Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Charleston, West Virginia

West Virginia’s capital city is full of fun, history, and interesting experiences. If you’ve never considered making Charleston a destination, why not add it to this summer’s list of things to do? You’ll be amazed at all the interesting things this city has to offer: historic buildings, good food, fun museums, and walks in the forest. If you want to know how to get started, read on to discover the top ten attractions in Charleston, West Virginia.

1: West Virginia State Capitol Building

West Virginia State Capitol Building
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Mobilus In Mobili

You might think that once you’ve seen one state capitol, you’ve seen them all. If you’ve been to more than one, however, you know this isn’t true! In fact, state capitols can be absolutely fascinating. One thing that is special about West Virginia’s capitol building is that its designer, Cass Gilbert, was also the architect for the United States Supreme Court building. He ended up patterning part of the Supreme Court after the West Virginia State Capitol Building. Unlike most U.S. government buildings, the Capitol Building it has actual gold on its dome. The inside is hardly less impressive. If you want to see everything, you can take a tour through the ornate halls.

Address: 1900 Kanawha Blvd. East, Charleston, WV 25305

2: West Virginia State Museum

West Virginia State Museum

This is one of the most enjoyable museums you’ll find! It’s geared toward children, but adults love it, too. The West Virginia State Museum has a comprehensive history of the state, starting from prehistoric times and moving forward to modern times. You’ll get to learn about the science, history, and culture of West Virginia through a massive variety of fun and interactive displays.

Address: 1900 Kanawha Blvd E # 435, Charleston, WV 25305

3: Capitol Market

Capitol Market
Photo Courtesy: Facebook/capitolmarket

If you enjoy unique shopping experiences, be sure to check out Capitol Market. This is an old train station turned into a farmer’s market, and it has a lot to offer! Local growers bring out the best of their produce for you to taste and take home. You’ll find everything from fruit to flowers and more! This is the perfect place to stop for lunch or to shop for fresh groceries.

Address: West Virginia Market Place, 800 Smith St, Charleston, WV 25301

4: West Virginia Veterans Memorial

West Virginia Veterans Memorial
Photo Courtesy: Tom Hindman/Daily Mail

The West Virginia Veteran’s Memorial is a special place to sit and remember the sacrifices of West Virginia’s soldiers. Be prepared to spend about half an hour here; there’s a lot to look at and you may want to take time to process of the solemnity of the site. Each war has its own piece of the memorial and its own statue. There is also a special area dedicated to the female soldiers who have sacrificed themselves for their country.

Address: Greenbrier Street, Charleston, WV

5: Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences

Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences
Photo Courtesy: Facebook/claycenter

This is the place to take kids for fun and learning. There’s a ball pit on the bottom floor, water displays to learn about energy, a little town where kids can learn about power plants, hospitals, stores, and more, and lots of other things to do and see. The Clay Center is a great place to expose even little kids to the wonder of science and art! As a plus, it also has a decently-priced café in the building.

Address: 1 Clay Square, Charleston, WV 25301

6: Capitol Street

Capitol Street

Capitol Street is the center of Charleston’s historic district. The atmosphere of the place takes you back to the mid-twentieth century! The streets are lined with sturdy old trees, the sidewalks are bustling with pedestrians, and the culture is friendly and inviting. Many of the shops have turned into professional offices, but there are still many places to shop, eat, and be entertained. Step inside to Pies and Pints for beer and pizza, or try the homemade ice cream at Ellen’s.

Address: Capitol Street, Charleston, WV

7: Kanawha State Forest

Kanawha State Forest
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Bill Rawlinson

Fifteen minutes away from the streets and buildings of Charleston, you’ll find a natural sanctuary where you can discover the beauty of wilderness. There are many trails you can choose from, and each is at a different difficulty level. Whether you want to go for an easy stroll of burn some major calories on a tough trek, Kanawha state forest is the perfect place to get out and be active. You can also camp here, if you want to get out of civilization for a while.

Address: 7500 Kanawha State Forest Dr, Charleston, WV 25314

8: Governor's Mansion

Governor's Mansion
Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia/Enrichyourmind

Just a short walk from the West Virginia Capitol Building is the Governor’s Mansion. This beautiful historic home used to house the governors of West Virginia, but today it is a place for the public to see a piece of state history. The mansion was built in 1925 and partially inspired by the White House, so it has all the majesty of early 20th Century class and design. You can book a tour and see the luxurious interior of the building. The tour takes about 20 minutes, and you get to see all the interesting rooms when you go.

Address: 1716 Kanawha Blvd E, Charleston, WV 25305

9: Craik-Patton House

Craik-Patton House
Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia/Pubdog

This historic home dates back to 1834. It once belonged to the namesake and grandfather of General George S. Patton, an important member of Charleston society. The home is no longer in its original location on Virginia Street, but it has been meticulously preserved in nearly all other aspects. It has interesting old wallpaper, stately furniture, and a stunning view! You can visit the house, tour through, it, and, if you’re lucky, see a historical display with live actors. Sometimes the house is decked out with Christmas spirit, and at other times it is in mourning. You never know what glimpse you’ll get of an era long past.

Address: 2809 Kanawha Blvd E, Charleston, WV 25311

10: Avampato Discovery Museum

Avampato Discovery Museum

If you need to get your art or science fix, the Clay Center’s Avampto Discovery Museum is the place to go. There are hundreds of works of art here! Take some time to browse through the paintings before heading to the planetarium for a showing on space. Next, follow the sound of fun and laughter to the kid-friendly exhibits, where little ones can run around, touch things, and interact with various displays. The best part is the climbing sculpture! Even adults will get lost in the fun.

Address: 1 Clay Sq, Charleston, West Virginia 25301

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