Situated in the United States Mid-Atlantic region, West Virginia, or the Mountain State as it’s commonly referred to, is known for its stunning natural beauty and that famous 1971 song by John Denver. West Virginia’s two best-known cities, Morgantown and Charleston, are but a few of the many amazing destinations awaiting travellers to this often-overlooked American state that treats visitors to charming attractions and a ton of Civil War history.
With towns such as Harpers Ferry and cities such as Wheeling, West Virginia is guaranteed to excite and entertain travellers of all ages and interests, so be sure to swing by the 35th state to be utterly blown away by its unique culture and Appalachian beauty.
- 20 West Virginia Cities And Towns
- Cities In West Virginia
20 West Virginia Cities And Towns
Cities In West Virginia
Charming, historic and sophisticated, Charleston is the capital city and economic hub of West Virginia, making it an obvious place to kick-start your journey exploring the Mountain State.
A former frontier town, Charleston was officially established in 1788 and is situated at the confluence of the Kanawha and Elk rivers, making Charleston a visually appealing destination to visit if you’re a fan of the great outdoors.
The largest and most influential city in the Mountain State, Charleston is abuzz with sights and places to visit, such as the Clay Center, West Virginia State Museum and the West Virginia State Capitol.
Recommended tour: Cheeky Charleston (WV) Scavenger Hunt
The city of Morgantown in West Virginia is best known as the home of the sprawling main campus of the University of West Virginia, the largest public university in the state.
Morgantown was homesteaded by Zackquill Morgan in 1772 and is today the 3rd-largest city in West Virginia in terms of population, with more than 30,000 residents calling Morgantown home.
The city’s biggest attraction is, without a doubt, its famous university, which is well-known throughout the United States for its excellent sports teams and top-notch academic faculties.
Most of Morgantown’s attractions and landmarks revolve around the WVU campus, such as Milan Puskar Stadium and the Core Arboretum, making exploring downtown Morgantown on foot incredibly simple and worthwhile.
Recommended tour: Morgantown Mystery Tour- Public Walking Tour
The county seat of western West Virginia’s Cabell County, Huntington is best known for being home to the Port of Huntington Tri-State, the 2nd-busiest inland port in the United States.
Founded in 1775, Huntington has a population of more than 46,000 residents and served as the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway’s western terminus during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Apart from its transportation and shipping importance, Huntington has several unique attractions and landmarks to explore, including the Huntington Museum of Art, the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center and the scenic Ritter Park.
Recommended tour: Crime Solving Detective Experience Huntington
The state’s first capital city, Wheeling, is among the most important cities in West Virginia due to its role in establishing the state’s industrial past.
Dubbed the “Nail Capital of the World”, Wheeling was once upon a time the wealthiest city in the United States per capita during the 19th century, with much of Wheeling’s early riches still displayed today in the city’s stately architecture.
Wheeling charm visitors with attractions such as the Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum, the Capitol Theatre and the West Virginia Independence Hall.
A central hub for glass production and coal manufacturing between the late 1800s and mid-1900s, Clarksburg is a West Virginia city teeming with history and culture to experience.
Clarksburg’s official settlement began during the early 1770s.
The city served as a vital supply point for the Union Army along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad during the American Civil War.
While most of Clarksburg’s industries have all but vanished, the city remains a popular tourist destination in northern West Virginia thanks to attractions such as the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center and the Clarksburg History Museum.
For more ideas in Virginia and West Virginia:
- 20 Things To Do in Chesapeake
- 20 Things To Do in Fairfax VA
- 20 Things To Do in Virginia Beach
- 20 Places To Go Glamping In Virginia
- 21 Things To Do in Richmond VA
- 20 Things To Do In Lexington VA
- 21 West Virginia Landmarks
- 20 State Parks In West Virginia
- 8 West Virginia National Parks
- 20 West Virginia Cities and Towns
As the county seat of West Virginia’s Berkeley County, Martinsburg is an ever-expanding city in the Mountain State often known as the “Gateway to the Shenandoah Valley”.
Martinsburg lies just 77 miles (123 km) from Washington D.C. and some 95 miles (152 km) from Baltimore, making it an excellent destination to explore some Mid-Atlantic cities.
Not only is Martinsburg just a short drive away from the nation’s capital, but it’s a worthy destination in its own right, with attractions such as the Martinsburg Roundhouse, Apollo Civic Theatre and Belle Boyd House.
Belle Boyd House was the residence of Confederate spy Belle Boyd and where you can visit the museum to get a glimpse into this famous spy’s intriguing life and the region’s history during the Civil War.
Sometimes known as the “Smokeless Coal Capital” and the “Gateway To Southern West Virginia”, Beckley is among the top 10 largest cities in West Virginia.
It’s home to the University of Charleston-Beckley’s main campus.
Enjoying a youthfulness and energetic spirit that’s hard to come by elsewhere in West Virginia, Beckley is credited with becoming the first to own a community antenna and was among the pioneers of cable TV.
With a population of about 17,000 full-time residents, things to to see include the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, Tamarack Marketplace and the Raleigh Playhouse and Theatre.
Serving as the county seat of Wood County in the Mountain State’s northwest, Parkersburg is a major chemical and polymer manufacturing hub in the region.
It is home to the oldest oil fields in the United States.
A mostly blue-collar city, Parkersburg’s roots can be traced back to the late 1700s when the region’s first European-decent settlers arrived, officially establishing Parkersburg as an independent city in 1860.
Despite the city’s rough and edgy past, Parkersburg is enjoying a new lease on life, with green spaces and attractions like Fort Boreman Park and the Oil & Gas Museum.
Perched along the shores of the mighty Ohio River, Moundsville is a city that’s home to the North American continent’s largest conical burial mound.
Moundsville’s occupation dates back to 250 B.C. when the indigenous Adena People constructed the nearby Grave Creek Mound, an archaeological site of major importance and Moundsville’s namesake.
The city teems with history and culture to uncover, which visitors can experience at venues such as the Grave Creek Mound Historical Site, the historic West Virginia Penitentiary and the Strand Theatre.
Playing host to the annual Mountain State Forest Festival in early October, Elkins is a stunning destination known for its breathtaking landscapes and budding art scene.
The city sits neatly perched along the Tygart Valley River and serves as the unofficial gateway to the nearby Monongahela National Forest, one of West Virginia’s most-visited outdoor attractions.
A true paradise if you’re an avid outdoor enthusiast, Elkins also has a range of museums to keep you entertained, such as the Gov. H. Guy Kump House, the Elkins Depot Welcome Center and the West Virginia Railroad Museum.
The riverfront city of Hinton is a former Victorian-era railroad town that’s blossomed into a charming tourist hub thanks to the city’s proximity to the New River Gorge National River, Pipestem Resort State Park and Bluestone State Park.
In southern West Virginia, roughly 28 miles (45 km) from downtown Beckley, Hinton is ai small city that provides travellers with a break from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
What Hinton lacks in size and stature, it more than makes up for in terms of its landmarks and attractions, with the Ritz Theater, Hinton Railroad Museum and the nearby Sandstone Falls all amazing venues to visit in and around downtown Hinton.
12- White Sulphur Springs
The city of White Sulphur Springs in West Virginia’s Greenbrier County is a destination synonymous with The Greenbrier, a famous and opulent resort/hotel that has hosted presidents and Hollywood royalty.
Despite its reputation as an upscale vacation destination in the stunning Allegheny Mountains, White Sulphur Springs is also home to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Center, which conducts cutting-edge research on the mussels and fish throughout West Virginia’s rivers and waterways.
There’s more to White Sulphur Springs than just its famous resort, with the Lost World Caverns and the Greenbrier State Forest fantastic attractions to explore in and around the city.
13- Charles Town
Not be mistaken for Charleston, the capital city of West Virginia, Charles Town is a significantly smaller yet charming city in West Virginia’s eastern gateway that’s just an hour’s drive away from Baltimore and Washington D.C.
Charles Town lies just seven miles (11 km) from Harpers Ferry and is a city steeped in Civil War history and Mid-Atlantic culture.
Swing by the Old Opera House Theatre Company & Arts Centre, the Jefferson County Museum and the Jefferson County Courthouse to get the most out of your stay in this West Virginia city.
14- Point Pleasant
The centrepiece of the multi-state Point Pleasant Micropolitan Area, the city of Point Pleasant sits just across from the Ohio state border.
It is renowned throughout the Mid-Atlantic for its paranormal encounters and small-town feel.
The city is near the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers and became a vital transportation hub following the completion of a fort in (what is today) modern-day Point Pleasant.
Attractions include the Mothman Museum, the historic Fort Randolph and the West Virginia State Farm Museum.
Serving as the county seat of Lewis County, the city of Weston is best known as the setting of the infamous Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, a destination that’s become a hotbed for paranormal sightings and ghost tours.
Weston has a population of about 4,000 residents and was initially settled as “Preston” in 1818, renamed “Fleshersville” soon after, before being renamed again in 1819 to what it’s today.
Even though its name might have changed a couple of times since its establishment, Weston’s reputation as a spooky city in West Virginia certainly hasn’t, thanks to landmarks such as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and the Mountaineer Military Museum.
16- New Martinsville
With a population of just over 5,000 residents, New Martinsville is a major glass and aluminium manufacturer that hosts the popular New Martinsville River Heritage Days and Regatta annually along the Ohio River.
New Martinsville was named in honour of Presley Martin and became one of the wealthiest cities in West Virginia during the late 1800s following the discovery of large oil and gas reserves nearby.
While the oil and gas heyday of New Martinsville is long gone, it remains an interesting city in West Virginia to explore because of attractions such as the West Virginia State Wildlife Center, the Mystery Hole and Lewis Wetzel Park.
Officially established as a city in 1782 by the Virginia General Assembly, Lewisburg is the site of one of only four Carnegie Halls and is renowned for its Indie music scene.
The city has a population of under 4,000 residents and is situated in southeast West Virginia, less than 40 miles (64 km) from the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest across the state border in neighbouring Virginia.
Lewisburg’s most popular attractions include Carnegie Hall, the Greenbrier Valley Theatre and the North House Museum.
Located in the Mountain State’s north-central region just 21 miles (33 km) southwest of downtown Morgantown, Fairmont is recognised as the birthplace of the “pepperoni roll”, an iconic West Virginian delicacy.
Fairmont serves as the county seat of West Virginia’s Marion County and has a population of more than 18,000 residents, making it one of the larger cities in West Virginia.
There’s no shortage of world-class attractions in and around downtown Fairmont, such as the Telephone Museum, the Marion County Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the scenic Valley Falls State Park.
Famous for being the only city in the United States to be situated in one state while its borders touch two other states, Weirton is the perfect destination if you plan to explore the sights beyond the Mountain State.
The city is sandwiched between Pennsylvania to the east and Ohio to the west in West Virginia’s northern panhandle and is just 36 miles (57 km) from downtown Pittsburgh.
Weirton’s attractions often blend with that of the Steel City, creating one exciting travel destination with venues such as the National Aviary, Kennywood amusement park and Historic Fort Steuben.
20- Harpers Ferry
Within a stone’s throw from the Maryland state border, Harpers Ferry is as idyllic a town in West Virginia.
Harpers Ferry gained prominence following the 1859 raid by abolitionist John Brown and has since become a major tourist destination in eastern West Virginia.
Its stuck-in-time downtown district is protected by Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
From John Brown’s Fort and the Armory Canal to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and the White Hall Tavern, there’s much history to soak up in Harpers Ferry.
Looking for the best cities in North America? Check them out here:
- 20 Best Cities in Ohio
- 20 Best Cities in Missouri
- 20 Best Cities in Indiana
- 20 Best Cities in Texas
- 20 Best Cities in Iowa
- 20 Best Cities in Tennessee
- 20 Best Cities in Alabama
- 20 Best Cities in Oklahoma
- 20 Best Cities in New Mexico
- 20 Best Cities in Georgia
- 20 Best Cities in North Carolina
- 20 Best Cities in South Carolina
- 20 Best Cities in California
- 20 Best Cities in Virginia
- 20 Best Cities in Oregon
- 20 Best Cities in Arkansas
- 20 Best Cities in Puerto Rico
- 20 Best Cities in Alaska
- 20 Best Cities in Wisconsin
- 20 Best Cities in Utah
- 20 Best Cities in Kansas
- 20 Best Cities in Washington State
- 20 Best Cities in Rhode Island
- 20 Best Cities in Vermont
- 20 Best Cities in Minnesota
- 20 Towns and Cities in Delaware
- 20 Towns and Cities in New Hampshire
- 20 Best Cities in Mexico
- 10 Best Party Cities in Canada
- 10 Best Cities in Canada For Kids
- 20 Best Cities in Hawaii
- 20 Best Cities in New York
- 20 Best Cities in Idaho
- 20 Best Cities in Florida
- 20 Best Cities in Illinois
- 20 Best Cities in Wyoming
- 20 Best Cities in Nevada
- 20 Best Cities in Pennsylvania
- 20 Best Cities in Colorado
- 20 Best Cities in Arizona
- 20 Best Cities in Massachusetts
- 20 Best Cities in Maine
- 20 Best Cities in Louisiana
- 20 Best Cities in Maryland
- 20 Best Cities in Kentucky
- 20 Best Cities in Montana
- 20 Best Cities in Nebraska
- 20 Best Cities in New Jersey
- 20 Best Cities in South Dakota
- 20 Best Cities in North Dakota
- 20 Best Cities in Mississippi
- 20 Best Cities in Michigan
- 20 Best Cities in Connecticut
- 20 Best Cities in West Virginia