Exploring Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech, located in Blacksburg, VA, was founded in 1872, and it is a leading research institution and the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university. Named the best college town in the South by Southern Living, this mountain town has plenty to offer for any visitor! 

Hokie Nation

A fall weekend in Blacksburg is not complete without tailgating and a football game in Lane Stadium. Before the game, check out the Hokie Walk – the Highty-Tighties (Virginia Tech’s Regimental Band) leads the players, coaches, dance team, and cheerleaders to the stadium. The energy is contagious as Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” welcomes the team onto the field, fans jump up and down to the music, and the ground underneath Lane Stadium shakes. Be sure to grab a turkey leg and a milkshake made by the Virginia Tech Dairy Club to keep your energy up! 

If football isn’t your thing, cheer on the Hokies for baseball at English Field, basketball in Cassell Coliseum, or track and field at Rector Field House. Just make sure to wear your maroon and orange!

The Drillfield

The Drillfield is the heart of Virginia Tech’s campus – a common place to hang out or study that is always crowded with students on their way to class. Gobblerfest, an annual festival to help students connect with campus organizations, and The Big Event, a student-run day of service and the second largest event of its kind, are both centered on the Drillfield. 

The Pylons and War Memorial Chapel

The upper level of War Memorial Chapel contains the eight Indiana limestone pylons that represent Brotherhood, Honor, Leadership, Sacrifice, Service, Loyalty, Duty, and Ut Prosim (the University motto: “That I May Serve”). The pylons are carved with the names of Virginia Tech alumni who have died in military service. There is also a cenotaph honoring the seven alumni awarded the Medal of Honor. 

Arts and History

The Moss Arts Center houses a 1,260-seat performance hall, visual arts galleries, amphitheater, studios, and the four-story experimental Cube – an adaptable space used for audiovisual installations, research, intimate performances, and more. The center was named for artist and donor Patricia Buckley Moss. Click here to view the calendar of performances and experiences. 

For the football fanatics, there is the Hall of Legends in Merryman Center, a showcase of the Virginia Tech football program with memorabilia highlighting past teams. There is special emphasis on the Outland Trophy, numerous awards won by Corey Moore, former Hokies in the NFL, and Tech’s Sugar Bowl victory over Texas in 1995. 

Smithfield is a historic plantation completed in 1774 and is known as the finest example of an original, pre-Revolutionary structure in Western Virginia. It was the home of the Preston family, which was significant for many reasons, but the family especially left its mark on politics, military, and education. The Preston family was even involved in the establishment of Virginia Tech! Click here for tickets.

Restaurants and Bars

Virginia Tech has a vibrant restaurant and bar scene with tons of options for everyone, especially around Main Street running through Downtown Blacksburg! Top of the Stairs (affectionately known as TOTS) has been around for over 40 years and is a Blacksburg institution. While it is a restaurant during the day, it has been named one of the best college bars in America by various outlets including Buzzfeed and USA Today. TOTS is known for its signature mixed drink called the Rail, a concoction of vodka, rum, gin, triple sec, bourbon, whiskey, cranberry juice and Sprite.

Cabo Fish Taco is a Mexican restaurant with amazing outdoor seating and specialty lemon grilled shrimp tacos. 

Gillie’s is a must for brunch, offering delicious vegetarian and pescatarian fare. Sharkey’s is another Virginia Tech classic, serving the best wings, ribs, and burgers in the area, and if you’re in the mood for pizza, you have to try Benny Marzano’s, the “Home of the Virginia Slice.”   

For other great eating options while visiting Blacksburg, check out CollegeWeekends.com’s Discovering VT – Restaurants!

The Mountains are Calling

Located in the Blue Ridge Highlands, Blacksburg boasts amazing hikes and trails as well as other outdoor activities. Cascade Falls Trail is a 3.8-mile round-trip hiking trail that features a 66-foot waterfall within Jefferson National Forest. 

For the more adventurous hikers, Dragon’s Tooth Trail is a steep, 4.1-mile round-trip trail that ends with stunning views of the area from the top of Cove Mountain. McAfee Knob is an 8.1-mile round-trip trail and one of the most photographed spots on the Appalachian Trail. It features beautiful wildflowers and breathtaking, 270-degree panoramic views. 

If you’d rather stay on campus, check out Stadium Woods, a rare urban old-growth forest. Sitting on 11.5 acres near Lane Stadium, the woods contain more than 250 trees including white oak trees that are estimated to be over 300 years old. Fun fact: married students were housed in trailers in the woods during the enrollment explosion following World War II, and you can still see the remnants of porch foundations and concrete sidewalks of “Cassell Heights.”

A visit to the Hahn Horticulture Garden is another way to get outside and experience beautiful Blacksburg. It is the largest public garden in western Virginia, featuring hundreds of species of plants from around the world, and is open daily to visitors at no charge.

By Anabel Mast

Anabel will be a 2021 graduate of the University of North Carolina.