Every city has something interesting in it, even if it’s not a bustling city like New York or Chicago. There are so many things to do when you are in the Blue Ridge Mountain area, and hidden in the valley below is Roanoke. It’s a small town, with a lot of heart and hidden gems all they way around it. While you can spend weeks exploring it, if you’re in the area for a quick trip you can still do a lot of things.
So if you have one day in Roanoke – how do you spend it?
Visit the Blue Ridge Mountains
Hope in your car and head up to the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are multiple look out points as you drive higher up into the mountain range. Look over the city of Roanoke and see for miles around you. You will find breath taking views and enjoy some crisp mountain air. With great spots to stop for a picnic or just a rest, this is a great way to start your day.
Taubman Art Museum
The Taubman Museum of Art is right downtown Roanoke and hard to miss with it modern architectural style leaning over the street. Free to visit, you can find active exhibits, permanent installations and even programs featuring art education for children. The main level offers a care, a gift shop and views of the surrounding city, but the second floor is where the majority of the art resides. After touring the current installations, be sure you visit the third floor for the balcony overlook that will give you views of the area as well of the large Dr. Pepper and Coffee Sign that the architect had moved closer to the building for your viewing pleasure. Before you leave the museum, check out great art gifts but be sure to hit the Art ATM where you can get custom paintings for only $20.
Booker T Washington Monument
While it’s a bit of a drive outside of Roanoke, the Booker T. Washington Monument is a must visit location. The National Park is actually on the plantation land that Washington was born on and later freed on. With a monument outside, and an interactive museum with history inside, the park offers a lot for history buffs, nature addicts and more.
Booker T. Washington was born a slave in April 1856 on the 207-acre farm of James Burroughs. After the Civil War, Washington became the first principal of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial School. Later as an adviser, author and orator, his past would influence his philosophies as the most influential African American of his era.
Roanoke City Market
Roanoke is known for it’s City Market and all of the open are shops you can find in the downtown area. But even if you aren’t in the area on market day, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the market. The actually farmers market area is surrounded by small shops, and the City Market Building is filled with shops and restaurants (both inside out out) that you can enjoy. With tile mosaics at each entrance you can get a touch of the history of the area as well.
1 Market Square
Right at the corner of the City Market you will find 1 Market Square – a building filled with floor after floor of thing to do. Stop at the front desk on your way in and get tickets for whatever you want do inside. From movies playing on lobby wall, aquarium tanks throughout, the Pinball museum and even Kids Square – an educational program for kids as well. Head to the green roof and garden space on the roof for views of the the city and surrounding mountains from above.