Nestled along the banks of the Monongahela River, Morgantown is not just the home of West Virginia University (WVU); it's a lively city brimming with culture, outdoor adventure, and Mountaineer spirit. This city combines the vibrancy of college life with the tranquility of the Appalachian landscape, making it a must-visit destination in West Virginia. Whether you're a prospective student, an outdoor enthusiast, or a culture seeker, Morgantown has something special for you. Here's a roundup of the top things to do and see in Morgantown, WV.

1. Immerse Yourself in West Virginia University

West Virginia University (WVU) stands as the vibrant heart of Morgantown, embodying the spirit of education, research, and athletic prowess in the state. A visit to WVU isn't just about seeing the campus; it's an opportunity to immerse yourself in a rich educational culture that pulses with Mountaineer spirit. Start your tour at the downtown campus, where historic buildings and modern facilities blend seamlessly. Engage with students and faculty, and feel the dynamic energy that drives innovations and discussions here.

Attending a Mountaineers football game is an essential Morgantown experience, offering firsthand the thrill and camaraderie of college sports. The roar of the crowd at Milan Puskar Stadium is electrifying, providing a glimpse into the passionate community spirit. For art lovers, the WVU Art Museum is a treasure trove, featuring both contemporary and historical art collections. The museum’s exhibitions are thoughtfully curated to provoke thought and broaden perspectives, ranging from Appalachian folk art to international pieces that speak to global narratives.

The university also hosts various lectures, performances, and events that are open to the public, offering insights into current academic and social issues. These programs reflect WVU’s commitment to fostering a well-rounded educational environment, making it a beacon of learning in West Virginia. Whether you’re considering WVU for your studies or simply exploring Morgantown, the university offers a deep dive into the intellectual and cultural life of the region.

2. Stroll Along the Caperton Trail

The Caperton Trail, a jewel in the Mon River Trails system, provides a scenic and accessible route for experiencing Morgantown’s natural beauty. This trail runs alongside the Monongahela River, offering miles of paved path that is ideal for walking, biking, or jogging. As you traverse the trail, you’re treated to stunning views of the river, lush greenery, and the picturesque backdrop of the Appalachian Mountains.

The trail is well-maintained and caters to both casual visitors and serious athletes, making it a versatile outdoor space for everyone. Along the way, there are plenty of benches and picnic areas where you can pause to enjoy the peaceful river views or have a snack. The trail is also dotted with informational signs that provide insights into the local flora, fauna, and history, enriching your walk with educational tidbits.

For a more communal experience, join one of the many events hosted on the trail, from charity runs to environmental clean-ups, which offer a chance to meet locals and contribute to the community’s well-being. The Caperton Trail connects to other parts of the Mon River Trails system, inviting adventurous souls to explore further and discover hidden gems along the water’s edge. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll or a vigorous bike ride, the Caperton Trail promises a refreshing escape into Morgantown’s serene landscapes.

3. Experience the Whimsy of the Morgantown Farmers Market

The Morgantown Farmers Market, nestled in the heart of downtown, is more than a place to buy fresh produce; it’s a vibrant cultural gathering that embodies the spirit of the community. Open from May through November, this market becomes a bustling hub where locals and visitors alike explore a rich assortment of locally-sourced produce and artisanal goods. The market is a showcase for the region’s agricultural diversity and artisan creativity, offering everything from organic vegetables and handmade cheeses to artisan breads and unique crafts.

Live music often fills the air, enhancing the market's festive atmosphere and providing a backdrop for a leisurely Saturday morning. Regular features include cooking demonstrations that highlight local ingredients and teach visitors how to replicate dishes at home, and educational workshops that focus on sustainable living and local farming. It's a place to engage with growers and creators, learning the stories behind their products. The Morgantown Farmers Market is not just for shopping; it's a place to engage with the community, support the local economy, and celebrate the wealth of West Virginia’s agriculture.

4. Enjoy Water Sports on Cheat Lake

Just a short drive from downtown Morgantown, Cheat Lake offers a perfect escape for water sports enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. The lake's calm and inviting waters are ideal for a variety of activities, including kayaking, paddleboarding, and boating. Whether you're a seasoned paddler or a beginner, the lake provides a safe and scenic environment to enjoy the water at your own pace.

Rental facilities around the lake offer kayaks, paddleboards, and boats, giving everyone the opportunity to explore the water regardless of whether they own equipment. For those looking to relax, taking a leisurely boat ride around the lake is a great way to enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding hills and forests. Fishing is another popular activity at Cheat Lake, with the waters teeming with bass, trout, and other species, making it a favorite spot for anglers.

Cheat Lake is not only about active pursuits; its shores are dotted with picnic areas and trails, making it ideal for a family outing. The lakeside setting is perfect for a day of swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying a picnic with a view. Whether you're looking for adrenaline-pumping water sports or a tranquil retreat into nature, Cheat Lake offers a delightful mix of activities that can cater to any visitor's needs.

5. Explore the Core Arboretum

The Core Arboretum, primarily managed by West Virginia University, offers a natural escape with over 3 miles of walking trails winding through a pristine Appalachian forest landscape. As you wander through this lush environment, you'll find a variety of native plant species and a diverse range of wildlife, making it a perfect spot for nature enthusiasts and bird watchers alike. The trails vary in difficulty, ensuring that everyone from casual walkers to serious hikers can enjoy a day out in the arboretum.

Educational signs dot the landscape, offering insights into the local flora and fauna and making each visit both informative and refreshing. The arboretum serves as an outdoor classroom for WVU students and a research facility where studies on ecological and environmental sciences are conducted. However, its gates are open to the public, providing a peaceful retreat for meditation, photography, and educational purposes. Seasonal changes bring a dynamic beauty to the arboretum, with vibrant spring blooms, lush summer greenery, fiery autumn colors, and serene snowy vistas in winter, making every visit uniquely enchanting.

The Core Arboretum is not just a place to explore nature—it’s a sanctuary within the city that provides a quick respite from urban life, offering peaceful trails, scenic vistas, and ample opportunities for personal reflection and relaxation.

6. Visit the Dorsey Knob Park

Dorsey Knob Park, located on the outskirts of Morgantown, is a destination that offers panoramic views of the surrounding West Virginia landscape from atop Sky Rock. Visitors can climb to the summit to experience breathtaking vistas that stretch for miles, making it a popular spot for photographers and nature lovers. The park itself covers a substantial area, providing ample space for hiking, picnicking, and simply enjoying the great outdoors.

The park's trails are well-maintained, making them accessible for both beginners and experienced hikers looking to explore the area’s natural beauty. Along the paths, benches are strategically placed to offer spots for rest and contemplation with spectacular views. The summit of Dorsey Knob is a highlight, standing at over 2,900 feet and offering a unique vantage point over Morgantown and the meandering Monongahela River.

Additionally, Dorsey Knob Park is equipped with facilities that make it ideal for family outings, including picnic areas and playgrounds. It's a favored spot for community gatherings, outdoor concerts, and other events that bring together residents and visitors in a picturesque setting. Whether you're seeking a vigorous hike or a peaceful afternoon surrounded by nature, Dorsey Knob Park provides a welcoming environment to appreciate the natural beauty that Morgantown has to offer.

7. Step Back in Time at the Historic Seneca Rocks

While a bit of a drive from Morgantown, a trip to Seneca Rocks in the Monongahela National Forest is well worth the journey for any outdoor enthusiast or history buff. This striking rock formation, one of the most iconic landmarks in West Virginia, offers an unparalleled opportunity for hiking, photography, and rock climbing. The sharp, jagged appearance of the rocks makes them a favorite among climbers for the challenging routes and breathtaking views from the summit.

For those less inclined to scale the rocks, the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center provides a wealth of information about the area's geological history, local wildlife, and the unique cultural heritage of the region. Educational trails around the base of the rocks allow visitors to explore at their own pace, with interpretative signs that enhance the experience by detailing the flora, fauna, and historical significance of the environment.

Hiking to the observation platform at Seneca Rocks affords visitors spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and the Allegheny Mountains. The trail is well-maintained and accessible for most fitness levels, making it a family-friendly activity. The area's rich history, including its role in the local Native American communities and its use as a training site during World War II, adds layers of depth to the visit, making Seneca Rocks not only a place of natural beauty but also a site of profound historical importance.

Exploring Seneca Rocks offers a chance to connect with nature and the past, providing a serene yet adventurous escape into the heart of West Virginia’s rugged landscape.

8. Take in a Show at the Metropolitan Theatre

The Metropolitan Theatre in Morgantown is a beacon of the arts and a key piece of the town’s cultural heritage. This historic venue, located in the heart of downtown, has been bringing the community together through the performing arts since its doors opened in 1924. Restored to preserve its early 20th-century grandeur, the theatre now hosts a diverse array of performances that enrich the cultural landscape of Morgantown.

Whether you’re interested in live concerts, dramatic plays, dance performances, or classic film screenings, the Metropolitan Theatre offers something for every taste. The venue’s intimate setting ensures an engaging experience, making each event feel uniquely special. The quality of the performances, along with the theatre’s architectural beauty, provides a night out that is both entertaining and inspiring.Throughout the year, the Metropolitan Theatre serves as a stage for both local talent and touring acts, reflecting the vibrant artistic community of Morgantown. It’s a place where the arts come alive, offering residents and visitors alike a window into the creative soul of the city. Attending a show here isn’t just an evening’s entertainment—it’s an experience steeped in history and local pride, a celebration of the arts that continues to play a pivotal role in Morgantown’s cultural identity.

9. Enjoy Downtown Morgantown's Nightlife

Downtown Morgantown truly comes alive at night, offering a vibrant mix of entertainment options that cater to both the local community and the student population from West Virginia University. The area is bustling with an array of bars, clubs, and restaurants that feature a diverse range of cuisines and atmospheres, ensuring there’s something to suit every taste and mood.

As you walk through the lively streets, you’ll encounter venues ranging from cozy, laid-back pubs where locals gather to catch up over craft beers, to energetic nightclubs where DJs spin the latest hits for a dance-loving crowd. Live music venues are a particular highlight in Morgantown, showcasing local bands and solo artists who bring a unique West Virginian flair to their performances. These live shows provide a platform for emerging talent and offer entertainment that reflects the city’s rich musical heritage.

For those looking for a quieter evening, the downtown area also boasts several upscale dining establishments that offer a more refined night out with gourmet dishes and fine wines. Meanwhile, themed bars and casual eateries offer fun trivia nights, open mic events, and sports viewing parties, creating a welcoming environment for mingling with friends and meeting new people.

The eclectic mix of nightlife in downtown Morgantown not only enhances the city’s charm but also makes it a destination where everyone can find something to enjoy, whether they’re local residents, university students, or visitors exploring the area. It's a place where memories are made, whether through shared meals, music, or moments of nightlife excitement.

Morgantown, West Virginia, is a city that defies expectations, offering a rich mix of cultural, educational, and natural attractions. Whether you're visiting for a weekend or planning a longer stay, Morgantown welcomes you with open arms and plenty to explore.

Stay up to date with travel adventures at Woke Waves Magazine. Let Morgantown's mix of Appalachian beauty and university spirit inspire your next journey.

#MorgantownWV #WestVirginiaUniversity #OutdoorAdventure #CulturalExploration #MountaineerSpirit

Apr 18, 2024

More from 



View All