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West Virginia State Capitol | © Mobilus In Mobili / WikiCommons
West Virginia State Capitol | © Mobilus In Mobili / WikiCommons

How to Spend 24 Hours in Charleston, West Virginia

Picture of Kristina Gaddy
Updated: 26 February 2018

From cozy, historic streets to authentic food and culture, Charleston is a great place for visitors to get a taste of what the Mountain State has to offer. After one day, you’ll want to stay for longer, but here is a way to make the best out of 24 hours in West Virginia’s capital.

Grab breakfast at Taylor Books

You have to visit Taylor Books while you’re in town, so that might as well be where you start your day. As the only independent bookstore and a holdfast in the revitalization of the downtown historic district, the shop is an icon in the city. Owner Ann Saville makes fresh pastries each morning, and when you combine it with a hand-poured latte, you’ve got the fuel to begin your day.

Taylor Books, 226 Capitol Street, Charleston, WV, USA, +1 304 342 1461

Coffee! Scone! Book! Ready for Instagram! #taylorbooks #books #gotowv

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Stroll the shops along Capitol Street

Taylor Books is right in the middle of Capitol Street and a perfect place from which to start exploring the shops and art galleries of the downtown historic district. If you want to check out all the galleries, the ArtWalk offers a free self-guided tour and map. You can also just meander around since downtown is pretty small, and you can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.

Capitol Street, Charleston, WV, USA

Get a riverfront selfie

Capitol Street ends at Haddad Riverfront Park along the Kanawha River, a great place to get a view of the river and the city.

Haddad Riverfront Park, Charleston, WV, USA

Experience a burrito and beer lunch

You’ve got to try a West Virginia burrito while you’re in the state, so stop by Black Sheep Burrito and Brews in downtown. They’ve got burritos inspired by basically every cuisine, from Korean and Thai to Middle Eastern, barbecue, and Mexican too. With lots of local brews on tap, you won’t have to travel the whole state to sample some of West Virginia’s best beers.

Black Sheep Burrito and Brews, 702 Quarrier St. Charleston, WV, USA, +1 304 343 2739

Check out all that the Clay Center has to offer

The Clay Center houses the Avampato Discovery Museum, Caperton Planetarium and Theater, Maier Performance Hall, and Juliet Art Museum. The Discovery Museum is a hands-on science museum great for kids, while the Juliet Art Museum’s galleries feature 19th- and 20th-century American art.

The Clay Center for West Virginia Arts and Sciences, 1 Clay Square, Charleston, WV, USA, +1 304 561 3570

Visit the Capitol Complex

In the southeastern part of the city along the Kanawha River, the gold-domed capitol building is the most prominent building in West Virginia’s capital city. You can walk the grounds, tour the Governor’s mansion (reservations required), take a peek inside the Capitol building, or visit the West Virginia State Museum to explore the rich history of the area.

WV Division of Culture and History, Capitol Complex, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, WV, USA, +1 304 558 0220

Eat an Appalachian meal at Bluegrass Kitchen

Committed to sourcing food from local farms and making everything from scratch, Bluegrass Kitchen is an excellent place to relax at the end of the day and eat an authentic West Virginia meal. They also offer micro-brewed beers and handmade cocktails to round out a cozy, casual evening.

Bluegrass Kitchen, 1600 Washington St E, Charleston, WV, USA, +1 304 346 2871

Catch live music at The Empty Glass, or bar-hop for late-night drinks

If you’re ready for a little nightlife, check out The Empty Glass right next door to Bluegrass. You are guaranteed to hear live music any night of the week, and on Sundays, you can catch the Mountain Stage after-party.

The Empty Glass, 410 Elizabeth St, Charleston, WV, USA, +1 304 345 3914