With a history dating to pre-Colonial times, two renowned universities that welcome students from across the world, and generations of talented locals, Montgomery County boasts an eclectic line-up of arts and cultural attractions. The opportunities for exploring can be downright overwhelming, so here are some of the most iconic spots that continue to attract and inspire our visitors and locals alike.
Moss Art Center
Virginia Tech’s Moss Arts Center (MAC) is a thriving community of art and inspiration, where visitors have meaningful experiences enjoying arts of the highest caliber in all its forms. In addition to hosting exhibitions and performances from globally and locally celebrated artists, the MAC treats visitors to hands-on experiences, workshops with visiting artists, lectures and symposia, master classes, community celebrations and more. Inside of the MAC is The Cube, a one-of-a-kind black box theater used for research, performances and visual art.
The Lyric Theatre
Fan of the big screen and its history? The Lyric Theatre, originally opened in 1930 and the focus of major restorations throughout the years, is famous for being one of Virginia’s first cinemas to show sound pictures. Adorned with original 1930s tapestries, replica lanterns and the fully restored lobby and auditorium, today the Lyric Theatre is a hub for movies, concerts and performances.
The Lyric Theatre is also home to some of the best popcorn in Montgomery County, so grab a bag and enjoy (we like it better with extra butter). As you’re eating, take some time to observe the blend of Art Deco and Spanish Colonial Revival architectural design from Roanoke architect Louis Phillipe Smithey, as well as the famed comedy and tragedy masks on the Lyric’s façade. The masks are replicas of the originals, which mysteriously disappeared sometime during the 1980s.
Montgomery Museum of Art and History
The Montgomery Museum of Art & History is located in Christiansburg on East Main Street. The museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of Montgomery County, Virginia and the region as well as promoting art by regional artists. As the region’s steward of art and history, the museum takes great pride in inspiring and educating through cultural programming. Additionally, the institution facilitates important community conversations by offering a forum for dialogue across differences and brings the community together using art and history.
If you’re feeling the groove, the air is filled with the sound of music on Friday nights during the summer months with weekly performances at Henderson Lawn, an expansive green space between Virginia Tech’s campus and Downtown Blacksburg. Local musicians as well as performances from Virginia Tech’s School of Performing Art treat visitors to a variety of musical genres that get the feet tapping and the soul racing. Henderson Lawn is also the site of the annual Summer Arts Festival sponsored by Virginia Tech and the Town of Blacksburg.
After the sun sets, treat the family to a classic movie-watching experience at Starlite Drive-In. The theater has been entertaining locals since 1953 with new and favorite films of the past, like Grease, ET as well as concert performances from some of the country’s most well-known musicians. And if searching for unique pieces of Americana is your thing, the drive-in is the site of a local flea market every Saturday in the summer months.