West Virginia, often referred to as the “Mountain State,” is known for its rugged landscapes, rich Appalachian culture, and a mix of small towns and cities. From the historic capital city of Charleston to the outdoor haven of Morgantown, West Virginia offers a variety of experiences for residents and visitors alike. In this article, we will explore the top 10 cities and towns in West Virginia, highlighting their unique characteristics and attractions.
- Charleston: Charleston, the capital and largest city of West Virginia, is known for its historic charm, cultural attractions, and scenic riverfront.
The West Virginia State Capitol, with its gold-plated dome, is an iconic landmark and offers tours of the state’s government building. The Capitol Market is a vibrant marketplace featuring local produce, artisanal goods, and dining options.
Charleston’s downtown area boasts historic architecture, shops, restaurants, and cultural venues like the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, which includes an art museum, a performing arts theater, and a science museum. The city’s riverfront park provides walking trails and beautiful views of the Kanawha River.
- Huntington: Huntington, located in the western part of the state, is known for its educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and community events.
Marshall University, with its football team, The Thundering Herd, is a major presence in Huntington. The university’s campus includes the Joan C. Edwards Stadium and the Marshall University Medical Center.
Huntington’s downtown area features shops, restaurants, and cultural venues like the Keith-Albee Theatre, a historic performing arts venue. Ritter Park, with its walking trails and rose garden, is a popular spot for outdoor activities.
- Morgantown: Morgantown, situated in north-central West Virginia, is known for its natural beauty, educational institutions, and outdoor recreational opportunities.
West Virginia University (WVU) is a prominent university in Morgantown and contributes to the city’s academic and cultural life. Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium is home to the WVU Mountaineers football team.
Morgantown’s proximity to the Monongahela River and the Cheat Lake offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and water activities. Coopers Rock State Forest provides hiking trails and scenic overlooks.
- Parkersburg: Parkersburg, located in the western part of West Virginia, is known for its historic sites, riverfront, and parks.
The Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park, accessible by sternwheeler, features a historic mansion and gardens. Fort Boreman Park offers panoramic views of the Ohio and Little Kanawha Rivers.
Parkersburg’s downtown area features shops, restaurants, and cultural venues like the Smoot Theatre, a historic performing arts theater. The city’s Point Park Marketplace is a riverfront destination with dining and entertainment options.
- Wheeling: Wheeling, in the northern part of West Virginia, is known for its history, cultural heritage, and recreational activities.
The city’s historic district of Wheeling Island features Victorian architecture and the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack. The West Virginia Independence Hall Museum showcases the state’s role in the creation of West Virginia.
Wheeling’s downtown area offers shops, restaurants, and cultural events. The Oglebay Resort and Conference Center provides lodging, golf, and outdoor activities in a scenic setting.
- Weirton: Weirton, located in the northern part of the state, is known for its industrial heritage, riverfront, and community events.
The Weirton Steel Corporation was a major employer in the area, and the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center preserves the city’s steelmaking history. The Weirton Event Center hosts concerts and community gatherings.
Weirton’s downtown area features shops, restaurants, and a waterfront park along the Ohio River. The city’s proximity to the Pennsylvania border allows for easy access to Pittsburgh and its attractions.
- Fairmont: Fairmont, situated in north-central West Virginia, is known for its education institutions, historical sites, and outdoor recreation.
Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community and Technical College are part of the city’s educational landscape. Pricketts Fort State Park features a reconstructed 18th-century fort and offers living history programs.
Fairmont’s downtown area offers shops, restaurants, and cultural events. The city’s Valley Falls State Park provides hiking trails, fishing, and picnicking along the Tygart Valley River.
- Martinsburg: Martinsburg, located in the eastern part of West Virginia, is known for its historic downtown, railway heritage, and outdoor activities.
The city’s historic downtown district features shops, restaurants, and the Apollo Civic Theatre. The Martinsburg Roundhouse Center showcases the history of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
Martinsburg’s proximity to the Appalachian Trail and the Potomac River allows for hiking, biking, and water activities. The city hosts events like the Apple Harvest Festival and the Berkeley County Youth Fair.
- Beckley: Beckley, in the southern part of West Virginia, is known for its outdoor recreational opportunities, mining heritage, and family-friendly attractions.
The Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine and Youth Museum offers underground tours of a coal mine and educational programs. The city’s Exhibition Coal Mine Park features historic buildings and a coal camp.
Beckley’s Raleigh County Veterans Museum and the Raleigh Playhouse and Theatre are cultural attractions in the city. Nearby, the New River Gorge National River provides opportunities for whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and hiking.
- Clarksburg: Clarksburg, located in north-central West Virginia, is known for its historic districts, cultural institutions, and outdoor activities.
The Waldomore is a historic mansion and library that offers tours and cultural programs. Clarksburg’s cultural venues include the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center.
The city’s Sunset Ellis Drive Park provides walking trails and a pond for fishing and picnicking. Clarksburg’s downtown area features shops, restaurants, and historic architecture.
West Virginia’s top cities and towns offer a diverse range of experiences, from the historic charm of Charleston and Wheeling to the outdoor adventures of Morgantown and Parkersburg. Whether you’re interested in exploring history, enjoying outdoor activities, or savoring the state’s unique cultural heritage, these cities and towns provide diverse opportunities in the “Mountain State.”