State Capital: Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston is the capital of West Virginia and has a population of 51,000 residents. At first, Wheeling was the state's capital. It was then moved to Charleston between 1870 and 1875, then back to Wheeling until 1885 before returning to Charleston. The permanent move to Charleston came about after West Virginia state legislatures, frustrated with the shuffling, decided to let voters decide on the issue.

In a referendum conducted in 1877, Charleston won by garnering more than half of the votes cast. Charleston is located at the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, where river Kanawha and Elk converge. The city borders Kentucky to the southwest, Virginia and Maryland to the east, and Pennsylvania to the north. Its well-defined neighborhoods and districts make it convenient to bike or walk around.

A notable landmark in Charleston is the state capitol complex designed by architect Cass Gilbert and completed in 1932. The building contains a memorial to Booker T Washington, the West Virginia State Museum, and the Governor's mansion. The other thing you'll love about this city is its amazing dining experience. For a Chinese-American experience, visit the Jackrabbit Filly restaurant and enjoy old-school foods like cabbage dumplings and pork or fried rice with ham and pineapple. Don't forget to sample the selection of craft beer and traditional quesadillas and burritos available at Adelphia Sports Bar.

Charleston offers an outstanding shopping experience thanks to the capital market, where you'll get unique West Virginia products like wooden kitchen utensils and handmade baskets. The Kin Ship Goods shop is another great place to visit when looking for themed apparel. In addition, spare time and visit the Charleston Town Mall, a three-story building that features over 130 eateries and shops.

Charleston makes it easy to explore nature. You can start your adventure at Kanawha state forest that features nine mountain biking trails and 14 hiking trails, winding over a 9,000-acre forest. Also, make sure that you visit Magic Island Park and participate in different activities like beach volleyball.

You should still check out Charleston Coliseum Convention Center, a municipal auditorium, a performing arts center with a 65-foot stage, and a sitting capacity of more than 3.400. The center hosts numerous live performances every week. Besides the auditorium, you should visit the Clay Center, a 240,000 square foot structure housing different visual and performing arts. You'll love the diverse art collection available at the Juliet Art Museum and the Avampato Discovery Museum.