The outdoor “Downtown Mall” is chock-o-block with venues. To be near the action, stay at the three-story Victorian 200 South Street Inn, right, (from $160). Request room 18 on the second floor, which is insulated from downtown’s rumbling trains. Fuel your night of living like a rock star at Asian-tapas restaurant Bang!, across the street (213 Second St. SW, 434-984-BANG).
Rub elbows with performers at the Omni Hotel (from $169), a three-star high-rise, popular with headliners at the state-of-the-art John Paul Jones Arena — named after a donor, not the bassist. If Keith Urban, Phil Lesh and Bruce Springsteen sightings are nil (they’re all playing the arena this spring/summer), take solace in the indoor and outdoor pools, seven pillows on the beds, and the unparalleled location on the Mall.
For easy access to the University of Virginia’s nightlife strip, “The Corner,” check into the Dinsmore House Inn (from $119), an exquisitely preserved bricked colonial. If you plan on finding an afterparty, request the Veranda Room for its private entrance.
Three blocks away on Elliewood Avenue restaurants such as Coupe DeVille’s and the Buddhist Biker Bar, above, let the party spill outside, at the latter on a generous fenced front lawn, with live reggae, blues or rock most nights.
WHERE TO EAT