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Roanoke Travel Guide, Virginia

Roanoke is the name of a beautiful city set in the Roanoke Valley with the Mill Mountain nearby offering great views of the city and of the Valley.

The setting is beautiful and probably that’s what the first settlers thought of when they decided to establish the first settlement here. But an important step in the development of the settlement was the Norfolk and Western Railroad’s arrival that also had a say in changing the city’s name from Big Lick to Roanoke.

The railroad was the cornerstone of the city’s economy and it still is an important part of it but the interstate highway’s appearance has hindered its importance.

The city’s economy is still strong and made the city one of Virginia's largest metropolitan areas with lots of attractions and important venues. Among them is the Civic Center, the Historic City Market and Market Square which is the center of the main activity in the city comprising a number of different venues like theatres, museums, restaurant. This is the place to be if you want entertainment during the day or night. Shopping is excellent with gift shops, art galleries, antiques dealers and pawn shops. The ones that must be entered are the Wertz’s Country Store and the Agnew Seed Store that keep their image from the past and they are like a drop of history in the middle of town.

Other attractions on Market Square are the many museums including the Art Museum of Western Virginia, the History Museum of Western Virginia, and the Science Museum of Western Virginia while the Virginia Museum of Transportation is just a few minutes away from Market Square following the O. Winston Link Railwalk.

And if you are in the area you shouldn’t miss the Mill Mountain Theatre especially if you have kids with you as they will have a lot of fun watching children’s productions.

During the night it is still Market Square that is at the top with the best venues in town including Corned Beef and Company and Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. A variety of entertainment awaits you, ranging from avant-garde films to live music, and plenty of dancing opportunities.

A meal at the restaurant is especially good maybe partly because the main ingredients are bought fresh from the Historic City Market that is worth a visit. Another place for a gourmet is the Market Building where you can taste all kind of specialties for a reasonable price.

From the square you can take the walkway to the visitor's center for more detailed information you’re your visit. The center is located in the city's recently restored train station that is also worth a stop.

Not far from the city are the wonderful outdoors offered by the area including Mill Mountain where the main attractions are to be found in Mill Mountain Park and on the Mill Mountain Parkway Spur. Undoubtedly the most representative and a symbol of the city is the white neon Roanoke Star to be found on the Mountain. People can see it from miles away and it is like a lighthouse for the city’s residents. It is also a very good spot that offers great views of the city.

With so many attractions to appeal to all ages and tastes: museums, historic buildings, a zoo, excellent outdoors, Roanoke is really reaching up to its nickname of “Star City”.

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