10 Things to Do in Roanoke That You Shouldn't Miss

September 7, 2017 Jana Sager

A 100-foot high star atop a mountain and visible from miles around welcomes you to the "Star City of the South," a great beginning for your weekend getaway to this city rich in culture, history, fun and entertainment. Close to the star is the Mill Mountain Zoological Park, where you'll see the endangered Snow Leopard, Amur Tiger and Red Wolf, along with 40-plus other animal species. The Center in the Square is the city's cultural hub, where you can catch a Broadway-quality show at the Mill Mountain Theatre or hear the celebrated Roanoke Symphony. Museums are everywhere, and whether your interest lies in art, history, science or transportation, you'll find a museum to match it. The Harrison Museum of African-American Culture honors achievements of African Americans and includes an impressive African exhibit. For underground delights, head over to the Dixie Caverns for a 45-minute tour of breathtaking cave formations, after which you can browse through pottery, rock and mineral and other shops. There's something to keep you occupied and entertained every minute in this environmentally-conscious, friendly and very welcoming Virginia city.
Restaurants in Roanoke

101 Shenandoah Ave, Roanoke, VA 24016 +1 540-982-5465
Excellent
70%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 253 reviews

O. Winston Link Museum

Reviewed By JohnandJaneS - Elmira, New York

And perfectly located near the museum of transportation, both of which are a mecca for train bufs. I'm not, but I appreciate good photography and Winston Link took some beauties.

2. Roanoke Valley Greenways

Roanoke, VA 24018 +1 540-387-6060
Excellent
75%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 139 reviews

Roanoke Valley Greenways

Reviewed By OhioRich60 - Conneaut, Ohio

We drove this route North from Roanoke for about 1 hour. We had to stop about 8 times to get out and take pictures. It was beautiful. Loved it and plan on doing it again someday.

3. Mill Mountain Star and Park

210 Reserve Ave SW, Roanoke, VA 24016-4919 +1 540-853-2000
Excellent
61%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Mill Mountain Star and Park

A "must see" on most visitors list, an 88-foot manmade star (the largest in the world) sits on majestic Mill Mountain along with a beautifully landscaped city park, that boasts hiking and biking trails, and a zoo.

Reviewed By MG L - Sterling, Virginia

There were three of us and we decided to hike up to the big star that looks out over Roanoke. The hike is pretty easy terrain wise but creeps up in elevation so I had to take breaks from time to time to catch my breath. It’s a couple of miles to hike round trip. I recommend bringing some water with you and a flashlight if it’s close to nightfall. The star is a great big star. At its base is a nice lookout point and you can see all of downtown Roanoke and distant mountains. There are public restrooms closeby to the star area and water fountains.

4. Virginia Museum of Transportation

303 Norfolk Ave SW, Roanoke, VA 24016-3620 +1 540-342-5670
Excellent
58%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 575 reviews

Virginia Museum of Transportation

Antique automobiles and trucks, electric and deisel locomotives, and vintage steam, are all part of the nostalgic show at this historic freight station that doubles as a museum .

Reviewed By RickandDebbie J - Roanoke, Virginia

We have enjoyed the Transportation Museum several times during the Christmas season. At Christmas the museum schedules train rides, Christmas decorations, a Santa Claus, crafts for the grandkids, and a concession area. There are so many examples of every type of transportation on wheels. Our grandkids especially like the massive model train display. The display is on several levels and can be viewed from several angles. The train ride is not long but we love riding with the kids. The craft area allows the children to move around and choose from several different things to make. The Virginia Transportaion Museum is close to downtown Roanoke and allows for a fun day.

5. Black Dog Architectural Salvage & Antiques

902 13th St SW, Roanoke, VA 24016-3716 +1 540-343-6200
Excellent
68%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 459 reviews

Black Dog Architectural Salvage & Antiques

Reviewed By Karen P - McDonough, Georgia

While visiting my daughter recently in Roanoke, we stopped in to thoroughly check this place out! I couldn't believe all the cool things you can find here! Got to snap a photo of THE black dog. LOL

6. Center in the Square

1 Market Sq SE, Roanoke, VA 24011-1429 +1 540-342-5700
Excellent
54%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 182 reviews

Center in the Square

Adjacent to Market Square and the City Market, Center in the Square provides a home to four cultural arts and science non-profit organizations in our signature building in downtown Roanoke: Roanoke Pinball Museum, Harrison Museum of African American Culture, History Museum of Western Virginia, Science Museum of Western Virginia, and Mill Mountain Theatre. Visit our website or call for individual museum admission pricing. Mill Mountain Theatre and Children's Theatre of Roanoke tickets are available through our full-service box office. Come inside to enjoy our aquariums in the atrium and green rooftop without charge. Building Hours: Monday - Saturday 10 am - 5 pm, and Sunday 1 - 5 pm. [Note: Roanoke Pinball Museum is closed Mondays. History Museum is closed on Mondays October through April.]

Reviewed By JohnandJaneS - Elmira, New York

It's all been said.......science museum, pinball museum, theater, accessible to downtown museums, restaurants, markets, etc.

7. St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Church

631 N Jefferson St, Roanoke, VA 24016-1401 +1 540-344-9814
Excellent
87%
Good
9%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 65 reviews

St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Church

Reviewed By first-tymer - Allendale, New Jersey

Saw this church while approaching Roanoke from the road. The size and double spires just stand out on the landscape. We drove up to the church and was only able to admire from the outside since a wedding was going on. Some day if back in the area would like to go inside too!

8. Taubman Museum of Art

110 Salem Ave SE, Roanoke, VA 24011-1410 +1 540-342-5760
Excellent
46%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
5%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 329 reviews

Taubman Museum of Art

Reviewed By 319ellenp - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

It is a small museum downtown, but well maintained, and free. I'm not sure what they had on the first floor, but the second had about 6 exhibits. It was a variety of things to see but my favorites was a Lieber purses. That was...MoreThanks for coming, we hope you will visit again soon!

9. Roanoke Pinball Museum

1 Market Sq SE, 2nd Floor, Roanoke, VA 24011-1429 +1 540-342-5746
Excellent
59%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 84 reviews

Roanoke Pinball Museum

The Roanoke Pinball Museum is an interactive museum dedicated to the science & history of pinball. We have over 45 machines with production dates ranging from the 1940s to the 1990s. Admission or membership allows unlimited free play! Our mission is to cultivate curiosity in science, art, and history through pinball while preserving and honoring its role in American culture. School tours and party rentals are also available. Tuesdays from 5 to 8 pm is members only and league night.

Reviewed By Phyllis R - Roanoke, United States

My son was in town for a visit and we had my granddaughter (his niece) over for a fun weekend. We went down to the Pinball Museum for an afternoon of fun and played game after game and he even ranked high on one of them. Both have already mentioned we need to do this again. My 7 year old g-daughter loved several of the games and has her favorites too! :)

10. Carvins Cove Natural Reserve

9644 Reservoir Rd, Roanoke, VA 24019-7916 +1 540-563-9170
Excellent
62%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 73 reviews

Carvins Cove Natural Reserve

Reviewed By Richard A - Kernersville

This is a really hard technical course.
I drove 2 hrs from NC to try it and glad I did.
It has incredible uphills to warm you up and then some really technical downhills.
Rode the upper mountain trails which were mostly single diamonds and some doubles.
These are not for the faint of heart, ,know your skill level.
Also everyone riding there was very helpful.

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