A Brief Introduction to Charleston, the Capital of West Virginia
Before we get into all the things to do in Charleston, WV, let’s see why it’s worth visiting. Charleston is the state capital of West Virginia, and it’s located in the Kanawha Valley. The city was founded in 1788, making it one of the oldest cities in the United States.
Charleston is known for its beautiful scenery, and there are plenty of things to do outdoors. The city is also home to a number of museums and historical sites, and great restaurants that serve up everything from American classics to international cuisine. No matter what your interests are, you’ll find something to do in Charleston.
Things to Do in Charleston, WV – Downtown
Downtown Charleston is the perfect place to start your exploration of the city. This is where you’ll find most of the oldest historical sites, as well as a variety of shops, art galleries and restaurants. What are some things to do in Charleston, WV downtown?
Walk Down the Capitol Street
Capitol Street is the main drag in downtown Charleston, and it’s where you’ll find most of the shopping and dining options. If you’re looking for a bite to eat, there are plenty of great restaurants to choose from. Or, if you want to do some shopping, you’ll find everything from boutiques to department stores. The Capitol Market is a must-visit, with excellent farmers’ markets, artisans, and a variety of food vendors.
This street is also where you can admire the Downtown Charleston Historic District, which is full of beautiful architecture. It was home to the State Capitol between 1870 and 1875, and later in 1885-1921. Unfortunately, the building was destroyed by fire.
Rest for a Bit in Davis Park
After all that walking around, you might want to take a break in Davis Park. This is a great spot to people watch or relax with a good book. You can also admire the beautiful plants and the large statue in the center.
Other Historical Sites of Charleston, WV
What are some other things to do in Charleston, WV for history buffs? The West Virginia State Capitol building is definitely worth a visit. This grand building houses the state legislature, and it’s a beautiful example of Colonial Revival and Italian Renaissance architecture. There’s also the West Virginia Veterans Memorial, which is a moving tribute to the state’s veterans.
Tour the West Virginia Governor’s Mansion
Close to the West Virginia State Museum, you’ll find the West Virginia Governor’s Mansion. This is the official residence of the state governor, and it’s open for tours on Thursdays and Fridays. Tours are free, but you need to make a reservation in advance. The mansion is a beautiful example of Georgian Colonial architecture, and it’s definitely worth a visit.
Visit the Ruffner Memorial Park
Ruffner Memorial Park is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Charleston. This park is located on the Kanawha riverbank, and it’s a beautiful spot for a stroll or a picnic.
Admire the Many Historic Houses
There are a number of historic houses in Charleston, WV that are worth admiring. The Craik-Patton House is a beautiful example of Greek Revival architecture, and it was once home to the grandson of George Washington’s friend and physician, Dr. James Craik. Other historic houses you can find in Charleston include:
- W.E. Chilton II House;
- Barnes-Wellford House;
- Danner-Fletcher House;
Not all of them offer tours, but you can admire them from the outside while taking a stroll away from downtown.
Outdoor Activities in Charleston, WV
There are plenty of things to do in Charleston outdoors. If you’re a fan of hiking, you’ll want to check out Kanawha State Forest. This forest is located just outside the city, and it’s a great place to get some exercise and enjoy the scenery. You can also go fishing in the Kanawha River, or take a scenic drive along the Midland Trail.
In the mood for something a little more adventurous? Then head to Hawk’s Nest State Park. This park is located about 45 miles from Charleston, and it’s home to a variety of outdoor activities. You can go hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting and more.
Along the Kanawha River, you’ll find curious and relaxing spots like Haddad Riverfront Park, Fort Lee, and the Magic Island Park. So, if you like spending hours outdoors, Charleston is the perfect place for you.
Things to Do in Charleston, WV with Kids
If you’re traveling with kids, there are lots of things to do in Charleston, WV to keep them entertained. The city’s parks are a great place to start. Kanawha State Forest is perfect for a family hike, and the Magic Island Park has a number of activities that kids will love.
You can also take the kids to one of Charleston’s museums. The West Virginia State Museum is a great option, as it has exhibits on the state’s history and culture. The Charleston Museum is also worth a visit, as it has kid-friendly exhibits on the city’s history.
Have Fun at the Clay Center
The Clay Center is a great place to take the kids for a day of fun. This center has a planetarium, an observatory, and a number of interactive exhibits in Avampato Discovery Museum. The kids will also enjoy the IMAX theater, where they can watch educational movies about science and nature.
Play at the Sky Zone Trampoline Park
The Sky Zone Trampoline Park is a great place to let the kids burn off some energy. This park has a number of trampolines, as well as a foam pit and dodgeball courts.
Live Entertainment in Charleston, WV
If you’re looking for some evening entertainment, Charleston has plenty to offer. There are a number of bars and clubs downtown, as well as a variety of live music venues. For example, there’s the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center, offering a variety of events throughout the year. You can also hear live music at the Municipal Auditorium and Haddad River Front Park.
Plan Your Trip to Charleston Today!
So, whether you’re looking for things to do in Charleston, WV during the day or things to do at night, the city has you covered. It has something for everyone, and it’s definitely worth a visit. What are your favorite attractions in Charleston, WV? Let us know in the comments!
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