Blacksburg, Virginia is often known for its connections to the notable university of Virginia Tech. With over 30,000 students, the town is bustling throughout the year with sports games, arts performances, and student activities. But Blacksburg isn’t just a college town; adjacent to Giles County, Virginia’s “Mountain Playground”, it’s a paradise for outdoor lovers and adventurers. Whether you’re visiting for a football game or looking for a new mountain vacation spot, Blacksburg has something to do for visitors and locals alike.
Cascades is a four-mile round-trip trail that sneaks around mountain bends until reaching the final destination of a 66-foot waterfall in the Jefferson National Forest. The hike is low to moderate difficulty. There are picnicking areas and trout fishing spots on Little Stony Creek, perfect for a break on the trail. Accessible restrooms and water filling stations are available. This trail is only for hiking.
Down Route 460 West you can find Pandapas Pond, an eight-acre man-made pond with opportunities for fishing, canoeing, and hiking. Here you can see many types of wildlife native to Virginia throughout the extensive trails that are partnered with the U.S. Forest Service.
McAfee Knob is roughly a 40-minute drive outside of Blacksburg and is one of the most photographed spots on the Appalachian Trail. The Knob has an almost 270 degree panorama of the Catawba Valley and North Mountain to the west, Tinker Cliffs to the North and the Roanoke Valley to the east. The climb to the top is roughly 4.4 miles but it’s worth it–the panoramic views are like no other.access points in Blacksburg–downtown, Heritage Park, and Hightop & Merrimac, and two in Christiansburg at Uptown Christiansburg and the Recreation Center.
Claytor Lake State Park is ideal for camping, swimming, hiking, and watersports in Dublin. It’s a popular spot in warm weather with its shores and room to enjoy the water and sun. From I-81 in Blacksburg take Exit 101 for Claytor Lake and take State Park Road on State Route 660 down to the entrance.
There are so many opportunities to go kayaking and tubing on the New River in southwest Virginia. The New River spans 160 miles with access points in Giles and Montgomery County. New River’s Edge in Pembroke has tubing, canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding all along the New River. Also in Pembroke is Tangent Outfitters boasting fishing tours, kayaking, and canoeing.
Other Outdoor Adventures
Home to the film location of the iconic 80s movie Dirty Dancing, Mountain Lake Lodge is a beautiful lodging option in Pembroke. With several on-site restaurants, shopping, and an outdoor adventure course, Mountain Lake Lodge is full of activities and fun for the whole family. For adventure enthusiasts, the Treetop Center has opportunities for climbing, ziplining, and balancing throughout the course. They also feature Gator Tours, taking guests through the scenic trails of the lodge and surrounding areas. Mountain Lake Lodge is the way to go for a chill weekend retreat up in the mountains or a thrilling adventure.
The Venture Out Challenge Course is situated on Virginia Tech’s campus featuring a state-of-the-art high ropes course made to encourage teamwork and group collaboration. Open to Virginia Tech students and faculty, as well as the wider community, this challenging course tests the limits of strength, balance, and coordination in a fun environment.
The Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech consistently brings visual arts, exhibitions, and performances to the Blacksburg community. Renowned artists and musicians often have exhibits and performances to share at the Moss Arts Center, and there is also a thriving student arts scene that can be found.
The Virginia Tech Campus is full of student activities that also welcome visitors and locals, bringing the community together. From performances to student organizations and fairs, the student body is very active throughout the college. For visitors, there is so much to see and do throughout the campus since there are events held throughout the school year that are open to the public. The Drillfield is a staple of the Virginia Tech community and is a must-see, with beautiful views of the rolling campus.
Lyric Theatre in downtown Blacksburg is an essential part of Blacksburg. With monthly movie showings and live performances, there’s always something to see and do at the Lyric.
The headquarters of the Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Foundation can be found at the Alexander Black House and Cultural Center. A beautiful Victorian-style building tucked into downtown Blacksburg, the Alexander Black House is a cultural hub for history. It features rotating art and history exhibits, programs and events, outdoor sculptures, period pieces, and more, all detailing the history of the region. On Draper Road, the Alexander Black House is close to the Virginia Tech campus and many downtown businesses and restaurants.
Local Music Venues
There’s a thriving music scene in southwest Virginia and that rings true in Blacksburg. With many student-run bands, the local venues constantly have live music and open mics. The Milk Parlor, XYZ Art Gallery, and the Southpaw Cafe consistently have live bands and performances from local musicians and artists.
Best Food & Drinks Around Blacksburg
A Baja-inspired Mexican restaurant, Cabo Fish Taco is in one of Blacksburg’s oldest historical properties. Serving up quesadillas, tacos, and burritos with fresh ingredients, this location also has one of the largest tequila menus in Virginia.
Down University City Boulevard, you can find Zeppoli’s, an Italian restaurant with an extensive wine menu and shop. Zeppoli’s has one of the biggest selections of wine in the area and has fresh pasta, perfect for a nice meal.
A wine bar and restaurant, 622 North prioritizes fresh eats and creatively inspired dishes. Housed in a renovated Victorian-style building, there are three large dining rooms, a cozy patio, and Frank’s, a full-service bar on the main level.
Bottom of the Stairs is located underneath Top of the Stairs, one of the most popular college bars in Blacksburg. There’s a very heavy student crowd here but it’s because of how good the food is. With wings, plenty of sandwich options, and some of the best barbecue in Blacksburg, it’s a must-try for the local experience. Suggestion: Try any of their barbecue sandwiches (they even have a vegetarian jackfruit option!).
Hokie House is also a popular spot for students, especially in the later hours of the evening. Home to the famous “Hokie Burger,” Hokie House has wings, appetizers, and sandwiches all perfect for satisfying late-night cravings. Try the “Hokie Burger” an all-American burger served on Texas Toast.
Carol Lee Donuts is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. For delicious breakfast treats, there are several types of donuts at Carol Lee, whatever your heart desires. Make sure to wake up early to get a dozen, it’s very popular and there can be a wait in the mid-morning. Go for a classic donut or get a variety dozen and sample them all.
Not Your Mama’s Pasta is a crowd favorite at the farmers market, often having long lines of people waiting for the fantastic Saturday spread of pasta or sandwiches. Due to their popularity at the farmers market, they now have a flagship store in downtown Blacksburg that is open on Fridays and Saturdays for dinner.
Blacksburg Bagels is a staple at the Blacksburg farmers market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. From sweet to savory, they have a large selection of bagels to choose from as well as homemade bread that anyone is sure to love.
Serving ice cream, popsicles, and ice cream sandwiches, Big Lick Ice Cream is a popular place at the farmers market, especially in the warmer months. All products are made from scratch, and they only use organic sugar and dairy for their delicious and quality products.
Also Check Out:
- The Burg: Latino restaurant in downtown Blacksburg opened in 2023
- Himalayan Curry Cafe: A local favorite down University City Boulevard offering Nepalese/Himalayan cuisine
- Gillie’s: Vegetarian and pescetarian restaurant featuring creative dishes
- Sharkey’s: Known for their wings and ribs
- The Cellar: Serves Mediterranean, Italian, and Greek food; also houses a craft beer market
The Southwest Virginia Mountain Brew Trail includes several breweries and wineries throughout the southwest Virginia region. Featuring places like Moon Hollow Brewing, Rising Silo, and Beliveau Farm Winery, the trail has many stops throughout Blacksburg. Just outside of Blacksburg, there are additional breweries and wineries on the trail, perfect for a day trip to explore (as long as a safe driver is available!).
Down Glade Road and adjacent to the Huckleberry Trail, Rising Silo Brewery brings farm-to-table eats and handcrafted drinks to their picturesque location. Their main mission as an organization is to tell a story through their handcrafted beer and incorporate sustainable practices into the entire operation. With year-round and seasonal brews on tap, there’s something to try for everyone, even house-made kombucha and non-alcoholic cider.
Moon Hollow Brewing Company is part of the Old Prices Fork School Revitalization Project which converted the old school space into several projects along Prices Fork Road. Moon Hollow has a 5-barrel brewing system with 12-14 beers on tap at a time and rotating seasonal flavors. Open Wednesday to Sunday, they feature local food trucks and have pop-up events throughout the year.
A little bit outside of Blacksburg in Floyd, Chateau Morrisette is a beautiful winery off the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s a pet-friendly space as they consider themselves, “The winery that dogs built,” so share the heritage and bring your pet to explore the grounds. Come by throughout the week and try one of their $10 wine flights or take a tour while overlooking the picturesque mountains of Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
Beliveau Farm and Winery is open to the public Thursday through Sunday from 12-6pm with extended hours on Friday. The winery offers live music with a background of rolling green hills just 12 miles outside of beautiful Blacksburg in Montgomery County. They feature wine flights and tastings throughout the week with delicious food to pair. The property also has a brewery specializing in gluten-free beer as well as a bed and breakfast for a cozy stay near Blacksburg.
Blacksburg Wine Lab brings together creative food and wine pairings with a large menu of charcuterie options and wine offerings. With a unique twist, they do monthly regional features of wines from around the world. They have a wine shop in store so as you sip and eat, you can also buy a bottle of your favorite wine.
Shopping & Artisan Markets
Sugar Magnolia is part ice cream shop and part gift store down Main Street in Blacksburg. Featuring gifts and items from local artisans, shop and enjoy a sweet treat at the same time while browsing Sugar Magnolia.
Blacksburg Books operates as a community space, perfect for book lovers and those looking for local items, snacks, and drinks. With a variety of used and new books as well as highlights from Virginia authors, there’s something for everyone.
Blacksburg Farmers Market is open from April to October on Wednesdays from 2pm-6pm and Saturdays from 8am-2pm with reduced hours from November to March. They feature items from local artisans and farmers with anything from handcrafted popsicles to organic cheeses to leather goods and alpaca products. The Blacksburg Farmers Market was voted Best Farmers Market in SWVA in the Virginia Living Magazine for 2023.
On the second and fourth Sunday of every month from April to November, you can find the Blacksburg Vintage Market happening at the farmers market location from 10am-5pm. There are artisan goods, vintage clothing, accessories, books, and more from sellers across the region. The rain date is the third Sunday of the month.
More Shops to Visit:
- John’s Cameras and Records: Photo services, film cameras, unique vinyls, and more
- New River Art and Fiber: Art store in downtown Blacksburg with rotating special events and social activities
- 310 Rosemont: Contemporary boutique with stores in Blacksburg, Roanoke, and Tennessee
- Campus Emporium: Your one-stop shop for everything Virginia Tech Hokies
One thing the Hokies are known for is their infectious game-day energy for football season. Decked out in maroon, orange, and white, the stadium comes alive for football season at Lane Stadium. Be quick with getting tickets because they sell out fast, with everyone wanting to be a part of the Hokie team and joining in the famous tradition of jumping to “Enter Sandman” by Metallica before every home game. Before you go, look at the fan guide for football season for all information.
Cassell Coliseum ranks as one of the best home environments for college sports, housing Hokie basketball and volleyball throughout the seasons. Starting in November, basketball season always draws a large crowd for men’s and women’s basketball, especially after the success of the women’s team in the 2023 NCAA championship. The Cassell Coliseum fan guide answers all questions on basketball season for fans entering the Coliseum.
At the intersection between Southgate Drive and Duck Pond Drive, English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park houses Virginia Tech baseball during the spring season. Check out the fan guide for everything you need to know for the baseball season underneath the lights during the beautiful springtime of Blacksburg.
Day Trips & Nearby Attractions
About a 40-minute drive from Blacksburg along the Blue Ridge Parkway is the county of Floyd. This small county is full of art, music, and connections to Appalachian heritage. While here, check out the Floyd Country Store for live music and their Friday Night Jamboree, when streets are filled with the sounds of music. The Floyd Farmers Market operates every May to November and makes it a priority to support local farmers and artisans in the southwest Virginia region. While in Floyd, don’t forget to take advantage of all the outdoor recreation opportunities there, from hiking the Buffalo Mountain Natural Preserve to fishing and kayaking on the Little River.
Also around 40 minutes outside of Blacksburg is Roanoke, home to tons of outdoor adventures, art, shopping, and dining in the heart of the Blue Ridge. Take a trip to some of Roanoke’s fantastic museums like the Taubman Museum of Art or the Science Museum of Western Virginia, which are both perfect for family trips and educational entertainment. For shopping, visit Valley View Mall or support the many small businesses throughout Roanoke’s downtown scene. For fans of live music, Roanoke has several concerts at the Berglund Center and Dr. Pepper Park throughout the year. And no stranger to outdoor activities, Roanoke has plenty to do for outdoor enthusiasts.
Looking for more to do in Roanoke? Use our Trendy Neighborhood Guide to plan your next Roanoke getaway!
From the home of the Virginia Tech Hokies to outdoor recreation, arts, and more, Blacksburg is full of events, activities, and fun for the whole family. Whether you’re stopping by for a game or to visit the kids at college, or you’re looking for a new weekend getaway, stay and play in Blacksburg.