Things to Do in Roanoke: The Roanoke Star

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Located along the Roanoke River in Southwest Virginia, Roanoke is a vibrant city with beautiful views and a lot of things to do. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or a foodie, you’ll be able to find something for you in this beautiful city. 

From historical sights and natural attractions to shopping malls and great local restaurants, there are a ton of things to do in Roanoke.

One of the major must-see attractions in Roanoke is the Mill Mountain Star, the largest illuminated man-made star in the world. Whether you’re visiting Roanoke over the weekend or are planning to move into this city, you have to visit this local attraction.

After all, the Roanoke Star is one the most recognizable symbols of this city and the reason why Roanoke is known as the “Star City of the South.”

Are you planning a visit to the Roanoke Star? Keep reading this article to learn the things you must do during your trip! 

Take Pictures

The Roanoke Star is one of the most photographed attractions in the Southwest Virginia region. It’s no wonder why! Even in the day, when it’s not illuminated, the star is a magnificent sight that makes the perfect backdrop for pictures.

See the Illuminated Star at Night

The Roanoke Star is illuminated every night, most of the time in white or red, white, and blue. Although the star’s colors have been changed on several occasions to pay respects to tragic events, such as the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. Even with its usual colors, the lit star is a beautiful sight you can’t miss!

Admire the City of Roanoke

Standing at 88.5 feet tall, the Mill Mountain star towers over the city of Roanoke. If you stand at the base of the star, you can enjoy a long-range aerial view of the city. Whether you simply want to admire the scenery or want to take some cool photographs, you’ll get to enjoy a unique view of Roanoke and its encompassing valley. 

Explore Mill Mountain Park

The Roanoke Star is located in Mill Mountain Park, one of Virginia’s most popular parks. Encompassing more than 568 acres, there are plenty of things you can do in Mill Mountain Park other than seeing the famous star.

You can explore the Recreation’s Discovery Center or go to the Mill Mountain Zoo and the Mill Mountain Wildflower Garden. Additionally, you can explore the area through its 10 miles of multi-use trails or enjoy a picnic near the overlook at the base of the Roanoke Star.

Take a Tour

If you want to learn more about the Mill Mountain Star and the city of Roanoke, there are plenty of tours you can take! If you’re an outdoor sports enthusiast, you can enjoy a mountain bike tour parting from The Roanoke Star.

If you’d rather take things slow, you can take the Roanoke Downtown Food and Cultural Tour, a walking tour where you’ll learn everything about Star City’s food, history, architecture, and culture.

How to Get to the Roanoke Star

Located atop Mill Mountain, the Roanoke Star is easily accessible from several points. Here are the best ways to get to this popular attraction:

From the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Roanoke Star can be reached via the Blue Ridge Parkway by simply taking the Mill Mountain Parkway exit at Milepost 120. You’ll have to drive through the Mill Mountain Parkway for 2.4 miles and then turn left on Mill Mountain Spur Road to enter Mill Mountain Park. If you continue driving for .7 miles, you reach a spacey parking lot right beside the Star.

From Downtown Roanoke

No visit to Roanoke is complete without seeing the Mill Mountain Star. Luckily, this popular sight is only a 15-minute drive away from Downtown Roanoke! You’ll have to travel south on Jefferson Street until you reach the intersection with Walnut Avenue, then turn left on Walnut Avenue. 

After crossing the Walnut Bridge, this street becomes J. P. Fishburn Parkway, which will take you up the mountain. By turning left on Mill Mountain Spur Road, you’ll enter Mill Mountain Park and after a short drive, you’ll be able to park beside the star.

Through the Star Trail

Roanoke, known for its abundance of hiking spots, offers Mill Mountain Park, home to the Mill Mountain Star Rail, with over 10 miles of multi-use trails. For outdoor enthusiasts, the Star Trail provides a 3.3-mile out-and-back hiking experience leading to the Roanoke Star from the base of Mill Mountain.

While the uphill trek is challenging, the spectacular views of the star make it a rewarding adventure!

Bottom Line

The Roanoke Star is one of the most impressive sights in Southwest Virginia. Constructed in 1949, this local attraction has become a bucket-list item for thousands of tourists all across the nation.

If you’re visiting the city of Roanoke, you can’t go without seeing the Mountain Mill Star lit up at night. Luckily, now you know how to get there and what to do when visiting this popular attraction. 

Want to learn more about Roanoke’s local attractions? Contact JMAX Property Management today! With years of experience in the Roanoke real estate market, we can provide you with local insight into the many things this beautiful city has to offer.