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Discover the Best Things to Do in Huntington, West Virginia

Discover the Best Things to Do in Huntington, West Virginia

Nestled in the southern tip of West Virginia lies the bustling city of Huntington, a haven where three states merge. Renowned for hosting the spirited Marshall University, this city captivates visitors with its delightful mix of gastronomy, culture, and artistry. Here are the best things to do in Huntington, West Virginia; from attending a lively Thundering Herd game to seeking family-friendly fun in living history and museums.

Huntington is brimming with activities catering to every taste and age.


A Canvas of Color at the Huntington Museum of Art

Enter a world where art intertwines with nature at the impressive Huntington Museum of Art. The museum’s signature Dale Chihuly glass installation, 352 hand-blown pieces, greets you in a burst of yellows and blues. But the marvels don’t stop there.


The in-house C. Fred Edwards Conservatory is an emerald treasure chest replete with tropical foliage, subtropical palms, and blooms that evoke the warmth of South America and beyond. You’ll find some jaw-dropping specimens here; think sugarcane, banana, cacao, and coffee, even from around the world.

Breathe in the sweet perfume of orchids or the tropical scent of frangipani flowers and glide past an array of eclectic fruit trees. The museum also invites you to an impressive gallery with masterpieces from icons like Pablo Picasso and Roy Lichtenstein. And then there’s the Wilbur Myers Glass Collection, containing 1,000 glass objects I found exceptionally displayed.


Pullman Square: The Beating Heart of Downtown

Downtown Huntington radiates charm, especially around Pullman Square. Here, entertainment, shopping, and fine dining converge in a dynamic social scene. It’s the ideal spot to enjoy a movie, unearth a must-read at Inner Geek Bookstore, or indulge in a creative endeavor at The Pottery Place.


Don’t miss the outdoor Artisans Express project, showcasing vibrant tugboats transformed into moving canvases by talented local artists. And when hunger strikes, you’re in for a treat at Black Sheep Burrito & Brews—dive into their Sriracha-Honey Butter wings or a mouthwatering specialty burrito (Thai peanut is my fave!).


Central City Antiques District: Hip Huntington

The coolest part to explore in Huntington is that of one of the oldest regions: Old Central City (Fourteenth Street West). This fresh and trendy part of town houses Cicada Books & Coffee, a treasure trove for bibliophiles and coffee lovers, The Wild Ramp, an upscale indoor year-round farmers’ market, and several antique stores and boutiques. The vivid street art alone is worth the visit. 


Huntington’s Culinary Delights

The heart of Huntington’s allure might be its culinary offerings, where traditional favorites meet contemporary delights. Take a bite out of what locals love at Fat Patty’s, where the burgers are a rhapsody of flavors, notably the Raspberry Popper Burger for the daring palate.


Then there’s Marshall Hall of Fame Cafe, a trove of Marshall pride that serves up dishes for every craving alongside an impressive array of craft beers—the kind of selection that’s a rarity in the state.

At the heart of Huntington’s culinary scene is Jim’s Steak and Spaghetti House, a beloved establishment that has carved its niche in town and history with West Virginia’s first prestigious James Beard Foundation Award

Try their spaghetti (mentioned in our ‘100 Things to Do in West Virginia Before You Die‘ book) or the famed fried haddock fish—part of Huntington’s legacy. Dignitaries and icons, such as Muhammad Ali and John F. Kennedy, have graced Jim’s tables.


Look no further than Stewart’s Original Hot Dogs for those who love a classic West Virginia hotdog. Since 1932, this local drive-in has perfected the art of the hotdog with secret chili sauce and hometown Heiner’s buns. You can even ship them anywhere in the country!

Imagine pulling up to the iconic Frostop Drive-In and being greeted by the sight of the colossal root beer mug twirling above. There, car hops deliver delectable treats right to your window—classic Americana at its finest.


Huntington has always been known for a handful of restaurants that are real crowd-pleasers. Unfortunately, I cannot send you to Chili Willie’s and Calamity Cafe, two places we used to drive from Charleston for regularly, but there are still some darned tasty eats.

Unwind at Harris Riverfront Park

Nestled along the banks of the Ohio River, Harris Riverfront Park offers a serene greenspace ideal for leisurely strolls or family picnics. Rich with wildlife education, an active skate park, and an amphitheater, the park invites visitors to relax and engage with the beauty of the riverfront.

Something neat was the exercise equipment that anyone could use for free.


Step on Campus at Marshall University

No visit to Huntington is complete without experiencing the spirit of Marshall University. This academic haven honors its storied past with the Memorial Fountain, a tribute to 75 lives lost in the tragic November 14, 1970 plane crash, while embodying hope and tenacity.


In 2006, Warner Bros. released the film “We Are Marshall,” starring Matthew McConaughey, telling the story of the tragedy of the plane crash and its aftermath.

FYI: Marshall was founded in 1837 and has around 12,000 full-time students across 100 acres.


For more “best things to do”, how about venture an hour away to Charleston, the capitol city?

Experience the Thrill of Live Shows at Mountain Health Arena

Step into the infectious energy of Marshall Health Network Arena, Huntington’s premier destination for live performances. Whether it’s the strumming of guitars by acclaimed artists like Travis Tritt and Lee Brice, the thrill of a rodeo, or the cheers at a pivotal sports game, the arena hosts a kaleidoscope of events that resonate with enthusiasm.

In 2024 and beyond, the stage continues to light up with talents guaranteed to entertain and inspire, such as the Harlem Globetrotters World Tour and We the Kingdom.

Stop in the Huntington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at Heritage Station for maps, brochures, and recommendations. They also have a cool gift shop with the best stickers around!

Step Back in Time at Heritage Farm Museum & Village

Immerse yourself in Appalachia’s past at Heritage Farm Museum & Village. This captivating site bridges generational gaps with its immersive portrayal of historical Appalachian life. From 15 fascinating log structures to interactive museum exhibits throughout seven award-winning spaces, Heritage Farm is an experience that educates and delights.


This attraction is perfect for visitors of all ages who seek to understand the roots and culture of West Virginia. My favorite parts are the glass and railroad industry displays, as well as the coal mining history.

Kids will enjoy Heritage Farm’s outdoor playground area, wagon rides, train, and petting zoo. Animals ranged from chickens, opossums, pigs, goats, turtles, and llamas. Artisans around the property show off their trades and many opportunities to learn new things about jobs, industry, and families of the pioneer days.


Special events at Heritage Farm are family fun nights, cast-iron cookouts, a Christmas village, and much more. On the Heritage Farms Museum property, there is an on-site restaurant, a gift shop, and several places to enjoy picnic lunches.


Discover Serenity at Ritter Park Rose Garden

Year after year, I find myself drawn to the serenity and stunning blooms of the Ritter Park Rose Garden. With 35 years of visits under my belt, I can attest to the garden’s evolution into an elegant tapestry of over 3,000 plants. The charm of the roses beckons visitors to wander, reflect, and even celebrate special moments amid the fragrant petals.

The best part? Admission is free, inviting everyone to bask in nature’s beauty.


Delight in Family Adventures Near Huntington

When it comes to family excursions, Huntington is conveniently surrounded by thrills for all ages. Just minutes from downtown awaits Camden Park, an amusement haven spreading joy for over a century. Ride the carousel, laugh till your sides hurt, and snack on delightful treats under the “Sign of the Happy Clown.”

A short drive unveils two more jewels: Waves of Fun (23 miles) and Beech Fork State Park (8 miles). Families can revel in a wave pool’s splash, traverse hiking trails, or pedal along bike paths—all while creating precious memories.


Read more about West Virginia here:

8 Fun West Virginia Day Trips

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