Hidden Gems: Off-the-Beaten-Path Attractions in Morgantown

Morgantown, West Virginia, is more than just a college town. While it’s famous for being home to West Virginia University, there’s a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. From unique transportation systems to stunning natural parks, and from vibrant nightlife to rich cultural experiences, Morgantown has something for everyone. Let’s dive into some of the off-the-beaten-path attractions that make this town a must-visit.

Key Takeaways

  • Morgantown offers unique attractions like the Personal Rapid Transit system, which showcases innovation and history.
  • Coopers Rock State Forest is perfect for outdoor lovers, offering hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and picnic spots.
  • WVU’s campus holds many secrets, including historic buildings, landmarks, and hidden study spots.
  • Valley Falls State Park provides a natural retreat with waterfall adventures, hiking and biking trails, and opportunities for wildlife watching.
  • Morgantown’s nightlife, art, and culture scenes are vibrant, with hidden bars, live music venues, local art galleries, and cultural festivals.

Discovering the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit

Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit

The Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system is a unique and fun way to get around the city. Designed by Boeing and costing $120 million to build, this innovative transit system has been in use since 1975. It was the first of its kind and was greenlit in the early 1970s as a federally funded transportation pilot project. The PRT consists of 71 automated, rubber-wheeled vehicles that run on an 8.7-mile network of elevated guideways. One of its inventive features is a heating system that pumps chemicals and warm water onto the tracks to clear them of snow in the winter. Unlike similar transit systems, travelers on the Morgantown PRT can travel directly to their final destination without additional stops along the way.

Exploring Coopers Rock State Forest

Coopers Rock State Forest is a hiker’s paradise with a variety of trails to explore. There are 7-10 different hiking trails, each offering a unique experience. Whether you’re trekking through lush forests or climbing rocky paths, there’s always something new to discover. The overlook area is just a short walk from the parking lot, making it accessible for everyone.

The forest is famous for its breathtaking views, especially from the overlooks of the Cheat River canyon. Located just 13 miles from Morgantown, these overlooks provide stunning vistas in any season. It’s a perfect spot for photography or simply soaking in the natural beauty.

Coopers Rock also offers excellent picnic spots. The Rhododendron Campground, once a secondary picnic area, has been transformed into a beautiful campground. It’s an ideal place to relax and enjoy a meal surrounded by nature. Whether you’re planning a family outing or a quiet day alone, you’ll find the perfect spot here.

Coopers Rock is not just a destination; it’s an experience. Every visit reveals something new, making it a must-see for nature lovers.

Uncovering the Secrets of WVU’s Campus

Historic Buildings

WVU’s campus is home to several historic buildings that tell the story of its rich past. Woodburn Hall, built in 1876, is one of the most iconic structures and a must-see for visitors. The building’s architecture reflects the university’s long-standing tradition and heritage.

Campus Landmarks

Among the many landmarks on campus, the Mountaineer Statue stands out. This statue is a symbol of pride for students and alumni alike. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Core Arboretum, a beautiful green space perfect for a relaxing walk or a study break.

Hidden Study Spots

Finding a quiet place to study can be a challenge, but WVU’s campus has some hidden gems. The Wise Library offers cozy corners and a peaceful atmosphere. For a more secluded spot, check out the Evansdale Library, which is often less crowded and provides a serene environment for focused study.

WVU’s campus is not just a place for education; it’s a treasure trove of history, culture, and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

Valley Falls State Park: A Natural Retreat

Valley Falls State Park Morgantown

Valley Falls State Park is one of the best trails and nature escapes in Morgantown. It offers diverse landscapes and hidden gems perfect for all skill levels and pet-friendly adventures. This park is a must-visit for nature lovers.

Nightlife Beyond the Usual

hidden attractions Morgantown nightlife

Hidden Bars and Pubs

Morgantown has some secret spots that are perfect for a night out. One of the best-kept secrets is a cozy bar tucked away in an alley, offering a wide range of craft beers and unique cocktails. Another hidden gem is a pub with a vintage vibe, where you can enjoy live music and a relaxed atmosphere.

Live Music Venues

For music lovers, Morgantown has several venues that host live performances. From small, intimate settings to larger stages, there’s something for everyone. Local bands often play at these spots, giving you a taste of the area’s music scene. Don’t miss out on the open mic nights, where you can discover new talent.

Late-Night Eateries

After a night of fun, you’ll need a place to grab a bite. Morgantown has a variety of late-night eateries that serve everything from greasy burgers to gourmet pizzas. Some spots even offer breakfast items, perfect for those early morning cravings. Whether you’re in the mood for something sweet or savory, you’ll find it here.

Morgantown’s nightlife offers a mix of hidden gems and popular spots, making it a great place to explore after dark.

Art and Culture in Morgantown

Local Art Galleries

Morgantown is home to several local art galleries that showcase the creativity of regional artists. The Monongalia Arts Center is a must-visit, offering rotating exhibits and art classes for all ages. Another gem is the Zenclay Gallery, where you can find unique pottery and ceramics.

Theater and Performances

For those who love live performances, Morgantown has plenty to offer. The Metropolitan Theatre, often called "The Met," hosts a variety of shows, from plays to concerts. Additionally, the WVU Creative Arts Center features student productions that are both affordable and entertaining.

Cultural Festivals

Morgantown’s cultural scene is vibrant, with numerous festivals throughout the year. The West Virginia Wine and Jazz Festival is a local favorite, combining great music with delicious wines. Don’t miss the Morgantown Art Walk, where you can explore downtown galleries and meet the artists behind the works.

Morgantown’s art and culture scene is a delightful mix of traditional and contemporary, making it a perfect destination for art lovers and culture enthusiasts alike.

Unique Shopping Experiences

Vintage and Thrift Stores

Morgantown is a treasure trove for those who love hunting for unique finds. Vintage and thrift stores here offer a wide range of items, from retro clothing to antique furniture. One of the best places to start is the Morgantown Farmers Market, where you can find not only fresh produce but also handmade crafts and vintage goods.

Local Artisan Shops

For those who appreciate handcrafted items, Morgantown’s local artisan shops are a must-visit. These shops proudly showcase the region’s talent, offering everything from pottery to jewelry. It’s a great way to support local artists and take home a piece of Morgantown’s creative spirit.

Farmers Markets

The farmers markets in Morgantown are more than just places to buy fresh produce. They are vibrant community hubs where you can sample locally-sourced products, enjoy live music, and even participate in fun activities. The Morgantown Farmers Market is particularly popular and is considered one of the best places to go shopping in West Virginia.

Discover boutique providers who proudly showcase their region and uncover hidden gems using interactive clues and riddles on your smartphone!

Outdoor Adventures Around Morgantown

Kayaking and Canoeing

Morgantown offers fantastic spots for kayaking and canoeing. The Cheat River is a favorite among locals, providing both calm waters and thrilling rapids. Don’t miss the chance to paddle through the scenic landscapes and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Rock Climbing Spots

For those who love rock climbing, Coopers Rock State Forest is a must-visit. The forest features numerous climbing routes suitable for all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, you’ll find a challenge that suits you. Remember to bring your gear and check local guidelines before you go.

Mountain Biking Trails

Mountain biking enthusiasts will find plenty of trails to explore around Morgantown. The White Park and Marilla Park offer well-maintained trails that cater to different skill levels. From easy rides to more technical paths, there’s something for everyone. Make sure to wear a helmet and follow trail etiquette to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.

Morgantown is a gateway to outdoor exploration, offering a variety of activities for adventure seekers. Whether you’re paddling down a river, climbing a rock face, or biking through the woods, there’s always something exciting to do.

Historic Sites and Museums

Morgantown History Museum

Dive into Morgantown’s past at the Morgantown History Museum. This place offers a glimpse into the local history with exhibits that cover everything from the early settlers to modern times. It’s a must-visit for history buffs!

Old Stone House

Step back in time at the Old Stone House, one of the oldest buildings in Morgantown. Built in 1796, this historic site now serves as a museum showcasing artifacts from the 18th and 19th centuries. The charm of this place is undeniable.

B&O Railroad Station

The B&O Railroad Station is a testament to the golden age of rail travel. This historic station, built in the late 19th century, now houses a small museum. Visitors can learn about the impact of the railroad on Morgantown’s development. It’s a fascinating spot for both history enthusiasts and train lovers.

Culinary Delights of Morgantown

Morgantown is a treasure trove for food lovers, offering a variety of hidden cafes, local eateries, and food trucks that cater to every palate. Whether you’re a student, a local, or just visiting, there’s always something new to discover in this vibrant town.

Day Trips from Morgantown

Smithfield’s Kavernputt

Just a short drive from Morgantown, Smithfield’s Kavernputt offers a unique mini-golf experience set inside a cave. This hidden gem is perfect for families and friends looking for a fun day out. The cool cave environment provides a refreshing escape from the summer heat, making it a great spot for a day trip.

Grafton’s B&O Railroad Station

Step back in time with a visit to Grafton’s B&O Railroad Station. This historic site offers a glimpse into the past with its well-preserved architecture and fascinating exhibits. Train enthusiasts and history buffs alike will enjoy exploring the station and learning about its significance in the region’s development.

Fairmont’s Attractions

Fairmont, just a short drive from Morgantown, is filled with rich multicultural heritage and offers a variety of attractions. From beautiful parks to local shops and dining, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss out on the chance to explore this vibrant community and discover its hidden treasures.


Exploring Morgantown’s hidden gems offers a delightful mix of adventure and discovery. From unique transit systems to vibrant nightlife spots, there’s always something new to uncover. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, these off-the-beaten-path attractions provide a fresh perspective on this charming college town. So next time you’re in Morgantown, take a detour and explore the lesser-known treasures that make this place truly special.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit?

The Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) is a unique transit system that was designed in the 1970s. It connects different parts of the West Virginia University campus and the city.

How can I ride the Morgantown PRT?

You can ride the PRT by purchasing a ticket at one of the stations. It’s a simple and fun way to get around Morgantown.

What are the best hiking trails in Coopers Rock State Forest?

Some of the best hiking trails in Coopers Rock State Forest include the Raven Rock Trail, the Clay Furnace Trail, and the Rock City Trail.

Are there scenic overlooks in Coopers Rock State Forest?

Yes, Coopers Rock State Forest has several scenic overlooks, including the main Coopers Rock Overlook, which offers stunning views of the surrounding area.

What are some historic buildings on WVU’s campus?

Some historic buildings on WVU’s campus include Woodburn Hall, Martin Hall, and the Old Mountaineer Field.

Where can I find hidden bars and pubs in Morgantown?

Hidden bars and pubs in Morgantown can be found by exploring the local nightlife scene. Some popular spots include Apothecary Ale House and Black Bear Burritos.

What kind of wildlife can I see at Valley Falls State Park?

At Valley Falls State Park, you can see a variety of wildlife, including deer, birds, and small mammals. It’s a great place for nature watching.

Are there any good late-night eateries in Morgantown?

Yes, Morgantown has several late-night eateries, including Tailpipes and Mario’s Fishbowl, where you can grab a bite to eat after a night out.

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