Interested in Charlottesville?
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The overall best area to shop in Charlottesville is along the downtown pedestrian mall (in the historic district), and along the adjacent side streets. There are two parking garages in the area, one on Market Street and the other on Water Street. Many shops and restaurants will stamp your parking ticket to provide at least partial payment for parking in the garages. Street parking is available in 2-hour increments free-of-charge along many nearby streets -- check for these in the vicinity of the Main Library.
The downtown area has many unique shops and restaurants - too many to do them all justice here! For those who like stationery and paper goods, check out Rock Paper Scissors on 2nd Street. Chinaberry's has great gifts. Vivian's has wonderful pieces of original art for sale such as stainedglass pieces and desk accessories carved from wood. Thorne & Co. sells beautiful cherry and other hardwood furniture made in the nearby town of Waynesboro that is simply stunning. There are many fun and quirky used book stores to peruse through; carpet stores; independently-owned toy stores; fine art galleries ... really, there's something in every major category. Try http://www.charlottesvillewelcomebook... There is even a cinema and an indoor, public ice-skating rink for those who prefer a shopping alternative.
If you need a snack or a more substantial meal there is a lot to choose from! In fact, too many choices for many people. In the snack category: Locals have lazed away hours at the Mudhouse cafe for years; Chap's makes sumptuous ice cream in dozens of flavors; The $2.50 6-pack of dumplings at Marco & Luca's take-away are always a good choice. For breakfast: The Nook is an old favorite -- great diner-like atmosphere with all the traditional American breakfast favorites. For lunch: Christian's or Sylvia's both have great pizza by-the-slice. Hamilton's also offers a slightly more upscale lunch; they have a wonderful blue plate special for the vegetarians in the family. For dinner: way too many choices, but popular local favorites include Bizou (French-American bistro) and C&O. There are so many other restaurants it seems ridiculous to have mentioned so few, but the above is just a start.
Other popular areas for shopping include: The West Main Street Market and the Barracks Road Shopping Mall. The West Main Street Market (predictably on West Main St.) offers gourmet food stores and restaurants including Gearheart's, Charlottesville's homemade chocolatier. Barracks Road Mall has several national chain stores (Old Navy, Barnes & Noble, etc.) and also a few unique shops to Virginia such as The Happy Cook (culinary supplies, tools, etc.), Plow & Hearth, and Sammy Snacks (gourmet dog and cat food).
Hope you enjoy your visit!