Charlottesville Gay Bars Guide

Escafe, Charlottesville, VA
photo by Andrew Collins

Progressive, charming, and set in a stunning expanse of the Blue Ridge Mountains just outside Shenandoah National Park, Charlottesville, Virginia is one of the prettiest places for a weekend getaway in the southern Mid-Atlantic region. It's famous as the home of the University of Virginia as well as the presidential homes (now museums) of Thomas Jefferson (Monticello) and James Monroe (Ash Lawn-Highland), with James Madison's Montpelier just a 40-minute drive away. This small city of about 44,000 is just an hour's drive from Virginia's capital city, Richmond, and a 2.5-hour drive from Washington, DC.

Charlottesville Shopping, Dining and Nightlife

Charlottesville has a handsome, tree-shaded pedestrian area known as the Downtown Mall, which abounds with great restaurants, cool cafes, lively nightspots, and interesting shops, and you'll find a number of other gay-friendly hangouts throughout the area. 

Charlottesville's other gay hangout is a private club, Impulse (1417 N. Emmet St.), which although members-only does welcome nonmembers, but there are fees involved, and you must apply first online. The annual cost is $50, or $10 for a monthly membership. You can ask at the door or contact the club ( for more details if you're just visiting briefly.

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