Roanoke Vacationsfrom expedia.com

The Star City of the South, named after one of its most popular attractions, is surrounded by scenic mountains and offers great museums, theaters and art galleries.

Roanoke, known as the "Star City of the South," is the cultural and commercial center of southwest Virginia. Located in the Roanoke Valley between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Allegheny Mountains, this bustling city is known for its spectacular mountain views. A large, colorfully lit star on top of Mill Mountain gives Roanoke its nickname.  Stop downtown to experience the city's long history and exciting contemporary cultural scene. The locally owned boutiques and shops that line the streets offer antiques, clothing and souvenirs. 

The center of the city is home to over a dozen art galleries. Don't miss the prestigious Taubman Museum of Art, which is located in a striking contemporary building and focuses on American art. Visit the O. Winston Link Museum, set in the city's historic train station, which is dedicated to the work of the famed railroad photographer. 

Go to Center in the Square to visit three museums in one location. Explore art and history at the Harrison Museum of African American Culture. The History Museum of Western Virginia pays tribute to the area's fascinating past. Browse exhibits and a butterfly garden in the Science Museum of Western Virginia. 

Enjoy an evening of entertainment at one of Roanoke's many theaters. Mill Mountain Theater puts on professional shows throughout the year. Go to the Jefferson Center to see a performance by the Roanoke Symphony or the Roanoke Ballet Theatre. 

Despite Roanoke's proximity to other ranges, the lone-standing Mill Mountain is one of the city's most popular attractions. Pay a visit to the brightly lit star at the mountain's summit. The adornment was built as a seasonal Christmas decoration in 1949 but is now lit year-round. Visitors of all ages will love the Mill Mountain Zoo and the Discovery Center, also located at the top of the mountain. 

Roanoke is situated just a few miles south of the Appalachian Trail. Rent a car to get around the city with ease.