In the northern part of West Virginia, directly along the Monongahela River, lies Morgantown, a highly desirable community with low crime, high quality of life, and plenty of fun and exciting things to do. Its location is unique in that it is part of the beautiful natural area of the Appalachian Mountains but also just about 75 miles south of Pittsburgh. Thus, the city is also relatively accessible.
Morgantown is best known as the home of West Virginia University, founded in 1867. The University continues to provide a high-quality educational experience for all its students today. The city is also famous for its beautiful wards and neighborhoods, several of which were once towns that were annexed as Morgantown grew into the prosperous place it is today.
Whether you are visiting Morgantown on vacation, getting ready to attend WVU, or looking to settle down permanently, you’ll want to check out all of the city’s best attractions.
Here are 21 best and fun things to do in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Table of Contents:
- 1. Cheer on the Football Team at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium
- 2. Admire Some Masterpieces at the Art Museum at WVU
- 3. Enjoy Nature at the Earl L. Core Arboretum
- 4. Cool Off in the Backwaters of Cheat Lake
- 5. Rent or Launch a Boat at Sunset Beach Marina
- 6. Walk, Run, Hike, or Bike the Caperton Trail
- 7. Take the Pup for some Exercise at Stanley’s Spot Dog Park
- 8. Get in some Exercise at White Park
- 9. Enjoy a Local Brew at the Morgantown Brewing Company
- 10. Sip on some Prize-Winning Wines at Forks of Cheat Winery
- 11. Catch a Show at the Metropolitan Theater
- 12. See a Summer Concert at Chestnut Ridge Park
- 13. Sample the Local Produce at Morgantown Farmers Market
- 14. Bowl a few Frames at Suburban Lanes
- 15. Glide Across the Ice at Morgantown Ice Arena
- 16. Take Some Hacks at one of Morgantown’s Golf Courses
- 17. Remember the Life of a Famous Comedian at the Don Knotts Memorial Statue
- 18. Support Local Artists with the Downtown Arts Walk
- 19. Sample the Local Delicacy – The Pepperoni Roll
- 20. Honor the Heroes of the Past at the Greatest Generation WWII Museum
- 21. Run in the Annual Morgantown Marathon
I. THINGS TO DO AT WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY
Since the University is such a large part of Morgantown and baked into its DNA, there’s a lot for ordinary people to do around campus, even if they aren’t students. Here are some of the best aspects of the campus open to the general public.
1. Cheer on the Football Team at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium
Saturdays during the fall get very exciting around Morgantown. That’s because the WVU football team gives the students and the locals something to cheer for! Milan Puskar Stadium has a capacity of 60,000 and fills up every time the Mountaineers take the field. The stadium is kept clean and has plenty of concession stands and restrooms for everyone to feel comfortable during the big game.
In 2018, the stadium even added Mountaineer Legends Park. In this hall-of-fame stadium area, fans can read about and relive the memories of old West Virginia Players.
2. Admire Some Masterpieces at the Art Museum at WVU
Highly impressive for a University museum, WVU has over 4,000 permanent pieces of art on display for guests to admire and enjoy. As part of the art department, there are rotating exhibits every semester as the museum continues to grow. The arts are an important way to pass down culture and learn more about human society, and there’s no better place in the region to do that than at WVU.
3. Enjoy Nature at the Earl L. Core Arboretum
The Core Arboretum is owned and maintained by WVU and provides the community with ample natural green space that anyone can visit free of charge. In addition to the usual tree species found in many arboretums, Core has a small botanical garden where other types of shrubs and bushes grow. Parking is free at one of the WVU lots, so it’s an exciting way to get some fresh air at no cost.
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II. THINGS TO DO OUTDOORS
As part of the region known as Appalachia, Morgantown is surrounded by some fantastic natural areas for when you need to get away from civilization for a while. From incredible lakes to forested walking trails to dog parks, Morgantown has what the people need to get outside and enjoy the weather.
4. Cool Off in the Backwaters of Cheat Lake
Cheat Lake is about 10 miles east of Morgantown. It is a fantastic place for West Virginians to enjoy boating, watersports, or just a day of taking in the mountain air. The “backwaters,” as the locals call them, are calm shady areas where people love to drop an anchor and float with music, food, or a cold drink. These are the most desirable areas in the summertime. Still, you can also participate in water skiing, wakeboarding, and other fast-paced activities along the lake’s main drag.
5. Rent or Launch a Boat at Sunset Beach Marina
Sunset Beach Marina is the primary place to start a great day on Cheat Lake. The area has plenty of boat launching stations and rentals for a day or many days in a row. In addition to boats, you can also rent tubes, jet skis, and other fun water sports items.
6. Walk, Run, Hike, or Bike the Caperton Trail
From Morgantown, you’ll have your choice of directions since the city represents the midpoint on this 5.7-mile asphalt rail trail. It’s an excellent choice for those who prefer to exercise on the pavement while still enjoying the scenery of a forest setting.
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7. Take the Pup for some Exercise at Stanley’s Spot Dog Park
Morgantown’s dog lovers need a nice place to take their beloved pets. Stanley’s Spot has a fenced-in area, separate sections for large and small breeds, and large areas for running and playing with other dogs. For the most well-behaved fur babies, there is a spot where they can even take a quick swim in the nearby creek.
8. Get in some Exercise at White Park
At 170 acres, White Park is a sprawling area where locals come to get their sports kick and daily workouts. The park offers three baseball and softball fields, a playground for children, a pavilion available for rentals, and five miles of wooded trails for walkers, bikers, and hikers. Adult sports leagues host games here as well.
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III. FUN THINGS TO DO AROUND THE CITY
While getting outside is necessary sometimes, many social people will want to know what types of activities around town they can enjoy. The city has several attractions that, while not unique, are sure to provide days of fun and excitement for anyone in and around town.
9. Enjoy a Local Brew at the Morgantown Brewing Company
Beer fans always want to test the regional offerings whenever they travel. Morgantown drinkers love frequenting the tap room at the local Brewing Company. This place is a trendy option for hanging out downtown, with a full menu, indoor and outdoor seating, and a dozen unique beers. They even have a take-home option for single cans, four-packs, and growlers. Just remember to be responsible.
10. Sip on some Prize-Winning Wines at Forks of Cheat Winery
Forks of Cheat has a unique backstory. In 1990, a man named Jerry Deal was caught stealing his neighbor’s grapes. Chastised for the act and embarrassed, he decided to plant some grapes of his own. Grape-growing became a winemaking hobby, and soon he was running the property as a full-time career.
Today, the winery is considered the finest in the city and bottles more than 20,000 gallons annually. Guests can stop by the property to taste test and purchase some of the finest award-winning wines.
11. Catch a Show at the Metropolitan Theater
Morgantown’s Met Theater is considered the most beautiful in all of West Virginia. Nationally recognized bands and local theater productions have performed on the main stage here. Additionally, the building was added to the Register of Historic Places in 1984, so it stands as an architectural monument to the history of Morgantown, in addition to being such a wonderful place to see a performance.
12. See a Summer Concert at Chestnut Ridge Park
It’s become a tradition for the Morgantown residents to gather at Chestnut Ridge Park every Saturday during the summer to see some excellent local bands and make new friends. The Monongalia County Parks and Recreation Department sponsors the summer concert series. They have chosen this location for the family-friendly facilities where kids can safely play, and parents can enjoy the music.
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13. Sample the Local Produce at Morgantown Farmers Market
In 2002, a small group of vendors established a new farmers market. This would be the new normal from May-November each year and would provide the community with fresh eggs, bread, meats, and produce, all grown within a 20-mile radius. Today, the market is open during the summer and every other week from November-April. Hence, the community never has to go without. Plenty of parking is available in the area.
14. Bowl a few Frames at Suburban Lanes
Whether you’re part of a serious league or want to blow off steam with the family, Suburban Lanes is here for you. The 24-lane facility is kept wonderfully clean and has open bowling on most days, cosmic bowling on the weekends, and leagues for various skill levels. Of course, they will host a birthday party, too, for a classic nostalgic feeling.
15. Glide Across the Ice at Morgantown Ice Arena
Located at White Park, the Morgantown Ice Arena allows people of all ages to learn to skate or take a recreational afternoon on the ice. The community-minded management of the arena runs special family days, weekday public sessions, classes for tots and toddlers, and hockey leagues for all ages. When you need to feel the rush of winter sports, there’s no better place in Morgantown.
16. Take Some Hacks at one of Morgantown’s Golf Courses
Morgantown is home to six golf courses. There are at least four more within a reasonable drive, so there’s more than enough golf to satisfy even the most avid players. The Pines Country Club is the highest-rated of all. It’s the best-maintained. If you’re looking for a challenge regarding distance, the Pikewood National Golf Club is a whopping 7,649 yards. Try out a few of them, and find your favorite course today.
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IV. THINGS TO DO THAT ARE UNIQUE TO MORGANTOWN
Of course, every city has its cultural footprint and values, and Morgantown is no different. The city is home to traditions separate from that of West Virginia University or even the rest of the state. The following entries showcase things that can exclusively be found in Morgantown.
17. Remember the Life of a Famous Comedian at the Don Knotts Memorial Statue
Where would we be without our beloved entertainers? Celebrities can touch people’s lives a whole lot more than they realize. Don Knotts, the Emmy-winning comedian, best known for his roles in 1960s television, was born in Morgantown and has become a figure of local pride. His statue was unveiled downtown in 2016, a monument to a hilarious entertainer. As a part of the downtown landscape, it is, of course, free to visit.
18. Support Local Artists with the Downtown Arts Walk
Morgantown likes to boost the work of the local creative community by hosting an arts walk multiple times per year. The downtown area of High Street is cleared to make room for 60+ artists looking to display their art and share it with the world. Local food trucks and live music are also features of this unique local event.
19. Sample the Local Delicacy – The Pepperoni Roll
The people of nearly every region seem to have their food sewn into the place’s identity. In West Virginia, that food is the Pepperoni Roll. It consists of spicy pepperoni and melted cheese baked into a crusty bread dough. It’s similar to a calzone but smaller and more portable, with a West Virginia twist. Pepperoni Rolls are available in multiple Morgantown businesses, so don’t miss out and get one while you’re here.
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20. Honor the Heroes of the Past at the Greatest Generation WWII Museum
With realistic-looking wartime scenes and artifacts from both sides of the great conflict, the Greatest Generation Museum is a little slice of history just a short drive out of Morgantown. Many Americans have direct relatives involved in WWII, so this is an excellent way to learn about family and country heritage.
21. Run in the Annual Morgantown Marathon
The rolling hills and challenging terrain of the Morgantown Marathon course will undoubtedly push any runner to their limits. Still, the rewarding feeling of finishing an entire marathon can’t be beaten. This course is fully certified and functions as a qualifier for the larger Boston Marathon. Be on the lookout for shorter races throughout the year as well.
From its early days, Morgantown, West Virginia, has had a unique personality. As one of the premier college towns in Appalachia, it attracts people of all ages, creeds, and cultures to represent the fabric of the entire state. Such a place has so many fun and exciting things to do that you will scarcely find time to experience them all, but it’s worth a try.