Moving to Roanoke

Ever considered a relocation that encompasses the charm of a quaint small town with the perks of a bustling city? Then Roanoke, nestled in the heart of Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia, could be your next ideal destination. Breathtaking scenic beauty, rich history, burgeoning arts scene, top-notch education, and a dynamic culinary experience-- Roanoke is an unparalleled amalgamation. Whether you're a nature lover, a lore enthusiast, or a culinary adventurer, this comprehensive Roanoke relocation guide has got you covered. Buckle up as we traverse a journey through the enchanting allure of Roanoke!

Moving to Roanoke, VA landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Roanoke

1. A Mountain City with Stunning Views

Roanoke, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, boasts breathtaking landscapes that could easily awaken the hidden photographer in you. The Roanoke Star, often called the Mill Mountain Star, is a must-see treat. It's not just the world's largest freestanding illuminated man-made star, it also offers a panoramic view of the valley that's simply awe-inspiring. Day or night, this is a memory for your Instagram feed!

2. Artful Living in a Vibrant Downtown

Prepare to have your senses tantalized with Roanoke's thriving arts scene. The city center's Taubman Museum of Art, with its quirky architecture and unique exhibits, is a culture lover's dream. But the art doesn't stop at museum doors, the city itself is like an open-air gallery with eye-catching murals on every corner! Not to mention the invigorating live music and theatre performances constantly held around downtown

3. Roanoke - A Food Lover's Paradise

Foodies, you're in for a treat! From gourmet delights to street food, farm-to-table experiences to international cuisine, Roanoke is a simmering pot of flavors waiting to be tasted. Truffle fries at Beamer's 25? Mind-blowing. Chicken and waffles at Scratch Biscuit Company? Heavenly. And the downtown farmers' market? Pick up any fresh produce you could possibly want. You'll never run out of new places to try!

4. Outdoor Adventures at Every Turn

The city's stunning landscape is more than just a pretty sight. It's also a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, kayaking, biking - you name it, they've got it. The Appalachian Trail, Carvins Cove Natural Reserve, and the Blue Ridge Parkway are just a few examples of the many places where you can satisfy your adventure cravings. And did we mention the bird-watching opportunities?

5. The Hidden Magic of the Greenways

Here's a less-known gem about Roanoke - the city is crisscrossed with over 30 miles of urban trails, known as Greenways. These meandering trails, cutting through city parks, residential areas, and alongside rivers, are perfect for leisurely strolls, morning runs, biking, even picnics! It's a gorgeously green haven within the urban landscape, helping Roanokers balance city life with a love for nature. You won't find this in every city!

6. Unexpected Celestial Front-Row Seats

This is a little-known secret of Roanoke - it has its own share of astronomical wonders. Thanks to its location away from heavy city lights, stargazing and meteor shower observations are quite splendid. In fact, Roanoke's Science Museum often organizes stargazing events and the annual StarFest in dark sky places, like Bottom Creek Gorge. Talk about a city with stellar surprises!

In conclusion, Roanoke, VA, is more than a city nestled in the mountains of Virginia. It's a hodgepodge of art, food, outdoor adventure, and celestial charm. You've got to live here to believe it!

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Pros and Cons of Living in Roanoke

Pros of Living in Roanoke

Rich Outdoor Activities

Roanoke is in close proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Residents can enjoy an array of activities including hiking, biking, fishing, and camping.

Reasonable Cost of Living

The cost of living in Roanoke is comparatively lower than many other U.S. states. From groceries to housing, residents typically find their paychecks stretching further, contributing to an improved quality of life.

Strong Sense of Community

The city of Roanoke has a small-town feel with a strong sense of community. In addition to a vibrant downtown, there are numerous community events throughout the year that bring residents together.

Great Education Facilities

Roanoke boasts an array of high-quality education facilities. The city's public and private schools are highly rated, and there are several colleges and universities in and around Roanoke for those seeking higher education.

Rich History and Culture

With its storied past as a railroad town, Roanoke has a rich history and culture. This is reflected in the city's numerous museums, art galleries, and historic landmarks to explore.

Cons of Living in Roanoke

Limited Employment Opportunities

While Roanoke has a diverse economy, there may be limited job opportunities in certain industries. Those planning to move to Roanoke may need to carefully consider their career prospects.

Public Transportation System

Roanoke's public transport system is not as extensive as some larger U.S. cities. This, together with its suburban layout, makes owning a car almost a necessity when living in the city.


The weather in Roanoke can be unpredictable at times with hot, humid summers and winters that can bring snowfall. This can add a degree of difficulty for those unaccustomed to such weather patterns.

Distance From Major Cities

While Roanoke has much to offer, it is a considerable distance from major cities such as Washington D.C. or New York City. This could be a drawback for those who travel frequently or enjoy weekend trips to large metro areas.

Rural Lifestyle

While some people appreciate the slower pace of life in Roanoke, those accustomed to a cosmopolitan lifestyle may find the town to be a bit too quiet. The nightlife and dining options may be limited when compared to bigger cities.

Modern day picture of Roanoke, VA highlighting pros and cons of living in Roanoke, VA

Is Roanoke a Good Place to Live?

Roanoke, VA is a great place to live because it offers stunning natural beauty, including the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail, coupled with a low cost of living and rich historical landmarks. The city's vibrant arts scene, exceptional healthcare, and highly ranked schools make it a fantastic place to raise a family. Plus, with its friendly communities and unique southern charm, living in Roanoke feels like coming home.

What Is Roanoke Famous For?


The Roanoke Star

A shining beacon atop Mill Mountain, the Roanoke Star is one of the city's most recognizable features. At 88.5 feet tall and 10,000 pounds, it's the world's largest freestanding illuminated man-made star, lighting up the night since 1949.

Art scene

Roanoke is a coalescing point for arts, culture, and creativity, boasting an expansive assortment of galleries, museums, and theater venues. From the world-class Taubman Museum of Art to the live performances at the Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke is an art lover's paradise.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation

Housing a collection of automobiles, buses, and railway vehicles, Roanoke's Virginia Museum of Transportation, is a must-visit for all enthusiasts. The museum's pride the "611" or the Norfolk and Western Class J 611, a steam locomotive that is one of the only 14 "J" class locomotives ever built.

The Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway, named "America's Favorite Drive," traverses through Roanoke, offering breathtaking vistas and close encounters with the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Whether you're hiking, fishing, wildlife watching, or simply driving, this 469-mile scenic route is spectacular in its beauty and history.

' Capital building of Roanoke, VA in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

As of 2023, the property tax rate in Roanoke, VA is $1.22 per $100 of assessed value, an amount slightly above the national average. This rate is applied to all real estate, personal property, machinery and tools, and public utility property within the city of Roanoke.

Sales Tax

The sales tax rate in Roanoke, VA, and all of Virginia is fairly moderate at 5.3%. This includes a 1% local add-on tax in most locations, and while this rate is not the lowest in the United States, it's far from the highest.

Income Tax

As of 2023, the state of Virginia utilizes a progressive income tax system with rates ranging from 2% to 5.75%. Roanoke, VA residents are subject to these rates which are relatively standard compared to other states.

Housing Market

The housing market in Roanoke, VA offers a blend of affordable and quality living compared to many parts of the US. The median home price is a manageable $146,000, almost half the national median value. Rents are similarly reasonable, averaging at $866, below the national average of $1,062. Rental vacancy rates are on the higher side, which means prospective renters have a wide array of choices. Prospective homeowners will appreciate the market's stability, with home values increasing modestly year-over-year. Whether buying or renting, Roanoke, VA housing market provides good value for money without sacrificing quality.

Cost of Living

Roanoke, VA boasts a cost of living lower than the national average. The city's housing costs are considerably less, making it a more affordable place to live compared with many other American cities. However, utilities and healthcare are slightly above the national average. Overall, the cost of living in Roanoke presents a balanced and affordable option for families, professionals and retirees alike, combining the charm of southern living with all the amenities of a larger city. It is essential to consider these factors when planning a move or evaluating the cost-effectiveness of living in various U.S. cities.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Roanoke, VA, is situated in a humid subtropical climate zone, characterized by four distinct and variable seasons. Summers are typically hot and humid, with average temperatures in the high 80s to low 90s (degF). Winters are typically cool to cold, with snowfall that can range from light to heavy. Spring and fall bring mild and pleasant temperatures, often accompanied by beautiful foliage and blooming flowers. Roanoke is prone to several types of natural disasters like hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, widespread power outages, snowstorms, and occasionally, tornadoes. The city is also susceptible to seismic activities, with earthquakes occurring infrequently. Despite these potential hazards, Roanoke's climate offers a rich diversity of weather conditions, adding to the city's charm and appeal.

Typical weather in Roanoke, VA

Economy & Job Market

* Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

* Health Care and Social Assistance

* Retail Trade

* Manufacturing

* Educational Services

Roanoke, Virginia, situated in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, touts a thriving economy that beautifully blends its rich historical roots with dynamic modern industries. Historically, Roanoke was known as a railroad town, often referred to as the "Magic City" of the New South, owing to its rapid growth and significance as a hub for the Norfolk & Western Railway. Moving forward into the 21st century, Roanoke has experienced an economic metamorphosis. Although it still pays homage to its railroad history, today's Roanoke is a vibrant hub for Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services, along with the Health Care and Social Assistance industries. Not trailing far behind are the Retail Trade, Manufacturing, and Educational Services sectors, contributing significantly to Roanoke's diverse economy.

For those planning to migrate to Roanoke with hopes of hitting the job market, there's plenty of favorable prospects. Roanoke's employment rate regularly outpaces the national average, making it a solid city for job seekers. The health care sector, driven by giants like Carilion Clinic and Roanoke Memorial Hospital, is fertile ground for those seeking medical and health related jobs. Don't overlook the Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services industry either. With the rise of tech startups and scientific research firms, this sector is flourishing. Remember, Roanoke isn't your regular city, it's a veritable playground for professionals, steeped in history, bursting with opportunities, where work-life balance is more than a buzzword and the mountain views are just a perk of the job!

Traffic and Transportation

Hey there, adventurous spirit! Did you know that in Roanoke, VA, the average commute time floats around a breezy 21.4 minutes? That's less than half the time of the average New Yorker! Public transport is equally impressive, with the Greater Roanoke Transit Company, also known as Valley Metro, operating buses around the city. You can nimbly navigate to scenic spots, shopping centers, and educational establishments. Ever dreamed of soaring like an eagle? Well, Roanoke's very own Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA) covers your flying needs. Get your wings ready for destinations like Atlanta, Philadelphia, and more! So, whether it's by land or air, traversing Roanoke is as smooth as a Southern drawl.

What is the traffic like in Roanoke, VA?

Best Neighborhoods in Roanoke

1. Grandin Village

First up is Grandin Village, a neighborhood that brims with charm and character. With a vibrant, high-spirited community and an abundance of historic homes, this trendy place is the perfect blend of old-world feeling and modern amenities. Trot by the adorable boutiques, grab a bite at one of the diverse eateries or fill your tote at the popular local farmer's market, Grandin Village has a little bit of everything. The centerpiece? The fully restored Grandin Theatre, a 1930s cinema that oozes nostalgia while offering the latest flicks. This neighborhood has a vibe that's hard to resist.

2. Raleigh Court

If you're seeking a neighborhood with a more relaxed pace, the beautiful tree-lined streets of Raleigh Court should be high on your list. Offering both serenity and accessibility, it boasts of beautiful parks, such as Fishburn and Woodlawn. For outdoor enthusiasts, the nearby greenway is perfect for morning jogs or cycling. In the heart of Raleigh Court is the historic Grandin Road Commercial District that hosts a variety of shops, restaurants, and events year-round. A mix of gracious old homes and charming bungalows makes this neighborhood a delightful place to put down roots.

3. Old Southwest

Next up is Old Southwest, a tight-knit community and the premier historic district in Roanoke. This gem combines a rich history, beautifully restored Victorian homes, and the thrill of being within walking distance to downtown. Named a "Great American Neighborhood" by the American Planning Association, Old Southwest is not just about the past, but is also a vibrant, forward-thinking community that's one of Roanoke's best kept secrets.

4. Downtown Roanoke

Raring to dive headfirst into city life? Downtown Roanoke is where it's at. Think modern loft apartments, buzzing nightlife, eclectic restaurants, and a slew of shops--all within an arm's reach. With an active art scene that includes galleries, museums, and festivals, it's a cultural hub complete with a thriving music scene and vibrant street life. But don't fear, Roanoke's downtown isn't all hustle and bustle--it's also home to charming green spaces for those precious moments of tranquility in the heart of the city.

5. Crystal Spring

Rounding off our list is Crystal Spring, known for its attractive built environment and exceptional livability. An ideal place for families, it offers well-established schools, and quick access to medical facilities. The neighborhood seamlessly blends residential living with the convenience of having commercial enterprises nearby. Crystal Spring combines the peaceful ambience of a traditional neighborhood with the perks of modern urban living. Plus, it's home to the Roanoke's oldest golf course--how's that for a fun fact?

And there you have it--a mini tour of five fabulous neighborhoods in Roanoke, VA. Each boasts its own unique personality and charm, ensuring that no matter your taste, there's a spot in Roanoke that'll feel like home. So, get packing, your Roanoke adventure awaits!

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Things to Do

Welcome to Roanoke, Virginia - a city that's rich in history, full of natural beauty and packed with southern charm. Whether you're moving here for work or just looking for a change of pace, Roanoke has plenty to offer. To help get you started on your new adventure, here are 7 of the top things to do in this star city nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

1. Take a Hike on the Appalachian Trail

Not very far from downtown Roanoke, you'll find one of the most famous hiking trails in the world: The Appalachian Trail. This 2,200-mile path stretches from Maine to Georgia, offering breathtaking views and a wonderful outdoor workout. Take a day trip to experience one of its most iconic sections: McAfee Knob, known for its panoramic vistas that are especially dazzling in Autumn.

2. Visit the Historic Roanoke City Market

Immerse yourself in local culture at Roanoke City Market, the oldest continuously operating open-air market in Virginia. With an array of vibrant stalls selling fresh produce, artisanal foods, and beautiful handmade crafts, you'll have a feast for the senses.

3. Check Out Taubman Museum of Art

The Taubman Museum of Art offers an eclectic and dynamic collection, ranging from contemporary art and photography to classic Americana. This architectural wonder in the heart of downtown Roanoke is a must-see.

4. Dive into the Depths of Dixie Caverns

For something truly unique, explore the subterranean marvels of Dixie Caverns. Discovered by a dog chasing a rabbit in 1920, these impressive limestone caverns provide a cool (literally and figuratively) escape from the world above. A guided tour will take you through the still caverns where you'll marvel at the centuries-old formations.

5. Savor Local Brews at a Craft Brewery

Beer lover? Roanoke boasts several craft breweries, including Big Lick Brewing Company, Starr Hill Pilot Brewery and Deschutes Brewery. Enjoy a freshly brewed pint while kicking back in the tasting room or take a brewery tour to learn all about the brewing process.

6. Pay a Visit to the Roadside Attraction of Foamhenge

One of the quirkiest spots in Roanoke is Foamhenge, a full-size replica of England's Stonehenge made entirely of foam. Created as an April Fool's joke, it's now a permanent installation and a bit of a local legend. It's not every day you can see one of the world's wonders in foam form, making this a completely unique experience.

7. Take a Ride on the Roanoke Star Cam

Finally, round-off your discovery of Roanoke by experiencing its most famed attraction. Roanoke Star, also known as Mill Mountain Star, is the world's largest man-made star. Ride the Roanoke Star Cam past sunset for a captivating nocturnal view of the bright, neon star and the city lights below - an absolute must-do!

Roanoke is a city that's brimming with character and steeped in history. Each of these activities offers a unique facet of the local culture and the scenic beauty that envelops this little corner of Virginia. Whether you're exploring caverns below ground, enjoying stunning views from lofty heights, or immersing in local culture, these activities guarantee a good time and great memories in your new home city.

Things to do in Roanoke, VA?

Find Movers for Your Roanoke Relocation

As you prepare for your exciting new chapter in Roanoke, let Great Guys Moving streamline your transition. With an established network of reputable, insured, and licensed movers, we're dedicated to helping you secure quality and affordable moving services. Simply furnish us with your moving particulars and let us connect you with the perfect match. With a swift quotation process, you can compare quotes with ease, ensuring you make the most informed decision for your move. Begin your seamless relocation to Roanoke by requesting your free, no-obligation moving quote from Great Guys Moving today.

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