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Five Great Reasons to Live & Play in Charleston, West Virginia

West Virginia’s capital city of Charleston offers the exciting amenities of a metropolitan hub and provides a welcoming and inclusive community. 

By Livability on October 27, 2022

Photo of Capitol Market, which is a year-round farmer's market, in the city of Charleston, West Virginia.
Charleston CVB

Shop ’Til You Drop

The city’s many local boutiques and creative shopping options keep Charleston looking stylish. From haircuts to the perfect pair of shoes, The Bridge Road Shops in South Hills have you covered head to toe. The thriving downtown includes the city’s year-round Capitol Market with its colorful mix of food products and specialty shops. 

A must-see for music lovers is Budget Tapes and Records in Kanawha City. Charleston’s oldest record store also features clothing and jewelry. The West Side is home to Charleston Department Store, locally owned and operated since 1921.

Group of women enjoy outdoor dining on a patio in the city of Charleston, West Virginia.
Charleston CVB

A Taste of Charleston 

From eclectic palate-pleasers to classic comfort food, Charleston can satisfy any craving. Grab a spot on the outdoor deck at the family-friendly Tricky Fish, head to Kanawha City for fragrant ingredients at Nawab Fine Indian Cuisine or enjoy a bourbon-style bistro at Hale House downtown. 

For an elevated brew experience check out downtown’s Fife Street Brewing and  Black Sheep Burritos & Brews. Of course, it’s hard to beat the classics like a hot dog and shake from Hot Diggity Dogs in North Charleston, barbecue from Dem2 Brothers on the West Side or the specialty pizzas at Lola’s Pizza in South Hills. For chef-driven comfort food, the new 1010 Bridge in South Hills features locally sourced ingredients and menus informed by Appalachian traditions.

Crowd at the 2022 Pride Festival in the city of Charleston, West Virginia.
Chris Gosses

Y’all Means All 

Charleston strives to be a welcoming and inclusive city for ALL. The city is one of 15 municipalities in the state to have adopted a nondiscrimination ordinance. In addition, the Goodwin Administration established the city’s first LGBTQ Working Group and the first Charleston Youth Council to provide recommendations on city policies. 

Helping Charleston lead the way on inclusion and diversity are community organizations, local businesses and events, including the state’s largest Pride Parade & Festival and Multifest, which brings together people of various cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Aerial shot of night time at Live on the Levee, which is in the city of Charleston, West Virginia.
Charleston CVB

Take a Bow

Charleston’s creative spirit has laid the groundwork for an impressive array of performance venues and shows. 

The famed Mountain Stage, produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting and distributed by NPR, is a two-hour radio show recorded in front of a live audience. Since 1983, Mountain Stage has featured emerging artists and seasoned legends. Today, the radio show can be heard across the country and around the world. 

The Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center hosts sports tournaments, premier entertainment and corporate events. The Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, home to the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, features theatrical performances and headline concerts. Haddad Riverfront Park is home to Live on the Levee, a free Friday concert series and City Center at Slack Plaza hosts City Center Live.

Picture of a woman skateboarding at one of the several outdoor recreation spots in the city of Charleston, West Virginia.
Rafael Barker Photography

Fun in the Sun

Charleston’s outstanding recreational facilities provide a full array of opportunities including playgrounds, picnic areas, swimming, tennis, golf, disc golf, fitness equipment, sports fields and a new skatepark.

Cato Park on the city’s West Side has an extensive trail system. The Sunrise Carriage Trail offers a historic hike near downtown. Magic Island is a family favorite with its interactive splash pad. Just minutes away, the Shawnee Sports Complex features six lighted collegiate turf fields for soccer, lacrosse, rugby, football and more; four lighted collegiate baseball/three softball fields; 30 acres of grass; and four lighted basketball courts.

Want to learn more about the city of Charleston, West Virginia? Read more about why you should Choose Charleston.

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