There are a wide range of cultural activities in southwest Virginia. A variety of art galleries and museums are located in Roanoke. The Center in the Square is home to museums of art, history and science; live professional theater, with three performing arts companies; the region's arts council; and specialty shops. The Center in the Square has created a thriving downtown arts community that promotes a strong cultural quality of life.
The architecturally spectacular Taubman Museum of Art in downtown Roanoke opened in November 2008. The facility houses the museum’s permanent collection and features expanded exhibition and education spaces.
Other art galleries and museums include:
- The Arts Council of the Blue Ridge
- Science Museum of Western Virginia and Hopkins Planetarium
- History Museum and Historical Society of Western Virginia
- O. Winston Link Museum
- Virginia Museum of Transportation
- Harrison Museum of African-American Culture
- Salem Museum and Historical Society
- Booker T. Washington National Monument
A number of art studios are located in downtown Roanoke and several other southwest Virginia communities, such as Bedford, Blacksburg and Lexington, as well as at Smith Mountain Lake.
The Roanoke Civic Center is southwest Virginia’s premier full-service convention, exhibition and cultural complex. It hosts conventions, concerts and sporting events year-round.
The Jefferson Center in downtown Roanoke hosts many cultural and educational events throughout the year, and it also has an art gallery featuring the work of local and regional artists within a 200-mile radius of Roanoke.
Communities throughout southwest Virginia offer a variety of cultural amenities. Bedford County is rich in history with the National D-Day Memorial and Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest retreat home. Lime Kiln Theatre in Lexington provides a venue for classic theater, concerts, various live entertainment and civic events.
The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, winds through the mountains of southwest Virginia. As you travel The Crooked Road, you will hear the region’s unique musical heritage from musicians and singers in the region.
You also may browse the Virginia tourism web site for events and activities.
Shopping and Dining
Roanoke has numerous places to shop, with three large malls, several shopping centers and a number of unique gift and antique shops around the area. Similar shopping outlets are located in the communities throughout southwest Virginia. Click on the links below to view some of the shopping opportunities that are available in the area.
- Valley View Mall
- Tanglewood Mall
- Downtown Roanoke
- New River Valley Mall
- Search the Virginia tourism site's shopping directory
There are many high-quality restaurants throughout southwest Virginia, from casual to upscale and featuring all types of ethnic foods. The tourism website of the Commonwealth of Virginia has a comprehensive dining guide.