My family and I have lived in the Blacksburg/Virginia Tech area for as long as I have been alive. In the past few years, Virginia Tech’s sports teams have been doing amazingly well and I am starting to see more and more new faces in town for football and basketball games. To the untrained eye Blacksburg might seem extremely bland. To get the most out of a trip to Southwestern Virginia, you are going to need a local as your guide. There are key places to avoid and places that you need to go to be sure that your trip is an enjoyable and affordable one.
If you are visiting Blacksburg during one of the warmer months you will find a lot more to do outdoors than if you are visiting while it is snowing. The places that I am going to tell you about are unfortunately not in Blacksburg, but all of which are within a few minutes drive.
Cascades: The Cascades are located in Giles County. For about $3.00 for parking you can hike one of the most beautiful trails in the New River Valley. The trail goes about three miles through the woods. At the top of the trail you will find a lovely waterfall. To get to the Cascades Recreation area from Blacksburg, you will need to go down Route 460 towards Giles County. Make a left onto Route 623 and travel about four miles down till you are in the Cascades parking lot.
The River at McCoy: Swimming and tubing in the New River are very popular activities for the locals and for college students. The most popular area of the river is located in McCoy, just a few minutes down the road from Blacksburg. If you want to go tubing, stop at New River Junction to park, buy a pass, and rent a tube. New River Junction provides a bus service to tubers to bring them back to their main parking lot. If you are going swimming, I suggest finding a spot on the side of the road. Be sure to keep all four tires off the pavement if you are going this route, the river is a very popular spot to be towed from and it is a particularly big paint to get your car back when you are stuck there.
Blacksburg is a college town. There are many bars, but only a few that are worth your time and hard earned money.
Attitudes: I hate to do it, but I am going to go ahead and get my least favorite bar out of the way to start with. There is a $5.00 cover charge to get into this bar and you usually have to wait in line. For some reason this bar is one of the more popular ones, but I strongly urge you to keep your distance. The security guards are usually rude, the DJ plays horrible music, and I have yet to be impressed with their drinks.
Nerv: Restaurant by day, lounge by night. Nerv has by far been my favorite bar for a long time. Even before I was old enough to drink, I spent countless weekends dancing the night away there. The drink specials are always great, the staff is made up of some wonderful people, the DJ plays very diverse types of music, there’s almost never a cover charge, and they usually are not very crowded.
Bogen’s: Bogen’s is a great bar to check out if you like to play pool even though there are only four pool tables. This is more of a pub than a bar where you would go out to dance. There are always various sports games on the many TVs and their food is pretty good too.
Food – Dining In
Macado’s: Macado’s is one of my favorite restaurants. The restaurant is covered from ceiling to floor in some of the most random decorations that you have ever seen. Their food selection is made up of a countless number of sandwiches with off the wall names like Julius Caesar and Dietrich Delight (which happen to be my two favorites). The cost for two people to eat here without any drinks from the bar is about $22.00.
Boudreaux’s: Boudreaux’s is the only place to find authentic Cajun food in Southwestern Virginia and one of the only places that I know of that serve Absinthe. Their menu blows me away. If you get the chance to check out Boudreaux’s I suggest that you check out the Chicken Baton Rouge. The environment is nice and for two people with no drinks from the bar it will cost you about $30.00.
Gillie’s: If you are a vegetarian, this is your best choice for dining in the area. Gillie’s menu is made up almost completely of vegetarian cuisine.
Souvlaki: This is your only choice in the area if you are looking for Greek food, but that is definitely not to say that they are a bad choice. Souvlaki has amazing food and you can even buy one of their racy “Peel it Back” T-shirts while you are there
She-Sha: She-Sha is a hookah lounge and a restaurant. I have not had their food, but I do think that this is a wonderful place to hang out if you are a smoker. You can sit around for hours with your friends puffing on a flavored hookah and listening to live music.
Food – Delivery
Firehouse Pizza: If you are in the mood for pizza, this is your cheapest option. It is also the only pizza place in Blacksburg that makes their own dough and grates their own mozzarella fresh every day. The delivery area covers most of Blacksburg and your total for a large one topping will probably come to about $11.00 including tax and delivery charge.
China Inn: China Inn is the best Chinese delivery place in the area. Their food is amazing and you get a very good quantity for what you pay. This is also a good place for dining in. Their staff is made up of some of the nicest and most gracious people I have ever met.
Jimmy John’s: While I am not all that impressed with how I have been treated by their employees, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Subs is still one of my favorite restaurants in Blacksburg. They have subs and they deliver, they would pretty much have to burn my house down for me to stop eating there. Don’t be surprised if you order delivery from Jimmy John’s and your order comes to an even dollar amount. From what I have noticed, Jimmy John’s rounds up your price to an even dollar amount so that their drivers don’t have to carry change. Also be warned that their delivery area is not very impressive.