Charleston West Virginia
Downtown street leading to the West Virginia Capitol building
Dazzling architectural detail on the historic Capitol building
Sugar maple tree along the Kanawha River in autumn
View of the Kanawha River running through the city
Eastern view of the city surrounded by mountains
Illuminated bridge crossing over the Kanawha River
Lining the street to watch a parade
Attending a downtown concert by land and water
- Major Airports:
- Yeager/Charleston (CRW)
- West Virginia
This lively capital city enjoys a bucolic hilly setting
History Lessons at the State Capitol
The West Virginia Capitol Complex is a trip back in time. Clustered here are several landmarks to be toured, including the Capitol building itself, whose gold-leaf dome is taller than the U.S. Capitol’s, while the Governor’s Mansion is a fine example of Georgian-style architecture. Nearby, the West Virginia State Museum documents the state’s history through exhibits and displays. Along the Kanawha River, you’ll find Charleston’s contribution to the national Civil War Trails program.
Mountain Adventures in the Great Outdoors
Charleston makes it easy to get out into nature. Start with Sunset Carriage Trail, a gentle one-kilometer trail designed for pedestrians. Head to Kanawha State Forest or Coonskin Park for more hiking and biking (the forest even has a pool). In the middle of the river and connected to land, you’ll find Magic Island, a park that offers beach volleyball and other fun. Play golf on one of eight courses close to downtown or head out for something more adventurous – within an hour’s drive, you have access to mountain biking, skiing, canoeing and canopy tours.
Vibrant Entertainment Scene
Charleston is a city that comes together for festivals and art-related events all year long. To join the celebratory scene, spread out your picnic blanket at Haddad Riverfront Park, which offers free concerts, or head to the symphony, opera, ballet or theater, all of whom routinely perform at the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences. This cultural hub also includes Avampato Discovery Center with its domed Electric Sky Theater. Cruise along the Kanawha River on Spirit of West Virginia, an authentic sternwheel paddleboat. For shopping, head to Charleston Town Center Mall, whose three stories feature 130 shops and eateries, or the Capitol Market, which is located in an old train station and sells local and artisanal goods.
Today’s building is the third version of the State Capitol; it burnt down in 1921 and again in 1927.