Huntington is a heavenly riverside city nestled on the banks of the charismatic Ohio River. It is well-known for its sprawling natural beauty, incredible museums, inspiring art galleries, scenic train journeys, rich and vibrant culture, and numerous picturesque parks. The serene lakes, sprawling forests, mesmerising river, rolling hills, and diverse wildlife provide access to a vast array of outdoor recreation, such as hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, wildlife viewing, kayaking, picnicking, and more. This city is an ideal holiday destination offering a perfect mix of art and culture, nature exploration, and entertainment.Here’s an all-in-on list of the best things to do in Huntington.

Explore thought-provoking art at Huntington Museum of Art

Huntington Museum of Art
Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Founded in the mid-20th century, this renowned visual arts museum encompasses ten gallery spaces, an auditorium, a research library, a plant conservatory, sculpture courts, multiple art studios, nature trails, an aquarium, and more. In addition to regional and American art, it also exhibits outstanding artistic works from Europe, China, Japan, Syria, Iran, and Egypt. The permanent collection includes paintings, sculptures, glass art, historic firearms, rugs, and plenty more.

A multitude of rotating exhibitions are hosted here all year round. Look at the thought provoking and inspiring pieces of art at the galleries and explore the conservatory garden that features a collection of unique and fascinating tropical plants. You can visit this place from 1pm to 5pm from Tuesdays to Fridays, 10am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm on Saturdays, and 12pm to 5 pm on Sundays. Admission is absolutely free on Tuesdays and entry fee of USD 5 per person is applicable on other days. Children under the age of 18, military personnel, and veterans can walk in for free.

Appreciate nature’s beauty at Ritter Park

Ritter Park
Youngamerican at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dating back to 1913, this is the oldest and one of the most popular parks of this city which is frequented by both tourists and locals alike. It features a picturesque, manicured rose garden, playground, the Four Pole Creek, picnic areas, nature trails, grills, an amphitheatre, multiple tennis courts, and a sledding hill. It offers spectacular views in all four seasons. Hike along the verdant trails that run parallel to the enchanting creek and appreciate nature, play a game of tennis, view the brilliantly coloured roses at the garden, make some burgers on the grills, and end your day with a lovely picnic against the scenic backdrops.

This park is host to a multitude of events throughout the year including musical concerts, plays, tennis tournaments, Easter egg hunts, antique car shows, art and music festivals, and others. Owing to its scenic views and tranquil atmosphere, this also happens to be a popular wedding venue. You can spend your day sitting on one of the benches or under a tree and enjoying a good book. This is a perfect place to take a break from the mundane and monotonous daily routine and escape into nature.

Experience local culture at Kenova's Pumpkin House

Kenova's Pumpkin House
Frank Pierson from Barboursville, WV, US, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nestled on the banks of Ohio River, this historic house is renowned for its spectacular pumpkin displays during the C-K Autumnfest. This festival takes place during the last weekend of October every year and is a tradition of this town for over 30 years. Home to a former mayor of Kenova, the house is decorated with 3000 brightly-lit jack-o’-lanterns during the fest.

The various events organised during this time include beauty pageants, vibrant parades, cooking competitions, car shows, arts and craft fairs, musical concerts, scarecrow competition, and plenty more. Admission to the festival is absolutely free for all. Visit this place in October, check out the stunning displays, be a part of the festivities, and gorge on delicious food at the stalls. Located 7.5 miles (12 kilometres) from Huntington, it is roughly a 17 minutes’ drive.

Explore history at Heritage Farm Museum & Village

This renowned museum is one of the prime tourist attractions of Huntington and it emphasises on the history of the Appalachia region. It encompasses 7 museums, a petting zoo, nature centre, hiking trails, artisan centre, a church, blacksmith shop, multiple inns, a treehouse, canopy bridges, and so much more. The multiple museums highlight everyday life of the people in the Appalachia region during the 19th century and beyond with displays including a model railroad, clothing, cutlery, tools, kitchen equipment, wagons, model aircrafts, a model general store exhibit, dolls, carriages, an artisan print shop, and other historical artifacts.

Additionally, the various exhibits at the museums also focus on the transportation history, arts and crafts, and trade and commerce of the region. The children’s museum here features a wide range of interactive and hands-on activities which will allow them to experience life in the region during the previous centuries. Hike on the verdant trails to reach the treehouse that offers captivating views of sprawling greenery and enjoy watching squirrels and beautiful birds along the way. The Critter Corner is home to numerous farm animals including llamas, goats, chickens, ducks, piglets, cows, donkeys, peacocks, dogs, rabbits, and others. You can get close to, feed, and pet them. Check out the blacksmith shop and watch the traditional process of making various tools out of steel. You can stay overnight at one of the many inns located on the site.

Tour the Conway homestead cabin, the 19th century church, artisan centre, and one of the first school buildings of the area. Don’t miss out on the free wagon rides offered here. Various events are organised at this site throughout the year, such as musical performances, cooking competitions, Christmas markets, and more. It is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10am to 3pm and admission fee ranges from USD 8 to USD 15 depending on your age.

Scenic Train Journeys

Enjoy a scenic train journey on the Autumn Colors Express train from Huntington to Hinton. Setting off from the historic Chesapeake & Ohio railway station, this excursion winds along the mesmerising New River Gorge, offering captivating views of the wilderness. This excursion has been a tradition of this region since 1966 and is organised every year in October.

It is a day-long journey on vintage rail cars featuring stunning views of the enchanting river, a picturesque waterfall, dense foliage, an abandoned town, a beautiful dam, and plenty more. The train departs Huntington at 8am and returns in the evening at 7pm. Delicious meals are served on the train during the trip. Get your tickets to this amazing train journey while visiting this city to enjoy an unparalleled experience. There are six categories of tickets available ranging from USD 179 to USD 599.

Riverside stroll at Harris Riverfront Park

Harris Riverfront Park
TravellingFoodie / shutterstock.com

Located on the banks of the Ohio River, this picturesque riverside park is a fantastic spot to feast your eyes to the mesmerising views of the kaleidoscopic sunsets, the Robert C. Byrd Bridge, and the serene river. The park features picnic areas, beautiful trees, an amphitheatre, a skate park, playground, hiking trails, a boat ramp, and more. Enjoy a refreshing riverside stroll or sit on one of the benches and appreciate nature’s beauty.

You can relish a delicious picnic against the stunning backdrops or read a good book in the tranquil atmosphere under a tree’s shade. This place also happens to be a popular venue for various events, such as weddings, musical concerts, parties, and others. The park is home to numerous waterfowls and other creatures including great blue herons, turtles, Canada goose, kingfishers, ducks, spotted sandpipers, and more. Visit this park to relax and enjoy the scenic views.

Travel back in time at Madie Carroll House

Constructed in the early 19th century, this historic house was transported from Ohio to Huntington by a boat. It formerly served as an inn and a place of worship before the first Catholic Church in town was built. It was also home to several generations of the Carroll family till 1984.

Today, it is a museum displaying numerous historical Civil War artifacts, including US flags, military uniforms, and more. The house has also been maintained to accurately represent how it would have looked like if the family was still residing there and exhibits various belongings of the family, such as original cutlery, furniture, home décor, kitchen equipment, pump organ, and several others. Various events organised here include Heritage Day, Christmas celebrations, Easter egg hunts, and many more. Visit this place and learn about its history through the various fascinating displays.

Explore broadcasting history at Museum of Radio & Technology

This popular museum focuses on the history of electronics and broadcasting. It has a collection of numerous historical artifacts including antique radios, television sets, tape recorders, giant hard drives, turntables, transmitters, tuners, cameras, photographs, toys, control boards, manuals, desktop computers, and plenty more. The radio history exhibit is made to look like a 1920s radio store and service shop. You can find a multitude of vintage radios and transistors belonging to the early 20th century, Second World War period, and the 1950s.

The exhibit highlighting broadcasting history showcases a collection of microphones, a 1950’s disc jockey studio, TV cameras, transmitters, and more. The Hall of Fame here commemorates the well-known and talented broadcasters of West Virginia. The Radio Service exhibit features test equipment, electronic toys, and a tech school. You can also learn about the evolution of computers and laptops through the exhibits. Tour the museum and explore fascinating history. It is open on Saturdays from 10am to 4pm and on Sundays from 1pm to 4pm and admission is absolutely FREE.

Enjoy thrilling rides at Camden Park

This is a popular amusement park that dates back to the early 20th century and is frequented by locals and tourists alike. It features exhilarating rides, a picturesque lake, an arcade, carnival games, a miniature golf course, a petting farm, restaurants, snack bars, and plenty more. The various rides include miniature train rides, yo-yo rides, log rides, skyliner, carousels, water rides, Haunted House, rollercoasters, boats, and several others. Enjoy the thrilling rides, paddle boat on the Swan Lake, try mini golf, pet the animals at the farm, play fun games at the arcade, and gorge on mouth-watering food.

You can even camp in the park during weekends. Various events are organised here throughout the year, such as musical concerts, children’s festival, Halloween Spooktacular, and many more. Grab your family and friends and spend a fun-filled and exciting day at Camden Park.

Lakeside picnicking at Barboursville Park

Barboursville Park
Collective Arcana / shutterstock.com

Encompassing over 750 acres, this enchanting park features a magnificent lake surrounded by vast spreading greenery and picturesque hills. Feast your eyes to the gorgeous views of the setting sun painting a kaleidoscope of crimson, yellow, and purple across the skies. The park has multiple soccer fields, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, volleyball courts, ponds, playground, a splash pad, hiking trails, picnic areas, grills, archery range, disc golf course, and an amphitheatre.

Relish a lovely lakeside picnic while admiring nature’s astounding beauty or go on an invigorating hike on the verdant trails that meander through the scenic landscapes of the park. Cool off in the splash pad or try your hand at fishing in the lake. Sit on one of the benches and read a good novel in the tranquil atmosphere or enjoy an open air movie experience at the amphitheatre with your loved ones. The lake is home to many waterfowls and fishes. Numerous events are hosted here throughout the year including rodeos, outdoor movies, sports tournaments, and more. Take a break from the mundane and monotonous routine and escape into nature here.

Watch a show at Keith Albee Performing Arts Center

Keith Albee Performing Arts Center

Founded in 1928, this historic theatre is a significant part of the local culture of this city. It presents comedies, plays, orchestras, musicals, concerts, movie screenings, opera performances, and more. It has hosted premiers of major Hollywood movies, such as Rain Man, The Bridge At Remagen, We Are Marshall.  The theatre has been visited by some of the big names in the film industry, including Matthew McConaughey, Dustin Hoffman, Barry Levinson, Matthew Fox, and others.

It also organises film festivals and features remarkable local and national films. In addition to live performances and film screenings, the theatre also hosts weddings, reunions, fund raisers, and conferences. It is a great place for a wonderful evening’s entertainment.

Shop at The Red Caboose

Located in downtown Huntington, this is a popular artisan center selling all things local. They offer for sale jewellery, glass art, body care products, pottery, clothing, ceramics, fiber art, photographs, home décor, furniture, honey, syrups, candles, bags, postcards, and plenty more. All products are sourced from local producers, businesses, and artists. You can also find fascinating books written by various regional authors here. Visit this place to check out the cool artistic works and shop for souvenirs. They are open from 10 am to 6 pm on weekdays, from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, and 12 pm to 4 pm on Sundays.

Paint & Sip

Paint & Sip Studio provides its patrons with the unique experience of learning to paint and create art while sipping on your favourite drink. Two hour classes are provided by talented local artists who guide and help you in painting. Located in downtown Huntington, it offers a creative environment where you can have fun while learning something new.

Grab your friends, bring your own drinks, and enjoy painting. They accommodate patrons of any skill level. Visit this place with your loved ones and create many unforgettable memories to cherish. It is an amazing place for a date. They also organise parties, fund raisers, and team building events. It is open for business everyday of the week from 9 am to 8 pm.

Grab a beer and play cool games at Quicksilver Arcade Bar & Kitchen

This is a perfect place to enjoy the nightlife in Huntington and is the largest arcade bar in the state. It features a vast array of arcade games that your can enjoy playing while sipping on delicious drinks from the bar. They also feature various other games, such as Skeeball, Air Hockey, Giant Jenga, and more.

Don’t miss out on their amazing craft beer and mouth-watering finger food. The games are free for all patrons on buying a drink. Children are allowed until 8pm everyday but must be accompanied by a parent. It is open from Mondays to Thursdays from 4pm to 1am, on Fridays and Saturdays from 4pm to 2.30am, and on Sundays from 4pm to 1am.

Camping at Beech Fork State Park

Beech Fork State Park
User:Youngamerican and touched up by User:WVhybrid, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Encompassing over 3100 acres, this park features nearly 300 campsites, miles of hiking trails, a large and serene lake, picnic areas, boat ramps, a swimming pool, barbeque grills, tennis court, volleyball court, sports fields, and so much more. It provides countless opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, mountain biking, swimming, fishing, camping, picnicking, geocaching, kayaking, wildlife viewing, and more.

The park is home to numerous wildlife including water fowls, deer, rabbits, and others. Close to 100 campsites are waterfront offering spectacular views. The campgrounds accommodate both primitive as well as developed camping. Feast your eyes to the grand vistas of the lake and beautiful, verdant hills. Explore the wilderness by camping here at night or relish a delicious picnic by the lake. Appreciate nature’s beauty while hiking on the trails and experience kayaking on the mesmerising lake. Beech Fork State Park provides an amazing escape into nature and helps you relax and rejuvenate.