Welcome to the Meeting and Event Planning Guide to Roanoke, a city guide for meeting professionals. Bursting with breathtaking natural beauty, vibrant culture, outdoor adventure and a strong arts scene, Roanoke serves as the ideal metro mountain destination, offering first-class amenities typically found in an urban center, while still maintaining a charming, friendly atmosphere. A five-time All-American City, five-time top Digital City and one of America's Most Livable Communities, Roanoke sits in the heart of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, an area known for its spectacular vistas and dazzling foliage. Beyond its spectacular setting, the Roanoke Valley offers a variety of meeting and event facilities, including two civic centers and an IACC-approved conference center, as well as more than 5,000 guest rooms to accommodate delegates.
Roanoke is conveniently along 1-81, 168 miles west of the state capital of Richmond and within a day's drive of more than half of the nation's population. A hub of transportation, finance and industry for southwest Virginia, Roanoke is one of the few metro areas that offers immediate proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway, a popular attraction within the National Park system. The city is easily reached via the Roanoke Regional Airport, which sits about 10 minutes from downtown Roanoke and serves direct flights to and from nine major destination hubs aboard four airlines. The airport provides direct access to Valley Metro's Smart Way bus, which runs to downtown Roanoke, Monday through Saturday. Once in Roanoke, delegates can hop aboard Valley Metro's Smart Way commuter bus, as well as its free Star Line Trolley, which provides free weekday transport to shops, businesses, restaurants and hotels between downtown Roanoke and Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Speaking of convenience, the sprawling Roanoke Civic Center sits within walking distance of downtown Roanoke and several major hotels, as well as five miles from Roanoke Regional Airport and six miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The center features 110,000 square feet of meeting and event space throughout its 10,500-seat Coliseum; 2,151-seat Theatre; 46,000-square-foot Special Events Center; and 14,000-square-foot Exhibit Hall, which accommodates up to 1,500 guests and sits adjacent to three additional breakout meeting rooms for 25 to 75 delegates. Meeting amenities include full-service catering and audio-visual services, as well as on-site parking for 1,400 vehicles.
Aside from the Roanoke Civic Center, Roanoke is home to a variety of unique venues perfect for group gatherings and events. The downtown Center in the Square houses three museums and three performing arts companies, as well as a variety of rentable event spaces, ranging from a 3,000-square-foot Butterfly Garden to a traditional boardroom and community room. Also set in downtown Roanoke, the Taubman Museum of Art showcases a 2,155-piece collection rich in 19th- and 20th-century American painting, as well as features such event spaces as a 168-person auditorium, 144-seat black box theater and three-story atrium with a stunning glass roof and staircase and travertine floors.
Groups can catch a high-quality music, dance or theater show at Roanoke's Jefferson Center, or hold their own event in the center's 925-seat Shaftman Performance Hall, 450-person Fitzpatrick Hall, 300-person Fralin Atrium, 200-person Rehearsal Hall, 44-person L.L. Rice Room and 50-person Training Theater. Set adjacent to active Norfolk Southern mainline tracks, the interactive Virginia Museum of Transportation showcases thousands of automotive, aviation and transit objects, as well as more than 50 pieces of rolling stock, including the largest collection of diesel locomotives in the South. Groups can gather in the museum's 23,805 square feet of total event space, which spans its galleries and meeting rooms. Groups looking for a taste of the outdoors gather at Mill Mountain Park, home to a Discovery Center, 10 miles of trails, picnic area and pavilion, a wildflower garden and more, including the iconic Roanoke star, a 100-foot-tall illuminated structure that serves as the symbol of Roanoke.