Even more than most American cities that date back to the 18th century, Charlottesville is notable for its architecture, thanks once again in large part to Thomas Jefferson.

Monticello , Jefferson’s real masterwork (the Declaration of Independence was pretty good too), is a sprawling Roman neoclassical mansion just outside of Charlottesville itself. Now operated as a museum and historical site, Monticello, which was designed from cellar to ceiling by Jefferson himself, is a striking, expertly maintained piece of living history and a testament to the enduring village of one of America's most magnetic public figures.

Also Jefferson-designed, the University of Virginia ’s Rotunda, a stately domed neoclassical structure, is the crown jewel of UVA’s Lawn, the heart of Jefferson’s “Academical Village” and one of the university’s most enduring landmarks. Also around The Lawn’s green, manicured grounds are the Stanford White-designed Old Cabell Hall and a number of charming old dorm buildings.  

Just down the street from Monticello is Ash Lawn-Highland , the home of Jefferson’s friend and fellow former President James Monroe. Though not as immediately awe-inspiring as Jefferson’s nearby abode, Monroe’s home—a fully restored 550-acre estate and plantation—is full of character, and its grounds are still beautifully landscaped.