Download GPX file for this article
37.27155-79.94052Full screen dynamic map
North America > United States of America > South (United States of America) > Virginia > Southwest Virginia > Roanoke

Roanoke

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Roanoke, Virginia, called the "Star City of the South" and "Magic City," is a charming city with beautiful views. A colorfully lighted 100 ft. Star atop Mill Mountain graces the Roanoke Valley. The city is situated between Virginia Tech and Smith Mountain Lake in Southwest Virginia. The Roanoke Valley has a population of around 300,000.

Understand[edit]

Roanoke, VA from the Mill Mountain Star

Visitor information[edit]

  • Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau (Roanoke CVB), 101 Shenandoah Avenue NE (follow signs from I-581), +1 540 342-6025. Open Daily. The official visitor resource of the Roanoke Valley. The Roanoke Valley Visitor Information Center is located in downtown Roanoke. Its centrally located and easy to get to. Stop and pick up a map, dining guide, event calendar and more.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • 1 Roanoke–Blacksburg Regional Airport (is also known as Woodrum Field ROA IATA) (5.5 mi (8.9 km) northwest of the central business district of Roanoke. The airport is about 10 minutes from downtown and right next to the major city mall - Valley View Mall.). Airlines serving the airport are Allegiant Air, American Eagle, Delta Air Lines, and United Express. Roanoke–Blacksburg Regional Airport on Wikipedia Roanoke–Blacksburg Regional Airport (Q7339802) on Wikidata

By bus[edit]

A Greyhound bus station is located on Campbell Avenue in downtown Roanoke.

By train[edit]

Passenger rail service has returned to 2 Roanoke station (in downtown, on Norfolk Ave SE.). after a long hiatus, with Amtrak running a once-daily Northeast Regional service from New York City and Washington, D.C.. The nearby cities of Lynchburg and Clifton Forge, an two hour drive, has additional train services. Roanoke station (Virginia) on Wikipedia Roanoke (Q18755146) on Wikidata

By car[edit]

Roanoke is at exit 146 on I-81, about 40 minutes north-east of Blacksburg, 40 minutes south of Lexington. It is about 4 hours drive from Washington, D.C. and 3 hours from Richmond

Get around[edit]

The city layout of Roanoke does not lend itself well to effective mass transit, and in fact most locals never use mass transit at all.

By bus[edit]

The city does operate a fairly extensive bus system, Valley Metro, that serves most commonly-visited points in the valley. The main transfer points in downtown are along Campbell Ave SW near 1st street. A trolley called The Star Line Trolley runs in downtown along South Jefferson Street between Campbell Ave SW and Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital on the other side of the James River. Valley Metro began operating a new bus service in 2004 called The Smart Way that connects Blacksburg and the New River Valley with Roanoke.

The town of Blacksburg, a small college town not far from Roanoke operates Blacksburg Transit, has a far more effective mass transit system,. Many students at Virginia Tech do not own a vehicle of their own and rely on the "BT" for their daily commute.

See[edit]

In addition to its other attractions, Downtown Roanoke has at least 2 great old restored and lit neon signs perched up on the roofs of buildings. One for Dr. Pepper and the other for H & C Coffee.

  • Center in the Square (Downtown). Roanoke's cultural center and museum on the City Market.
  • Explore Park. Unfortunately now closed except for concerts and special occasions, Explore Park features houses and re-enactors from various periods in American history.
  • Grandin Theatre. Locally owned theatre located in the Grandin Village area. Shows free cartoons on Friday and Saturday morning and hosts a quarterly "Open Projector Night" that shows locally produced short films.
  • Hotel Roanoke. The restored historic luxury hotel was given to Virginia Tech by the Norfolk Southern Rwy. A major conference center was added.
  • Jefferson Center. A former High School that has been restored into a luxurious performance center.
  • O. Winston Link Museum. In a former passenger rail station downtown. Dedicated to the work of railroad photographer O. Winston Link. The Museum and the rail station are both treasures. The rail station has great architectural and terrazzo details.
  • Mabry Mill.
  • Mill Mountain Star (Mill Mountain). The star has been lit with neon since it was built in 1949. It gives Roanoke it's name of "Star City." There is an overlook accessible directly in front of the star that looks at downtown Roanoke. Follow the signs from downtown to Mill Mountain Park.
  • Mill Mountain Theater (Downtown). In addition to professional performances, Mill Mountain Theater is also home to Roanoke's No Shame Theater - Friday nights at 11PM. This is open to any performance that is "original, five minutes or less, and doesn’t break anything – people, the space, or laws".
  • 1 Mill Mountain Zoo, JP Fishburn Parkway, Mill Mountain Park, +1 540 343-3241.
  • Mini Graceland (SE Roanoke). A collection of miniature Elvis landmarks built by Don Epperly.
  • Roanoke Higher Education Center (across from Hotel Roanoke). Part of Virginia Tech. It was formerly the headquarters of the Norfolk & Western Railway.
  • 2 Berglund Center. A major convention and exhibit facility with a performance center. Berglund Center on Wikipedia Roanoke Civic Center (Q7339778) on Wikidata
  • 3 Taubman Museum of Art, 110 Salem Ave, +1 540 342-5760. Mon & Tue closed, Wed-Sat 10:00 - 17:00, Sun 12:00 - 17:00. Formerly called the Art Museum of Western Virginia. The new building opened in November 2008 and is worth a visit in itself. It was designed by Los Angeles' Randall Stout Architects. Randall Stout and others on the team previously worked with Frank Gehry's office in LA. The Museum's primary focus is American art, with particular attention to Appalachian and Southwestern Virginian art. Free. Taubman Museum of Art on Wikipedia Taubman Museum of Art (Q7688652) on Wikidata
  • 4 Virginia Museum of Transportation, 303 Norfolk Avenue SW (Downtown), +1 540 342-5670, e-mail: . Houses many Norfolk and Western Locomotives which used to run through Roanoke, and also features aviation and automobiles. Virginia Museum of Transportation on Wikipedia Virginia Museum of Transportation (Q7934427) on Wikidata

Do[edit]

Outdoor activities include hiking on the Appalachian Trail, boating, camping, and fishing. Other activities include:

  • Old Salem Day's
  • Virginia Tech Football
  • Roanoke River Greenway - bike trail, also suitable for walking or running

Buy[edit]

  • Roanoke's City Market. The largest continuously running open-air market on the eastern seaboard. Good place to look for fresh produce and herbs in the summer, and gifts and decorations in the winter. In addition, numerous shops & restaurants surround the market area.
  • Tanglewood Mall I-581/220S at Franklin Rd., Roanoke.
  • Valley View Mall. A major shopping mall in the region featuring 130 stores and 4 anchors serving an estimated market of over 800,000 people, near the Roanoke Regional Airport at I-581 and Hershberger Rd. Be aware that children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to shop after 6PM.
  • Roanoke Valley Printworks, 108 E. Salem Ave, +1 540 343-0296. A variety of prints, letterpress stationary and local items in a lovely setting near the city market. Owner creates everything himself.
  • 1 Black Dog Salvage, 902 13th Street SW, +1 540 343-6200, e-mail: . Mon-Sat 9AM-5PM. Architectural Salvage.

Eat[edit]

Roanoke has many nice restaurants, some of the notable ones are listed.

Budget[edit]

  • Tazaa Restaurant, An amazing Indian Restaurant.
  • International Food Court. Variety of different cuisines for mostly reasonable prices. Includes Chico's Big Lick Pizza, Hong Kong Restaurant, Kim's Seafood and Deli, New York Subs, Nuts and Sweet Things, Paradiso (Cuban), Zorba Restaurant (Greek and Mediterranean), and Burger in the Square.
  • Famous Anthony's.
  • K & W Cafeteria.
  • The Roanoker.
  • Texas Tavern, (Roanoke's Millionares Club), (Downtown). Only seats 10, but also has a walk-up order window. Try the Cheesey Western and a bowl of chile.
  • Abbott's Restaurant, Garden City Blvd. Try the Fat Boy Special and a cold beer.
  • Jerry's Restaurant, Washington Ave. in Vinton.
  • New York Pizza, Hardy Road in Vinton.
  • The Dogwood Restaurant, (downtown Vinton, about 5 minutes from downtown Roanoke), Home style cooked food.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Alejandro's, (downtown Roanoke near the market), Tex-Mex cuisine.
  • Arzu's Mediterranean Cuisine (downtown located near the market area).
  • Bridge Water Marina, Smith Mountain Lake. Restaurants & shops.
  • Fork in the Alley, Crystal Spring Ave. Brick oven pizza and draft beer.
  • Grace's, Grandin Court. Pizza.
  • Hollywood's Restaurant and Bakery, 4646 Plantation Rd, +1 540 265-1250. M-Sat 11AM-10PM. Delicious sandwiches and seafood. Plenty of cakes and pastries on display. The atmosphere is friendly with original art hanging on the walls.
  • Home Place Restaurant. Catawba.
  • Kabuki.Japanese restaurant which is popular for parties, they prepare the food at your table.
  • Mac & Bob's, Salem.
  • Macado's. A southern chain. Offers a wide selection of sandwiches and entrees.
  • Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea, (alt: Mill Mountain). There are several locations throughout the Roanoke Valley, including the Roanoke market area, Salem, and Daleville. The Market area Mill Mountain Coffee outlet serves food. Good for lunch or breakfast, or open late for a cup of coffee or tea.
  • Montano's Gourmet.
  • Nawab, (in the market area). Indian Restaurant located. Has an all you can eat buffet for lunch.
  • The Red Palace, Valley View and Tanglewood Malls. Chinese cuisine.
  • Szechuan Chinese Restaurant.
  • Zac's Cafe , Campbell Avenue. Deli-style sandwiches and lighter entrees. Lots of vegetarian options.

Splurge[edit]

  • 202 Market (downtown Roanoke).
  • 419 West.
  • 419 Club.
  • Bernard's Landing, Smith Mountain Lake.
  • Carlo's Brazilian International Cuisine.
  • Frankie Rowlands.
  • The Library Restaurant, Franklin Road, (across from Stephens).
  • The Metro, (downtown Roanoke). Modern, yet classy restaurant.
  • Stephens, Franklin Rd, (across from the Library Restaurant). Seafood
  • Table 50 (on the market in downtown Roanoke).

Drink[edit]

  • Chateau Morrissette Winery (in the Meadows of Dan on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Roanoke). Produces the very popular Blue Dog, an exquisite white wine increasing in popularity.
  • AmRhein Wine Cellars, Patterson Drive, Bent Mountain. Another popular winery producing award winning wines. A room is available for tasting and sales. AmRhein Governors Cup award wines are also available at popular retail outlets. Spring, summer and fall wine festivals are available at the winery.

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

Mid-range[edit]

Splurge[edit]

  • 1 The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, 110 Shenandoah Ave (North side of railway tracks, connected via footbridge to downtown), +1 540 985-5900, e-mail: . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Historic and restored Tudor style hotel, part of the DoubleTree by Hilton group, and built in 1882. Outdoor pool, fitness center, several allergy friendly rooms, in-room spa services. 35 meeting rooms, lecture hall, 2 boardrooms, conference center lounge, 1,400 guest ballroom. Includes the excellent The Regency Room restaurant, opened in 1938. $15-40 for main courses, with many regional menu options, and an extensive wine list. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and a grand buffet brunch on Sunday. $119-229.

Go next[edit]

  • Appalachian Trail.
  • Bernard's Landing, Smith Mountain Lake
  • Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Bridge Water Marina, Smith Mountain Lake.
  • Mountain Lake Resort.
  • National D-Day Memorial, Bedford.
  • Natural Bridge.
  • Peaks of Otter Lodge, (Milepost 86 off the Blue Ridge Parkway), Bedford. Hiking trails, overnight lodge with food buffets, Abbott Lake contains catfish, smallmouth bass, golden shiners, sunfish, and blue gill. Virginia State fishing licenses, Bedford County licenses, or short-term permits [1] are required. Sharp Top Mountain - 3 mi, Flat Top Mountain - 5.2 mi, Harkening Hill - 3.5 mi.
  • Smith Mountain Lake, [2]. State park & public beach.
  • Virginia Tech Blacksburg.
Routes through Roanoke
HagerstownStaunton  N I-81.svg S  SalemWytheville
LynchburgBedford  N US 221.svg S  → Jct N I-77.svg SJeffersonBoone
PrincetonSalem  W US 460.svg E  BedfordLynchburg



This city travel guide to Roanoke is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!