West Virginia’s capital city is perfectly positioned at the confluence of the Kanawha and Elk rivers. It’s also where three major interstates converge, making it a highly accessible destination for visitors looking for an affordable getaway. Charleston boasts the history you’d expect of a capital city, but a growing arts scene and its riverside position makes it a hub for recreation and culture, too.
Charleston’s vibrant culture shines through various downtown museums, shops, art galleries, restaurants and its live music scene, but you can still get a taste of outdoor adventure just minutes away. Stay close to town by visiting Kanawha State Forest, a short 7-mile drive, for hiking, mountain biking or cross-country skiing. Choose any one of the 14 hiking trails or 9 mountain biking trails winding through the 9,300-acre forest. Charleston is also just an hour’s drive from the New River Gorge, where you’ll find some of the best outdoor recreation West Virginia has to offer. Adventure by day, then return to the city in the evening for a delicious meal and live entertainment!
- The magnificent 293- foot gold dome of the State Capitol is five feet higher than the dome of the U.S. Capitol. The entire dome is gilded in 23 ½ karat gold leaf!
- Charleston’s “Mountain Stage” with Larry Groce has hosted live performances of all styles for more than 30 years, and each week the show is heard on more than 200 NPR Stations.
- The Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences is one of only a few in the country that houses the sciences, visual arts, and performing arts all in a single museum.
- At J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works, a 7th-generation salt-making family harvests all-natural salt from an ancient ocean below the Appalachian Mountains of the Kanawha Valley.
- The Vandalia Gathering rounds up every element of Appalachian culture into a giant jubilee on the capitol lawn each Memorial Day Weekend.
- FestivALL is a city-wide and multi-arts festival with a 10-day June FestivALL, FestivALL Preview Weekend in May and FestivALL Fall in October.