Roanoke, Virginia – The Star City of the South

Where can you find a world class art museum, a museum of transportation and the oldest continually operated farmer's market in the Commonwealth of Virginia all within walking distance of one another? The answer: Downtown Roanoke, Virginia.

Roanoke is nicknamed the "Star City or the South" for the city's most visible attraction, a 100-foot-high illuminated steel star, a beacon at the top of Mill Mountain for over 40 years.  Please click the image for a larger view of the gorgeous photo by Dan Smith, editor of Valley Business FRONT

Mill Mountain Star, Roanoke, Virginia photo by Dan Smith The Valley continues to shine brightly as reflected in the 2010 lists below.

From Blue Ridge Outdoors, January 2010…

Best Urban Park, Carvins Cove Reserve, Roanoke, VA

Best Outdoor Festival, Floyd Fest

Favorite Section of the Appalachian Trail, Dragons Tooth, Catawba, VA

Favorite Section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Peaks of Otter

And from…

Kiplinger’s Best Cities 167 out of 367, May 2010

National Association of Counties, Top Digital Counties, Best Cities for Business and Careers #39; April 2010

Roanoke's ranking comes as no surprise considering that nearly 90,000 undergraduate students are studying at 21 institutions of higher education.  That's more undergrads per capita than the San Francisco bay area, the Research Triangle, and the Boston-Cambridge area.

The Roanoke Valley is a scenic jewel in the southern Appalachian mountains and attracts all types of outdoor enthusiasts. The Appalachian Trail and America's favorite byway, the Blue Ridge Parkway, provide breathtaking views on foot or by car. In 2010, the region premiered the Blue Ridge Parkway Marathon for extreme athletes with over 900 participants.

The neighboring City of Salem is called Virginia's Championship City for the NCAA championship events that it hosts and is also home to the minor league baseball team, the Salem Red Sox.

Cultural arts enthusiasts, retirees, medical researchers and entrepreneurs alike call the Roanoke Valley home. With an average commute of just 20 minutes, this metro area is one that richly deserves its star.


Donna Dilley is a business etiquette consultant based In Roanoke, Virginia.  She writes a business etiquette column for Valley Business FRONT.

Who's in FRONT? Dudley Woody
Singularity Summit 2010


  1. William (Bill) Kinzie says:

    The Roanoke arts community includes, The Roanoke Symphony and Youth Symphony, an opera and dance company, the Roanoke College Children’s Choir, the Kadinsky Trio and the Mill Mountain Play House. Every summer Roanoke hosts the annual Sidewalk Arts sale that promotes area graphic artists.

  2. Bill, thank you for reading this post.

    I also love the RSO, Opera Roanoke, RC Children’s Choir and all the great theatrical offerings but was unable to highlight everything with a 300 word limit. Thanks for your additions!

  3. The Salem Choral Society is celebrating its 10th anniversary season this year. Singers come from throughout the region and we have two concerts this season at the Jefferson Center. We perform a variety of music: classical, musicals, pops, etc. We have premiered five major works with orchestra in our first nine seasons. For more information, go to

  4. Dear Aaron, thank you so much for reading this post and for highlighting the wonderful work of the Salem Choral Society.

    I am a BIG FAN of your work and the work of the Salem Choral Society. Best wishes for a great tenth season!
    Donna Dilley

  5. Also, Roanoke has an energized, united & increasingly influential street level cultural/arts population – including visual artists, filmmakers, musicians, dancers, even a circus group! Recent additions include The Shadowbox MicroCinema & Kirk Avenue Music Hall

    Connected with the cultural world in Roanoke is the emerging bicycling world in Roanoke. Roanoke is currently the home of Keirin Culture, a track & road bike boutique, and Six-Eleven Bicycle Co. a national award winning handmade bicycle business, and Sharebike, a community bike store, repair and rental business, and BikeRoanoke, an alternative transportation org, – quite an amazing bicycle presence for a city of Roanoke’s population.

    Roanoke is right now becoming an amazing cultural center, even with a population within city limits of less than 100,000!

  6. River, thank you so much for your comments!

    You are a great energetic and creative force for our region. THANK you for your tireless efforts in enriching the lives Roanokers and visitors!

  7. Stephanie Specht says:

    One of my favorite things about living in the Roanoke area is access to so many different outdoor activities – multiple rivers, lakes, great hiking and camping, plus some of the best road and mountain biking around.

  8. Nice article in Virginia Business on “Roanoke’s Outdoor Man, Pete Eshelman”:

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