome's Pantheon and constructed between 1822 and 1832. It has always functioned…

2. Fralin Art Museum

0.18 MILES

Known for Jean Arp's huge Oriform sculpture (1977), which commands attention in front of the museum, the UVA's art gallery stages temporary exhibitions on…

3. Monticello

3.29 MILES

The house at Monticello is an architectural masterpiece designed and inhabited by Thomas Jefferson, founding father and third US president, who spent 40…

4. Jefferson Vineyards

4.41 MILES

Located between Monticello and James Monroe's Highland, this winery harvests from its namesake's original 1774 vineyard site. It also hosts outdoor…

5. James Monroe's Highland


This historic site was the home of James Monroe (the fifth US president) and his wife Elizabeth from 1799 to 1823; recent excavations have identified the…

6. Blenheim Vineyards

7.18 MILES

Blenheim is owned by musician Dave Matthews, who in some ways – what with his folkie-preppie vibe and eternal gap-year sunniness, and the fact that he…

7. Our Lady of the Angels

8.59 MILES

The cows living near this secluded, verdant and peaceful Trappist monastery must be happy – their milk is so sweet that the nuns at the monastery are…

8. Pippin Hill

9.96 MILES

Wonderful views over the rolling plateau of the Piedmont await you at this exemplar of sustainable viticulture. The restaurant has an unapologetically…