Things to Do in Roanoke, VA – Museums, Parks, and Other Tourist Attractions

If you’re looking for things to do in Roanoke, VA, you’ll find no shortage of attractions. From the scenic beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the vibrant culture of downtown, there’s something for everyone in this Southern city.

things to do in roanoke va

Things to Do in Roanoke, VA for Museum Goers

There are plenty of things to do in Roanoke, VA for history and art enthusiasts. Start your visit at the Virginia Museum of Transportation, where you can learn about the state’s rich rail history. One exhibit, the Railyard, boasts over 50 locomotives.

Tickets are $13 for adults and also grant access to the O. Winston Link Museum. This museum is dedicated to the work of photographer O. Winston Link, who documented the last days of steam locomotives in America.

After exploring the Virginia Museum of Transportation, walk over to the Taubman Museum of Art. This museum features American art from the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as a selection of European paintings. It’s free to enter and also offers cultural programs for adults and children.

If history and art aren’t your favorite flavors of museums, here are a couple of alternatives:

  • Roanoke Pinball Museum is a must-visit for any pinball fan. With over 50 machines, it’s one of the largest collections in the country. You can play all day for just $13.50.
  • Science Museum of Western Virginia is perfect for those who want to learn about the area’s natural history. It has interactive exhibits on a variety of topics, such as the environment, computer coding, and health. Tickets are $15.50 for adults and $14 for youth.

Other Interesting Places to Visit in Downtown Roanoke

Downtown Roanoke is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and things to do. Start your day at the Roanoke City Market, where you can find fresh produce, baked goods, and lunchtime staples like sandwiches and ice cream.

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If you’re looking for cultural things to do in Roanoke, VA, check out Center in the Square. This complex houses several museums, art galleries, and performance venues. Mill Mountain Theatre is another place to catch a show. This professional theater company produces a variety of plays and musicals throughout the year.

When you’re ready for some shopping, head over to Tower Shops at Valley View Mall. This outdoor mall has over 70 stores, including retailers like Macy’s and JCPenney.

Finish up your day with a meal at one of downtown’s many restaurants. If you’re in the mood for something casual, try Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint. For something a little more upscale, head to The River and Rail Restaurant.

Things to Do in Roanoke, VA for Nature Lovers

Roanoke is surrounded by beautiful mountains and hiking trails. If you’re looking for things to do in Roanoke, VA to burn off some energy and admire the scenery, here are some ideas:

  • Take a drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway for some of the best views in Virginia.
  • Head to Mill Mountain Park for an easy hike with great views of the city. A must-see landmark is Mill Mountain Star.
  • Enjoy the nature at Read Mountain Preserve with a system of trails with varying difficulties.
  • For a more challenging hike, try McAfee Knob. It’s one of the most popular trails in the area and offers stunning 360-degree views from the top.
  • Go fishing or biking at Roanoke Valley Greenways, consisting of 400 miles of paved and natural trails.
  • Take a stroll through Elmwood Park or Wasena Park for a break from hiking. Both parks have playgrounds, picnic areas, and walking trails.

To prepare for your hikes, you can rent gear from Roanoke Mountain Adventures. They have everything you need, from hiking boots to tents.

Explore Park – Treetop Quest Aerial Adventure Course

If you’re looking for things to do in Roanoke, VA that are a little out of the ordinary, check out Treetop Quest. This aerial adventure course features zip lines, rope bridges, and other obstacles high up in the trees. It’s perfect for those who love a challenge and have a head for heights.

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The whole Explore Park is a nature lover’s paradise with its hundreds of acres of rolling hills and pristine woodlands. You can stay overnight in a cabin or yurt, and there’s also Twin Creeks Brewpub where you can go for some refreshing beer or cider. The park is located at Milepost 115.

Where to Go for Family Fun in Roanoke, VA

This city is a perfect destination for a family holiday. If you’re looking for things to do in Roanoke, VA with the kids, here are some recommendations:

  • Splash Valley is an outdoor water park with slides, a current river, and a sprayground. If it’s too hot outside to walk for hours, you’ll find this place refreshing and fun regardless of your age. Tickets are $13 for adults and $11 for youth.
  • Kids Square is perfect for rainy days. Little ones can role-play as teachers, doctors or vets, visit tree forts and hobbit houses, or engage in hands-on activities involving glow-in-the-dark objects. Admission is $9 for adults and children over the age of 1.
  • Mill Mountain Discovery Center is another great place to take kids. They can explore the hands-on exhibits, tap a maple tree, or even pet a turtle. Admission is free.

If you’re traveling with older children, they’ll surely enjoy the Virginia Museum of Transportation we’ve mentioned before. You can also take them to Explore Park’s Treetop Quest or the Science Museum of Western Virginia.

Black Dog Salvage – A Paradise for DIY Enthusiasts

This place deserves its own mention. It’s a dream come true for anyone who loves DIY projects, antiques, or home decor. Black Dog Salvage is a 40,000 square foot building crammed full of things to explore. You can find everything from antique furniture to vintage finds and salvage items.

There’s also a café on site, in case you need a break from all the shopping. And if you’re looking for a unique gift, they have a great selection of handmade items from local artisans.

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Where to Eat and Drink at Roanoke, VA

After a long day of exploring, you’ll need to refuel. If you want something quick and easy, stop by one of the many food trucks downtown. You’ll find everything from barbecue to Indian cuisine.

For a sit-down meal, there are plenty of great restaurants to choose from. If you’re in the mood for Italian, check out Grace’s Place Pizzeria. For something a little different, try Local Roots – a farm-to-table restaurant. And if you’re craving seafood, head to Saltys Lobster & CO.

As for drinks, if you want to try some local craft beer, stop by Big Lick Brewing Company or Three Notch’d Craft Kitchen and Brewery. For a taste of good wine, you can drive to Blue Ridge Vineyard in Eagle Rock.

Have Some Indoor and Outdoor Fun at Roanoke, VA

And that’s just a taste of all the things to do in Roanoke, VA. Whether you’re looking for outdoor fun or places to go with the family, or something for DIY enthusiasts, you’ll find it here. Start planning your trip today and you won’t regret it!


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