Beyond the Campus

Within walking distance

Students eating at Mac and BobsYou'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.

See what's near

The fun beckons

Tuco's restaurant


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 SteakhouseTable 50, Nawab, and Lucky. 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, including Rockfish, Taaza, Local Roots and many others.  

Outside the city center, Valley View Mall features chains like TGIFriday's, Cheddar's  and Olive Garden.

Some popular restaurants within walking distance in downtown Salem are Macado's, Mac & Bob's,  El Jefe Taquería and Freshens, among many more.  Some others in Salem include Mamma Maria's, Applebee's, Chick-Fil-A and El Rodeo

Stores in the Valley View Mall


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, and Express.

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.

A photo being taken at a live concert

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.

Live performing arts organizations in Roanoke include: Southwest Virginia Ballet; Opera Roanoke; Roanoke Symphony Orchestra; and Mill Mountain Theatre.

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 AMC Classic Roanoke 10 at Tanglewood Mall, or AMC Cassic Salem Valley 8 on Apperson Drive. For independent movies, check out the Grandin Theatre.

Downtown Roanoke art museum at night

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.

Students on a hike in Salem


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. Learn more about outdoor activities in Roanoke. 

All Roanoke College students get a discounted membership to the Salem YMCA in addition to free access to the campus fitness facilities.

A large crowd congregating at a music festival

Events & Festivals

It seems that almost every week there's an event or festival somewhere in the area.

Ongoing events include: First Fridays and Salem After Five.

Local festivals include: FloydFest (music); The Festy Experience (music), Local Colors (cultural diversity); Festival in the Park (music & family fun) and Strawberry Festival.

Helpful resources

Maps & Directions How to find your way here and explore our campus.  
Lodging Where to stay and experience our southern hospitality.

For more information about the Roanoke Valley, check out these resources:

Virginia's Blue Ridge
Roanoke Regional Partnership
City of Salem
City of Roanoke
Roanoke County
Downtown Roanoke, Inc.

Visit Main Street in Salem

Launch Main Street Salem

Visit Downtown Roanoke

Launch Downtown Roanoke