Carilion Clinic IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia's Blue Ridge - Guide for Spectators & Families

We look forward to welcoming athletes from around the country to participate in the Carilion Clinic IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia's Blue Ridge on Sunday, June 4, 2023.

In addition to providing a first-class race experience for the athletes, we're also excited to welcome families, friends, and other guests who will be visiting for the weekend as spectators.

During the times when you're not focused on the race itself, we hope you'll take advantage of the opportunity to explore Virginia's Blue Ridge and discover some of our amazing communities and fun things to do.

Ally Bowersock - RunAbout Sports RoanokeTo help provide you with recommendations and resources, we invited Ally Bowersock, owner of RunAbout Sports Roanoke, to share about some of her favorite local spots. Ally is an avid runner and RunAbout Sports is a great local company that focuses on helping create an active community while also using its platform to support other local businesses.

Check out Ally's advice and have an awesome weekend in Virginia's Blue Ridge!  

It’s not just you traveling to Roanoke for this event, so with a little extra planning, everyone can enjoy a trip to the Star City. We hope to save you some of that time by providing a list of places that may appeal to families traveling with children based on convenience factors like proximity to the Athlete Village and establishments with ample outdoor seating/space.

This is not an exhaustive list so make sure to check out the full array of activities provided by Visit VBR to consider what your family would most enjoy. 

Playgrounds & Parks

Highland Park Playground - Roanoke, VA

Downtown Roanoke is adjacent to many parks and playgrounds, and a full list of these sites can be found here: Roanoke City Parks/Playgrounds | Each park listing provides an overview of amenities at each park.

In addition to parks maintained by Roanoke City, there is a playground at Crystal Spring Elementary School (2620 Carolina Avenue) which is also within walking distance of family-friendly, local, outdoor dining, coffee and lunch/dinner options: Sweet Donkey (coffee and breakfast fare) and Fork in the Alley (pizza, sandwiches).

Sweet Donkey Coffee House Roanoke 

Local Attractions for Families

Roanoke Star - Mill Mountain

The Roanoke Star & Mill Mountain Zoo are not to be missed - plus you’re five minutes from Athlete Village as well as the Blue Ridge Parkway. When you come down from the zoo, be sure to stop at Blue Cow Ice Cream for a very tasty sweet treat!

Blue Cow Ice Cream Flight 

Center in the Square in downtown Roanoke has a host of activities for kids & families, including the Roanoke Pinball Museum, Kids Square, and some pretty cool aquarium installations in the lobby. Be forewarned - there is a candy store in the same lobby as the aquariums so you may not make it past the first floor!

Roanoke Pinball Museum - Center in the Square 

The Virginia Museum of Transportation (also in downtown Roanoke) is fun for kids of all ages, but especially any kid who loves trains! Get up close with large locomotives but also find small replica sets and model sets to observe and enjoy. 

1218 Locomotive - Virginia Museum of Transportation

Biking & walking the Roanoke River Greenway - you don’t have to travel far to find things for the kids to enjoy - tour the run course and get some treats along the way! On the four-mile side of the run course, you will find The Green Goat and Wasena City Tap Room for casual outdoor dining options as well as RND Coffee (pictured below) and Bloom (fine dining) one block from the Greenway.

RND Coffee - Roanoke, VA

At the four-mile section turnaround, you can keep going across the Memorial Avenue Bridge and find yourself in the Grandin area of Roanoke: a fantastic local scene with local shops and restaurants. Check out The Village Grill for tacos, Scratch Biscuit Company (pictured below) for breakfast (there is a playground across the street from both), and Local Roots for fine dining.

Scratch Biscuit Company - Roanoke, VA

You can also visit the historic Grandin Theatre, get grocery essentials at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op, or relax with some wine at the Jolly Grape.

Family-friendly dining & relaxing

Fork in the Alley Roanoke

If you’re looking for family-friendly dining (ample outdoor seating, food on premises), here are some of our favorites in and around downtown Roanoke:

Best Local Brews

Starr Hill Brewery - Roanoke, VA

These breweries are accustomed to kiddos in tow, feel free to BYO snacks and chill with them. 

Visit VBR would like to thank Ally for taking the time to share her ideas and recommendations for things to do in Virginia's Blue Ridge! Stop by RunAbout Sports Roanoke during your time in the region and stock up on all kinds of great sports apparel and local merchandise.

Additional Resources

I'M Local Savings

IRONMAN athletes and volunteers can take advantage of great special offers, discounts, and deals at local businesses as part of the I'M Local Program. Find savings on food & drink, shopping, health & wellness, sports apparel, and more!

I'M Local Deals & Discounts >


Still need a place to stay while you're visiting for IRONMAN? Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge is proud to serve as the official housing agency for the event. Visit our Accommodations page for more information about how to reserve your hotel room as part of the official room block for the event.

IRONMAN Accommodations > 


You can also take part in the event by signing up to be a volunteer! There are a variety of shifts and opportunities to help the region host a first-class event and show our visitors an amazing experience.

Volunteer Opportunities >

For more information on the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia's Blue Ridge triathlon, visit the IRONMAN website.

Carilion Clinic IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia's Blue Ridge Logo

A preview of the course for the Carilion Clinic IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia's Blue Ridge race.

Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport

Directions, maps and information on getting to Virginia's Blue Ridge.