The Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (CHO
) welcomes about 50 puddle-jumpers per day, and is conveniently located at the north end of town. Delta Connection, United Express, and US Airways Express all fly to CHO, but you’ll pay a premium for these flights. Look for better deals into Richmond (RIC—about 90 minutes east of Charlottesville) or the DC-area airports, which are about a 2-3 hour drive north of town. If you do fly into CHO, there will be a line of cabs waiting to take you to your destination when you arrive, or check to see if your hotel runs a free shuttle. But because Charlottesville is kind of a sprawling city, you’re most likely going to want a car for your visit. Avis, Hertz, and National are all located at the airport.
The Charlottesville Amtrak Station
) is located at 810 West Main Street, right in the heart of Charlottesville. It’s served by the Cardinal, Crescent, and Northeast Regional lines. We’ve had a lot of luck getting really cheap train tickets to and from town—be sure to ask for the AAA and senior citizen discounts, if you think you qualify.
Just down the road from the train station is the Charlottesville Greyhound Station, also on West Main Street. Another bus option is the Starlight Express, a luxury bus that runs from Charlottesville to New York City for $109 one way. It’s not a bad ride, but usually Amtrak is cheaper by 10-20%.
Charlottesville doesn’t have much in the way of public transit, but what it does have is pretty good. The city buses will get you to and from all the main neighborhoods for $0.75 per ride (kids under 5 ride free). We wouldn’t recommend relying on the buses for everything, though—many of the best tourist attractions will require a car. For getting around between UVA and downtown, take the FREE Trolley. It runs every 15 minutes Monday through Saturday, and every half hour on Sundays. As the name suggests, it’s free!
People usually only take cabs in Charlottesville to get to and from the airport, but if you need one, there are plenty of options. We like Wahooptie
(434) 249-TAXI because they’re funky, and Cville Yellow Cab 434-295-4131, because all their cabs have funny slogans on the back. During the holidays and certain special events in Charlottesville, the Chandler Law Group
sponsors free cab rides for folks who are too drunk to drive. If you are out on the town and realize you’ve partied a little harder than you intended, call a cab company and ask if this service is available. The UVA Student Council also offers a similar service for students.
Residents and visitors alike will tell you that traffic, especially on Rt. 29, is Charlottesville’s biggest woe. Unfortunately, no great public transit system and a sprawling city layout means you’ll need a car to get around. One thing to note about driving in Charlottesville—because there are frequent lights and very long waits, local drivers are conditioned to zoom through yellow lights, and generally the first two cars after a light turns red will go through as well. We would never advise breaking traffic laws, but beware that no one in Charlottesville is prepared to stop at a yellow, and you might get rear ended if you do. Despite this bizarre city-wide driving custom, most drivers are otherwise courteous and not aggressive. Another thing that’s tricky about driving in Charlottesville is that there really isn’t much of a grid, and whoever named all the roads was probably on some sort of bender at the time. Every main road changes names at least three times in the city, and some of the roads that have the same name don’t connect at all. We strongly recommend using a GPS if you’re not familiar with the roads here. The good news is that almost everything sprouts out from 29, and it’s a small enough town that you can never get too lost.