Things to do in Charleston, West Virginia

When you think of Charleston, does South Carolina come to mind? If so, you’re not alone. Charleston, SC is a popular destination; its population is creeping toward one million. Nearly 500 miles north, however, another Charleston has quietly been attracting visitors for its history, small town charm, delightful food and art scene, and natural beauty. If you’ve never been, here are the top four attractions to see when you visit Charleston, West Virginia.

The Culture Center

The term culture center may evoke images of a tourist trap, but Charleston’s Culture Center is an interactive museum that evokes the history and art of West Virginia. Visitors can see tableaux of speakeasies and historic streets, stroll through artistic quilt displays, and see live interactive theater.

Capitol Street

Take a walk down the old-fashioned street and visit the old bookstores, shops, and restaurants. Visitors often visit Pies and Pints or Ellen’s Ice Cream, but Adelphia’s and The Block also offer hearty cheese plates, wines, and beer.

Kanawha State Forest

Just seven miles south of Charleston is the Kanawha State Forest, a stunning national park with swimming, hiking, and biking. The Rocky Ridge Trail is particularly popular with visitors, but for a mellow visit, look for new wildflowers or take a leisurely pincnic by the creek. A bath house is available for showering and laundry as well.

Historic Walks

While a car rental is always available at the airport, you should plan to do lots of sightseeing and walking while you’re in town. In addition to taking a stroll along Capitol Street, take a quick walk by the State Capitol, the Craik-Patton House, or Smith Street’s Capitol Market, which also features fine dining and shopping.

A nonstop flight from Chicago to West Virginia is less than two hours, and your flight will land directly in Charleston. Many visitors visit Charleston in May, but flights to Charleston are actually cheapest after the summer rush in October. Visiting in the fall ensures that you miss the hottest and busiest part of the year. As you plan your next vacation, why not go off the beaten path and visit somewhere truly extraordinary?

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