Are you considering making Roanoke, Virginia your new home? Well, there’s much to love about this city, but like any place, it comes with a mixed bag of pluses and minuses. So, let’s look into the pros and cons of living in Roanoke.
Pros of Living in Roanoke
Affordable Cost of Living
Did you know that you don’t need a ton of money to live in Roanoke? Guess what, this place is seriously affordable compared to many other American cities. Median home costs are often well below the national median, and you won’t believe how low these rent prices can go!
Let’s not forget about other expenses. Groceries, utilities, transportation – it all matters. Well, you can smile with relief, because these costs are lower in Roanoke too!
Plenty of Outdoor Activities
Located between the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains, Roanoke presents a world of outdoor possibilities.
Trail lovers, you’re in for a real treat. The city boasts over 30 miles of urban trails and is also the starting point for the famed Appalachian Trail. Fancy a bit of a paddle? The Blue Ridge Parkway and Smith Mountain Lake can cater to all your canoeing and kayaking needs!
The city is also full of park options to stretch your legs, take your puppy for a walk, or just have a nice chilled-out picnic.
Friendly and Welcoming Community
People in Roanoke have a reputation for being a friendly bunch. Sure, it’s a cliche about small cities, but here, it really rings true. Expect a hello and a smile from passing people when you go for a walk around the neighborhood. Whether you’re new to town, or you’ve been here a while, the local folks are always in for a chat.
People look out for each other and lend a hand when it’s needed. It’s a place where neighbors actually know each other by their first names! Local events, festivals, farmers markets, you name it, they’re all venues that bring people together and foster this positive community spirit.
Low Crime Rate
Ever worried about your safety day-in, day-out? Well, you can kick those worries to the curb in Roanoke. Data shows it has a low crime rate, which, honestly, gives you one less thing to worry about in this crazy world. The city’s police department works round the clock to ensure resident’s safety and security.
Great Education Opportunities
This is one of the many reasons why families adore this city! The area is home to top-notch public and private schools, all dedicated to delivering quality and balanced education to their students.
And it doesn’t stop there. It houses wonderful higher education establishments like Hollins University and the Jefferson College of Health Sciences. Plus, the renowned Virginia Tech and Radford University are just an hour’s drive away.
Breathtaking Natural Beauty
You may not know it, but this city resides right in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. That means it’s got some serious perks when it comes to landscapes. Everywhere you turn, you’re met with mountainous views which can be breathtaking.
There are numerous spots where you can enjoy the beauty of nature, whether it’s a relaxed stroll along the Roanoke River Greenway or a challenging hike up to the Mill Mountain Star. Get ready to fill up your social media pages, because every way you turn, you’ll capture worthy snapshots.
Thriving Job Market
Your search for a place with a solid job market may end in Roanoke. The city is just a distance away from prime employment centers, with industries such as healthcare, retail, and education playing a big role. Who can forget the largest employer in the area, Carilion Clinic? Definitely not your resume!
Roanoke has seen a significant boost in its job growth over the past few years, which gives you a pretty good chance of landing a job here. And let’s not ignore data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which shows that Roanoke’s unemployment rate is typically lower than the national average.
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Cons of Living in Roanoke
Limited Public Transportation Options
If you’re the kind of person that places value on widely available public transportation, Roanoke might leave you scratching your head. The public transportation in this city is a bit slim. While it does have a bus system known as Valley Metro, the routes and schedules may not be the most convenient. The coverage isn’t citywide, which means that in certain areas, you may have to rely on a personal vehicle or other alternatives such as Uber or Lyft.
And that’s not all, you should know that the bus service doesn’t function 24/7. Yes, it clocks out at night. This means if you’re planning a late-night outing or work extremely early or late shifts, it might turn into a bit of a pickle.
Extreme Weather Conditions
Winters here can get downright frigid with temperatures often dropping below freezing. It’s not uncommon for the area to experience heavy snowfall, which means investing in some good-quality winter gear and a sturdy snow shovel.
Summer isn’t all sunshine either. You’ll find the heat cranking up and humidity reaching oppressive levels. And let’s not forget the sporadic thunderstorms that can arise, especially during the summer months. If you’re not one for extremes, you’ll want to invest in a good air conditioning system and keep an umbrella handy at all times.
The town leans heavily towards a predominately white demographic. Looking for a blend of multicultural experiences? You may find things a bit flat in the flavor department here.
The lack of cultural variety might leave you craving some more variety in food, festivals, and human experiences. No need to panic, though – you won’t starve or die of boredom – there are still enough restaurants and events halls to keep things interesting.
Limited Nightlife Options
Are you someone who enjoys chasing the moon or tapping their feet to jazzy tunes until the wee hours? If so, settling in Roanoke might be a bit of a culture shock.
Roanoke is not exactly hopping with late-night club crawls or neon-lit hangouts. In fact, after sunset, the city quiets down noticeably. It’s not a ghost town or anything, but there’s a limited number of bars, clubs, and late-night dining spots to satisfy your midnight munchies or dancing cravings.
That being said, it’s not all radio silences and snores though. There are a few prized spots that stay open.
Limited Healthcare Facilities
The healthcare options in Roanoke are not ‘fine’ in comparison to bigger cities. We’re looking at fewer hospitals and specialty clinics, meaning you might have to take a bit of a road trip for specialized medical care.
Limited Shopping Options
You might want to consider the limited shopping options when planning your move to Roanoke. While Roanoke might have a decent selection of grocery stores and basic needs shops, it lacks a variety of malls and high-end shopping centers. So, if you’re a serial shopper, someone who likes to stride down the lane of designer boutiques, this could be a turn-off.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t any shopping options in Roanoke. It’s just that they happen to be more gathered towards the basics rather than indulgent spending. Sure, you might find a few local shops that cater to specific needs, but the range is more towards the modest side compared to larger cities. If you’re all right with that, then you might just find the shopping scene in Roanoke quite acceptable. But if your heart aches for those high-end fashion brands, you might end up relying on online shopping or making those weekend trips to larger cities.
Limited Entertainment Venues
Don’t get me wrong, you won’t be staring at the walls all day. But, when compared to larger cities, Roanoke lacks in quantity of entertainment venues.
Want to catch the latest blockbuster on the opening night? You might have to drive a bit. The same goes for live concerts or theater shows – they aren’t impossible to find, but you won’t be spoilt for choice. Also, if your idea of a good time is exploring a new art gallery every weekend, then the options here might seem limited.
Is Roanoke a Good Place to Live?
Whether or not Roanoke is a good place for you depends on your personal loves and gripes. The friendly community and the low crime rate can make you feel like you’ve hit the lottery. Education opportunities are pretty fantastic too. And who in their right mind can ignore the beautiful natural scenery?
On the flip side, Roanoke does have a few letdowns. If you’re a public transportation junkie, the limited options might be a deal breaker. Variable weather conditions can throw you for a loop too.
But every place has its pros and cons, right? So, weigh your options before moving to Roanoke!