The Heart of Roanoke Va

Roanoke, Virginia dates back to the 17th Century. It was originally named Big Lick because there were large salt deposits in the area. However, it is more widely known as the Star City these days. This is due to the 10,000 pound neon star standing erect on Mill Mountain. On a clear night, lit up in all its glory, the star can be seen for 60 miles.

Looking at the town as you drive along I-581, you may think, what can you possibly do in a town like this? Let go of this common misconception and absorb all there is to do in the Roanoke area. Festivals abound, with the ever popular Strawberry Festival in May. It’s a great way to kick off strawberry season. Head on down to Elm Park for some enormous chocolate covered strawberries or strawberry shortcake. Usually coinciding with the Strawberry Festival is the Chili Cook-off. There is a charge for entrance to the Chili Cook-off, but tastes of the many chili creations are free. Summer welcomes the Virginia Commonwealth Games, an Olympic-like competition while fall is rung in with the Harvest Festival. There is no end to the events that you’ll come around in the Roanoke Valley.

In the heart of Downtown Roanoke, at the intersection of Campbell Avenue and Market Street, lies the oldest continuously operating open air market in the Commonwealth. Dating back to 1882, the Historic Roanoke City Market is open year-round, Monday through Saturday from 8:00am until 5:00pm and Sunday from 10:00am until 4:00pm. From pottery, photography, baked goods, to locally grown fruits and vegetables, there is no end to what you’ll find here.

There are plenty of museums throughout downtown as well. Starting at Center in the Square will take you to the Science Museum of Western Virginia and the History Museum of Western Virginia. The recently opened Taubman Museum of Art stands as the most contemporary structure. Along with museums there are plenty of live professional theatre, dance, and opera.

Roanoke also offers a great nightlife scene from Corned Beef & Company, Inc to Cornerstone Bar & Grill. If you are looking for dancing and the occasional live music performance, you’ll enjoy all that Downtown Roanoke has to offer.

One of the classic stops for food is right on the Market. Located at 25 Campbell Ave SE, you will find the Roanoke Weiner Stand. Popular among locals, the Roanoke Weiner Stand knows how to impress with the all-American hotdog and its co-conspirator, fries. It should know a thing or two about hotdogs, since it’s been around for more than 80 years. Keep in mind, this local favorite only takes cash, but where else can you get a great main course around $5.00?

Another local classic can be found on Church Avenue. It’s been around since the 1930s and exudes a 1950s ambiance. Texas Tavern is your classic greasy spoon diner. Open 24 hours a day and open year-round (except Christmas day), you can enjoy a Cheesy Western, which is a hamburger cooked in an egg with relish and onions served on a bun. If the Cheesy Western doesn’t move you, the chili is sure to impress. Whether you want a bowl with or without, onions that is, you’ll love the true Roanoke style chili. So head on over to the local dive that boasts, Yes, women are welcome! on a sign outside.

If you are going to be spending a lot of time in the Downtown Roanoke area, then it would make sense to have your lodging there as well. Hotel Roanoke, at 110 Shenandoah Avenue, is a 4-diamond property that will no doubt leave you feeling welcomed. The beautiful architecture draws you in and after some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, you won’t want to leave. This Tudor-style hotel has been around since 1882, so it knows about premium accommodations. With prices starting at $125.00, you will find a home away from home while you explore the wonders of Roanoke.

Lying in the valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the scenic beauty of Roanoke, Virginia will draw you in. Although it is not New York City, Downtown Roanoke has a charming hustle and bustle all its own. When you explore this city, you will find numerous gems that keep you coming back for more.