We’re continually on the hunt for experiences that add richness to our lives. In the spirit of the revival of road trips, we are proud to feature a monthly section featuring destinations within driving distance of Charleston. We feel that our smart and savvy readers will find these trips interesting and entertaining.
Driving an hour west of Charleston, West Virginia, brings you to Huntington. The metro area of Huntington stretches throughout seven counties and is West Virginia’s second-largest city, plus home to Marshall’s Thunder Herd. Lying beside the borders of Ohio and Kentucky, Huntington offers a great getaway with little drive time and is perfect for a change of scenery. Here is what you can do on your weekend getaway.
WHAT TO SEE & DO IN HUNTINGTON
The Huntington Museum of Art offers visually appealing galleries of antiques, fine art, sculptures, and glass. There is also a botanical garden with exotic trees, such as cacao, banana, cashew, and papaya, plus over 100 types of orchids. A tall Dale Chihuly glass piece, with 352 hand-blown pieces, is the focal point of the plant conservatory.
Kids and adults both will enjoy the Heritage Farms Museum & Village, an open-air history museum with costumed interpreters. The focus is on Appalachian history and culture with exhibits ranging from a log church and blacksmith shop to a wonderful petting farm and progress museum.
You will most likely want to explore Pullman Square. This downtown revitalization project, between 8th and 10th streets/3rd Avenue, has a good selection of shops, eateries, and entertainment spaces. Shops include Chico’s, The Pottery Place, The Inner Geek, and has a Starbucks. Afterward, take in a movie at Marquee Cinemas, offering 16 screens for current running films. If antiques are more up your alley, City Central West is well-known for its selection.
Huntington’s most famous attraction is Marshall University. You may want to stroll around the campus or try to see a Thundering Herd football game at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
Drop by the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center for the spring international film festival, Marshall Artist series, concerts, comedy shows, and touring Broadway productions. The Keith-Albee (said to be haunted) is a beloved West Virginia landmark since 1928. Mountain Health Arena (formerly Big Sandy Arena) is a bigger venue for concerts, garden and home shows, conventions, and much more.
Huntington also has a few outdoor spots that showcase beautiful scenery and nature. Ritter Park is one of those and a Huntington must. You’ll find people playing frisbee, lounging around, walking dogs, picnicking, and just having fun in an outdoor setting, complete with walking trails and a beautiful rose garden. There is even an award-winning playground for the kiddos. Harris Riverfront Park is perfect for scenic Ohio River views, a romantic picnic, or launching your boat for river adventures.
Lastly, Camden Park has been a Huntington icon for over 100 years. West Virginians and tri-state residents have been flocking to “the sign of the Happy Clown” to ride a wooden coaster or typical Carnival rides and play games in a vintage amusement park setting. Don’t miss eating a Pronto Pup; it’s tradition.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
If a good burger is what you’re craving, Fat Patty’s is where you will find it. Try the delicious Raspberry Popper Burger (with raspberry melba sauce, jalapeños, and cream cheese) paired with crispy, fat onion rings. A favorite local eatery and brewery is Black Sheep Burrito and Brews. The menu is loaded with Tex-Mex favorites, such as tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, plus sandwiches, salads, and specialty wings. Go for brunch and try the O.G. Chicken and Waffles, with honey-nut-breaded fried chicken, candied jalapeños, and sage-infused maple syrup.
Bahnhof Wvrsthaus and Biergarten is a trendy new hotspot with 33 selections of craft beer and traditional German creations, including currywurst with pomme frites, Hungarian Goulash, and pork or chicken schnitzel.
Heritage Station (within walking distance of Pullman Square) is an old train station repurposed as shops and restaurants. Beer and wine are both represented in this space at Taps Heritage, and Sip Wine and Whiskey Bar, respectively, or you can sip a tasty mug of kombucha, nitro cold brew, butter coffee, or a smoothie at Butter It Up at The Market. Marshall Hall of Fame Cafe is a fantastic option for bar eats, has several special events and giveaways, and is the best sports bar in Huntington.
Jim’s Steak & Spaghetti House has been a Huntington landmark since 1938. The spaghetti with meat sauce reigns supreme, but the ravioli is a close runner-up.
WHERE TO STAY IN HUNTINGTON
For a convenient downtown Huntington stay, consider the Hampton Inn Huntington University Area (indoor pool), or DoubleTree by Hilton Huntington (outdoor pool). Both offer free parking, as well. Huntington’s most luxurious accommodations are Delta Hotels by Marriott, offering stylish airy and light interiors, and an onsite restaurant beside of Heritage Station.
HUNTINGTON: GREAT FUN, CLOSE TO HOME
A beloved university, botanical garden and impressive museum, outdoor adventures, shopping, and plenty of choice restaurants—Huntington offers an authentic West Virginia experience and won’t break the bank.