Get familiar with Charleston’s hip and diverse arts scene with a stroll across town to view its impressive portfolio of public art. Make time for these “must-sees”: Charly Hamilton’s “West Side Wonder Mural,” the Clay Center’s massive “Hallelujah” sculpture, Capitol Street’s “Mortar Man” (if you can find him!), and the State Capitol Complex which includes statues, sculptures, and of course the Capitol’s brilliant gold dome
Spend the afternoon browsing through local artwork and handmade goods in several downtown shops like Art Emporium, Gallery 11, and Swiftwater General Store. Stop in to Taylor Books to purchase tickets to its Underground Cinema where foreign, local, documentary, and indie film screenings are held every Friday and Saturday night.
There’s no shortage of performing arts in West Virginia’s capital city at night. Catch performances by the Charleston Ballet Company, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and the Charleston Light Opera Guild throughout the year.
Located on the edge of the Monongahela National Forest, Elkins is full of natural beauty, but its human-created arts scene is vibrant, making it a worthwhile visit. Randolph County has its own arts center housed in a historic Catholic church, which offers classes to locals throughout the year.
For a dose of Appalachian culture, spend an afternoon at the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis and Elkins College, which specializes in multi-week arts seminars through the summer, with a special focus on regional Appalachian dance, music and folklore.
A stay in Elkins is incomplete if you miss a night time entertainment show at the Gandy Dancer Theatre, which puts on full dinner and dancing extravaganzas. Shows at the Gandy Dancer are family friendly, featuring a music and comedy from the 50s to the 90s, country, Motown, gospel, patriotic and legends performers.
Arts and culture are a main feature in the daily life of Berkeley Springs, from public art and annual studio tours to a downtown historic district and vibrant nightlife. In between soaks at Berkeley Springs State Park, you can check out galleries and shops with unique products by local artists like the Mountain Laurel Gallery and Frog Valley Artisans.
The Morgan Arts Council (MAC) Ice House is part of the reason Berkeley Springs was the first certified arts town in West Virginia. Visit for studio tours, concerts, art classes, cultural lectures and an artists’ co-op. An afternoon spent here will have your artistic spirit rejuvenated in no time.
Cross county lines over to Shepherdstown for another small town that has arts and culture nailed down. Aside from a picture-perfect main street, Shepherdstown is known for the Contemporary American Theater Festival that takes place every summer to celebrate American playwrights on the campus of Shepherd University. For more night time arts action, catch film screenings or live music at the historic Shepherdstown Opera House.