If you go to UVA, you probably think you know all the ins and outs of Grounds, whether it’s where to party or where to find a delicious meal. However, some insider knowledge from these students and alumni will surely make you think twice about how to conduct your social endeavors in the ‘ville.
The Best Ways To Bond
Immediately, you would think hiking Humpback Rock at sunrise is the best way to bond with a friend group (while catching some shots for Instagram, of course.) Believe it or not, there are so many other options you can choose from to make your pals inseparable. Streaking the Lawn, for example, is underrated. “After you take off your knits together, you become a more close knit group,” UVA senior Nikki Turner said.
If you aren’t quite ready to strip all the way down, go sunbathing at the Rivanna River at Riverview Park. “Most people don’t know it exists,” UVA alum Rachel Moffitt said. Another hidden treasure could be a biking excursion down Barracks Road out to Sugar Hollow. “Then park your bikes at the dam and hike to Blue Hole,” UVA senior Will Evans said. There are majestic water falls the entire way there.
The Best Places For Brunch
Hate to break it to you, but it’s not always Bodo’s. If you want an out-of-the-box meal, try Pigeon Hole, where the French toast is to die for. “It’s definitely worth the longer line,” said UVA junior Garret Nekic. Feeling adventurous? Go down to the farmer’s market downtown, open every Saturday morning. “You can get homemade donuts, crepes, juices infused with any herb you could imagine, bagellinis, all kinds of ethnic foods — the list continues,” UVA alum Rachel Moffitt said.
The Best Music Venues
People fall into a routine of going to Boylan Heights to hear live bands, but there are tons of other places that are worth your while. “An awesome way to discover great music from UVA’s very own is going to fraternity houses,” UVA junior Michelle Wang said. Everyone should certainly also visit the Jefferson and the Pavilion, downtown. Amazing artists including Vampire Weekend, Sylvan Esso, Alabama Shakes and Wiz Khalifa have rocked these venues in the past year. “They accommodate pretty big names and you’ll likely have a great spot,” UVA senior Paula Pekic said.
The Best Bars For Both Weekdays and Weekends
Everyone waits in lines at Trinity and Coupe’s out of routine, but they don’t know what they’re missing. Break out of your mundane nightlife by visiting places you’ve never been before. “Miller’s is the best bar. Jazz night on Thursday is the place to be,” UVA alum Robert Miller said. Another dazzling joint is Crozet, especially when the weather’s nice enough to hang on the giant patio. “They have a mix of outdoor and indoor spaces, and their drinks are really good,” UVA junior Ellen McAlexander said.
The Best Restaurants on the Corner
When you’ve had enough of the Virginian’s mac and cheese, you won’t regret expanding your palette by detouring to new diners. Spice up your life with curry or drunken noodles at Lemongrass. “Lemongrass never ceases to transport my taste buds to euphoric dimensions,” UVA junior Ben Laderberg said. An equally awesome option is sits right next door at Revolutionary Soup, which serves delicious dishes made with local meats. Not to mention, they have options for those who have intricate diets. “A vegan, someone with a gluten allergy and a carnivore could all eat there and be super happy,” UVA junior Gillian Lee said.
The Best Outdoor Activities
Humpback Rock also certainly isn’t the only place with a cool summit view. For one, Rip-rap Hollow in southern Shenandoah is breathtaking. “Not many people know about it but it’s a sweet 9.8 mile circuit with three vistas, an awesome waterfall and a swimming hole,” UVA junior Daniel Foley said.
If you’re up for conquering your fears while also catching some UVA rays (pun intended,) hit two birds with one stone at Schuyler Quarry. Many students love taking the 30-foot plunge from the rocks into the water. “It was one of the most fun outdoor things that I’ve done at UVA, and I hate heights. It’s liberating and cool,” UVA junior Jenny Brzezynski said. Last but not least, Hoo said you can’t enjoy nature at nightfall? “Go hammocking outside Hereford. The stars are magnificent,” UVA junior Emily Dennis said.
The Best Clubs Anyone/Everyone Can Join
People fawn over a capella groups and assume they have to become U-Guides to be “involved,” but there are so many organizations at UVA that could always use more members. Without a doubt, all students should volunteer with Madison House, a nonprofit organization designed to give students the chance to give back, at some point during their college careers. “It always gives me a fresh perspective in the midst of stressful weeks and makes me feel more grounded in our greater community,” UVA junior Clara Griff said.
If you have a creative mind and want to meet others who understand your vibes, try the student-run radio station, WXTJ. “It’s a great way to share and learn about new music,” UVA junior Matthew Leon said. Lest we forget we live on a campus that sits in the middle of mountains; also join the outdoors club. The group takes various kayaking and climbing trips on weekends for incredibly cheap costs. If that wasn’t enough, “the campfire jams are on point,” UVA junior Jeff Gray said.