Roanoke, Virginia, called the "Star City of the South" and "Magic City," is a charming city with beautiful views. A colorfully lit 100-ft star atop Mill Mountain graces the Roanoke Valley. The city sits between Virginia Tech and Smith Mountain Lake in Southwest Virginia. The Roanoke Valley had a population of around 315,000 in 2020.


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 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 (Q7339802) on Wikidata Roanoke–Blacksburg Regional Airport on Wikipedia

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 twice-daily Northeast Regional service from New York City and Washington, D.C. The nearby cities of Lynchburg and Clifton Forge, a two-hour drive, have additional train services. Roanoke (Q18755146) on Wikidata Roanoke station (Virginia) on Wikipedia

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 operates a bus service 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.


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. Open only for concerts and special occasions, Explore Park features houses and re-enactors from various periods in American history.
  • Hotel Roanoke. The restored historic luxury hotel was given to Virginia Tech by the Norfolk Southern Rwy. A major conference center was added.
  • O. Winston Link Museum, 101 Shenandoah Ave NE. 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.
  • 1 Mill Mountain Star (Mill Mountain). The star has been lit with neon since it was built in 1949. It gives Roanoke its 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. Roanoke Star (Q7339809) on Wikidata Roanoke Star on Wikipedia
  • 2 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 used to be the headquarters of the Norfolk & Western Railway.
  • 3 Taubman Museum of Art, 110 Salem Ave, +1 540 342-5760. M Tu closed, W-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. 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 (Q7688652) on Wikidata Taubman Museum of Art on Wikipedia
  • 4 Virginia Museum of Transportation, 303 Norfolk Avenue SW (Downtown), +1 540 342-5670, . Houses many Norfolk and Western Locomotives which used to run through Roanoke, and also features aviation and automobiles. In addition, the museum features a model train layout plus a live web cam overlooking the rail yard. Virginia Museum of Transportation (Q7934427) on Wikidata Virginia Museum of Transportation on Wikipedia


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
  • 5 Berglund Center. A major convention and exhibit facility with a performance center. Roanoke Civic Center (Q7339778) on Wikidata Berglund Center on Wikipedia
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Jefferson Center. A former high school that has been restored into a luxurious performance center.


  • 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.
  • 1 Black Dog Salvage, 902 13th Street SW, +1 540 343-6200, . M-Sa 9AM-5PM. Architectural Salvage.


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


  • Tazaa Restaurant, An amazing Indian Restaurant.
  • 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.
  • Renee'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.


  • Alejandro's, (downtown Roanoke near the market), Tex-Mex cuisine.
  • 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, 7770 Williamson Rd, +1 540-362-1812. 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.
  • 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.
  • Nawab, (in the market area). Indian. Has an all you can eat buffet for lunch.
  • The Red Palace, Valley View and Tanglewood Malls. Chinese cuisine.


  • Bernard's Landing, Smith Mountain Lake.
  • Fortunato, 104 Kirk Ave SW. Half-price pizza on Wednesdays with a bar and other authentic Italian food.


  • 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.





  • 1 The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, 110 Shenandoah Ave (North side of railway tracks, connected via footbridge to downtown), +1 540 985-5900, . 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. $120-230. Hotel Roanoke (Q5911906) on Wikidata Hotel Roanoke on Wikipedia


Go next[edit]

  • Appalachian Trail.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • 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.
    • Bernard's Landing
    • Bridge Water Marina
  • Virginia Tech Blacksburg.
Routes through Roanoke
HagerstownStaunton  N  S  SalemWytheville
LynchburgBedford  N  S  → Jct N SJeffersonBoone
PrincetonSalem  W  E  BedfordLynchburg

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