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Roanoke

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Roanoke, VA from the Mill Mountain Star

Roanoke[1], 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]

Visitor information[edit]

  • Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau (Roanoke CVB), 101 Shenandoah Avenue NE (follow signs from I-581), 540-342-6025, [2]. Open Daily. Visit 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.  edit

Get in[edit]

There is no train passenger service to Roanoke, but there is Greyhound service. There is an airport with service to Washington, Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Chicago, Tampa area (St. Petersburg), and New York. The airport is about 10 minutes from downtown and right next to the major city mall - Valley View Mall.

Amtrak stops in Lynchburg and Clifton Forge, both within two hours drive of Roanoke.

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

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 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. The city does operate a fairly extensive bus system, Valley Metro, that serves most commonly-visited points in the valley. Valley Metro began operating a new bus service in 2004 called The Smart Way, which connects Blacksburg and the New River Valley with Roanoke.

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

See[edit][add listing]

  • Center in the Square [3] - Downtown. Roanoke's cultural center and museum on the City Market.
  • Explore Park[4] - 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 [5] - The restored historic luxury hotel was given to Virginia Tech by the Norfolk Southern Rwy. A major conference center was added.
  • Jefferson Center [6] - A former High School that has been restored into a luxurious performance center.
  • O. Winston Link Museum - Located in a former passenger rail station downtown. Dedicated to the work of railroad photographer O. Winston Link. Visit the Museum and/or the rail station as they are both treasures. The rail station has great architectural and terrazzo details.
  • Mabry Mill
  • Mill Mountain Star located on 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 [7] - Downtown. In addition to professional performances, Mill Mountain Theater is also home to Roanoke's No Shame Theater - Friday nights at 11:00 PM, which is open to any performance that is "original, five minutes or less, and doesn’t break anything – people, the space, or laws."
  • Mill Mountain Zoo [8]
  • Mini Graceland Located in SE Roanoke. A collection of miniature Elvis landmarks built by Don Epperly.
  • Old Neon Signs 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.
  • Roanoke Higher Education Center [9] - Across from Hotel Roanoke,the center is part of Virginia Tech. It was formerly the headquarters of the Norfolk & Western Railway.
  • Roanoke Civic Center [10] - A major convention and exhibit facility with a performance center.
  • Taubman Museum of Art [www.taubmanmuseum.org] used to be called the Art Museum of Western Virginia, opens in a spectacular new downtown building in November 2008. The building itself is worth a visit, 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. Hours: 10-5 Tues-Sat; 10-7 Thurs; 12-5 Sun. Address: 110 Salem Avenue
  • Virginia Museum of Transportation Downtown. Houses many Norfolk and Western Locomotives (which used to run through Roanoke), and also features aviation and automobiles.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Appalachian Trail
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Clubs
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Holiday parades
  • Movies
  • Old Salem Day's
  • Restaurants
  • Fourth of July Fireworks
  • Festivals
  • Shopping
  • Scenic drives
  • Theater
  • Virginia Tech Football

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Roanoke's City Market The largest continuously running open-air market on the eastern sea board, Roanoke's City Market is a 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., Roanoke. Be aware that children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to shop after 6 pm.
  • Roanoke Valley Printworks 108 E. Salem Avenue 540-343-0296 A variety of prints, letterpress stationary and local items in a lovely setting near the City Market. Owner creates everything himself.

Eat[edit][add listing]

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

Budget[edit]

  • Tazaa Restaurant , An Amazing Indian Restuarant, A must visit!
  • Little Caesar's Pizza [[11]], A fantastic value! Get a large Hot 'N Ready cheese or pepperoni pizza for $5.99. Also be sure to try the crazy bread. 3 Roanoke-area locations: 703 Brandon Ave., SW, Roanoke (across from Towers Mall), 1301 Orange Ave, NE (Rt. 460), Roanoke, and 40 W 4th St., Salem.
  • International Food Court - Features a 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, Downtown. Known as "Roanoke's Millionares Club." 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 on Washington Ave. in Vinton.
  • New York Pizza on Hardy Road in Vinton.
  • The Dogwood Restaurant in downtown Vinton (about 5 minutes from downtown Roanoke), serves home-cooked food for low prices.

Mid-Range[edit]

  • Alejandro's Tex-Mex cuisine in downtown Roanoke near the market.
  • Arzu's Mediterranean Cuisine downtown located near the Market Area.
  • Bridge Water Marina Restaurants & shops on Smith Mountain Lake.
  • Grace's Pizza in Grandin Court, Roanoke.
  • Hollywood's Restaurant and Bakery, 4646 Plantation Rd., 540-265-1250, [12] Monday-Saturday 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, [13]. Catawba.
  • Kabuki a Japanese restaurant which is popular for parties, because they prepare the food at your table.
  • Mac & Bob's, Salem.
  • Macado's, [14]. - A southern chain. Offers a wide selection of sandwiches and entrees.
  • Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea - often simply referred to as "Mill Mountain" (which can be confusing). There are several locations throughout the Roanoke Valley, including the Roanoke Market area, Salem, and Daleville. The Market area Mill Mountain Coffee recently changed locations and began serving food. Good for lunch or breakfast, or open late for a cup of coffee or tea.
  • Montano's Gourmet.
  • Nawab - Indian Restaurant located in the market area. Has an all you can eat buffet for lunch.
  • The Red Palace Chinese cuisine at Valley View and Tanglewood Malls.
  • Szechuan Chinese Restaurant.
  • Zac's Cafe - An eatery on Campbell Avenue. Offers deli-style sandwiches and lighter entrees. Lots of vegetarian options.

Splurge[edit]

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

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Chateau Morrissette Winery in the Meadows of Dan, on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Roanoke, [15]. Produces the very popular Blue Dog, an exquisite white wine increasing in popularity.
  • AmRhein Wine Cellars, Patterson Drive, Bent Mountain, [16]. Another popular winery producing award winning wines. A tasting room is located on premise 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][add listing]

Budget[edit]

  • Econolodge, 308 Orange Ave., (540) 343-2413. [17]

Mid-Range[edit]

  • Best Western Inn at Valley View, 5050 Valley View Blvd., Roanoke, Virginia 24012 (I-81 at Exit 143 to Exit 3-E), 540.362.2400 (), [18]. checkin: 3pm; checkout: 11am. Contemporary decor, 37" Flat Screen TV with premium channels, refrigerator, Microwaves, Leather Recliners with Ottomans and complimentary high-speed wireless Internet access throughout the Hotel  edit
  • Cambria Suites (Cambria Suites in Roanoke VA), 301 Reserve Ave, 540.400-6226 (, fax: 540.400-6279), [19]. checkin: 3pm; checkout: 11am. All-suite hotel with a microwave, a refrigerator, free high-speed internet, and two flat-screen televisions in every guest room. $89 to $199.  edit
  • Holiday Inn Tanglewood, 468 Starkey Road SW, +1 540 774-4400 (fax: +1 540 774-1195), [20].  edit
  • MainStay Suites Airport, 55080 Valley View Blvd. Roanoke, VA, 24012 (I-81, Exit 143 to I-581. Take Exit 3E, Hershberger Rd. Take the Shopping Center exit to the hotel on the right.), 540.527.3030 (, fax: 540.527.3035), [21]. checkin: 3pm; checkout: 11am. This Roanoke, VA extended stay hotel is convenient to many local points of interest like the Roanoke Civic Center, Carilion Roanoke Community Hospital, Valley Pointe business park and Kroger Mid-Atlantic corporate offices.  edit
  • Ramada Inn Roanoke, 1927 Franklin Rd SW Roanoke, VA - 24014, +1 540 343-0121, [22]. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 11am. Suites, outdoor pool, fitness center, games room, free high-speed Internet, free full hot breakfast.  edit
  • The Roanoke Plaza Hotel near Roanoke Regional Airport
  • Rose Hill Bed & Breakfast, 521 Washington Ave, +1 540 400-7785, [23]. checkin: 3-7PM.  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • Peaks of Otter Lodge, Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Hotel Roanoke, [24]. Historic luxury hotel & conference center, now part of the Doubletree chain.

Get out[edit]

  • Bernard's Landing - Smith Mountain Lake
  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Bridge Water Marina - Smith Mountain Lake.
  • Mountain Lake Resort
  • Natural Bridge
  • Peaks of Otter Nearby lodge.
  • Smith Mountain Lake[26] State Park & Public Beach.


Routes through Roanoke
HagerstownStaunton  N noframe S  SalemWytheville




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