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Virginia Basketball Gameday Guide: Where to eat, drink, and visit

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Traveling to Charlottesville for a game? Check out these spots.

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Virginia
Charlottesville is the best.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

With six days left until basketball season (and not one too many), it's time to look at how to make the most of a day/weekend trip to Charlottesville to see the Hoos.

Food

The centerpiece of any trip to Charlottesville, sports-related or not, is the myriad of choices to eat in town. Luckily, there are many within a reasonable drive of the arena that should serve any fan's needs before tipoff.

The Chicken Strip, as it is affectionately known, is on Route 29-South with Chick-fil-A, KFC, Popeye's, and the great Raising Cane's. While those options (outside of Cane’s) are pretty readily available outside of Charlottesville, it’s a good, quick option. Plus, saying “the Chicken Strip” is always a laugh.

Bodo's is a must as a Charlottesville institution that needs no introduction. Unless you’ve never been, in which case prepare yourself for THE BEST BAGELS IN THE HISTORY OF EVER...not even being a homer.

For something less greasy than fried chicken but with a greater body than Bodo's, try the Bellair Market's deli on Ivy Road on the other side of the bypass.

Heading to the Corner? Marco & Luca Dumplings, Take It Away, Boylan Heights, College Inn, Roots Natural Kitchen, Littlejohn's, and Mellow Mushroom are just the tip of the iceberg as far as your choices go.

Want something a little more upscale? Head toward Monticello and have the fried chicken at Michie Tavern, or if you really want to splurge, go for the prime rib at Aberdeen Barn.

Craving some real Southern flair? Wayside Chicken has been a Charlottesville standby for generations, and Ace Biscuit & Barbecue is regionally-known. Also on 29 South is Hoo's Barbecue, which closes at 3 p.m. during the week and 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (it's closed Sundays).

History/Sightseeing

If you haven’t been to Monticello - or haven’t been in a while - it’s definitely worth the trip. The tours are interesting, the grounds of the property are gorgeous, and kids can get in for just $9 each. Give yourself at least two hours to see everything, and the UNESCO World Heritage site is open year round.

If the weather is nice, a trip to Carter Mountain Orchard is a must. Close to Monticello, the orchard varies its offerings based on the season, so you can gather your own pumpkins or apples...or just drink cider.

Like hiking? Well, Charlottesville is the place for you. Humpback Rock and Old Rag are great hikes, but can be challenging.

Vineyards/Breweries/Distilleries

Ohhhhh man the Virginia booze scene is on point.

The wineries in the Charlottesville area are nothing short of excellent. Some ‘must-visit’ include Barboursville Vineyards, King Family Vineyards, and Veritas.

More of a beer fan? Check out South Street Brewery, Starr Hill Brewery, Champion Brewery, or Devil’s Backbone Brewery.

If you like the hard stuff, Virginia Distillery Company and Silverback Distillery (Afton).