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Tour of Downtown Roanoke, Virginia

Downtown Roanoke - The Star City

Roanoke is the largest metropolitan area in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Known for its iconic star, railroad history and the breathtaking Blue Ridge Parkway, the city is a charming mixture of metro mountain adventures.

Downtown Roanoke Skyline 

Get to know the town once called “Big Lick” and enjoy all the entertainment, craft beer and cuisine that Downtown Roanoke has to offer. 

The City, formerly named "Big Lick" due to the salt licks surrounding the valley, grew rapidly with the arrival of the railroad in the late 1800s, prompting the name change. Roanoke's rich history and rail heritage remains a part of the City's culture and is woven in the fabric of the community to this day.

Two trees frame the side of the picture, while a train crosses the railroad in the bottom third of the picture. In the background are brick buildings and Mill Mountain.

The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center

Hotel Roanoke in Downtown Roanoke

One of the region’s most well-known landmarks is the historic Hotel Roanoke. Built by Norfolk & Western Railroad in 1882, this AAA Four Diamond property is the perfect blend of history and luxury. Grab a drink from the newly renovated 1882 Lobby Bar and Pine Room Restaurant or sit down for a meal in the hotel’s AAA Four Diamond-rated, historic Regency Room Restaurant. Their peanut soup is not to be missed - the recipe remains untouched since 1940 and pairs perfectly with the hotel’s spoonbread. 

Roanoke Star & Mill Mountain

The Roanoke Star among fall foliage in the Blue Ridge Mountains

The iconic Roanoke Star is 100 feet tall with 2,000 feet of neon tubing that lights up each night. Originally built as a Christmas decoration by the City of Roanoke in 1949, it’s the largest free-standing manmade star in the world and can be seen atop Mill Mountain for miles. 

Drive, bike, or hike up Mill Mountain for stunning views of the region. Explore the Mill Mountain Zoo, Discovery Center and miles of hiking and mountain biking trails in Mill Mountain Park just minutes from downtown.

Cyclist at Mill Mountain Overlook admires the view

City Market Building

City Market Building in Downtown Roanoke, VA

The City Market Building is the heart of downtown Roanoke. Formerly the region's primary market, it now offers a diverse mix of local restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating, plus a beautiful unique venue space.

Historic Roanoke City Farmers Market

Smiling producer holding apples at Roanoke City Farmers Market

40 vendor stalls line the sidewalks opposite the City Market Building to make up the Historic Roanoke City Market. Find everything from local meats, cheeses, and produce to artisan craftworks and jewelry. Roanoke’s City Market is the oldest continuously operating open-air market in the Commonwealth and operates 363 days a year. 

The walkable sidewalks of downtown Roanoke are a balanced mix of local restaurants, breweries, boutiques, art galleries, museums and attractions, making it a one-of-a-kind destination.

Jefferson St. in downtown Roanoke on a blue sky day.  

Spoil your furry companion with treats and adventure gear at Unleashed Dog Bakery & Boutique or find something truly one-of-a-kind at She’s International Boutique.

Storefront of Unleashed Dog Bakery & Boutique featuring a dog mural that reads, "Stay safe. Shop local."

Downtown Roanoke Attractions

Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, VA

The Taubman Museum of Art always offers free general admission. Discover history, live entertainment, and games at Center in the Square, home to 4 unique museums, an arcade, and more!

Roanoke Pinball Museum - Center in the Square 

Downtown Roanoke Public Art

Public Art in Roanoke VA

Murals adorn buildings, streets, alleyways, and storefronts throughout Downtown Roanoke. The Elmwood Park Art Walk features unique sculptures. At night, neon lights join the Roanoke Star in illuminating the City.

Elmwood Art Walk in Downtown Roanoke 

Downtown Roanoke Bars & Restaurants

Golden Cactus Brewing in Roanoke, VA

From local brews and libations to authentic international cuisine...exceptional craft flavors and unexpected culinary delights abound in the Star City. Experience nearly 10 local craft breweries around Downtown Roanoke as part of the VBR Cheers Trail

Raising the culinary bar in Roanoke since 2010, Lucky Restaurant & Bar has been recognized by Garden & Gun Magazine, The Local Palate, and Southern Lady Magazine. Find an exciting blend of Southern and French-influenced flavors and exceptionally unique cocktails on the menu.

Craft beverage, The Cube, at Lucky in Downtown Roanoke 

International flavors from Lebanon, India, Honduras, Greece and beyond make it possible to take a culinary trip around the globe without leaving Roanoke. 
Cedars Lebanese Restaurant | Taaza Indian Cuisine | Inka Peruvian Grill | Viet Sub | Athens Corner Grill

A plate of shrimp, rice, vegetables, and seasonings from Cedars Lebanese Restaurant

The River and Rail offers a Southern, bistro-style menu that changes daily. However, their use of locally sourced ingredients remains a constant. From house-cured meats and pickled vegetables to house made condiments, everything is made in-house, from scratch.

River and Rail Brunch in Roanoke 

Famous Foods in Downtown Roanoke

Known as “Roanoke’s Millionaires Club,” Texas Tavern is open 24 hours a day, 364 days a year and, “seats 1,000 people...10 at a time.” Their menu features world-famous “chile,” hotdogs, hamburgers, and Cheesy Westerns. Family owned and operated since 1930.

Texas Tavern in Roanoke, VA

“Home of the Virginia slice,” pizzas at Benny Marconi’s are larger than life. A whole pie is over 2 feet wide, measuring 28 inches across!

Benny Marconi's Pizza in Roanoke, VA

The Roanoker Restaurant has been serving home-cooked meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner for over 65 years. They’re best known for their Southern hospitality and fresh, buttery biscuits that were featured in Southern Living’s cookbook, as well as the Today Show.

Biscuits with jam, coffee, orange juice, a menu, and flowers sit on a table at The Roanoker. 


Downtown Roanoke is conveniently accessible to much of the U.S. and Canada through a variety of transportation modes. Drive, fly, or ride to Roanoke in Virginia’s Blue Ridge today!

Downtown Roanoke, Virginia

Roanoke Valley Spotlight

Book your stay in Downtown Roanoke as part of a getaway to Virginia's Blue Ridge.


Downtown Roanoke features family-friendly museums, attractions and things to do.


VBR Cheers Trail Passport