The University of Virginia (UVA) is an esteemed academic institution that was founded by Thomas Jefferson, a founding father of the nation and the third president of the United States. The university’s sports teams are known as the Cavaliers, but fans refer to them as the “Wahoos” or “Hoos.” At sporting events, you’ll see CavMan, the university’s mascot.
There are 27 varsity teams at the University of Virginia. Football games are played at Scott Stadium, which has seated 61,000 people since the stadium was renovated in 2000. The stadium was originally built in 1930 and had 22,000 seats, but the venue has been renovated and expanded several times since then. Scott Stadium’s largest attendance (64,947) occurred in 2008 during a game against the Trojans from the University of Southern California.
The Cavaliers are competitive in many sports, and they are members of the Coastal Division of Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), which is part of the NCAA’s FBS subdivision. The ACC has several great football teams, but they are considered more of a basketball powerhouse, with four ACC teams winning the men’s basketball national championship, and the Cavaliers took the trophy home in 2019.
However, the Cavaliers are no slouch on the football field, having won the ACC’s Coastal division in 2019. The football team has major rivalries with in-state rival Virginia Tech, and conference rivals such as North Carolina and Florida State. Since many students come from the Washington D.C. area which borders Virginia and Maryland, the Cavaliers also have a big rivalry with Maryland.
The University of Virginia has a large stadium with plenty of seating for all, and tickets are reasonably priced. On average, tickets cost around $30, but they sometimes can be found for less. Factors such as the opposing team and seating location may increase the price of the tickets. At the John Paul Jones Arena where the Cavaliers basketball team plays, tickets are around $40 on average.
Charlottesville is located a bit north of Virginia’s center, and it is near Richmond, which is the state’s capital. If you’re traveling from Richmond, take I-64 northbound which should lead you directly to Charlottesville. Washington D.C. is two hours north of Charlottesville. The flow of traffic changes before and after the game, so pay attention to road signs and traffic police. The remote, mountain community is loaded with historical features and natural settings, which also means that roads may be curvy or narrow is some areas off of the main highway.
There are plenty of parking lots around the stadium, and there are free parking lots that are located further away from the stadium. There is only one RV parking lot at the University of Virginia, and it fills up fast. The Cage Lot is free to park in and opens on gameday mornings. Parking at the Cage Lot is on a first-come,-first-served basis, so get there as early as you can to secure your parking spot.
Fans can take the trolley from Downtown Charlottesville to reach Scott Stadium on gamedays for free; you must show your ticket to the game. The trolley runs for most of the day. The Charlottesville Area Transit’s Route 7, which travels to the stadium, is also available. Near the stadium, guests with mobility issues may ride on the ADA shuttle provided by the university.
The university prohibits any overnight parking, so you’ll have to look elsewhere for a place to camp in Virginia. It’s best to fill up your water and gas tank in case your campground lacks electric or water hookups; a mix of primitive and luxury sites is present in the area.
Worried about finding a place to stay for the night? Don’t be. There are many RV parks and campgrounds within 30 minutes of the university. The Charlottesville KOA is a great campground that is less than 20 minutes south of the university, and it offers many unique amenities. It’s also near many historic attractions such as Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation. For a more secluded stay, you can try staying at Shenandoah National Park.
Apart from the ADA shuttle, the school offers no other shuttle to guests. You’ll have to walk to the stadium, so wear a comfortable pair of shoes and bring a bottle of water, especially if you park far from the venue. There are several elevators available to guests within the stadium, though some are reserved for those with access to the suites.
Dress in comfortable clothing made from breathable fabrics, especially at the start of the season. When the weather begins to cool, pack some warm clothing and dress appropriately. If you wear an extra layer, you can always take it off. Last, but definitely not least, bring your blue and orange Cavaliers apparel to show your school pride.
Most people will agree that charcoal grills are awesome for outdoor cooking, but the university would prefer to not have open flames on its campus. Instead, tailgaters are encouraged to bring a propane grill to do all their cooking. The university only allows propane tanks that are five pounds or smaller, so make sure to remember that and leave those 20-pound tanks at home.
With so much going on at a tailgate, it can be hard to keep track of everyone and everything, but make sure people are being safe. Don’t let people get too close to the grill lest they burn themselves, especially children who may not know how dangerous a hot grill can be. Also, pack a first-aid kit for any bumps or scrapes in your travels.
Though Charlottesville is not that close to the shore, seafood is a big part of Virginia cuisine, so use that to your advantage. Grilled fish is easy to make and delicious, too. Stop at the grocery store first, and see what fresh fish and produce they have. You can also stock up on essentials such as ice, forgotten utensils, beverages, and dessert items.
There are a ton of eateries in Charlottesville to try before or after the game. You can find Italian, Mexican, and Indian restaurants in the area, as well as seafood, steak, and pizza. There are plenty of affordable options as well if you’re looking to save a few dollars. Fish and oysters are highly-rated choices in the community with delicious must-try, seafood dishes.
Ther are several concession stands throughout the stadium that can be found in the concourses, so don’t fill up too much at the tailgate. And, if you want to add to your Cavalier apparel collection, you can shop for merchandise at various stands inside the stadium. Most of the concession stands and merchandise shops accept credit or debit cards.
Scott Stadium prohibits the use of non-clear bags inside the stadium. Any bag larger than a small clutch purse must be see-through or it will not be allowed inside. If you have a medical bag, it is exempt from this rule, but your items will still be inspected. It’s also worth pointing out that re-entry is not allowed.
The weather in Charlottesville during the start of the football season can be warm and a bit humid. The average high temperature in September is 79 degrees, but the weather begins to cool gradually starting in October. Though winters are not bone-chilling, temperatures hover around freezing.
There are three first-aid rooms located inside Scott Stadium, and you can find them in the south, northwest, and northeast sections of the stadium. For any serious medical emergencies, dial 911 immediately or head to the nearest hospital within Charlottesville. The community is fairly remote, so having a few of your own items on hand may also prove very helpful in the event of a minor injury or incident.