Touch-Tank.museumsThe Smith Mountain Lake museums surrounding our lake and in the Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge make for an entertaining and educational sightseeing experience for any visitor.  If staying at one of our vacation rentals at Smith Mountain Lake, feel free to call us and see what discounts in the off season we offer. You can check out the state of Virginia’s Official Museum of Transportation, which highlights the region’s rich and unique rail heritage along with other instrumental transportation facets of Virginia’s history, and learn more about the impact of the railroad on the Roanoke Valley while seeing some stunning rail photography. You can be mesmerized by the striking architecture and exhibits of the local art museums. The famous Taubman Museum of Art by world re-known architect Frank Gehry – makes for an interesting stroll, just on the architecture itself, and the play of light.

Plan a Blue Ridge Day around amazing experiences centered on history, science, and African American heritage at an amazing arts & culture center in Downtown Roanoke.

The local science museum even offers the opportunity to walk through an exotic butterfly habitat, featuring various species of butterflies from around the world. This is one of the top things to do around Smith Mountain Lake, VA for those with young children.

Just a short drive from Smith Mountain Lake is Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, one of the former president’s greatest architectural achievements and a home with a deep history. Here, the octagonal home is preserved and tells the story of Thomas Jefferson, his legacy, and the everyday lives and struggles of the enslaved people who lived at Poplar Forest. 

The Booker T. Washington National Monument is another fascinating place to visit. A former plantation, this site was where the famous intellectual Booker T. Washington was born into slavery and freed by the Emancipation Proclamation at nine years of age. 

Even More to Enjoy in Downtown Roanoke

It’s no secret that the Smith Mountain Lake area is an oasis of potential for the traveler headed this way with a heart for museum-hopping. With so many destinations dedicated to culture, heart, history, and learning, it can be tricky to narrow down your options to fit an itinerary that works in your travel time. When you’re looking to sprinkle in some fun places to enjoy in between museum visits, downtown Roanoke is home to plenty. Whether you’re looking for a savory snack or need some time in the fresh-air, here are a few options you won’t want to miss out on.

Lucky Restaurant

When time enjoying the many museums downtown Roanoke hosts has left you with a serious appetite to curb, Lucky Restaurant is one of many delicious choices to be savored. Located at 18 Kirk Avenue SW, Lucky Restaurant is a charming and cozy stop that features the best of southern fare paired with handcrafted cocktails that are sure to delight. In combination with comfort food, guests can readily order up plates that speak to global-inspired flavors. No matter what you select to dine on, guests are often thrilled to find themselves enjoying an eatery where farm to table values are a priority.

Jefferson Center

There’s nothing more exciting than booking tickets to a wonderful performance and when you’re in the downtown Roanoke area, the Jefferson Center is the place to do exactly that. Situated at 541 Luck Avenue SW, the Jefferson Center is a sprawling entertainment venue that hosts a long lineup of performances throughout the year. From jazz concerts and ballets to concerts and speakers, keeping your eye on the event calendar is sure to inspire a ticket purchase or two. The interior of the Jefferson Center is also intriguing thanks to its 1920s aesthetic mixed with ultra-modern amenities.

Elmwood Park

When you require a breather and find that open green spaces indulge your needs, Elmwood Park is always a good downtown option. This welcoming spot is a wonderful place to let the kids run and enjoy time on the playgrounds when they need to let off some steam. The layout of the park makes space for a variety of fountains as well and an amphitheater for special events. Those that have traveled this way will love the option for walking along the paths and enjoying the views.

Premier Vacation Rentals – Your Smith Mountain Lake Vacation Experts 

Learn more about these intriguing museums and other amazing attractions worth visiting during your time in Smith Mountain Lake when you call or email our team of reservation specialists to discuss booking your stay with us today! 

The Taubman Museum of Art

110 Salem Avenue SE
Roanoke, VA 24011
(540) 342-5760

Modern facility housing permanent & traveling exhibits, interactive area for kids, cafe & gift shop. Designed by Frank Gehry.

Science Museum of Western Virginia

1 Market Square SE
Roanoke, VA 24011
(540) 342-5710

Center for wide-ranging exploration of the scientific world, with a butterfly garden & planetarium.

History Museum of Western Virginia

1 Market Square SE
Roanoke, VA 24011
(540) 342-5770

Weapons, costumes & more exhibited in a museum devoted to the region’s cultural heritage.

Harrison Museum of African American Culture

1 Market Square SE
Roanoke, VA 24011
(540) 857-4395

Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University

8009 Fishburn Drive
Roanoke, VA 24020
(540) 362-6532

Blue Ridge Institute & Museum

20 Museum Drive, Ferrum College
Ferrum, VA 24088
(540) 365-4416

O. Winston Link Museum

101 Shenandoah Avenue NE
Roanoke, VA 24016
(540) 982-5465

Virginia Museum of Transportation

303 Norfolk Avenue SW
Roanoke, VA 24016
(540) 342-5670

Planes, trains & cars are displayed in a former freight depot with all-ages rides & tours.