Keep Roanoke Weird: 11 Quirky Things to Do
The Roanoke Region embraces the weird and quirky, which is commonly cited as a reason people love living here. With roller skating parties (yes, for adults), Dungeons and Dragons tournaments, paragliding, murals by bike, and moonshining – leave the boring behind and take a walk on the wild side.
With its diverse range of quirky activities, Roanoke promises an exciting and fulfilling life outside the office. Embrace the opportunities that await you in this vibrant city, where you can find adventure, connection, and a thriving community of young professionals. The best part is we’re growing and adding new creatives every day. Since we’re a mid-size metro, you can come and add your weird, and make a big impact. Embrace the quirkiness, make your mark in Roanoke, and create a life that combines work and play in an unconventional way.
– Rollnoke –
This might be our favorite new addition to the 90s nostalgia clubs. What is ROLLNOKE? They described it best in an Instagram reel…“We are a group of skaters that meet up to skate and network every Tuesday for happy hour on wheels. We include both quad and inline skaters of all ages with all different skill levels.”
They host regular meet-ups at the Firehouse Skate in Vinton and special events that happen inside and out. Their feed will definitely have you longing for glow parties and disco balls.
– Roanoke Pinball and Starcade –
Center in the Square – 1 Market Square SE
@ROANOKEPINBALL | PINBALLROANOKE.ORG
The Roanoke Pinball Museum is an interactive museum dedicated to the science and history of pinball. The pinball and arcade both boast rare and coveted games that can only be found in a few private collections around the world. The museum’s games are all fully playable and span nearly a century of production from the 1930s through the modern era.
The Roanoke Starcade is a 3,000-square-foot facility at Center in the Square in Roanoke’s classic downtown. The Starcade is available for private events, competitions, and open-play fun six days a week!
– Blade Gaming –
430 SALEM AVE. – ROANOKE, VA 24016
Let the quest begin! Whether you are a DND-head or a Magic: The Gathering guru, Blade Gaming is the ultimate spot for gamers of all ages. You’ll find five or six different types of games happening Thursday through Sunday; check their current schedule on Facebook. They have a bountiful selection of disc golf supplies, Pokemon cards, legos, and many other board games for purchase. They offer free classes so you can learn the ropes, and all ability levels are welcome. Did your nerd mind just get blown?
– Crafteria –
16 WEST CHURCH AVE. SW – ROANOKE, VA 24011
@CRAFTERIA.FOODANDGOODS | CRAFTERIA.COMMUNITY
The Crafteria in downtown Roanoke has been dubbed the “Appalachian Etsy”, and that’s for a good reason. They have a wonderfully eclectic selection of jewelry, screen-printed items, small-batch food, candles, pottery, furniture, and countless other hand-crafted delights. Browse the goods from over 250 craftspeople in this fabulous midcentury cafeteria building.
– Moonshine Capital of the World –
Franklin County, home to one-of-a-kind assets like the Harvester Performance Center and Waid Park Mountain Bike, is actually the most famous for being “the wettest county in the world”. Since Prohibition started in 1916, moonshining became a way of life in Franklin County. Even before Prohibition, local farmers used distilling liquors as supplemental income.
In 1926, bootleg liquor sales were estimated at $3.6 billion, approximately the same amount as the entire federal budget. In the modern era, Franklin County hasn’t forgotten its moonshine heritage. They have three distilleries for you to enjoy – Twin Creeks Distillery | Roosters Rise & Shine Distillery | Franklin County Distillers.
– Cyclocross Racing –
FALLON PARK PERMANENT CYCLOCROSS COURSE
@GOCROSSRACE | GOCROSSRACE.COM
If you’ve never witnessed a cyclocross race before, then prepare to be impressed. Every year at Virginia’s only permanent cyclocross course, Fallon Park, amateur and professional cyclists gather for a non-traditional challenge. Riders run up stairs with their bikes, catch air on a flyover, and ride through obstacles like sand pits and barriers – all the while being cheered on by wacky, costumed enthusiasts.
The annual Go Cross Race in Virginia’s Blue Ridge is typically a two-day event with riders from all over the world. Each year has a theme with live music, beer, tailgating parties, the infamous beer relay, and food trucks. It’s a celebration of all things Blue Ridge!
– Eat in The Vault –
THE LIBERTY TRUST HOTEL
@THELIBERTYTRUST | LIBERTYTRUSTHOTEL.COM
The Liberty Trust was renovated and reopened its doors as a luxury hotel in 2022, with one extra special feature…you can actually dine in the old bank vault (don’t worry; they don’t lock you in). The hotel has a beautiful restaurant and lounge area where you can enjoy specialty cocktails and Jamon, their specialty cured ham. But for a unique experience we say, try out the vault!
From The Vault website – “Offering an eclectic menu of shareable plates featuring authentic recipes from around the world paired with specialty cocktails, international wines, and local craft beers. A high-end tasting room in the lobby vault and 32 wines by the glass poured from our unique wine dispensing and preservation systems are a special find in a distinctive atmosphere unrivaled in Downtown Roanoke.”
– Architectural Salvage (As Seen on TV) –
BLACK DOG SALVAGE – 13TH ST. SW – ROANOKE, VA
@BLACKDOGSALVAGE | BLACKDOGSALVAGE.COM
Black Dog Salvage in Roanoke, Virginia, is a cool place to visit for several reasons. With a 40,000-square-foot architectural salvage warehouse, it offers a unique shopping experience. The eclectic collection includes reclaimed materials, antiques, and one-of-a-kind items. The popularity of their TV show, “Salvage Dawgs,” adds to the allure, as visitors can see the familiar faces of the salvage team in action. The salvaged items hold both architectural and historical significance, providing a glimpse into the past.
Black Dog Salvage is also a source of inspiration for DIY enthusiasts, with creative displays and repurposed items sparking ideas for projects. The company is deeply involved in the local community and hosts events and workshops throughout the year, offering opportunities to learn new skills and connect with like-minded individuals. Overall, Black Dog Salvage is a must-visit destination in Roanoke, Virginia.
– The BOBs (Big Ole’ Bikes) –
Mill Mountain – Roanoke’s Urban Mountain and Trail Network
Inspired by park and rec genius and visionary, Patrick Boas (okay he might be related to one of our staff), the BOBs or Big Ole’ Bikes are now a Roanoke landmark. What was once considered a pipe dream, is a favorite “grammable” moment that welcomes visitors to Roanoke as they enter from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
There are two bikes, one road bike and one mountain bike, both standing at 16 feet tall and 23 feet long. Drop by on your way up to the Mill Mountain Star, or on your cycling or RV trip into town.
– Paraglider Meet-Ups –
The beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains are the perfect destination for gliding, soaring, hang gliding, and paragliding. Why? Because the Blue Ridge creates thermals (small plumes of rising warm air) that are conducive to great gliding. There are two unique clubs in the area that will help you soar to new heights and learn more about the sport.
The image above is of Roanoke local, Luke Higgenbotham, soaring using a motorized fan to paramotor around the city’s iconic star. He said to give him a shout on Instagram to join the next glider meet-ups which are scheduled in an impromptu fashion.
– BYO Murals Tour –
Nothing brings a downtown or community to life like murals and public art, and Roanoke has murals for days! A new mural is added to our bountiful collection every few months, and you can explore the city by bike, walking, or car to absorb all the fabulous art.
Use the Downtown Roanoke Inc. map and create your own mural tour tool to explore the city through creativity and beauty.
Is your favorite quirky thing about the region not featured? Shoot us an email and we’ll add it!