Things to do in Charleston, West Virginia in one day

You’re visiting Charleston, West Virginia and you don’t want to miss out the best things to do?  Make the most of your trip. This travel guide will give you all the highlights and information you need to do just that, including photo spots and hotel recommendations to simplify your planning! Charleston is a small, cute city, with friendly people, fun activities, and good food! Find out how to have the perfect day in Charleston!

What do you learn in this article?

BIG5 Things to do in Charleston / West Virginia

You don’t want to miss any sights? Find all the tips and your checklist for the city trip to Charleston here:

BIG5 Charleston – Speed Date


The people in Charleston are extremely friendly and welcoming!


Public transportation is limited. Charleston is more of a place for driving or walking


Experience the restaurant scene! Charleston has so many great options for food.


Come to Charleston for conventional shopping. Charleston is better known for having small boutique, thrift, and antique stores.

Don’t tell your mother:

West Side could be dangerous at nighttime – but businesses in that area are safe to visit during the day time!

BIG5 Charleston- Rapid Fire Q&A

  •  A short trip to Charleston, how many days should I plan? – You can see Charleston in 1 to 2 days.
  • Are there any great day trips from Charleston? – A day trip to Fayetteville to go hiking is absolutely stunning! It’ll allow you to see what West Virginia really has to offer and you’ll have the chance to see the famous New River Gorge. Fayetteville is also one of the best places in the country to go white water rafting.
  • I’ve never been to West Virginia, what makes it worth a visit? – The people and the mountains! West Virginians are extremely friendly and the mountains extremely beautiful.
  • What’s the best area in the city to stay in? – Staying downtown is the nicest and most convenient area to stay in. Downtown is where most of the attractions are!
  • What is downtown parking like? – Although downtown is busier on the weekends, finding parking isn’t hard. If you’re unable to find parking meters, there are multiple parking garages with meters inside them. Some of the parking garages on the weekends are even free. During weekdays, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding parking either.

BIG5 Charleston – Orga

Best travel time for Charleston, West Virginia

Summer and Fall are both great times to visit! The summer is the liveliest time of the year with many events going on, while the changing colors of the trees in the Fall are worth seeing.

Arrival & Departure

Visa: Check here whether you need a visa for the United States with your passport

  • Flight: Many airlines fly into Yeager Airport (IATA: CRW)
  • Bus: Amtrak stops at the Charleston train station, a 5 minute walk from downtown

Next it goes to … Fayetteville or Lewisburgor Canaan Valley

Accommodation / hotels in Charleston, West Virginia

Recommended location: It is best to choose accommodation downtown

  • Budget: Airbnb is the most budget friendly option for accommodation in Charleston (ranging from $40-$90 a night)
  • Budget:Budget Host Inn Charleston (3313 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, WV 25306 – 60$), well equipped rooms about 10 minutes drive from downtown, easy accessible via Interstate 64 & 77
  • Medium: Charleston Marriott Town Center (200 Lee St E, Charleston, WV 25301 – $90), nice hotel in downtown Charleston
  • Medium: Four Points by Sheraton (600 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, WV 25301 – $130), hotel located on the river across the street from Haddad Riverfront Park
  • Noble: Embassy Suites (300 Court St, Charleston, WV 25301 – $150), conveniently located in downtown Charleston
  • Noble: Courtyard by Marriott Charleston Downtown (100 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, WV 25301 – 250$), all what you need for a relaxed and noble stay in Charleston

Price Level

In the United States you pay with Dollars (USD)

Withdraw money: There are multiple ATM machines everywhere in the city.

Beer indicator: Around 5-7 dollars for a draft beer in restaurants

Cost of a taxi: price per mile between 2-3 dollars

Restaurants, Bars & Cafés

Charleston has amazing food, with each restaurant having their own unique atmosphere!

  • Ellen’s Homemade Ice Cream – The best ice cream you’ll ever eat, amazing customer service, and great healthy lunch options too!
  • Lola’s Pizza – A great variety of artisan pizzas, amazing sangria, and a lovely atmosphere!
  • Chow Thai – Delicious Thai food and friendly staff!
  • Pies&Pints – A lively atmosphere, convenient location, artisan pizzas, wide selection of craft beers, and great customer service!
  • Mea Cuppa – Great coffee, pastries, and customer service!
  • Charleston Bread – Fresh bread made daily, delicious pastries, and great service!

BIG5 Charleston, West Virginia – Activities

  • Make a visit to the Clay Center
  • Stroll through the Capitol Market and buy local West Virginia products
  • Visit the WV State Capitol Complex and tour the inside
  • Walk across the Southside Bridge and along the Kanawha Boulevard for great views of the city
  • Explore the shops and restaurants downtown

BIG5 Charleston, West Virginia – Photo spots

  • The Southside Bridge has a great view of Downtown Charleston
  • The Carriage Trail is beautiful for photos and there’s a lookout spot at the top to view the city from
  • Capitol Street is super cute and quaint. It is also the main street of the downtown area.
  • The WV State Capitol grounds are beautiful.
  • Haddad Riverfront Park offers a lovely view of the river


BIG5 Charleston, West Virginia – Things to do off the beaten track

  • Go Hiking in Kanawha State Forest
  • Visit JQ Dickinson Saltworks to tour the facility and learn about the process of salt making – It’s a 15-minute drive from Charleston
  • Go fishing at Kanawha Falls – the drive is extremely scenic, and the fishing is great.
  • Paddle board along the Kanawha river with Appalachian Boarding Company
  •  Go to an Appalachian Power ParkBaseball Game – Power Park is home to the Pirate’s minor league team. The season runs from April through September

BIG5 Charleston, West Virginia – Culinary Journey

  • Pepperoni Rolls– A West Virginia creation! A doughy roll filled with pepperoni and cheese. You can’t come to WV without trying one.
  • A Tudor’s Biscuit– Make a stop at Tudor’s Biscuit World while you’re in WV and try one of the many biscuit sandwiches they make!
  • West Virginia Maple Syrup
  • West Virginia Honey
  • Golden Delicious Apple– Being the state fruit of WV, they are easy to find in the fall at the Capitol Market

BIG5 Charleston, West Virginia – Communication

In the United States you speak English

  • thank you – thank you
  • yes – yes
  • no – no
  • hello – hello
  • goodbye – goodbye

BIG5 Charleston, West Virginia – Helpful Websites / Links

BIG5 Charleston, West Virginia – Overview map for your city trip

Stroll down wide Capitol Street in the heart of Charleston

A perfect day in Charleston 🇺🇸 – here is your overview:

Best suited for screenshots 📷📝

Your morning in Charleston, West Virginia

  • The Capitol Market
  • Charleston Bread – great shop
  • The Boulevard

Your afternoon in Charleston, West Virginia

  •  The WV State Capitol
  • JQ Dickinson Saltworks
  •  Ellen’s Ice Cream
  •  The Clay Center

Your evening in Charleston, West Virginia

  • Southside Bridge – great photo spot for early evening
  • Go Downtown
  • Find Live Music
  • Go to a Appalachian Power Park baseball game


In addition to the BIG5, I have summarized the things to do in Charleston and the circular route for you in an overview map:

Click on the icon at the top left to use the full range of map options!

Things to do in Charleston, West Virginia in the morning

A great way to start your day is to head to the Capitol Market. The market, once an abandoned train station, was renovated and made into what it is today. The inside has many different vendors, selling a wide array of products. Outside, the West Virginia farmers sell their fresh produce, flowers, pumpkins in the fall, and Christmas Trees in the winter.

The market is perfect for finding gifts, unique to WV, to take back home. Stop at Mea Cuppa while you’re there for your morning coffee! Next head across the street to Charleston Bread. If you go early enough, the bread will still be hot!



Make your way to Kanawha Boulevard for a lovely walk. You can even walk through downtown from the Capitol Market to reach the Boulevard if you’re feeling up to it. Downtown is very peaceful and quaint in the mornings.

Things to do in Charleston in the afternoon

Make your way to West Virginia’s State Capitol Building for a tour. The building is a stunning piece of architecture worth seeing. It was completed in 1932, after 8 years of construction.

Take a short drive from here to visit JQ Dickinson Saltworks! The property is beautiful and the people there are happy to give you a tour. They’ll take you around the property to see how salt making works! It’s a really cool experience and you’ll have a chance to buy some of the different products they produce.



After that, take an ice cream break at Ellen’s Homemade! It’s the best ice cream you’ll ever eat and is conveniently located downtown on Capitol Street. While you’re there, visit Taylor Books, the local bookstore directly across the street.

The Clay Center is another place worth visiting. It has activities for both adults and children. You can admire the art museum that constantly features new exbibits or catch a show in the Planetarium. The discovery museum is great for kids, but if you’re asking me, it’s fun for all ages! There are also performances scheduled throughout the year for musicians coming to the area, so keep an eye out for those.

Visit the Southside Bridge for great photos of downtown Charleston and walk to the other side of the Kanawha river. If you’re up to some short hiking, you’ll find here the entrance for the Sunrise Carriage Trail, close to the Gross Cup historic district with beautiful old buildings and streets.


Things to do in Charleston in the evening

Let’s walk back towards downtown. Southside Bridge is a great place to be for sunset too! Make sure you’ll come in time to choose a nice spot on the bridge or along the Kanawha river.



Head downtown for a lovely dinner at one of the many restaurants. I suggest going to Pies & Pints for dinner. The food is delicious, and the beer selection is the best in town. After dinner, find some live music.

The bars, and sometimes Taylor Books too, have live music depending on the weekday. If it’s baseball season, head to Appalachian Power Park to watch a game!



There you have it! How to spend the perfect day in Charleston, West Virginia! Now you know all the things to do and see in this city. Enjoy! 🇺🇸


This article is published in cooperation with Katie fromTheTravelStrategy. On her blog, she writes about what to do in places all over the world and giving people all the essential travel tips they need to know to ensure they have a great trip! Follow her as well on Pinterest.


You’re looking for more destinations in the United States? Go on reading with US Road Trips – Travel Blogger’s Highlights


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Best things to do in Charleston, West Virginia for a perfect day with hotel & food recommendations


  1. Kyle

    Awesome post you have here.i will definitely go there for a visit💯

    • Phil

      Thanks Kyle!


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