Charlottesville’s 2016 Rankings

It seems every year Charlottesville is awarded recognition of some kind for an aspect of the city that makes it a wonderful place to live. Whether it is the proximity of the Blue Ridge Mountains or the University of Virginia, or the iconic pedestrian mall (one of the only estimated 75 remaining in the U.S.), there are endless remarkable and noteworthy characteristics that define the area and earn the notice of others. Here is a list of all of Charlottesville’s 2016 honors (and one so far for 2017, too!).

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A Sense of Place

The New York Post ranked Charlottesville #3 out of the 15 Best Places to Live in the U.S.

Livability named Charlottesville #21 of the Top 100 Best Places to Live.

Travel+Leisure’s annual America’s Favorite Places survey ranked Charlottesville #23 out of 30 of America’s Favorite Towns. According to their website, “The open-response survey asked respondents to submit their favorite place and rate it in over 65 categories, including affordability, notable restaurants, and public parks.” Charlottesville’s high scores gave a nod to the number and quality of area bookstores and wineries. listed Charlottesville as one of the 10 Hippest Mid-Sized Cities in America.



The American Farmland Trust ranked Charlottesville’s City Market as the #3 farmers market in America in the nationwide People’s Choice category.

Travelocity named Charlottesville one of America’s Best Small Cities for Foodies, specifically highlighting The Clifton Inn, The Local, and The Boar’s Head.

OpenTable named local restaurant Fleurie as one of the 100 Best Restaurants in America.

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HealthLine ranked Charlottesville as one of the top 10 Healthiest Small Towns in the U.S.



College Rank slotted Charlottesville in as #7 out of 50 of The Best College Towns in America.


Business ranked Charlottesville #4 out of 50 Best Cities for Entrepreneurs due to the success of the University of Virginia’s Innovation Laboratory, or “i.Lab,” as it’s known.



About Great Books included Charlottesville on “The Ultimate 50-State Road Trip for Book Lovers” due to the annual Festival of the Book, multiple bookstores, and the historical presence of Edgar Allen Poe and William Faulkner, not to mention the library at Monticello.



Paw Culture ranked Charlottesville #7 on its list of “11 Pet-Friendly Holiday Towns and Cities,” citing the popularity of the downtown pedestrian mall.



And one to grow on…

In January 2017, Expedia named Charlottesville one of the top 17 Places to Visit in 2017 for its mountain views, historic sites, local coffee, shops, and many vineyards.


The 5 Best Pancake Restaurants in Charlottesville, Virginia

For an indulgent breakfast, warm, rich pancakes are hard to beat. While Stone Age cooks were believed to be grinding flour and cooking it in hot patties as long as 30,000 years ago, the first American pancake, or “Johny Cake” as they were once called, appeared in a cookbook in 1796. If you’re looking for modern day pancakes in Charlottesville, VA, be sure to try the wonderful pancake dishes offered at the 5 restaurants below:

1. The Nook

The Nook in downtown Charlottesville is a popular weekend breakfast and brunch spot for good reason. Their breakfast portions are tasty, hardy, and skillfully prepared. With lovely, aged mahogany booths, a bar, and an outdoor café, The Nook, which has been in operation since 1951, is a great breakfast spot (and is open for other meals as well). Their fluffy buttermilk pancakes and full breakfast menu are available all day.

2. Tip Top Restaurant

Tip Top on Pantops also serves breakfast all day, as well as lunch and dinner. With retro diner décor, ample seating, and quick service, Tip Top is a great choice when you need to scratch an itch for old-fashioned, traditional breakfast. Also, if you’re looking for a wide variety of pancakes, they offer buttermilk, buckwheat, corn, chocolate chip, strawberry, banana nut, and pecan.

3. Blue Moon Diner

With breakfast all day and weekend brunch specials, the old school and eclectic Blue Moon Diner on Main St. does breakfast right. They offer their delicious buttermilk griddle cakes in a three-stack or as one single on the side. For a fun surprise addition, the pancakes come topped with powdered sugar that is stenciled into images and portraits from retro and contemporary pop culture. They are also open for lunch and dinner and regularly have local live music in the evenings.

4. Bluegrass Grill and Bakery

Just across the train tracks from the downtown mall lies Bluegrass Grill and Bakery, in The Glass Building, and they’ve been open since 2011. It’s made from scratch fare is very savory, plentiful, and popular; on a weekend morning you may want to get there early and be prepared for a possible short wait. But planning ahead is well worth it, because their rich buttermilk or honey wheat biscuits in stacks of two or four won’t disappoint. Their website shares this description from a review in The New York Times: “hearty southern comfort fare.”

5. The Flat: Takeaway Crêperie

If you prefer thin, sweet crepes to thicker pancakes, The Flat specializes in delicious, warm crepes offered with a variety of savory and sweet fillings.  They are located on the Water St. side of the downtown mall and are open at 11 Friday-Saturday and at 10 on Sunday. Their “Greene Eggs” and “Hangover Relief” breakfast crepes are served all day. The Flat is a charming, compact space and has limited seating, so you may be taking your crepes to go.

Because Charlottesville has such a diverse and thriving restaurant scene, this list is certainly not exhaustive. But hopefully it will give pancake breakfast fans and connoisseurs some good ideas of where to start exploring Charlottesville’s pancake offerings. Enjoy!