• Guide to Charleston

    Whether you are new to town or have lived here a few years, there is always something new in Charleston. It has a unique balance of small town feel, with lots of amenities found in bigger cities – great places to eat, plenty of shopping, lots of events. 

    Here is our unofficial guide to happenings around town. While there is always something on campus to do, we encourage you to do a bit of exploring.  

    Looking for more? You can visit www.charlestonwv.com for more ideas. And, if you find something we missed, just let us know. 

    Please note: The drinking age in West Virginia is 21. You must be that age to enter bars and order alcoholic drinks in restaurants. We have listed places with great drinks and atmosphere, but only for those 21 and older! If you are of age, please drink responsibly and have a designated driver along for the evening.

    • Places to Eat


      Pies and Pints — Great atmosphere, amazing specialty pizzas and one of the best beer menus in Charleston. Grapes on a pizza? You gotta try it! The Chicken Gouda pizza is a UC favorite. Located downtown

      Lola’s — A small gourmet pizza restaurant located in a charming remodeled house in the South Hills area. Some say they offer the best setting (and pizza) in all of Charleston. They definitely have the best sangria in town

      Graziano’s — Just want some easy to grab, big slice, Italian style pizza? This is the place to go when you are downtown. Make sure you get a pepperoni roll while you are there!

      Husson’s Pizza — They claim to have the largest large pizza in town….and they aren’t lying. But Husson’s does more than just quantity; they offer great quality as well. They also have calzones, salad and subs. And they deliver!

      We also have a local Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Dominos and Ginos when you want pizza delivered.


      Dem 2 Brothers and a Grill — Recently featured on the Travel Channel, they are quickly becoming one of the most popular BBQ joints on the East Coast. Their food is amazing. They can often be found at local events, but their restaurant is located on the west side of Charleston.

      Rollin Smoke BBQ — Less publicized than Dem 2 Brothers, but some swear this is better. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. They are located on Route 119, just off the interstate. Follow the smoke, and you’ll find it.


      Mi Cocina de Amor — A step up from other Mexican restaurants, serving authentic Sonoran style Mexican cuisine. If you are of age, the margaritas are fantastic! Priced higher than most Mexican spots. Located on the West Side.

      Plaza Maya — Great food, great service, great atmosphere. It’s also closer to campus than every other restaurant on this list. It’s right off MacCorkle Avenue across from the hospital.

      La Carreta — Charleston has its share of great Mexican restaurants – and they all offer good food at a good price. Another option is right down the road from campus, this place will satisfy your craving for Mexican.


      B&D Gastropub — Great burgers and large selection of drinks just down the road from campus

      Five Guys — Located in South Ridge, just minutes away from downtown, Five Guys has fantastic burgers and when you order fries, you get a BAG of them!

      Sports Bars

      Recovery — TVs. Everywhere. Never miss a sporting event again! The food isn’t half bad either, including wings (with 16 different sauces), burgers, salads, and more. Find it downtown.

      Adelphia — Great food, great crowd, great atmosphere. Also downtown, Adelphia focuses on Greek cuisine with classic American dishes on the menu as well. Their Deep Fried Feta was voted Charleston’s favorite dish for 2016

      Sam’s Uptown Café — Sam’s Uptown is actually downtown. Try their BBQ french fries. Definitely the best in town!

      Quaker Steak and Lube — Fun sports bar environment, located at Southridge Shopping Center. Endless wings on Tuesday!

      Buffalo Wild Wings — Also at Southridge, it’s a great place to watch the game with your friends.


      Su-Tei — Fantastic décor and great food. A favorite of UC students, as it is located in Kanawha City. A mix of sushi, Thai and Japanese.

      Fusion Teriyaki Grille — Fast and fresh Asian food with a Subway-esque feel. Also close to campus on MacCorkle Avenue.

      Ichiban — Sushi, steaks and seafood with an upscale Asian flare, located downtown.

      Taste of Asia — Located in South Charleston by the Asian Market, Taste of Asia offers food from different parts of Asia including Thai, Chinese and Japanese dishes.

      Little India — Authentic Indian cuisine, with a great variety of Indian flavors and dishes - and the best naan in town. Located near the State Capitol.

      Main Kwong — THE place to get great take out Chinese food. Never disappoints. Know what you want before you call though.


      Fazio’s — Authentic Italian food with amazing garlic bread. A Charleston staple since 1950. Located by the Spring Street Bridge.

      Sohos — Located in the Capitol Market, this is a must stop for Italian lovers

      Paterno’s at the Park — Located inside of Power Park, (home of the West Virginia Power baseball team and another great spot if you want to catch a game) they have great steaks and family style Italian.

      Leonoro’s Spaghetti House — Another Charleston long time restaurant, Leonoro’s has been open on the East End since 1951. Some argue this is the best Italian food in town. Be sure to order the meatballs.


      M & M Mart — One of the city’s best-kept secrets. The sandwiches are unlike anything you will eat in the Charleston area. Similar to a New York deli, and serving top quality meats. Just down the road from campus.

      The Olive Tree Café — Serves a combination of Mediterranean, Greek, Middle Eastern, New York and Philadelphia food in South Charleston. Sound odd? Trust us, it works!

      Firehouse Subs — A restaurant that specializes in hot subs. If you are trying to watch those calories, they have a great selection of subs and salads under 500 calories. And you can order online!

      Penn Station — Great grilled subs with fresh cut fries. Their lemonade is fantastic. (And you should seriously consider getting a fresh baked cookie for dessert!) Another near campus location, too.

      Jimmy Johns — Located downtown, and specializes in subs and club sandwiches. “Freaky fast!”

    • Date Night Spots

      Celsius — Newly renovated with a fashionable approach to their decor that will set the atmosphere for a great date. Large selection of appetizers that are fun to share.

      Bridge Road Bistro — A tasty variety of French/American Food with a large bar area, comfy booths and live music several nights a week. Find it in South Hills.

      Tidewater Grill — Some of the best seafood in West Virginia with perhaps the best rolls in West Virginia. We aren’t kidding - their bread is THAT good. Go on your birthday and your bill will be 50% off! Located in the Town Center Shopping Mall.

      Bricks & Barrels — A laid back atmosphere with great sophisticated food. They offer private seating areas tucked into round alcoves – as if you are sitting in a giant wine barrel. Unique! Located near Power Park.

      The Block — Wine and cheese lover’s favorite spot in town. A great downtown place to try new things. Be sure to make a reservation.

      South Hills Market — Small and laid back with great service and great food.

    • Special Occasion Spots "TableCloth”

      The Chop House — One of the more “high-end” restaurants in Charleston and while you may not be able to afford it often, if you go on your birthday you get your meal free! The Chop House can be found in the Charleston Town Center Shopping Mall.

      Noah's — This eleven table restaurant features fresh, seasonal ingredients in delicious combinations. Located downtown, creative menu changes weekly. Reservations are strongly recommended.

      Laury's — Upscale restaurant with American dishes inspired by French recipes. Located in an old C&O Railroad Depot, on the National Register of Historic Places, Laury’s offers a great view of downtown & the river.

    • Unique

      Black Sheep Burrito & Brews — Often a spot of the hip in the city, Black Sheep has a great selection of unique tacos and, with its partnership with the Charleston Brewing Company, a great selection of beers. Live music several nights a week make this a great downtown spot for the social scene.

      Tricky Fish — An Urban Beach Bar located near the state capitol, Tricky Fish serves beach shack food, including hot dogs, Po Boys, hush puppies and more. The tacos here are fantastic.

      Bluegrass Kitchen — Also located near the capitol building, Bluegrass features all natural ingredients sourced locally. Comfort food with a modern edge. Charleston’s 2016 favorite restaurant winner

      Best of Crete — Popular restaurant on the west side of Charleston that serves gyros, subs, hummus and pita, baklava – and an amazing Greek salad.

    • Breakfast

      Tudor’s Biscuit World — A WV staple. Some of the best breakfast sandwiches you’ll ever have. (Be sure to try the Golden Eagle!) Located in several places around the area.

      First Watch — A great place to eat healthy yet still feel full, First Watch also offers an extensive lunch menu with daily specials. Their downtown location stays busy most of the day.

      Suzi’s Hamburgers — Yea, the word “hamburgers” is in the name, but you want to go here for breakfast. Their biscuits and breakfast sandwiches are fantastic. A little further out (Suzi’s is in South Charleston), but worth the trip.

      Swiftwater Café — Another downtown restaurant that offers reasonably priced breakfast options including breakfast burritos, muffins, and breakfast platters. They also serve a great lunch.

    • Coffee

      Taylor Books — Relaxing atmosphere downtown. A Charleston classic that combines a bookstore, art gallery and coffee shop. Hang out in a comfy chair and listen to live music on the weekends.

      Moxxee — A must for UC students. Grab a muffin or biscotti while choosing from a great selection of coffees and teas. Located near the Clay Center downtown, Moxxee is a great place to study.

      Starlings Coffee & Provisions — On the East End of Charleston, Starlings offers sweets and pastries, organic tea and coffees, handmade organic bagels and muffins, and a selection of vegetarian soups, Stromboli and sandwiches.

      Mea Cuppa — Located in the historic Capitol Market, this coffee shop offers a great metropolitan vibe, as well as amazing baked goods.

      Scriptures Café — Has an uplifting atmosphere where you can enjoy great coffee and food as well.

    • Sweets

      Ellen’s Homemade Ice Cream — The best ice cream in the world. We may be a bit biased, but this is the best ice cream in town. Expect to pay a bit more, but it’s worth it! Located downtown.

      Sarah’s Bakery — Delicious cupcakes, brownies, whoopee pies and other baked treats. One of the bakers was Champion of the Food Network show “Chopped”. Need we say anything else?

      Yogurt Mountain — The independent yogurt shop trend may be fading, but this one stands the test of time. Located at the Southridge Shopping Center in the Books A Million bookstore.

      Spring Hill Pastry Shop — DO NOT graduate without having one of their famous “hot dogs.” They are a West Virginia experience not to be missed! They can be found in the Spring Hill area of South Charleston.

      Baskin Robbins — Great ice cream and custom cakes.

      Sugar Pie Bakery — One of a kind baked goods made from scratch, on site. Macaroons and the amazing cupcakes are a must. Located near campus in Kanawha City. There goes the diet!

    • Bars

      Copper Pint Pub — Combines the friendliness of an Irish Pub with a wide selection of beers, the Pint is known around town as the UC bar. Find it downtown.

      Bar 101 — Connected to Ichiban restaurant downtown, so you can eat and then head over for drinks and dancing.

      Red Carpet — Attracts the most diverse crowd in town. Be sure to visit the patio on warm evenings. Every other Friday is karaoke.

      The Empty Glass — A bit more alternative bar that focuses on live music. On the East End near the State Capitol.

      Vino’s Bar and Grille — Consisting of two different areas- one more of a laid back bar with pool tables and darts while the upstairs area is where you go to dance and enjoy local DJs.

      The Boulevard Tavern — great place for live music. Try to catch a show with local jazz superstar Bob Thompson, who plays every Tuesday night.

    • Movies

      Park Place Stadium Cinemas — Convenient location downtown features the latest hits and unlimited popcorn. Stadium seating makes your movie watching even better!

      Marquee Cinemas Southridge 12 — Great dinner and a movie spot, Marquee is located at the Southridge Shopping Center, home to lots of food options as well.

    • Grocery Stores

      International Groceries Inc. — Located up the road on MacCorkle Avenue, the International market offers a surprisingly wide variety of foods from all over the world. They also help support out International Week, so they are a good friend of UC!

      Kroger — Snacks, that special shampoo, your favorite cheese – Kroger has it all. There are two locations close by, including one in Kanawha City, and one in South Hills.

      Piggly Wiggly — The closest store to campus, and how can you not love this name? Smaller than Kroger, Piggly Wiggly offers a traditional grocery store selection, with a great selection of middle eastern options as well.

    • Other Places to Know

      The Clay Center — With a variety of artists brought in each year, the Clay Center always has something for everyone. The West Virginia Symphony plays here. Beautiful venue.

      Charleston Civic Center — The Civic Center is where you will want to go for your big shows – from concerts, or monster trucks to the circus. It is currently undergoing a major remodeling, but the shows still go on!

      The State Capitol — You’ve seen it in photos and you’ll see it every day across the river from campus so why not go take a tour? It’s one of the most beautiful state capitols in America and while you are there you should visit the…

      WV Cultural Center — This free museum on the Capitol Complex is full of WV history. A “must-see.”

    • Events to Catch

      Live on the Levee — Every Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day the City of Charleston offers free live music at Haddad Riverfront Park. In addition to the music, there are plenty of vendors offering a variety of food, beverages and giveaways.

      WV Power Games — Charleston’s minor league baseball team has games through September. Affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates, they always put on a great show. Many games offer post-game fireworks as well.

      Blues, Brews and BBQ — Held annually at UC on the riverfront lawn, it’s exactly what you think it is. Blues music, beer and some of the best BBQ you will ever eat.

      Wine & All That Jazz Festival — Also held at UC on our riverfront lawn. Great selection of wine from many local wineries and lots of jazz music.

      FestivALL — The entire city becomes a work of art during this iconic 10 day event. Music, art, food and fun are celebrated throughout the city.

      Mountain Stage — A two hour music radio show broadcast live from right in the heart of Charleston, generally from the Culture Center Theater.

      West Virginia Symphony Orchestra — Not into symphony music? Give it a chance anyway. You’ll have plenty of chances as they do more than 50 concerts annually throughout the Mountain State playing everything from Star Wars to video game themes to traditional orchestra music.

      Bridge Day — While this one isn’t in Charleston, we highly suggest you go, as it’s just an hour and a half away. It is one of the largest extreme sport events in the world held each year in October.

      White Water Rafting — Yea this one isn’t in Charleston either, but it’s a must during your time at UC.

      Restaurant Week — A week-long celebration of local cuisine at Charleston area restaurants. For $30 per person, savor an appetizer, entrée and dessert from a selected menu. At various independent restaurants throughout Charleston.

    • Church/Worship Services in Charleston

      Genesis Fellowship
      4032 MacCorkle Avenue
      South Charleston, WV 25309
      Service: Sunday at 10am

      Redeemer Lutheran Church
      1 Deerwalk Lane
      Charleston, WV 25314
      Service: Sunday at 10:45 a.m.

      St. John’s Episcopal Church
      1105 Quarrier St.
      Charleston, WV 25301
      Services Sunday 10:30am

      Trinity Evangelical Lutheran
      1600 Kanawha Blvd E
      Charleston, WV 25311
      Services: Sunday 8:45am, Wednesday 7:00pm

      Bible Center
      100 Bible Center Dr.
      Charleston, WV 25314
      Services: Sunday 9:00am and 10:45, Wednesday 6:30pm

      St. George Orthodox Church
      201 Court St. Charleston, WV 24301
      Services: Sunday 10:30am, Wednesday 6:30pm

      Christ Church United Methodist
      1221 Quarrier St, Charleston, WV 25301
      Services: Sunday 9am, 11am

      Mt. Calvary Baptist
      1509 Bigley Ave, Charleston, WV 25302
      Services: Sundays 9am, 11am, 6pm and Wednesday 6:30pm