• July 20, 2023
  • Lauren Critzer
  • 0

Charming Charlottesville: Your Ultimate Guide to Unique Souvenirs

Welcome to a journey of discovery, where you can find delightful keepsakes that encapsulate the spirit of Charlottesville, Virginia. We’ve carefully curated this guide with both well-known and lesser-known gems for the perfect souvenirs.

The History-laden Downtown Mall

Settled in the heart of charming Charlottesville, the Downtown Mall offers a unique shopping experience. This vibrant, outdoor promenade throbs with life, resounding with echoes of the city’s earliest history — a truly infectious atmosphere. Here’s what you can explore:

Rock Paper Scissors

The Rock Paper Scissors shop is an aesthetically pleasing hub supporting local makers. It is overflowing with creatively designed, handcrafted and specially curated stationery that can tantalize those drawn to the printed word. Housed in a cute brick-front store, its shelves feature a myriad of items:

  • Beautiful journals inspired by Virginia’s scenic landscapes
  • Unique greeting cards capturing local Charlottesville charm
  • Supplies to manifest your creativity, such as curated art supplies and DIY kits.

Shenanigans Toy Store

For the enthusiasts of history who prefer a tangible piece of the past, the Shenanigans Toy Store is your paradise. With a variety of historical playscapes and toys representative of Virginia’s colorful history, these items make for some truly educational and unique souvenirs:

  • Character figurines inspired by salient points in Virginia’s historical timeline
  • Strategy games framed around key events from early American history.

An Artist’s Paradise in McGuffey Art Center

Steeped in history, the McGuffey Art Center was once a historic primary school and is now home to artists’ studios where they craft and sell their unique artwork. Here are a couple spots to discover:

Welcome Gallery

Welcome Gallery is a vibrant space showcasing a vast range of locally produced art, representing Charlottesville’s rich cultural heritage. Here you will find:

  • Unique, handmade crafts that reflect the local vibe and artistry
  • Art prints representing the beautiful landscapes and cityscapes of Charlottesville
  • Titles by local authors offering an avant-garde take on Virginia’s literary scene.

Lynne Goldman Elements Studio

Lynne Goldman Elements Studio is a treasure trove for accessory aficionados. This studio offers a unique collection of handcrafted jewelry that reflects the city’s subtle elegance. Its bespoke pieces are each a piece of wearable art:

  • The sterling silver Virginia pendant necklace is a tasteful ode to the state.
  • Their handwoven beaded earrings and necklaces are inspired by the vivid colors of Virginian flora.

The Charm of Virginia Wineries

Charlottesville’s wine scene frames an idyllic picture with the Blue Ridge mountains in the backdrop. This flourishing region houses numerous vineyards known for their world-class wines.

Barboursville Vineyards

Barboursville Vineyards is a picturesque estate steeped in Virginia winemaking history. Boasting an exquisite wine selection representing unique regional flavors, a bottle from here is the perfect souvenir to reflect your palate adventures:

  • Try their Octagon, the flagship Bordeaux blend offering an emblematic taste of Virginia’s viticultural prowess.
  • For a sweeter memory, their Paxxito dessert wine exudes an exquisite blend of Moscato and Vidal grapes.

King Family Vineyards

King Family Vineyards pairs winemaking with engaging activities like polo matches. Take home a quirky Charlottesville souvenir such as a polo-themed artifact:

  • Wine glasses etched with polo players are a hit among visitors.
  • Their wine stoppers featuring equestrian toppers are perfect for maintaining your wine’s freshness while reminding you of the fun times.

Treasures at The Virginia Shop

Found in Barracks Road Shopping Center, The Virginia Shop is a trove of products that carry the Virginia essence. Every corner of this shop is littered with authentic Charlottesvillean and Virginian merchandise.

Missing UVA Student Pack

Known for its amusing ‘Missing UVA Student Pack’, this collection is filled with goodies that will remind anyone of their time in Charlottesville:

  • Fun UVA t-shirts and accessories
  • Humorous books and guides related to University life
  • Quaint college town memorabilia that harken back to your school days.

Food Offerings

The Virginia Shop is also a gateway to the state’s culinary culture:

  • Nibble on their famous Virginia peanuts, a crunchy memory of your travels.
  • Don’t forget to take home locally-made jams, showcasing flavors inspired by Virginia’s fruit orchards.
  • Take the heat home with local hot sauces, embodying the spice of Charlottesville.

Musical Mementos from The Corner

Located near University of Virginia, The Corner is a lively student haunt brimming with shops, restaurants, and rich local music culture.

Melody Supreme

A must-visit for any music lover, Melody Supreme is a vinyl enthusiast’s heaven. It houses an extensive collection of records across varied genres:

  • Find vinyl of popular local bands such as Dave Matthews Band or Sons of Bill for a melodious Charlottesville souvenir.
  • Discover the unique blend of Charlottesville’s various music influences in records from folk to jazz.

The University of Virginia Bookstore

At The University of Virginia Bookstore, the music section is a known spot for students and locals:

  • Sheet music composed by students and local artists
  • Biographies of local musicians provide an in-depth understanding of the city’s musical landscape.

Exploring Monticello: A Historic Keepsake

No visit to Charlottesville would be thorough without stepping into Monticello, the beautiful home of America’s third president, Thomas Jefferson.

The Monticello Shop

The Monticello Shop offers an array of keepsakes that can appeal to history buffs:

  • Range of history books revealing Jefferson’s life and times
  • Replicas of Monticello artifacts like Jefferson’s signature polygraph machine.

Heirloom Seeds

Before you leave, don’t forget to pick up a packet or two of heirloom seeds, the very same varieties that Jefferson himself cultivated in his gardens!


Charlottesville’s unique souvenirs reflect the essence of the vibrant city. Whether it’s a piece of handcrafted local art, a bottle of exquisite Virginia wine, or a historical keepsake from Monticello, you can carry back a little piece of Charlottesville with you to treasure forever! This guide aims to equip you with all the information you need to uncover the best of Charlottesville. So, what are you waiting for? Embark on your souvenir hunt and create memories that will last a lifetime!

Lauren Critzer

I was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and after college, I moved to San Francisco to explore new opportunities and broaden my horizons. I fell in love with the city's vibrant culture and unique atmosphere, but eventually, I moved again, this time to Austin, Texas.

As much as I loved living in different parts of the country, having a baby boy brought me back to my hometown in Charlottesville, where I now live with my husband, our little one, and two furry friends. I enjoy going to wineries, taking my pups everywhere, and spending quality time with my family.

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