Charlottesville has two primary tourist neighborhoods: the area surrounding the University of Virginia "The Corner"; and the historic center of the city often referred to as "Downtown". The two are connected by a street that has seen quite a bit of redevelopment in recent years and is almost an area of its own these days, "West Main Street."

Each of these sections has good restaurants and some shopping. Most restaurants and shops, however, are located in Downtown on the pedestrian mall.

Several primarily residential neighborhoods are also within the Charlottesville City limits - some of these are: Belmont, a historic neighborhood with shot-gun style homes and lots of charm close to Downtown; Woolen Mills, an up-and-coming neighborhood with semi-industrial edges; and Greenbrier, a 60s-era neighborhood with all-brick homes that are mainly ranch or split-level. Park Street, just north of Downtown, is home to many of the oldest (and some of the grandest) houses in the city.

The counties surrounding Charlottesville are experiencing the rapid growth of housing developments that is occuring in many other regions of the country. Albemarle is the largest of these, and includes the popular towns of Ivy, Crozet, and Scottsville (to name a few) in which many people live and commute to Charlottesville for work. Fluvanna County is home to one of the most reasonably priced developments and a popular place to live for young families and retirees alike: Lake Monticello. Forest Lakes, a development in Albemarle County that is north of Charlottesville, is also very popular. Other nearby counties include: Louisa, Nelson, and Augusta.