A big city experience is closer than you think

Roanoke could be considered a little big city. It’s not as big as cities like Pittsburgh or Chicago, but it has a lot to offer. Coming from a town about as small as Radford, Roanoke is big to me. It has a lot of little towns surrounding it and a large downtown. Although it may not be a highly advertised city, it has a lot to offer. Downtown Roanoke has to be my favorite though.

“Although it may not be a highly advertised city, it has a lot to offer.”

Downtown has a permanent farmer’s market built in. The market is open every day of the week all year around. The only two days it isn’t open are Christmas and New Year’s Day. It’s a great way to support locals and get out into the fresh air. You can walk around downtown and there are little shops near the farmers market that is permanently there. There are fresh fruits, veggies, and little snacks. People even make their own homemade drinks! It’s a really neat experience if you’ve never been to a farmer’s market and if you have, it’s just another adventure!

The center in the square is also downtown. One of the many that are in the center happens to be the Butterfly Garden. This offers visitors the chance to interact with butterflies from all around the globe. You can walk into the garden, which mimics the butterflies’ natural habitat, or for those who aren’t as brave, you can visit the sixth floor. On the sixth floor, you can look down into the garden through a glass ceiling, getting more of a bird’s eye view. Mill Mountain Theatre is also inside the center. This theatre has different stages with things going on almost all year around. They offer different types of plays and musical experiences. For example, To Kill a Mockingbird is the play that’s being shown at this time. It’s another great way to experience local talent! The center is also the home of the History Museum of Western Virginia. This museum even has virtual tours that you can take online at their website.

There are a lot of little restaurants that double as nightclubs when the sun goes down. Most of them have outdoor seating when it is nice outside. You can enjoy a drink or your meal while watching the different people come in and out of the area. The restaurants are mostly all in walking distant of each other and the farmer’s market. There are several different cuisines offered around, so you have a variety to choose from.

Don’t forget about Roanoke and all the things the city has to offer next time you’re thinking of taking a day trip. Not too far from exit 109, Roanoke offers more than what’s just downtown. They have two major malls, the Berglund Center (formerly known as The Roanoke Civic Center), and the historic Hotel Roanoke. So go to dinner and a show. Take your girls for a day of shopping. Go grab some fresh food from the farmer’s market and enjoy making a fresh, local dinner!