Local Music Venues in Charlottesville, Virginia

For music enthusiasts who love discovering up-and-coming bands before they become mainstream, Charlottesville is the place to be. From jazz to country, from rock to reggae, there's always something happening inside this college town's music scene. Charlottesville's distinctive, intimate venues afford you a uniquely personal musical experience, often with the opportunity to hang with the musicians and learn a little bit about their influences and visions. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the scene to get the most out of your music experience.

The Garage - First Street across from Lee Park

The Garage may well be one of the coolest music venues you'll ever encounter. It's actually a one-car garage art space, where local and regional Indie bands play for free. Listeners sit across the street on the edge of Lee Park.

Because this is an outdoor venue without cover, be sure to plan appropriately. Dress in layers and take precautions to avoid chiggers and mosquitoes.

Lee Park does allow leashed dogs, so if your pooch appreciates great music, bring him along. Just remember that not everybody loves dogs, so sit to the far back or side so that Fido doesn't spoil the experience for anyone else.

Be aware that you'll be sitting within the boundaries of a Charlottesville city park and that park regulations ban alcohol outside of shelters.

The Southern Café and Music Hall - 103 South 1st St.

The Southern Café and Music Hall is located on the (open-air) historic downtown mall. It has two distinct spaces – the restaurant/bar and the music hall. Musicians are a good mix of local, regional and touring bands.

For the most part, this music venue has very limited seating which is on a first-come, first-served basis. So be sure to wear comfortable shoes and plan on standing for the show.

There is no smoking allowed anywhere within either venue space, but your wristband will allow you to go outside and then re-enter.

Head out early and work up an appetite strolling around the mall's brick-lined promenade. It's a great way to soak up a little of Charlottesville's eclectic and artsy culture.

Fellini's #9 - 200 W. Market St.

Fellini's is a restaurant that offers live music six nights a week. It's a great spot for date night or, depending on the band, a lively and entertaining family get-together.

Although Fellini's has live music from 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, they stop serving dinner at 10:00 p.m. So if you're a night owl wanting to catch a late dinner and some good tunes, be sure you're in the door in time to order before the kitchen closes.

Fellini's can get crowded, especially when a popular band is playing. Luckily, they do take reservations, so be prepared and call ahead.

Because Fellini's is a restaurant that has live music rather than a music venue that serves food, expect to encounter a lot of families. It's probably not the best place for that bachelorette party or 21st birthday celebration.

Cherri Megasko has lived in Central Virginia for several years. In addition to Parachute she has written for Yahoo Travel and her personal travel blog, Bucket List Travel Club.