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It’s that time of year again…a frenzy of holiday celebrations, parties and out of town guests; loved ones, dear friends or your favorite Great Aunt Myrtle are a wonderful addition to the season but we all know what Benjamin Franklin had to say about guests.

Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery and a good plan, so show off Roanoke VA and head out on the town with your guests and keep everyone happy, busy and smelling sweet.  Here’s a list of ideas to impress and occupy friends and family (and yourself) in the weeks ahead!  We know this isn’t a complete list, so share your ideas as well.

Christmas Lights Neighborhood Tours

a crowd of people at night

Many neighborhoods and homeowners in the Roanoke Valley put on a festive winter wonderland show during the holiday season.  We’ve listed a few streets and homes we know.  Please email us with others that should be seen and enjoyed as well. Also, feel free to email us photos. Click on links for Google Map directions.

Westover Avenue SW – Grandin Court

Arlington Road SW – Grandin Court


Fashions For Evergreens At Hotel Roanoke

From whimsical and outlandish displays to elegant and traditional designs, visitors of this year’s Fashions for Evergreens, will be inspired by the glamorous trees and gather ideas from professional decorators for a truly memorable holiday season. This unique annual Christmas tree decorating event is free and open to the public and includes professionally decorated trees on display throughout the hotel. The event runs from Thanksgiving Day to New Years Day, and the public is asked to vote for your favorite! All proceeds benefit the United Way of Roanoke Valley.


Ahhh! Be pampered at the Salt Foot Sanctuary at Hotel Roanoke! 

a woman sitting on a chairMake an entire day of it at Hotel Roanoke and in Downtown Roanoke.  See the Fashions For Evergreens at Hotel Roanoke AND then treat yourself and your guests to a blissful transforming mini-escape!  The Salt Foot Sanctuary at Hotel Roanoke is ideal for couples or small groups.  It’s a shared experience, with a capacity of up to four guests at the same time, performed in our sanctuary and centered on luxurious, handmade, and wonderfully aromatic mineral foot soaks. Add a massage during your soak for the ultimate experience.  Plus, enjoy a glass of wine, hot tea, or a craft beer during your stay.  Reservations suggested.  It’s a great gift idea too, gift certificates are available here.


Savor & Enjoy An Adventure With Tour Roanoke

a group of people sitting at a table posing for the cameraDiscover Roanoke like never before! Enjoy a Culinary Adventure Walking Tour of downtown on a Roanoke Food Tour. If craft beer captures your fancy, explore local breweries on the Brewery Hop-On Hop-Off Tourand three or more breweries on a fun adventure.  We also offer two extraordinary hands-on experiences, the Taste of Naples adventure at Fortunato, and Shaken or Stirred?  – a craft cocktail mixer adventure at Stellina!   Too busy to take a tour over the holidays, then consider a Tour Roanoke Gift Certificate, they never expire and we always to a Holiday discount! For info on any of these group tours, you can book online at Tour Roanoke.


Ice Skating

a group of people walking in the snow100% chance of ICE in Downtown Roanoke! You have two options.  Elmwood On Ice will be open from Nov. 27.    There will be limited hours on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, New Years Day, and the rink will be closed Christmas Day. Private group rentals are available outside of regular operating hours.  Also, the Berglund Center has plenty of hours for public ice skating on the big inside rink!




Catch A Movie At The Historic Grandin Theatre

a group of people walking in front of a buildingAn authentic piece of Roanoke’s history and great popcorn too! In 1931, Roanoke architect John Zink and his crew began construction on The Grandin Theatre. On March 26, 1932, Roanoke’s top movie palace opened its doors for the first time for a screening of “Arrowsmith.” The Grandin Theatre was the first theatre in Roanoke to have “talking pictures.”  Tickets were 25 cents for adults and 10 cents for kids.  Tickets are a bit more today, but well worth the experience.  There are great restaurants in “the village” as well.

Bike The Roanoke River Greenway

a bicycle parked on the side of a roadWeather in Roanoke during the holidays can be surprisingly mild. The Roanoke River Greenway offers the opportunity to not only get out of the house but also to get some exercise to burn off the holiday pies and cookies. Cycle the Greenway to the Green Goat restaurant located in the old transportation museum.  Need a bike?  No worries, affordable rentals available from Roanoke Mountain Adventures or Underdog Bikes, both located right off the Greenway.


Visit And Browse Black Dog Salvage

a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the cameraPlan for a full day of browsing and “picking.” Believe it or not, Black Dog Salvage is one of Roanoke’s top tourist attractions. Folks from throughout the U.S. make a pilgrimage to Roanoke for a “Black Dog weekend” thanks in large measure to the popular TV series Salvage Dawgs.  A local success story and tons of fun! This architectural salvage destination is a combination of vintage antique shop, history museum, and salvage paradise!  Envision a 40,000 square warehouse filled with architectural antiques, custom designs and everything in between.


Have A Dickens Of A Christmas

a person standing posing for the cameraBe a part of the Roanoke Valley’s premiere holiday celebration, The Roanoke Times Dickens of a Christmas! Celebrating its 37th anniversary, Dickens occurs on the first three Fridays in December. This free, family-friendly event happens annually in Downtown Roanoke and includes favorites like roasted chestnuts, carriage rides, street performers, and more!





Explore The Historic Roanoke City Market And Market Building

a city streetThe oldest continually operating farmers market in the Commonwealth of Virginia began operating in 1882. The City Market Building and the adjacent farmer’s market has been the hub of food distribution since we were the town of Big Lick. Today the Market area is the center of downtown activity, complete we a thriving restaurant scene and great shopping. Make sure to have lunch at one of the delicious restaurants located in the City Market Building such as The Wall Street Tavern or Fork In The Market. Don’t miss the delicious breakfast from Scrambled, where everything is made fresh daily!


Go Indoor Rock Wall Climbing At The River Rock

Children friendly, The River Rock is an indoor rock climbing gym located on the first floor of the River House in the Wasena Village next to the Roanoke River Greenway.  It features over 8,500 sq. ft. of climbing with over 30 top-rope and lead routes, plus plenty of world-class bouldering.  Great for beginner and experienced adventurers. 





Catch a Game

a can of sodaBetween the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs and Virginia Tech Hockey, there’s plenty of fast-paced action at the Berglund Center



Play Pinball At The Pinball Museum

a person standing in front of a storeLocated in Center in the Square in downtown the Roanoke Pinball Museum is a retro pinball paradise. You’ll get unlimited play with your ticket. Children 8 & under are free with a paid adult. Open every day of the week except Monday. This interactive museum is dedicated to the science & history of pinball. Featuring over 45 machines from the 1930s to modern times.  Your admission allows patrons to play at their leisure. Pinball players, young and old, will be introduced to the history of pinball, the science behind the game, and have fun!



Take In A Stage Performance


What better way to support the local arts community than taking in a performance in one of Roanoke’s theatres. Gather the entire family and head over to Mill Mountain Theatre for The Sound of Music. The hills are alive in the Roanoke Valley this holiday season with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s timeless classic. This family show will be performed from December 4-22, making it a perfect holiday outing.  And the Star City Playhouse performs The Bargain from Nov. 15 – Dec. 1.  Also, check out Matilda at Roanoke Children’s Theatre.




Run, Walk or stroll the Drumstick DASH 

a group of people standing in front of a crowd

Race Info – 9:00 AM Thanksgiving Morning – 5K (3.1 mile) RACE/FAMILY WALK

Join thousands of Roanoker’s downtown on Thanksgiving morning for a worthy cause.  Great fun and the DASH is sure to get you into a thankful spirit as you and your family help feed the hungry. Enjoy the music and sense of community along the route as the Drumstick DASH provides a fun, family-friendly, rain or shine Thanksgiving morning event. This year, the Rescue Mission will provide more than 300,000 meals to hungry families.

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