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Charleston is like that quirky aunt you have—unique, vibrant, and always up for a good time. Want stunning mountain views? Check. Bustling downtown? Check. Whether you’re feeling fancy or just want to stroll down the historic streets, Charleston’s got you covered.

If you’re into culture, you’re in for a treat. You can explore the wonders of science and art at the Clay Center, learn a thing or two about the state’s history at the museum, or just chill and grab some local produce at the Capitol Market. And if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s always the great outdoors. Take a hike, bike, or kayak, and soak up all the Appalachian charm.

But wait, there’s more! Charleston is not just about history and nature. The music scene is on fire, with local and national acts performing live at various venues. And for those who like to party, there are plenty of bars and clubs to choose from. Here are 15 things to do in Charleston, West Virginia.

15. Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences

Exterior of Clay Center For The Arts And Sciences(image via Wikimedia)

The Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences of West Virginia, inaugurated on July 12, 2003, is a monumental 240,000 square foot establishment. Nestled in Charleston, it amalgamates performing arts, visual arts, and sciences. Housing the Avampato Discovery Museum, Juliet Art Museum, and the Maier Foundation Performance Hall, it’s a cultural gem inspiring creativity and wonder.

14. West Virginia State Capitol

West Virginia State Capitol

Marvel at the grandeur of this historic building and learn about the state’s government. Discover its iconic dome and marble interiors, providing a captivating glimpse into West Virginia’s political legacy and architectural splendor. The Capitol is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday and Holidays.

13. West Virginia State Museum

Exterior of West Virginia State Museum(image via Wikimedia)

The West Virginia State Museum is a beacon of cultural and historical preservation, fostering pride and understanding through diverse exhibits. Explore every facet of West Virginia’s past, from its rich history to its geological wonders. Free admission and educational resources ensure accessibility for all. Experience the legacy of West Virginia firsthand.

12. Capitol Market

Exterior of Capitol Market(image via Instagram)

Capitol Market, thriving for over two decades, evolved from a humble farmers’ market into a dynamic retail and dining hub. Built upon the historic Kanawha and Michigan Railroad railyard, it revitalized the area as a bustling tourist destination and community center. Offering diverse shops, dining options, and community events, it’s Charleston’s vibrant gathering place.

11. Haddad Riverfront Park

Pavilion at Haddad Riverfront Park (The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Haddad Riverfront Park offers a scenic retreat along the Kanawha River in Charleston. With its lush greenery, walking trails, and recreational amenities, it’s perfect for picnics, concerts, and family outings. Host to various events like live music and festivals, it’s a vibrant space cherished by locals and visitors alike.

10. Avampato Discovery Museum

Tour guide speaking at Avampato Discovery Museum(image via Instagram)

The Avampato Discovery Museum at the Clay Center offers endless fun across three floors of interactive exhibits spanning 12,000 square feet. Dive into WaterWorks, explore the science of sound in The Maier Foundation Music Studio, and get active in Healthy Me!! Experience real-life adventures in My Town and climb Ashton’s Climbing Sculpture for new heights. Plus, don’t miss rotating exhibits in the Mylan Explore-atory gallery!

9. West Virginia State Penitentiary

Exterior of West Virginia State Penitentiary(image via Wikimedia)

Built in 1866 and decommissioned in 1995, this former state penitentiary now offers day tours, paranormal investigations, escape rooms, a haunted house in October, and large events in our event center!

8. Coonskin Park

Field and stadium at Coonskin Park(image via Wikimedia)

Coonskin Park, nurtured by Kanawha County residents for over 50 years, has flourished into a stunning natural haven just 10 minutes from downtown Charleston, West Virginia. Spanning over a thousand acres of woodlands, it offers a plethora of activities, from hiking and fishing to picnicking and swimming, making it a cherished community asset.

7. Kanawha State Forest

Sign for Kanawha State Forest(image via Wikimedia)

Kanawha State Forest, just seven miles from Charleston, beckons outdoor lovers with over 60 miles of scenic trails for hiking and biking. Picnic areas offer respite amid diverse wildflower and bird populations. With amenities like shelters, playgrounds, and campsites, it’s a haven for nature enthusiasts. Seasonal hunting is permitted in designated zones with proper licensing.

6. South Charleston Mound

View of South Charleston Mound(image via Wikimedia)

The South Charleston Mound, one of West Virginia’s largest burial mounds, stands about 33 feet tall. Constructed by the Adena people around 1000 to 200 B.C., it’s a prehistoric burial site. Excavations by the Smithsonian Institution revealed multiple burials, including an important figure surrounded by artifacts like shell beads and copper remnants. Despite historic modifications, it’s a testament to ancient Kanawha Valley inhabitants. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1970.

5. Magic Island

Aerial view of Magic Island(image via Instagram)

Magic Island, a five-acre oasis linked to the mainland, offers walking trails and beach volleyball courts. Its name stems from the mysterious fluctuations of the Kanawha River, submerging the island as if by “magic.” Hosting events like SportsFEST and family movie nights, it’s a popular destination year-round, conveniently located near hotels, shops, and restaurants.

4. South Charleston Museum and Cultural Center

Exterior of South Charleston Museum and Cultural Center(image via Facebook)

Welcome to the Museum & Interpretive Center, where the legacy of the Midland Trail and Adena Indians comes to life. Generously funded by state, federal, and city authorities, the center showcases the Criel Mound and diverse exhibits. Explore models, artifacts, films, and historical kiosks, offering insights into the area’s rich heritage.

3. West Virginia State Wildlife Center

View of rolling hills of West Virginia State Wildlife Center(image via Wikimedia)

Discover the wonders of West Virginia’s wildlife at the modern zoological facility of the Wildlife Center. Operated by the Wildlife Resources Section, it offers an authentic glimpse into the state’s native and introduced species. Walk the interpretative trail, observe woodland creatures in spacious enclosures, and learn from interpretive signs. Perfect for family outings, it boasts picnic areas, fishing ponds, and a gift shop.

2. Charleston Town Center Mall

Inside Charleston Town Center Mall(image via Wikimedia)

Charleston Town Center Mall is a vibrant shopping destination offering a diverse range of retail and dining choices. Explore local boutiques alongside well-known brands, supporting both small businesses and household names. Whether you’re in search of fashion, electronics, or culinary delights, you’ll find it all within this fully enclosed mall experience.

1. Appalachian Power Park

Game going on at Appalachian Power Park(image via Wikimedia)

Appalachian Power Park, home to West Virginia Power, opened in 2005. With a capacity of 4,474 seats, it blends modern and historic elements, including a 1913 warehouse. Its location offers scenic views and easy access. Affordable tickets, diverse concessions, and entertaining traditions like the “Toast Man” make it a memorable experience for fans.