Charleston is the capital and largest city in West Virginia. It is located at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers in Kanawha County. It has a population of 51,400, and a metropolitan area of 304,214. It is the county seat of Kanawha County and serves as a hub for business and industry.
It is centrally located, just one hour from Parkersburg, Huntington and Beckley with convenient access to the three major interstate systems of I-64, I-77 and I-79 that cross the state.
Charleston has a rich history with its many historical landmarks and relationship with the Kanawha River. It has all of the amenities of a big city with small town ambience, providing excellent shopping and dining experiences.
Charleston is a pedestrian-friendly city, with hotels, convention facilities, shopping and restaurants all within walking distance, also is safe, with one of the lowest crime rates in the nation.
Visitors can stroll along Capitol Street where brick sidewalks are lit by modern street lights that replicate gas-powered ones of an earlier era. Quaint book stores, shops and restaurants line the street.
Farther down, the Capitol Market combines Charleston's outdoor farmers' market with indoor shops in a converted rail freight station built in 1905.
For more traditional shopping, Charleston Town Center Mall is one of the largest downtown malls east of the Mississippi with 160 specialty stores, four department stores and several specialty restaurants
Charleston is home of the West Virginia Symphony Charleston is also the home of the West Virginia Power minor league baseball team. Yeager Airport and the University of Charleston are also located in the city.
Charleston is also home to the 130th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard.
The city also contains public parks, such as Cato Park and Coonskin Park, and the Kanawha State Forest, a large public state park that sustains a pool, camping sites, several biking/walking trails, picnic areas, as well as several shelters provided for recreational use.
The Charleston Civic Center and Municipal Auditorium hosts 1500 events every year- including many major concerts, plays and sporting events including the internationally radio show and concert series, Mountain Stage. Many festivals and events are also incorporated into the calendar, including Multifest, Vandalia Festival, a 4 July celebration with fireworks at Haddad Riverfront Park.There is also a ballet company, several museums, theater groups, a modern cultural center and the Clay Center.
The Clay Center is a 118 million dollar new complex for performing arts within Charleston, directly across from the General Hospital Campus. The center includes The Maier Foundation Performance Hall, The Walker Theatre, The Avampato Discovery Museum and an art museum. Also on site is The ElectricSky Theater, which is a 175-seat combination planetarium and dome-screen cinema.
There are limitless recreational opportunities in West Virginia with nearly 2000 miles of wild water, skiing, hiking and mountain biking. Resorts, Lodges and campsites at the state's 150 campgrounds make getting away inexpensive and easy. Some of the finest golf courses to be found are in West Virginia. Excellent opportunities for rock climbing and white water rafting are only a short distance away from the Charleston area.
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