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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Squeeze in breakfast and West Virginia goodies at Capitol Market
If you have just a little more time the next morning, check out the farmers’ market and shops in the restored train depot. At Capitol Market, you can buy coffee and pastries for breakfast, sandwiches for the road, and chocolate, farm produce, and wine as souvenirs of your trip to Charleston.