Visitors to Carter Mountain enjoying the sunset and live music.

Fun Local Spaces with Live Music in Charlottesville

July 2, 2024  |  Carter Mountain Orchard, Chiles Peach Orchard, Chiswell Farm & Winery

Category: Local Guides  |  Tags: Charlottesville, Crozet, events

Charlottesville is a little town with a big appetite for music and arts! Whether we’re cheering for world-touring artists at the John Paul Jones Arena, or just feeling the mellow vibes of a local group, there’s always someone playing something in C’ville. The Visit Charlottesville website has a “Concerts & Live Music” page which keeps track of new and exciting events and acts coming to town.

That said, there are so many opportunities to enjoy smaller performers all around this area any day of the week. Often, they’re playing at fun, casual venues that can combine music with food, drinks, or outdoor ambiance. Here are some of our favorite places to enjoy live music in Charlottesville!

Carter Mountain Orchard

There’s no denying we’re partial to our own venue! Carter Mountain’s Thursday Evening Sunset Series is a Charlottesville tradition, and visitors are welcome every Thursday from April to September to savor the sunset from above town. Grab a spot at a table, spread out a blanket, or dance the dusk away, it’ll be a good time regardless!

There’s a new band every week, a variety of food trucks, delicious Carter Mountain Wine, Bold Rock Hard Cider, and the best view you can find at any music venue we’ve heard of. So it’s worth making the trip up the mountain multiple times while you have the chance! We even have season passes available if you want to make it a weekly habit.

The Downtown Mall

Charlottesville's downtown mall at evening.
Photo from Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau

The pedestrian mall is a great space to hang out, shop, or grab a bite, and it’s also a prime source of nightly live music in Charlottesville. The Whiskey Jar features live music almost every night, with regulars like Betty Jo’s Boogie Band on Mondays. Wednesdays and Thursdays have live samba, rumba, and Latin guitar at The Bebedero, while Miller’s has jazz on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. For more of a concert venue feel, The Jefferson regularly hosts big acts and dance parties. The Southern, by contrast, has a more intimate, indie stage feel.

Lots of restaurants and bars have one-off or impromptu performances, so if you have time beforehand, it might be worth taking a stroll and seeing what’s playing! For a more detailed list of smaller performances, check the Cville Scene.

Local Wineries

Chiswell Winery visitors enjoying live music in lawn chairs.

For a more relaxed live music venue, wineries offer comfortable spaces out in nature—and wine, of course! If your ideal live music experience includes chatting with friends and enjoying a drink or two, Charlottesville-area wineries might be perfect for you. The Monticello Wine Trail boasts beautiful mountain sunsets, crisp Virginia breezes, and wineries that are as well known for enjoyable atmospheres as for their award-winning wine.

Just south of town, Eastwood Farm and Winery has regular performances in their Barn venue, including dancing on Saturday nights. The historic Jefferson Vineyards features acoustic performances Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Keswick Vineyards features live music every Saturday, as well as their Wine Down Wednesday series. And near Crozet, all summer long our sister venue Chiswell Farm & Winery features both their Summer Sundown series on Friday evenings and afternoon performances on Sippin’ Sunday. If you’re coming to a Chiswell performance, we recommend packing a picnic to go with your wine!

College and University Concerts

The Charlottesville Symphony performing at UVA's Old Cabell Hall.
Photo from the Department of Music, University of Virginia

Every school year, Charlottesville’s population grows by a lot, and there’s a good amount of world-class musicians among those students and faculty! UVA’s Department of Music features over a hundred concerts every year from dozens of local and visiting ensembles. These concerts are perfect ways to show visiting relatives live music in Charlottesville while touring the University’s gorgeous Grounds. It’s not just classical music either, with jazz, choral, and even a computer ensemble performing throughout the year.

Neighboring Piedmont Virginia Community College also boasts a full-featured performance season, including dance and folk music. While both schools have more traditional sit-down music venues for quieter performances, their beautiful outdoor spaces and convenient locations mean they’re a relaxing way to spend an evening with friends and family.

The Ting Pavilion

The Ting Pavilion in downtown Charlottesville.
Photo from Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau

Located at the east end of the Downtown Mall, the Ting Pavilion is an iconic Charlottesville landmark that frequently hosts out-of-town bands and local acts. Its unique blend of covered seats and lawn viewing combines the best of open-air and interior concerts. Best of all, being on the Downtown Mall means you can count on dinner and a show!

Fridays After Five is a free concert series that runs all summer, starting at 5:30 PM. The musical acts are local artists, and concessions benefit local non-profits, which is why Fridays after Five has a well-deserved decades-long reputation as a Charlottesville institution.

Crozet Breweries and Orchards

Visitors at Chiles Peach Orchard during an evening concert.

Grown from a rural farming community, the small town of Crozet is a unique cultural destination just west of Charlottesville. The famous breweries and orchards that pepper Crozet’s lovely Blue Ridge foothills also regularly host local and out-of-town musicians. Whether you call Crozet home, or you’re planning an impromptu evening out from Charlottesville, it’s a music-lover’s place to be!

When it comes to brewery gigs, the Main Taproom Stage at Pro Re Nata is a well-loved, exciting evening venue on Fridays and Saturdays. Starr Hill Brewery enjoys weekend music as well, plus regular Sunday afternoon performances. If you’re looking for more of a family vibe, Henley’s Orchard features semi-regular live performances, especially during HenleyFest in fall. Chiles Peach Orchard has live performances from 1–4 PM, May–October, every Saturday and Sunday.

An orchard is an especially fun place to enjoy live music near Charlottesville, because there’s so much to do! Spaces without concert ticketing like Chiles Peach Orchard have a drop-in, drop-out atmosphere perfect for grabbing a snack, playing an outdoor game, or even picking your own fruit before, during, or after the performance. An afternoon visit to a Crozet brewery or orchard could easily turn into an all-day adventure!

Charlottesville might be a quiet city most of the time, but we get loud when we want to! So make a plan to see some live music this week by check out our calendar. There are all sorts of events being planned at Carter Mountain and other Chiles Family Orchards that might catch your fancy. We hope to see you soon!