How to Have Fun on the Cheap in Blacksburg, Virginia
Students agree that the benefits of Blacksburg, Virginia, a small, Virginia Tech-centered town are that they get to know everyone personally and develop a sense of belonging.
The progression of campus-focused dorm-residing freshman to upper classmen with a town focus, helps build a certain mature sense of community.
For instance, my daughter recently ordered a late slice from Benny's, but it was delivered to her old address, still occupied by close friends. The friends called my daughter, and the delivery guy and friends laughed over the mistake (they all knew each other). My daughter did get her pizza a few minutes later, but it had two big bites out of it - one from each friend. My daughter says that most delivery places - and there are many since the town is so small - know her by name when she calls - that's the kind of community bonding that develops in Blacksburg.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint, there isn't a heck of a lot to do in Blacksburg besides eat, drink, and party - but students do that well and local businesses try to make their brand of fun, affordable, and attractive to students as possible.
Note: While every student may not agree with these choices, they were made by a group of upper-classmen from their own personal experiences. Yours may be different. Please add your comments and opinions in the Comments section below. Be heard!
A large percentage of restaurants in Blacksburg deliver, since the town is so small, but going to the restaurants themselves offers the chance to meet old and new friends and establish good relationships with the cooks and servers.
Green's is the top-rated sushi bar in Blacksburg and beyond. Take advantage of the Futomaki, which offers more ingredients and 10 pieces instead of the usual 8. From personal experience, I would say that their veggie burgers are to die for with a secret Tahini sauce, of which the servers don't even know the ingredients.
Definitely take advantage of Wednesday's Buy One Get One Free.
Green's serves beer, wine, and sake.
Green's Grill and Sushi Bar is located at 109 College Avenue.
Monday at Moe's offers a burrito special for only $5.55. Moe's will create, right in front of you, a huge burrito from over 20 fresh ingredients with protein choices including: 100% sirloin grass-fed stead, all-natural chicken breast, grain-fed pulled pork, ground beef, or organic tofu - or, my fav, just a veggie burrito with rice, black beans, and any other ingredients you pick. The Monday special includes unlimited chips and salsa, and a 22oz drink.
Moe's is located at 239 N. Main Street.
Benny's is the place to go when you're really starved for pizza or want to soak up some of that alcohol before heading home at night (or in the morning). They are open until 3am on Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat, and midnight the other days. They serve pizza slices bigger than your head - reportedly about 1/4 of a gargantuan, great-tasting pizza for $4-$5 bucks.
Benny's is located at 110 B Draper Road NW.
Jimmy John's is now becoming a nation-wide chain restaurant, but we'll forgive that. Their standard 8" sandwiches are truly generous and delicious. Living in Blacksburg, you may see a familiar face, running down the street with a Jimmy John's bag in hand. That's their philosophy of personal responsibility. From the point of taking the order, the same person makes the sandwich and literally runs (they're penalized if seen walking) to their car or to an apartment to deliver their creation.
Insider Tip: For starving students, stop in at JJ's after 9pm, when you can pick up a loaf of "day-old" bread (this is good, solid stuff) for 50 cents.
The Frosty Parrot is the place to satisfy your sweet tooth without the guilt. They offer 12 varying flavors of yogurt and over 40 toppings each day. You just take a cup, fill it with whatever you want: fat free, fat and dairy free, low-fat, premium, or seasonal (or any combination thereof) frozen yogurt plus any or a mix of toppings, and pay by the ounce!
They're open until 10 or 11 each night.
The Frosty Parrot is located at 125 N. Main Street.
Joe's is a 24/7 (with a few exceptions due to zero customers) retro Americana diner (picture at top of article) with really big portions of great comfort food - like the huge omelet I ordered for $5.25. Service was very friendly and ultra-fast.
Joe's Diner is located at 221 N. Main Street.
Best rated Happy Hours include the following:
7-9pm: $1 singles, $2 doubles; Sunday: Wing and Pizza Buffet; Mondays: Free Burger Monday; Tuesdays: Kids Eat Free; Wednesdays: Wing and Pizza Buffet; Thursdays: Half Off Appetizers; 7 Days a Week: Soup, Salad, and Potato Bar
See: Sharkey's Wing and Rib Joint for more money-saving events. Sharkey's is located at: 220 N. Main Street
Hokie House is another long-standing hot spot, especially during scheduled specials like Monday Power Hour (5-9pm), $1. beer bottles on Sunday afternoons, pitcher night, trivia night, and great deals on gourmet burgers and jumbo wings.
Not the cheapest option, but Gillie's is known as the place for "progressive vegetarian" meals (including a highly rated breakfast). But, they do feature budget-friendly wine and beer specials nightly and free late-night appetizers.
Gillie's is located at 153 College Avenue.
TOTS (or Top of the Stairs) is a fraternity hot spot famous for the "Rail" a mixed drink ($9.) that has become infamous for its ability to start the buzz quickly.
The front entrance to TOTS is literally at the top of a long flight of wooden stairs - careful coming down after consumption. Downstairs is another bar and place to listen to music.
TOTS is located at 217 West College Avenue.
Weekdays at the Cellar from 6-7pm is "Hammertime" when all beers are 1/2 off (on Sundays imported beers are on sale). Also popular for the budget-minded is "Luck of the Draw" where you pay $1 for a random beer of the bartender's choosing.
The Cellar is located at 302 N. Main Street.
Champs sponsors Kareoke Wednesday. Sundays offer 50 cent cups of PBR - a popular choice while watching the game on their huge-screen TVs. Champs also often has no-cover-charge bands downstairs, and a cigar club.
Budget-minded food offerings include: 40 cent wings, Buck Burgers, and Dollar Dogs, along with some great, cheap appetizers.
They also offer: pool, darts, air hockey, shuffleboard, bonzini football, and NTN trivia
Champs Sportsbar and Cafe is located at 111 N. Main Street.
These are our favorite venues, but check Next Three Days for a current list of all upcoming musical events in Blacksburg.
Voted "Best Live Music Joint in Blacksburg," the Sycamore Deli continues to serve up great bands, food (Meatball Monday!), and beer at great prices. Next Three Days offers up a current list of bands, food, and beer specials.
Sycamore Deli is located at 211-B Draper Road.
Gillie's is a great spot to hear local musicians. They are showcased on Thursdays and Saturdays at 7pm. Friday shows begin at 10pm and are exclusively 18-years-old and up.
The great deal here is that there's no cover charge! Musicians play for tips every Thursday through Saturday nights.
Gillie's latest musical offerings can be found at Gillie's Late Night.
Gillie's is located at 153 College Avenue.
Rivermill is known as the place where you can get a great burger, a brew, and music, all for under $10. (because there is no cover charge).
Latest musical offerings are found here: Next Three Days
Rivermill Bar and Grill is located at 212 Draper Road NW.
Top of the Stairs is known for it's frat atmosphere and downstairs music scene. Check out their events calendar for upcoming performers. Sometimes they have a small cover charge.
TOTS is located at 217 W. College Avenue.
There is only one theater in Blacksburg: The Lyric. It's a very cool, historic building that shows classic, often award-winning shows from not too far back. It also hosts other performance events. Check out: http://www.thelyric.com/ for schedules.
The theater is not-for-profit and only charges $4-$5 per flick.
Movie Line: (540) 951-0604, and the address is 135 College Avenue.
The Virginia Tech Hokies are cheered for by loyal students, parents, alumni, and local residents. Every game is a great chance to let off some steam with friends.
Insider Tip: If you buy each ticket separately, games can get pretty pricey; but at the start of the season, go in with 10 friends, and buy season tickets for only $60/each person - a steal, considering that if you're not attending a certain game, you can sell your ticket for an estimated $20-$50 (depending on the importance of the game), paying your season expense easily.
Check the current schedule here.
Overall, Blacksburg is a small close-knit, safe-feeling community with a big thirst for beer. Choose wisely, and you can get your fill of good food, alcohol, and entertainment on the cheap.