Beyond the Campus
Within walking distance
You'll find all the amenities of a great college town just a few blocks from campus—stores, shopping, services, restaurants, nightlife. Get coffee and a muffin from Mill Mountain Coffee, visit a local farmers' market, browse the stores, have lunch or dinner at Mac & Bob's or Macado's — two classic college hangouts—or catch some live music at night. Whatever you do, you'll feel welcomed in Salem.
The fun beckons
FloydFest is an annual music festival featuring past performers like Ziggy Marley, Michael Franti, Ben Harper and Lauryn Hill.
The trains running through downtown Roanoke. The railroad was instrumental in the development of our region. (Photo courtesy of Terry Aldhizer)
Grab a tube and take your pick of local rivers and creeks.
A scene from downtown Roanoke at night.
The Roanoke Valley offers so many great hiking trails and so many great views.
Downtown Roanoke offers your choice of many restaurants, bars, coffee shops and music venues.
Roanoke's new Elmwood Park Amphitheater is a great place to see local and national music performances. Sheryl Crow was the inaugural performer here and Colbie Caillat, Christina Perri and Joan Jett are performing this summer.
The Taubman Museum is great for art lovers and provides a stunning location for local events.
Catch a play at Mill Mountain Theatre.
Nearby Smith Mountain Lake and Claytor Lake offer a great place to relax or try out some water sports.
Hiking the famed Appalachian Trail, which runs right by our campus.
Want a nice evening out? Check out the Grandin Village — see a movie, go to dinner or just walk around.
The Roanoke Valley offers a wide assortment of places to eat. Downtown Roanoke, just a 10-minute drive away, has the largest selection, from New American to BBQ, and everything in between. Some favorites are Frankie Rowland's Steakhouse, Metro, Stefano's , Table 50, Nawab, Lucky and Blue5. The City Market Building houses an international food court that's a popular lunch destination.
Grandin Village, a neighborhood on the outskirts of the city, offers a number of good restaurants as well.
Some popular restaurants close to campus in downtown Salem are Mamma Maria's, Applebee's, Chick-Fil-A and El Rodeo. Within walking distance are Blue Apron, Macado's, Mac & Bob's and Fruitions, among many more.
Valley View Mall, less than 10 minutes from campus is the largest shopping center in Southwest Virginia. Stores include Macy's, H&M, LOFT, Old Navy, Hollister, The Limited, Express and The Gap.
Southwest County caters to the more discerning shopper with many upscale fashion boutiques. Make sure to check out The Shoppes at West Village on 419.
Downtown Roanoke offers unique stores and a bustling market featuring local vendors selling flowers, jewelry and other handmade items.
You'll find several local shops and boutiques within walking distance of the campus on Salem's Main Street.
Concerts & Nightlife
The Roanoke and Salem civic centers host major concerts, performances and events. Roanoke's Berglund Center has recently hosted ZZ Top, Carrie Underwood, Elton John, Harry Connick, Jr. and Ron White. The Salem Civic Center hosts shows and sporting events, as well as many top recording artists such as Florida Georgia Line and Brad Paisley. Roanoke also is home to The Jefferson Center, which houses many arts and performance organizations and attracts an eclectic array of top-notch performing artists, such as salsa bands, jazz artists, blues bands and flamenco guitarists.
Roanoke's nightlife scene is full of options, whether you're interested in live music, dancing or more laid-back coffeehouses. Bars and clubs across the valley offer every kind of evening entertainment from jazz to rock to Latin music. If you're into movies, catch a flick at the Valley View Grande Theatre , the Carmike 10 at Tanglewood Mall, or Salem Valley 8 on Apperson Drive. For independent movies, check out the Grandin Theatre.
Museums & Attractions
The Roanoke Valley is home to many museums and art galleries. Roanoke's Center in the Square is the region's cultural center that houses and supports many museums and performance companies. Just blocks away, the striking Taubman Museum of Art was designed by Los Angeles architect Randall Stout, who worked under Frank Gehry.
Other museums in the area include: Science Museum of Western Virginia and Hopkins Planetarium; History Museum of Western Virginia; O. Winston Link Museum; Virginia Museum of Transportation; Harrison Museum of African-American Culture; Salem Museum & Historical Society; and Booker T. Washington National Monument.
And, don't miss The Roanoke Star, the largest man-made illuminated star that sits atop Mill Mountain and is seen from all over the valley. It's a great place to visit for a superb view of the city.
Salem is the valley's sports center, hosting collegiate championships for the NCAA Division III in football, basketball and softball. Salem also is home to the Salem Red Sox, a class-A professional baseball team affiliated with the Boston Red Sox. The baseball games feature theme nights and student discounts.
Roanoke is a great place for outdoor recreational activities including mountain biking on the trails at Carvins Cove, swimming and boating at Smith Mountain Lake, and downhill skiing at several nearby locations. Watch this video about Roanoke's Outdoor Adventures program.
All Roanoke College students get a free membership to the Salem YMCA in addition to access to the campus fitness facilities.
Events & Festivals
It seems that almost every week there's an event or festival somewhere in the area.
Local festivals include: FloydFest (music); The Festy Experience (music), Local Colors (cultural diversity); Festival in the Park (music & family fun); Strawberry Festival; Virginia State Championship Chili Cookoff; and Microfestivus (craft beer).
For more information about the Roanoke Valley, check out these resources: