Like many American cities and counties experiencing the growth and changes that several centuries can bring, the Roanoke Valley and surrounding counties, cities, and towns’ “built environment” are enlivened by a variety of architectural styles that embody a set of physical characteristics and design philosophies that make them not only stand out from one another but also blend together in a way where they complement one another.
The Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation hopes you will enjoy learning more about our historic valley by taking these tours and will check back often as additional tours are added.
Historic Downtown Roanoke Walking Tours
Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation recently released a new and revised version of our popular Downtown Roanoke Walking Tour in both published and digital formats that are available at most local downtown museums as well as at the Hotel Roanoke and Virginia’s Blue Ridge Visitor Information Center (O. Winston Link Museum). Digital tours can be accessed via scanning a QR Code on postcards also available at these same locations.
The published Historic Downtown Roanoke Walking Tours is comprised of three (3) areas of interest – the Commerce Walk, the Community Walk, and the N&W Railway Walk – that combined together provide you with an overall view of our city’s history.
The published walking tour opens up into a full-size 18″ x 24″ fold-out brochure that combines the three (3) areas of interest and also includes several historic photos and a brief history of Roanoke’s growth.
The published Historic Downtown Roanoke Walking Tours (pdf) has been broken down into the same three areas of interest, but separately, with each tour providing its own distinctive view of our city: The Roanoke Commerce Walk, The Roanoke Community Walk, and the N&W Railway Walk. Once you scan one of the Tour postcard’s QR codes, a map of downtown Roanoke automatically appears with a short walking route highlighted on your mobile device with informational markers along the way showcasing the points of interest you are looking at. By walking on these brief tours, you will learn about our city’s history which in turn will help you understand who Roanoke is today.
• The Roanoke Commerce Walk begins with the bustling City Market Building and continues along some of downtown’s most important and scenic commercial streets.
• The Roanoke Community Walk takes participants past buildings and landmarks central to the daily lives of Roanoke’s citizens.
• The N&W Railway Walk allows participants to get in touch with our city’s railroad heritage and rich history of Roanoke’s Black community.
In addition, the Historic Gainsboro History Walk shows participants one of Roanoke City’s first neighborhoods in the mid-1800s that later served as the center of commercial, religious, and social life for Roanoke’s African-American community during the first half of the 20th century.
- Historic Walking Tour of Salem, Virginia
The charming community of Salem, VA offers the quaint hospitality, culture, and history that helps make Virginia’s Blue Ridge such a unique destination.
This historic walking tour of Salem takes you to some of the iconic places of interest that have helped shape the story of this city over the years. The historic sites are numbered in order of tour though visitors may tour in any sequence.
Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge website for additional information and tour guide.
Historic Walking Tours of Historic Fincastle, Virginia
Self-guided walking tours are available through use of a tour guide brochure. Brochures may be obtained online or from the Botetourt County Parks and Recreation Office or Botetourt County Chamber of Commerce.
Historic District Guided Tours
Tours are scheduled by appointment: Monday – Sunday. Preferred start times are 10 am and 1 pm. Visit the Historic Fincastle, Inc. website to complete a request form.
Email completed request from to [email protected] or mail to HFI P. O. Box 19, Fincastle, VA 24090
In addition to seeing 18th and 19th Century buildings, a few other interesting historic benchmarks to look for on the tour include:Court
Virtual Tour of Historic Fincastle, Virginia
Do you want to take a virtual tour of Fincastle? Are you an armchair traveler? Check out this interactive map to access imagery and historical snippets about the structures and landmarks in town. If you have a mobile device, scan the QR code with your code reader to open a link to the tour in a separate window.
For additioanl information on Historic Fincastle, VA, visit their website at www.hisfin.org
Bicycle Ride Tours
In addition to walking, bicycle tours also offer an enjoyable way to experience a community’s history and beauty. An app called ‘Ride With GPS’ focuses heavily on route tracking and publishing functionality as Ride Reports created by other cyclists and walkers allow you to view detailed images and site descriptions. A free version is available for both Android and IOS devices which allows you to try out the app’s premium features like turn-by-turn navigation, offline maps, and in-depth route revision before upgrading to a subscription. You can check out the app by clicking on one of the following links:
Past Tweed Bicycle Ride Tours:
- 2020 6th Annual Tweed Bicycle Tour – Historic Southeast Roanoke
- 2019 5th Annual Tweed Bicycle Tour – Historic Vinton
- 2018 4th Annual Tweed Bicycle Tour – Historic Salem
Historic Bicycle Tours:
- History by Bike Tour
- Self-Guided Bicycle Tour – Historic Churches of the Roanoke Valley
- In the City, the Mighty City, the Lions Sleep Tonight – Meet over 50 pairs of lions that can be found throughout the Roanoke Valley
- Historic Melrose Neighborhood Tour
- Historic West End Neighborhood Tour
Other Bicycle Tour Opportunities:
For other amazing bicycle tour opportunities, check out one or more of the rides offered by RIDE Solutions, a nonprofit organization that provides alternative transportation options – ridesharing (carpooling and vanpooling), biking, public transit, walking, and guaranteed ride home services – to residents living within the greater New River Valley, Roanoke Valley, and others located nearby in southwest Virginia.
Check back often as we update this page with future events and activities being planned.