Local bluegrass at Roanoke's Kirk Avenue Music Hall
  • Local bluegrass at Roanoke's Kirk Avenue Music Hall
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Roanoke, Virginia, is a mountain city in the South, but it’s not quiet and it’s by no means sleepy.

The city has a culture of fine arts and music that permeates all of downtown. It’s influenced by the nearby Crooked Road, Virginia’s heritage music trail and home to many of the earliest bluegrass and country music stars. But with a thriving railroad economy and colleges nearby, there’s a modern feeling to it. Roanoke can stay up all night having fun.

Roanoke’s known as “the star city of the South,” all because of a huge electrified star put up on the top of Mill Mountain during Christmas of 1949. The star remains and you can hike there nightly until 11:00 p.m. There’s a 24-hour webcam on site – so you can start your evening as a star in front of the star. (Bring a flashlight to be seen after dark.)

The city has a symphony orchestra, theater, art gallery, ballet company and lots of venues for live music. Blue 5 is a restaurant that features blues, acoustic and jazz music while serving Gulf Coast fare.

They strive to recreate the New Orleans/Bourbon St. scene. Kirk Avenue Music Hall hosts a number of eclectic performances, from alt-country and roots music to burlesque dancers, in a super intimate atmosphere.

After a night of entertainment, Roanoke is set for after-hours munchies. Texas Tavern is a little hamburger joint with ten stools at its counter – open all night, every night. If you’ve spent five bucks, you probably treated a couple of friends. It’s been referred to as “Roanoke’s Millionaire’s Club” since it opened during the Depression: you really never know who will stop in. The Three Stooges used to grab a late dinner at Texas Tavern after performing at nearby vaudeville theaters.

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