Monticello Activities: What to See and Do

What to See and Do at Monticello

Thomas Jefferson

History-loving guests staying at the Iris Inn know that visiting Monticello a must-see! The house itself is a marvel of ingenuity, but there are more Monticello activities you may not have thought of.

Definitely grab a day pass and house tour ticket and see Jefferson’s ingenuity at work. This pass includes a tour of Monticello, a guided tour of what slavery was like at Monticello, and mid-March-October, a tour of the gardens and grounds, plus four exhibitions.

Another Monticello activity is the Hemings Family Tour.  From February-November at 1:30 p.m., you can tour Monticello with a Hemings’ family member as your guide. 

Told through stories, you’ll learn about the kinds of challenges they faced and how the family straddled the color line, defying the racial dividing lines that were imposed during slavery.

A garden and grounds tour is also included with this pass.

On selected Fridays and Saturdays during April, May, August, and September, enjoy a 60-minute participatory tour of Monticello, the Hamilton Takeover Tour, while exploring the dueling visions that Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton held, visions that have reverberated through history.

Following the tour, there will be a moderated discussion, asking the question, are we living in a Hamiltonian or Jeffersonian world today?

More Monticello Activities!

Want a behind the scenes look at Monticello? Have you always wanted to go upstairs, and to see the Dome Room?

Well, now is your chance! The Behind the Scenes House Tour and Day Pass takes you up the narrow staircase to the second and third floors to explore the Jeffersons’ private quarters, including the Dome Room.

You’ll also get to see the newly restored spaces that reveal the complex Monticello family life, as well as see unique architectural features. Learn about the Randolph and Hemings families, Jefferson, and other free and enslaved people who lived there and labored there.

This is a fuller picture of Monticello life and gives you a better understanding of the man who authored the Declaration of Independence. Please note this tour is not handicap accessible.

Another worthwhile activity at Monticello is the re-enactment of the British Invasion, 1781, when the war came to Virginia.

Watch as Jack Jouett’s legendary ride warns Jefferson of the approaching British soldiers. You’ll witness the former President’s narrow escape from capture as the British raid Monticello.

aquilegia_vulgaris_niveMeet the re-enactors, participate in family-friendly activities, including rifle, musket, and cannon demonstrations.

And finally, the historic gardens at Monticello are well-worth your time to tour! From flowers to vegetables, this in-season outside look at Monticello’s gardens is breathtaking.

When you’ve made it back to the Inn, exhausted and exhilarated, enjoy a glass of wine. In the morning, we’ll have a hearty breakfast waiting for you. Make your reservation here.