From Mountain Trails to Microbrews: Your Ultimate Guide to Things to Do in Charleston, WV

From Mountain Trails to Microbrews: Your Ultimate Guide to Things to Do in Charleston, WV


Located in the heart of West Virginia, Charleston is a hidden gem that often surprises visitors with its vibrant blend of attractions and activities.

While known for its rich coal mining history, this capital city has evolved into a dynamic destination with a thriving cultural scene, breathtaking natural beauty, and a welcoming small-town atmosphere.

From exploring mountain trails and indulging in local microbrews to delving into the state’s history and enjoying live music on the riverfront, Charleston offers a diverse range of experiences that will appeal to every type of traveler.

Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural immersion, or simply a relaxing getaway, Charleston, West Virginia, has something special in store for you.

Book your flight with Skyscanner to Charleston WV and visit the West Virginia State Capitol, noted for its beautiful dome coated in 23-karat gold.

Top Attractions in Charleston, WV

No trip to Charleston is complete without exploring its diverse attractions that showcase the city’s unique character and history.

From museums and historical landmarks to vibrant outdoor spaces, these top attractions offer a glimpse into the heart and soul of West Virginia’s capital city.

West Virginia State Museum:

West Virginia State Museum

Explore the rich history and culture of West Virginia at the West Virginia State Museum.

The museum features exhibits that take you on a journey through time, showcasing prehistoric fossils and artifacts, the state’s coal mining heritage, and the lives of West Virginians throughout the 20th century.

With interactive displays and captivating artifacts, the museum offers a comprehensive look at the past and present of the Mountain State.

West Virginia State Capitol Complex:

DSC_8654 spring blossoms at the capitol

Marvel at the majestic architecture of the West Virginia State Capitol, which is an impressive example of Neoclassical design.

Take a guided tour to learn about the inner workings of the state government and admire the intricate details of the building’s interior.

You can also stroll through the Capitol Complex grounds, where you’ll find monuments and memorials honoring important figures in West Virginia’s history.

πŸ‘‰Explore the grandeur of the West Virginia State Capitol, whose dome is one of the most beautiful in the United States.

Haddad Riverfront Park:

Experience the lively atmosphere of Charleston’s riverfront at Haddad Riverfront Park.

Enjoy stunning views of the Kanawha River, take in live music and entertainment during the popular Live on the Levee series, or simply relax on a bench.

This bustling park is a beloved gathering place for locals and visitors, hosting festivals, events, and outdoor activities year-round.

Capitol Market:

Capital Market

Indulge your senses at Capitol Market, an indoor/outdoor market offering a wide variety of local produce, artisan crafts, and specialty foods.

You can sample freshly baked goods, gourmet cheeses, handcrafted chocolates, and other delicious treats.

With its vibrant atmosphere and diverse range of vendors, Capitol Market is a treat for both the eyes and the taste buds.

πŸ‘‰Find the best flights to Charleston on Skyscanner and explore the interactive exhibits at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences.

Explore Charleston’s Natural Beauty

Escape the city and explore the stunning natural beauty surrounding Charleston.

From lush forests and scenic trails to picturesque waterways, outdoor recreational opportunities abound for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers.

Kanawha State Forest:

Small creek in Polly Hollow

Seven miles south of Charleston, Kanawha State Forest offers over 90 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails for outdoor enthusiasts.

The forest is home to diverse terrain and abundant wildlife, making it a great spot for a picnic, fishing, and wildlife sightings.

Don’t miss the opportunity to encounter deer, wild turkeys, and other fascinating creatures by following one of the trails into the heart of the forest.

Daniel Boone Park:

Pond, Daniel Boone National Forest

Explore the rich legacy of the legendary frontiersman at Daniel Boone Park, which is just a short drive away from downtown Charleston.

Take in the stunning views of the city and surrounding mountains by walking along the park’s hiking trails.

Dive into the area’s history by visiting the Daniel Boone statue and delving into his adventures in the region.

πŸ‘‰Visit the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, a hub for artistic, cultural, and scientific engagement.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve:

Floating through New River Gorge NP

For an unforgettable outdoor adventure, visit New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.

Located just an hour from Charleston, this natural wonder is a haven for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike.

You can experience the adrenaline rush of world-class whitewater rafting on the New River, test your climbing skills on the park’s rugged cliffs, or hike along scenic trails offering breathtaking views of the gorge.

Coonskin Park:

This expansive park is beloved by both locals and visitors, providing a variety of recreational activities.

You can take a leisurely stroll or bike ride around the park’s 1.5-mile paved loop, have a picnic by the lake, or go for a swim in the pool during the summer.

Coonskin Park also features a golf course and an amphitheater, where you can enjoy live music performances and other events.

πŸ‘‰Use Skyscanner to plan your Charleston trip for an evening of entertainment at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center.

Immerse Yourself in Charleston’s Arts and Culture Scene

Charleston boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene that reflects the city’s creative spirit and rich heritage.

With world-class performances, thought-provoking exhibits, historic landmarks, and local festivals, there are ample opportunities to immerse oneself in Charleston’s cultural tapestry.

Whether you’re a theater enthusiast, an art aficionado, or a history buff, you’ll find something to inspire and entertain you in this dynamic city.

Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences:

The Clay Center

A vital part of Charleston’s culture, the Clay Center offers a variety of experiences suitable for all ages.

Visit the Avampato Discovery Museum to engage with interactive science exhibits that inspire curiosity and wonder in both children and adults.

Enjoy an array of captivating artworks at the Juliet Art Museum, featuring pieces from local and international artists.

Experience live performances at the Maier Foundation Performance Hall, which is home to the renowned West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and hosts a variety of musical and theatrical productions.

Charleston Town Center:

Charleston Town Center is the city’s top shopping destination, offering a thriving arts and entertainment scene.

 You can enjoy a symphony performance by the acclaimed West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, or catch a captivating Broadway show on tour.

With its range of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, Charleston Town Center is a vibrant hub for cultural experiences.

πŸ‘‰Attend a live performance or event at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center, a premier venue for entertainment.

Avampato Discovery Museum:

The Avampato Discovery Museum, located within the Clay Center, offers an engaging and interactive experience for both children and adults.

The museum’s exhibits cover a wide range of STEM concepts and allow visitors to participate in hands-on learning activities.

Whether it’s building with giant blocks or experimenting with water and bubbles, the museum provides a fun and educational experience suitable for all ages.

Heritage Towers Museum:

Take a step back in time and delve into the rich coal mining heritage of Charleston and the surrounding region at the Heritage Towers Museum.

Housed in the former Kanawha Valley Bank building, the museum features artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that narrate the stories of the miners and their families.

Discover the challenges and triumphs of an industry that played a significant role in shaping the history and culture of West Virginia.

πŸ‘‰Secure your flight with Skyscanner and stroll along the scenic Kanawha Riverfront Park, a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike.

Savor Charleston’s Culinary Delights

Charleston’s food scene is an exciting blend of Appalachian tradition and modern innovation.

Whether you crave classic comfort food or upscale dining experiences, this culinary haven has something for everyone.

Make sure to experience the unique flavors of the Mountain State, from delicious pepperoni rolls to farm-fresh produce and craft brews.

Capitol Market:

Capitol Market is a paradise for food enthusiasts, offering a vibrant array of culinary delights.

Visitors can enjoy fresh, locally-sourced produce from nearby farms, indulge in artisan cheeses and handcrafted chocolates, or grab a quick meal from one of the many diverse food vendors.

From sushi and Italian cuisine to classic American fare, Capitol Market provides a taste of everything that contributes to Charleston’s distinctive food scene.

πŸ‘‰Stroll along the Kanawha Riverfront Park, perfect for a relaxing day outdoors with scenic views and walking paths.

Restaurants and Breweries Along Capitol Street:

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Capitol Street is a culinary corridor where flavors from around the world converge. Explore a diverse array of dining options, from cozy cafes serving up specialty coffee and pastries to upscale restaurants showcasing innovative cuisine.Β 

Here are some restaurants and breweries you might enjoy in Capitol Street:

  • Pies n Pints is a local favorite that serves up delicious pizzas and craft beers. They have a great atmosphere and are perfect for a casual night out.
  • Ichiban is a Japanese restaurant that offers a wide variety of sushi, sashimi, and other Japanese dishes. They have a beautiful patio and are perfect for a special occasion.
  • BoardHouse Restaurant & Pub is a gastropub that serves up upscale American cuisine. They have a great selection of beers on tap and are perfect for a romantic dinner.
  • Bear’s Den is a cozy little cafe that serves up delicious Southern comfort food. They have a great selection of beers on tap and are perfect for a casual lunch or dinner.
  • Black Sheep Brewery is a local brewery that offers a variety of award-winning beers. They have a great taproom and are perfect for a beer tasting.
  • Fife Street Brewing is another local brewery that offers a variety of craft beers. They have a great patio and are perfect for a relaxing afternoon.

These are just a few of the many great restaurants and breweries in Charleston, WV. I hope this helps you plan your trip!

Local Favorites:

No trip to Charleston would be complete without sampling some of its iconic culinary creations.

Sink your teeth into a warm, gooey pepperoni roll, a Mountain State staple that’s sure to satisfy.

If you’re looking for a true taste of Appalachia, try some of the region’s hearty dishes like country ham, biscuits and gravy, or fried green tomatoes.

And for those with a sweet tooth, indulge in homemade candies, pies, and other delectable desserts.

πŸ‘‰Fly into Charleston with Skyscanner and delve into history at the West Virginia State Museum at the Culture Center.

Stay in Charleston: Accommodation Options for Every Traveler

Blennerhassett Hotel, Parkersburg, WV

Charleston, West Virginia, offers a range of accommodations to suit every traveler’s needs and budget.

From historic hotels steeped in charm to modern options with convenient amenities, you’ll find the perfect place to rest your head after a day of exploring the city.

Historic Charm: The Blennerhassett Hotel

The Historic Blennerhassett Hotel is situated in downtown Charleston, seamlessly blending Victorian elegance with modern comforts.

Its prime location allows easy access to nearby attractions such as the State Capitol and Capitol Market, making it a convenient and luxurious choice for those who want to immerse themselves in the city’s history and culture.

Modern: Four Points by Sheraton Charleston

If you’re looking for modern accommodations, Four Points by Sheraton Charleston is an excellent choice.

It offers spacious rooms, a fitness center, and on-site dining, making it suitable for both business and leisure travelers.

Its close proximity to the Charleston Civic Center further enhances its appeal for those attending events or conferences.

πŸ‘‰Book through Skyscanner for a trip to Charleston and enjoy a performance by the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Luxury Retreat: Embassy Suites by Hilton Charleston

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For a peaceful getaway with beautiful views, consider staying at Embassy Suites by Hilton Charleston.

Situated along the banks of the Elk River, this hotel offers spacious suites, complimentary breakfast, and evening receptions.

Its serene setting provides a relaxing atmosphere, while still being just minutes away from downtown attractions and the scenic Kanawha State Forest.

Bed and Breakfast: Brass Pineapple Inn

Experience the warmth of Southern hospitality at the Brass Pineapple Inn.

This historic bed and breakfast offers cozy rooms, personalized service, and a quaint atmosphere.

Located in the East End district, it’s within walking distance of art galleries, shops, and local eateries, making it a perfect choice for those who want to explore Charleston’s vibrant neighborhoods.”

Family-Friendly: Hampton Inn Charleston Downtown

If you’re traveling with family, consider staying at the Hampton Inn Charleston Downtown.

This hotel is conveniently located near the University of Charleston and offers comfortable accommodations, a pool, and a complimentary hot breakfast.

Its proximity to popular attractions like the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences makes it an ideal choice for families with children.

πŸ‘‰Enjoy an evening with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra for a touch of cultural refinement.

FAQs About Visiting Charleston, WV

Charleston, West Virginia
What is the best time to visit Charleston, WV?

The ideal time to visit Charleston depends on your preferences.

Spring and fall boast agreeable temperatures and stunning landscapes, perfect for outdoor pursuits such as hiking and biking.

Summer is a fantastic opportunity to partake in the city’s festivals and events, while winter provides a cozy ambiance and the chance to enjoy holiday celebrations.

How do I get to Charleston, WV?

Charleston is easily accessible by car, plane, or bus.

Car: The city is located at the intersection of several major interstates, including I-64, I-77, and I-79.

Plane: Yeager Airport (CRW) is located just a few miles from downtown Charleston and offers daily flights from major cities.

Bus: Greyhound and other bus companies provide service to Charleston from various locations across the country.

πŸ‘‰With Skyscanner, reach Charleston and sample gourmet local flavors at the Capitol Market, a hub for fresh produce and artisan goods.

What are some free things to do in Charleston, WV?

Charleston provides plenty of free attractions and activities for travelers on a budget.

You can visit the State Capitol Complex, the West Virginia State Museum, and enjoy the scenic beauty of Kanawha State Forest, or take a leisurely stroll through the historic downtown district.

Additionally, the city hosts various free events throughout the year, including Live on the Levee, which showcases live music performances during the summer months.

Is Charleston, WV a family-friendly destination?

Charleston is a fantastic destination for families. The city has a wide range of attractions and activities that cater to children of all ages.

These include the Avampato Discovery Museum, the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, as well as numerous parks and outdoor spaces.

Throughout the year, the city hosts many family-friendly events, including festivals, concerts, and holiday celebrations.

πŸ‘‰Shop and dine at the Capitol Market, a vibrant marketplace featuring fresh produce, artisan goods, and unique eateries.

Experience the Charm of Charleston

2018 - West Virginia Drive

Charleston, West Virginia may be a hidden gem, but it’s definitely worth discovering.

From its vibrant arts and culture scene to its rich history and stunning natural beauty, this city offers a unique and unforgettable experience.

Whether you’re exploring the top attractions, venturing off the beaten path, or savoring the local flavors, Charleston has something to captivate every traveler.

So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to be charmed by the Mountain State’s capital city.

πŸ‘‰Find your flight to Charleston on Skyscanner and take a historic walking tour through the East End District, rich in architecture and charm.

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