by Allison Shaw
If you have never explored the Roanoke area, then you are missing out! From museums to the Mill Mountain star, to the markets in downtown Roanoke, there is plenty to see and do. If you are just looking for something fun to do over the weekend or staying on campus over spring break and wondering what to do for fun, here are a few interesting things to see and do in Roanoke!
First and foremost, if you have never taken a trip to see the Mill Mountain Star, it is highly recommended, and for good reason! The view is beautiful, allowing you to see out over the Roanoke skyline and a great view of both architecture and the mountains. There’s a lovely park near the star as well as hiking trails and bike paths, and the Mill Mountain Zoo, a relatively small yet not underwhelming zoo with some adorable animals. Just last year they welcomed a new red panda, and the zoo itself offers some amazing views. If you take a trip up the mountain to see the star, definitely check out the neighboring zoo. My advice is to go on a warmer day, and wear layers, as it can be fairly chilly in that area this time of year.
If you are a fan of video games, definitely check out the STARCADE in downtown Roanoke. A bit of a hidden gem, the STARCADE is an “interactive video game museum” with 3000+ gaming cabinets, including a lot of old favorites. It tends not to be very busy, so it’s easy to navigate and there is not usually much of a wait on games. Check out their website at www.roanokestarcade.org to see a full list of what games they have to offer.
Speaking of downtown Roanoke, the Taubman Museum is a great place to spend a weekend afternoon. While it is not a very large museum, the selection of art is fantastic, and they frequently host special exhibitions. Plan on spending an hour or two in the museum and immerse yourself in some artwork.
In the same vein as a museum, there are a few shops in the Roanoke area as well that are great places to go and look around. Black Dog Salvage carries antique furniture and items, and while not the most practical shopping destination for a college student in the dorms, is a super fun place to just go and window shop. In general, antique shops are a great place to go and look around if you’re ever in need of something to do. You may even find some inspiration for dorm decor or a DIY project!
So, if you are stumped on what to do this weekend, try to see what the Roanoke area has to offer! You may stumble across some hidden gems like the STARCADE or see some breathtaking views on a hike up Mill Mountain.