Charlottesville, Virginia



The Best Thing About Charlottesville?

Activity To Size Ratio

Charlottesville is a tiny city relative to the things happening here. People from bigger cities complain about it being quiet but considering it is just 40k+ in population it is amazing the culture, energy and social opportunities for young and older. First, you have a pretty vibrant arts scene for artists themselves and those who appreciate art and want to visit galleries and museums. You also have theater, performing arts and sporting events both as part of the school and in town. Finally, you have a really good restaurant, bar and cafe scene both near school and downtown. If you’re 26 and looking for a major city social scene this will seem pretty tame but for a small city this city offers a ton.

Pros from a local: *I'll offer another take.

The median age here is like 31, lots of post docs and grad students etc. You'll find people in your age range to hang with.

Cost of living will seem very cheap to you coming from out west, or it sure did for me.

Dating isn't amazing, but you're within range of DC and Richmond. I won't offer too much personal detail but in my experience this has made a difference.

It is easier to build a network here than a place like the Pacific northwest. That said, COVID times have made it harder. I'd say as that wanes you'll be able to build a social circle more easily.

It is more humid here than the west coast, but noticeably better than DC or Baltimore. I despise humidity and can typically handle it here, though usually not in DC.*

The Worst Thing About Charlottesville?

Price To Size Ratio

There are a lot of college towns in the south that are bigger and more active and have much better housing prices. Charlottesville is small, and a bit fancy in terms of the quality of the housing, lifestyle and the prices that come with that fanciness.

Note from a local on costs: *For cost of living, I had seen that a median 2 bdrm is around $1250 on a number of sites, and a brief look at padmapper seemed to indicate that possibly a low estimate (but possible), with some new apartments going for $1700ish. Does that sound correct?

You could probably find something for $1250 out in the county, but that sounds pretty unlikely in Cville proper. $1700 sounds more accurate to me for a new one bedroom.*

Lifestyle of Charlottesville

Charlottesville, like a lot of smaller college towns, is a bit like a donut with a pretty big hole in the middle. It really works for students and it really works for couples ready to be more chill and families. If you’re young (but out of college) and ready for an active social life then the city can be tricky. There is a fair bit to do, with as noted, museums/galleries, cultural events and good restaurants and bars but it feels a bit more suited near the school for students and the rest of the city for Gen X’ers and families.

Worklife of Charlottesville

The city is working hard to build a tech, biotech and general startup scene but it is not quite there yet to attract a lot of graduates from UVA and other parts of the country. Don’t bet against it in the long run but the growth brings local grumpiness so there’s a lot of local dissatisfaction with the path the city is taking. The problem is you have a mismatch with the housing and the local job market so best to move here as a wfh’er so you aren’t dependent on the local job market in the long run.

Why You Should Move Here Now?

Ground Floor College Boom Town

Charlottesville is a beautiful smaller college town. It's working hard to drive growth and get closer to being a Chapel Hill type of place with a tech scene, and a growing youth population. If you want to get in on the “ground floor” in advance of this happening then move here now.