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Community Tour

Hi everyone, I'm Kelsey. I'm excited to show you about all the great things  that Roanoke has to offer, because it's truly a unique and special place. Iʼve lived in this area for 12 years, spending most of my young professional life here. So I can't wait to tell you about MY favorite city.

Roanoke is known as the Star City, thanks to the star on top of Mill Mountain, just a short drive from the medical school. We have a vibrant community with a range of opportunities for all hobbies and backgrounds. From the diversity of cuisines to out amazing outdoor spaces, Roanoke will provide you with many ways to get involved, stay active, and feel supported. 


Located in southwest, VA, Roanoke is accessible by planes, trains, and highways. We have an Amtrak station that is part of the Northeast Regional line spanning from Roanoke to Boston every day. Our regional airport has direct connections to major hubs like Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington DC, and Chicago OʼHare. We are also a short drive away from Greensboro, Charlotte, Raleigh, Richmond VA, and Washington DC.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in this area is a major selling point to many of our students and faculty. Average rental rates range from $700-$1400/month and the average cost to purchase a house is around $200K. Roanoke has a variety of communities and types of living spaces ranging from upscale and modern apartments downtown, to charming neighborhoods such as Crystal Springs, the Grandin Village, Wasena, and Old Southwest, all 5-10 minutes away from the medical school. The Roanoke Greenway connects many neighborhoods and leads right to the front door of the hospital and VTC, so it's easy to commute no matter how you choose to get there!

[Lauren Canary, class of 2024]: You don't have the same kind of traffic that you have in big cities so, for someone like me, coming from Atlanta, Washington DC, and are used to sitting in an hour of traffic to get anywhere... it's just nice to be in a town where nothing is more than 5-10 minutes away. That's been a pleasant surprise.

[Mina Lee, class of 2023]: You could roll out of bed and be in class 10 minutes later, so that's been excellent. 

Outdoor Recreation

The Roanoke region is known for its outdoor offerings and culture. Nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Roanoke is your getaway to the finest outdoor recreation opportunities available on the East Coast. There are hiking and mountain biking trails within sight of the medical school, and we are internationally known with a Silver designation from the International Mountain Biking Association.

[Camden Kurtz, class of 2023]: Having the trails right here in the city on Mill Mountain, makes it so easy just during a lunch break to hop out for a 45-50 minute ride. With the busy student schedule, it couldn't be better having trails within 2 or 3 minute bike ride of my house. 

Roanoke is also home to Americaʼs toughest road marathon - the Blue Ridge Marathon. And we're a new host city for the IronMan triathlon. The Roanoke Region is also home to more than more than 30 miles of urban trails connecting the areaʼs natural beauty to its charming neighborhoods and vibrant downtown, making it really easy to live an active, healthy lifestyle.

[Lauren]: It makes it really easy to get in that time that you need to take a break from studying which I think is just so important for your mental health and for really just enjoying the resources that are around us.  

We also enjoy all four seasons, with warm and humid summers perfect for enjoying our waterways, cool and crisp falls with gorgeous foliage and cold winters with at least the chance for a few significant snowfalls. Also have to mention spring were we often feel like it canʼt decide if winter is over or we are jumping right into summer.


You'd better come hungry if you're coming to Roanoke because the Roanoke region features more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in Virginia - from diners and dives to farm-to-table eateries and everything in between. The classic American fare is supplemented by a wide range of diverse cuisines from around the globe. We also have several amazing local coffee shops like Sweet Donkey, RND Coffee, and Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea, which provide unique study spaces for our students.

Come thirsty too! In the last decade, Roanokeʼs craft brewery scene has blossomed, with about two dozen breweries in the region - one right across the street from the medical school. 


When youʼre not studying or taking advantage of our outdoor recreation, Roanoke has an incredibly vibrant downtown, home to the oldest operational Farmerʼs Market in the state of Virginia - providing access to fresh produce and local crafts 7 days a week.

The Arts and Culture scene is also active, with both local theater, symphony, opera, and dance performances, as well as some performing arts venues attracting regional and national performers.

Roanoke is also home to the Taubman Museum of Art, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, the Harrison Museum of African American Culture, the Virginia Transportation Museum, as well as a variety of other arts and cultural museums. 

[Nirali Trivedi, class of 2024]: Living in Roanoke for the last month and a half, there's so many different things to do, and it's kind of nice because it's a happy balance between having enough and not too much to overwhelm you while you're studying. 

[Mina]: Just because I'm not in a big city, doesn't mean that there is less things to do, it's just different. So I've been able to discover a lot of really beautiful outdoors things to do. There are a lot of cool breweries and little nooks and crannies that... You're allowed to discover yourself.  

Your experience as a medical student

As a medical student, youʼll spend your first two years at our main medical school building, while your last two years will be spent doing clinical rotations throughout the Roanoke Valley. Carilion Clinicʼs major hospital – Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital – is less than a half mile from our main building, and easily walkable.

There is so much to LOVE about Roanoke. We have the amenities of a much bigger city but with a smaller, tight-knit, community feel. When asked, most of our students would say THAT this is why they chose VTC. We look forward to having you join us here, and I really hope you enjoyed learning just a  little bit more about MY favorite city.