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Roanoke is a bustling city in Virginia's Roanoke Valley, rich with history, arts, culture and plenty of modern-day amenities. The city has something for everyone, whether you enjoy music, theater, shopping, history, dining or the outdoors. As a major commercial and cultural hub of southwestern Virginia, Roanoke has attracted many new residents and businesses in recent years.
The History of Roanoke
As early as the 17th century, pioneers were exploring the Roanoke Valley area. Some of the first explorers wrote about the land's beauty in a report in 1671. However, it took nearly 70 more years for settlers to return to the area and establish a community. By 1740, settlers had moved in and were farming the Roanoke Valley. Roanoke was incorporated as a town in 1882, and then as the City of Roanoke in 1884. Part of Roanoke's success was due to the Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio Railroad, which ran through the city, and made transportation of people and goods very convenient.
Living in Roanoke
Roanoke is home to a thriving arts and cultural scene, with a number of local cultural institutions that provide plenty to see and do. The city hosts many cultural and community events, often in its downtown district. Popular events throughout the year include the Local Colors Festival, the Henry Street Festival and the Strawberry Festival.
One of the major cultural destinations in Roanoke is Center in the Square, a large, converted warehouse that houses the History Museum of Western Virginia, the Science Museum of Virginia and the Hopkins Planetarium. The Taubman Museum of Art is another local favorite, featuring a wide range of American art in a very contemporary building.
Local theaters include the Berglund Center, Shaftman Performance Hall and the Dumas Center for Artistic and Cultural Development. There are also many artistic organizations in the city, including Roanoke Children's Theatre, Mill Mountain Theatre, the Roanoke Valley Children's Choir and the Roanoke Ballet. A number of these organizations are for professional performers, but many others are open to local arts and music enthusiasts.
Roanoke City Public Schools, one of the top-ranked school systems in Virginia, operates the public schools of Roanoke. There are also several private Montessori and parochial campuses throughout the area, as well as a few secular campuses for K-12 students.
Resources for Moving to Roanoke
Here are a few helpful resources for planning your move to Roanoke:
- Utilities: Roanoke's major utilities providers include Appalachian Power and the Western Virginia Water Authority.
- Garbage and Recycling: The city facilitates trash and recycling collection services. Your home's location determines your specific collection schedule.
- Transportation: Valley Metro is the primary provider of public transportation in Roanoke.
- Driver's Licenses and Personal Vehicles: You have 30 days from your move-in day to file a change of address with the Virginia DMV. You'll also need to register your vehicle within 30 days.
Pets: All dogs older than 4 months of age must be licensed and up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations.
Roanoke is a very affordable place to live, with a median home price that's well below the national average. Most rental properties are also very budget-friendly, and there's plenty of availability. The city's large housing market provides a wide range of options, including historical properties, more recent builds, town houses, large family homes and multi-family properties.