A Punch List of Fun Things to Do!
Let’s get a few things out on the table before we launch into a long list of things to do in the Tri-State area of western WV, eastern KY, and southern Ohio.
I’m not originally from this area. I moved here in 2005 with my family because of my wife’s education. We loved it so much we decided to make it home. Since then we’ve delivered two anchor babies and now consider ourselves true West Virginians. So when you read this article, know that I love Huntington.
There are a lot of haters out there that are going to think this list of 100 Things to Do in Huntington is rubbish. If you’re one, bugger off and take your opinions somewhere else. I have ZERO cares about what you think.
I don’t look at what Huntington once was (according to history and lore, it was a thriving town) but rather what Huntington could be in the future. What I see and experience is a town on the rise. It is a secret — a diamond in the rough just waiting to be found and polished to a bright gleam.
This list is a tribute to my town and the area in which I live. The goal is to give you fun things to do in and around Huntington. This is really a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. Enjoy this list … and if you have ideas, leave them in the comments section at the end of the article. I will be revising the list periodically.
When you do one of the things on this list, take a selfie, post it to social media and tag it with #MyHuntington.
Note: This list is in no particular order. The idea is that over the course of your life, I hope you’ll make it a point to check each of these suggestions off your bucket list.
1. Do the Hot Dog Trail
Huntington is well known for hot dogs. Of all things, hot dogs! The truth is, there are a lot of hot dog stands here. I’d wager more than any other city in the United States. When my sister came to visit, we made it a point to go on what I call the Hot Dog Trail. We tried every hot dog place that wasn’t a franchise (sorry Charlie Graingers). Here’s the route we took:
What you also need to know is that Huntington has its own way of doing hot dogs. “Huntington Style” dogs include some kind of chili, mustard, and onion. Make sure you order it that way so you have a true comparison between each joint. Opinions vary on who serves the best “dog.” Y’all figure it out and let me know.
2. Visit Evaroni’s Pizza
Imagine it … a sit-down pizza place where a family can come together, eat pizza, and have a good time. Places like this used to exist back in the ’70s and ’80s, but they’ve kind of lost their place in society. Not Evaroni’s Pizza. This restaurant is vibrant — it is always full — and their pizza is unique. Over the years I’ve met HUGE Evaroni’s fans and just as many detractors. Their sauce is very sweet. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Either way, the opportunity to sit down and eat pizza out with your people in a spacious location is very cool! Go check out Evaroni’s Pizza. Let me know what you think.
3. See the Healing Field
Each September, the Parks Department descends on Spring Hill Cemetery and puts out hundreds of American flags in rows. The purpose of this display is to remember the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. The project was conceived by Tom Bowen, a Huntington native who participated in the rescue and cleanup at the Twin Towers. Kevin Brady, Director of the Parks Department at the time, was so moved by the idea that he agreed to do it — and it has since become an annual event. When the flags are out, tours are available, or you can quietly stroll through the area and reflect on the freedoms in the United States that make us unique in the world.
4. Go to the Hot Dog Festival
Huntington, West Virginia, is home to the annual Hot Dog Festival. Put on by iHeart Media, this event celebrates Huntington’s love of hot dogs. The event takes place every year in late September. All local hot dog vendors are invited to participate. Activities include hot dog-eating contests, bun run, bun bike, and a wiener dog race. All the monies raised go to support the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital.
5. Attend ChiliFest
Produced by local restauranter Ron Smith, ChiliFest has been a Huntington staple for 36 years! The event is connected to the Chili Society’s World Championship. Vendors compete against each other to see who sells the most chili. Over the years, the Huntington Fire Department, Cabell Huntington Hospital, and others have been the favorites. Chili of every kind is served – everything from goat or buffalo to vegetarian and more. The Huntington Fire Department always delivers a 9 alarm chili that will burn your mouth! All funds raised from this event go to the Ronald McDonald House in Huntington.
6. Take a Heritage Farm Tour
Started by local legend Michael Perry, Heritage Farm’s mission is to be a reminder of the past and how people in this region survived tough times and lived to prosper and thrive. The farm was featured on the TV show American Pickers in 2011. It is home to a vast amount of central Appalachian culture, history, and stuff. Everything from tools to guns to kitchen supplies used through history. The quality of what they provide has allowed the location to become a Smithsonian Affiliate site. The farm is open most days for tours and always on Saturday. If you can get a tour with the current owner, Audy Perry, do it. He is a wonderful person, gives a great tour, and has a heart for people and the region.
7. Meet the Mayor
The mayor’s office is located in Huntington’s City Hall. Every mayor has his or her own flair. When you meet Mayor Williams, you will like him. Running a city like Huntington is a tough job. See if you can get your picture with him (even if you don’t like his politics). Post your picture to social media and tag it with #MyHuntington.
8. Rent a Boat at Beech Fork
Beech Fork State Park is a treasure. This place has so much to offer, and I get the idea that either local people don’t take advantage of it or they don’t know what is there. The park has a frisbee golf course, huge playground, cookout areas, camping, fishing, swimming pool, beach, shooting range, and more. One leisurely thing to do is to rent a boat – either a kayak or a paddle boat – and go out on the lake. In the summer months, it is simply glorious. Note: wear sunscreen or you’ll burn.
9. See a Marshall Football Game
When Joan Edwards Stadium (where Marshall plays football) is packed, there is simply no better stadium in the United States to watch a college-level football game. It is a friendly, raucous, and generally enjoyable crowd that loves their team. Over the years, Marshall Football has had its ups and downs. In recent years, there have been a lot of downs. That being said, when Marshall is winning or on a streak, you want to get to a game (even if you don’t like football). The experience and memories will last a lifetime.
10. See a Marshall Basketball Game
Coach Dan D’Antoni’s style of basketball is just fun to watch! It is run and gun and a lot of fun! Even if Marshall has a less than impressive team, the style in which they are taught to play is fast, exciting, and full of moments you will be glad you saw in person. Because of D’Antoni’s ability to raise up local talent, some have called what Marshall is doing “Hillbilly Ball.” Who cares what you call it, it’s fun to watch! Ticket prices are affordable. You will be glad you saw the Thundering Herd play under D’Antoni’s watchful and professional leadership.
11. Go to a Concert at the Mountain Health Arena
Seeing a concert downtown at the Civic Arena – now called the Mountain Health Arena – is a rite of passage in Huntington. Over the years, bands and artists like KISS, REO Speedwagon, Michael W. Smith, TobyMac, RATT, and others have played this 9,000-seat space.
12. Tour the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital
Huntington is home to a state-of-the-art children’s hospital. The $19 million project was funded with private donations, the great majority of which came from local people. The brainchild of local business leader David Graley. The space located on the 5th floor of Cabell Huntington Hospital has 72 beds for pediatric patients and has some of the most advanced equipment available to treat children. Tours are available for people interested in supporting the work. Simply contact Kristi Arrowood.for your private tour. You will be impressed to know a place like this exists in this region.
13. Play Pickleball at Ritter Park
Pickleball is a game that was created on the West Coast back in 1965. It is a cross between ping-pong and tennis and is played with small paddles and a special whiffle ball. Over the years, the game has made it into physical education curriculum across the country. Today in the Huntington area there is a huge upswing in the number of people playing. Ritter Park has a whole court set aside during the summer months for people who want to play. It is always packed. The people who play are always nice and willing to teach newbies the rules and how to play. If you get a chance, swing by on a summer evening and ask to get involved. You will probably find a game you are good at and love.
14. Walk Ritter Park
Ritter Park is one of the brightest spots in all of Huntington. It is a beautiful park with a great gravel walking path all the way around. No matter the time of day, you will see people walking it. The thing most people don’t know is that the path actually extends beyond Ritter Park proper and follows a creek for about a mile past the park, the arch, little league fields, and DARCO. Along the walking path are a number of physical activity stations you can do. Walk the path. Take it all the way to the end and back. You will be glad you did. Some of the most beautiful houses in the area can be seen along that path. Note: In 2019, Huntington area residents recorded their activities for 6 months and walked enough steps to go to the moon and back.
15. Visit Huntington Museum of Art
The Huntington Museum of Art is a special place. It has been around for 60 years! They have collections with American, Asian, Caribbean, European, Near Eastern, and Inuit art. My personal favorite is their weapons collection! Going to see the Dale Chihuly glass art is worth the visit. This is a legit museum with millions and millions of dollars of artwork on the premises. The building is huge, and the grounds are even bigger. The Huntington Museum of Art is one of those places that doesn’t get the kind of exposure or publicity it deserves. It is worth more than a visit. It is worth your time. Go love it!
16. Attend the Gala for St. Mary’s
Simply the best event you could ever attend! “Over the top” is the way I’ve always described this fundraiser for St. Mary’s Medical Center. The food is to die for, and there is more of it than you can possibly eat. Historically they’ve had a raw seafood bar and all other types of food stations with every kind of meat and dish you can imagine. The band is always live. The bar is always open. People are dressed to the 9s. It is a formal affair but people are encouraged to dress for the theme too. If you don’t want to wear a tux and the theme is superheroes, you can wear a costume. All the money raised goes to the St. Mary’s Heart Center. The Gala always takes place on the 3rd Saturday in May. If you want to go, you need to purchase a table or get a bunch of friends together to purchase a table. Contact Izzy Cross to get your invite.
17. Go to Picnic with the Pops
Summer nights, special rock music, and the Huntington Symphony Orchestra. Sometimes this event takes place at Harris Riverfront Park, and other times at the amphitheater at Barboursville Park. No matter the location, the evening is special. Bring a picnic basket, chairs, friends, and your own beverages. In the last two years they’ve had the 5th Dimension and a great Elvis impersonator join the symphony. This is one of those nights that make Huntington unique. You need to go — you’ll enjoy yourself!
18. Experience Lost Room Downtown
Escape Rooms are a new thing in the United States. Think of yourself locked in a room and given a series of puzzles to solve as the clock counts down. If you can figure out the puzzles, you move ahead in the game – usually to another room filled with more clues to solve. Bring your smart friends and family to play. This is a whole lot of fun. If your group struggles with the puzzles, the person monitoring your game from the administrative suite will give you hints. If you’ve never done this, do it. You will have a very, very good time! Find out more about the Lost Room and how you can book your time.
19. Play at Battlearium
Note: My wife owns this business, so read my bias into what’s written here.
How many towns in the world have an arena set up to have Nerf battles and Arrow Wars? Seriously – not many! The Battlearium is the place where you can shoot arrows at your friends, foam darts, and lasers, or play dodgeball! The arena is 3,000 square feet of fun. You play for a full hour and a referee takes you through a bunch of mini-games that will be familiar to those readers who play Halo or Call of Duty. Battlearium is your place to laugh, smile, and have a really great time.
20. Create Something at Paint and Sip or Board and Brush
If you’re creative, you will love both of these places. Paint and Sip is in downtown Huntington. Board and Brush is in Barboursville. Both places allow you to let your inner artist run with the wind.
Paint and Sip is run by two local artists — Charlie Barger and Stewart Mohr. Each day/evening they have a certain design you can come in and paint. They teach you all kinds of techniques during your time there. You can either listen to or ignore their suggestions — just make your painting yours. Stewart encourages you to do what you like to do and what feels good. My family has gone several times in the last few years, and we love the people and the place. You can bring your own drinks and food. The place is very laid back and the owners are totally cool. Go! You will love it.
Board and Brush allows you to create and paint wood signs using templates they supply. Friendly staff members help you along the way. The tools are readily available to sand your wood, paint it, and then stencil the message you want. This is a great way to spend time with friends or bond with work colleagues.
21. Steak at 21 at the Frederick
See what I did here by making this #21 on the list? See it? Located in the historic Frederick building is one of Huntington’s finest restaurants: 21 at the Frederick. More affectionately called the 21 Club. Owned by longtime Huntington residents Mark and Izzy Cross, the 21 brings big city flair to our small town. The ambiance of the place reminds me of places I’ve had dinner in downtown Portland and D.C. The light is low. The space is small. The food is excellent (exactly what you would get in a big city). Here’s the deal, it ain’t cheap. This is the kind of place you visit when you want to impress someone, have a meal you will LOVE, or you want and can afford a good night on the town. The quality and service are off the charts!
22. Play Frisbee Golf
Huntington has become a bit of a Frisbee (Disc) Golf paradise. Two specific parks make it a place people want to play: Rotary Park and Barboursville Park. Rotary Park is a Disc Golf lover’s paradise. It is a difficult course with all kinds of obstacles. The walk through the park is beautiful and really shows you how amazing the Huntington Parks and Recreation Board is at what they do for the community. Barboursville Park is a little easier — at least the front 9 holes. The back 9 get a little complicated and are really fun to play if you have a little skill. There is also a course at Beech Fork State Park — more of a beginner’s course.
23. See a Play
The Huntington Area Region Theatre (HART) presents several weeks of performances each year at the Amphitheater in Ritter Park. Because of COVID they didn’t perform, but previous years have included The Wizard of Oz (with a standout performance by Denise Gabel-Comeau as the witch), Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and Disney’s Frozen. Go. Take your chairs, picnic basket, and whatever you want to drink. They have food available. Get there early and figure out where to sit so the sun doesn’t bother you. Good times for everyone! Great way to see the talent in the Huntington area!
24. Experience Jeff’s Bike Shop
Jeff’s Bike Shop. What can you say about this place except, “How lucky are we to have Jeff!” The Bike Shop proper is a little trip down memory lane. There are Schwinn bikes from the 1970s and ’80s hanging from the ceiling. There are new and used mountain bikes for sale. Then there is Jeff – usually behind the counter – actually fixing bikes. The magic of Jeff’s Bike Shop is talking with Jeff about bikes or … really anything. The man knows everything. Ask him why Diamondback sold out to a Chinese company — he will have a thoughtful answer. Ask him why he only sells specialized bikes, and he’ll have a well-thought-out answer for that too. He’s like Yoda or Buddha or some other wise sensei working in a bike shop in Huntington (but should actually probably be running the country). Go there. See him. Get your bike fixed and buy a bike from him! Jeff’s Bike Shop is about as real as it gets.
25. Get Ice Cream at the Original Austin’s Ice Cream
For years there was only one Austin’s Ice Cream. The original location is in Ceredo/Kenova, WV, which is basically less than a hop, skip, and a jump from downtown Huntington. This location is only open from late spring through early fall. They have a year-round location in the Market in downtown Huntington. The Market location is great if you just want REALLY GOOD ice cream, but the experience at the original location is what locals have loved for decades. One of my best memories is taking my little girl there when she was about 2 and buying her a grape ice cream cone. We sat outside and she ate it like she had never eaten anything in her life. When she finished, her face was purple. Austin’s is an institution in the Huntington area. Go get their ice cream. Go, Eat and enjoy!
26. Walk the Trails at the Huntington Museum of Art
Yes, another reference to the Huntington Museum of Art in this article. Why? Well, this is a place that has more to offer than just art and exhibits. There is a reason it ranks so high on TripAdvisor’s list of things to do in Huntington. Behind the main building that houses the art museum are trails that roam all over the back side of the massive hill on which the museum sits. Those trails are taken care of regularly and provide visitors a walk to remember. One friend of mine says that a “spur of the moment hike after dinner behind the Museum is one of my favorite ways to end the evening with my wife and daughter.” If you didn’t know these trails existed, you’re not the only one. Head up to the Museum and check them out. You will be surprised at what they have done to make the trails excellent for the general public.
27. Play Video Games at Quicksilver
The latest attraction in downtown Huntington is Quicksilver. This place is an arcade/bar/restaurant. The concept is simple – the video games are free if you buy a beer or a drink. The games are straight out of an arcade from Stranger Things (circa 1985). If you wanna play Joust, Missile Command, Space Invaders, Dig Dug, Spy Hunter, and more for free, this is the place for you. They also have a good number of quarter-a-play pinball machines. The atmosphere and location are quality. The staff gets it done. This is a great place to go and have fun or to simply kill some time.
28. Walk Harris Riverfront Park
Harris Riverfront Park kind of gets a bad reputation (probably because it sits on the opposite side of a giant flood wall), but it really is a lovely park if you go at the right time. You should go. My recommendation is to pick a summer evening just as the sun is about to set and walk the path along the riverfront. The sun hits the water and leaves a long shadow. The park is shaded by trees too. There really isn’t a better way in the summer to end an evening than to sit on a bench at the park or to walk the river path. Check it out, you’ll see. Note: There is a sign in the park that references Chuck Ripper, a famous artist from Huntington. Make sure to stop and read that. Ripper is responsible for the art on something like 90 or more postage stamps and the artist of record for multiple journals and other publications. He was a great guy – I met him late in his life – and he made me laugh and cry with the stories he told me about everything it took to succeed in his profession.
29. Eat Spaghetti at Jim’s
Jim’s Spaghetti is on everyone’s list of places to go in Huntington, so it is worthwhile to note here. The place hasn’t changed in over 60 years. It is like walking into a dinner in 1950. The portions are just right – as you would expect them to be for a bygone era. The spaghetti is unique and different. It is Jim’s recipe so it might not be what you expect. Jim’s also has a dessert that takes the city by storm. In the late summer, they serve strawberry pie. The lines are long to get this, so plan your visit around this unique offering.
On my first visit to Huntington almost 30 years ago, I was taken to Jim’s. I met Jim. He gave me a piece of gum, which I thought was strange at the time, but over the years I’ve met so many people who had the same experience. That’s what Jim did for his customers. Jim’s is a classic. It is a family-oriented operation (run by Jim’s family), and they hold true to all the ideals and practices that Jim implemented way back when. Note: If you can sit in the seat that John F. Kennedy sat in, that’s an extra bonus. If not, sit anywhere. I have a friend who takes his lunch at the counter every day. Every spot in the place is special and holds a little bit of history.
30. Devour a Paula Vega Cupcake
Paula is a Huntington icon! She’s a former nurse, now a pastry master. Everyone in town is glad she made the change because she brought cupcakes to Huntington before any TV network could even think about what kind of drama they could find in the bakery business. Paula is 100 percent legit and her cupcakes, cakes, and other items are worth your time and money to eat with abandon. She has a retail location right downtown. It is open daily, but you need to get there early to make sure you get the best stuff. Go and get a pastry or a cupcake at Paula Vega Cupcakes … you’ll be glad you did it.
31. Order Onion Rings at Cam’s Ham
Cam’s Ham was founded over 60 years ago. Their specialty is sugar-flaked ham sandwiches. That in itself is a reason to visit. Where else in the world do you find a main fare offered like that? Cam’s also prides themselves in something else: hand-cut and battered onion rings. Just typing those words makes my tastebuds and mouth water. It should make you react in the same way. This place is legit – the real deal! It is the kind of place your parents and grandparents ate at when they were young. Cam’s is still family-owned. The money you spend here stays local. They are open Monday through Saturday. Go!
32. Spend the Day at Camden Park
How many communities have their own amusement park? Not many. Small-town amusement parks are really a throwback to a different era when freeways didn’t exist and travel was not something everyone did easily. Camden Park has survived the modern era. It has adapted and prospered when all their competitors shut down. Now – hidden in Central Appalachia – you can visit an amusement park that isn’t wildly expensive, is locally owned and operated, and makes a good day trip. Plus, some of their rides and experiences are right out of a big city amusement park. The great thing about Camden Park is that it is relaxing. The crowds are never so big that you wait in lengthy lines. It is fun – especially for kids who are old enough to experience the bigger rides but not so old they’re embarrassed to be seen with their parents or grandparents. The whole experience is grand. No matter your age, go and have fun. You won’t regret it!
33. Take a Show at Keith Albee
The Keith Albee is a special theatre that dates back to the Vaudeville era. It looks as if it was built in the Roaring Twenties, when the grandeur of a theatre was expected and delivered. It has been lovingly cared for over the years. Today it is the home of the Marshall Artist Series, which brings major concerts, comedians, speakers, plays, and films. If you can take in a program here, do it. The acoustics, presentation, and everything about the venue are worth your time and attention.
34. Selfie at the Memorial Arch
Built between 1924 and 1929, the Memorial Arch is located in a small area called Memorial Park. It was built by the Cabell County War Memorial Association to honor those who served the country in World War I (1914-1918). This is a grand memorial in Huntington that few people stop to appreciate or think about. A flag is usually draped and hanging in the middle of the arch. If you like photography, this is a great photo opportunity. The structure is 42 feet high and 34 feet wide and is the only triumphal style arch in the state. Note: It is the place where, current U.S. Congresswoman from the 3rd District of WV, Carol Miller announced her candidacy for the House of Representatives in 2015.
35. Beer at Davis’ Place
Davis’ Place can best be described as your local bar. There are a lot of bars in Huntington. A LOT! This one feels the most like what you would get if you were on the set of the TV show Cheers. The space is spread out over a couple of rooms. They also have outdoor seating. It is open late. Ordering wine is not advised (but they do have it) — beer and burgers is what Davis’ Place specializes in doing, and they do it well. Note: If you hit the joint between 4 and 6pm, you will see every facet of life in Huntington – bankers, nurses, union shop members, and more.
36. Buttered Coffee at Butter It Up
What in the world is buttered coffee? A health guru several years ago announced his secret recipe on the Internet. The basic idea is that buttered coffee provides long lasting energy without a blood sugar crash. There are other reasons too, and it isn’t just regular butter they add to the coffee. Stop in at Butter It Up and ask about their buttered coffee. The helpful staff will be glad to tell you about all the benefits and make you a cup. If you’ve never had it (done right), it is worth a try – especially if you get it early in the morning.
37. Get Donuts from Jolly Pirate and Camden Corner
Everyone has an opinion about donuts. That being said, Huntington has two donut shops that seem to have lasted the test of time. Jolly Pirate Donuts on Rt 60 has been around as long as I can remember. Their donuts are not light and fluffy. They are legit, cake batter, old-school donuts. Camden Corner is another place in town where the donuts are delicious. Most people don’t even know about this place in Westmoreland. It is a neighborhood convenience store that makes fresh donuts — and they’re to die for. They are filled, stuffed, and covered in sugar! Note: If you’re going to Camden Corner, get there early or the whole supply for the day will be gone.
38. Order Duck Fat Fries at Peddler
Every restaurant needs something that puts them on the map. The Peddler is fantastic for burgers and beer. They do both of those really, really well. Their fries, however, are what you come back for time and time again. They put the potatoes in duck fat then make them into fries. How cool is that! Duck FAT! The fries have a unique taste and are very worth trying – especially if you’ve never had them before. The owner of the Peddler is a young entrepreneur in Huntington, and everything he does is always excellent.
39. Buy Shoes at Robert’s Running
A locally owned shoe shop is pretty unique in most communities. If you have one, celebrate it and shop there regularly. Robert’s Running and Walking has been around for more than a decade. They specialize in high-end running and walking shoes and unique socks that people who run really like to wear. Go and talk with one of their trained sales reps and buy a pair of shoes that work for you. Then make it a point to sign up for a local race — either the Marshall Marathon or one of the many 5k events (visit Tri-State Racer or AP Timing) that take place in the Huntington area every weekend.
40. Play at Redman Bingo
Bingo! Yes — in Huntington there’s a massive building where you can play Bingo and eat and drink to your heart’s content. Visit Redman Bingo. If you win some cash, send it my way.
41. Get a Root Beer Float at Frostop
A town full of hot dog restaurants is going to be a town with fantastic root beer! The best we’ve found is at Frostop. The other great thing about this place is the giant root beer mug that spins on their roof. Make sure to get a selfie with this in the background.
Note: I personally like myself a Root Beer from Stewarts but the majority of the people I talk with really like their beer from Frostop.
42. Take Dinner at Roccos
Located in a quiet neighborhood in Kenova (just outside of Huntington), Rocco’s Restaurant is a secret place that every local knows about and goes to time and again. Here, Rocco delivers Italian and it is soooo good! Order a plate of pasta and you will find a little piece of Italy right here in the hills and valleys of western West Virginia. Note: West Virginia is rich with Italian heritage. Clarksburg hosts a huge festival each year. Huntington has a much smaller version. Both celebrate families who immigrated from the old country and made West Virginia home.
43. Order a Monte’s Special
Monte’s Pizza has been a staple of the Tri-State region for more than 30 years. Their signature order is a Monte’s Special — a large pizza, bag of chips, and a 2-liter bottle of soda for something like $22. Monte’s cuts their pizza into squares instead of slices. The pizza is good and the owners are really serious about their customer service. NOTE: Pick it up. Don’t have it delivered.
44. Meet Eduardo at Tequila Grill
My friend, Chris Miller always says that people are what make the Huntington, West Virginia, area a great place to live. If that is true, one of those people is Jose “Eduardo” Gonzalez, owner of Tequila Grill on Rt 60 toward Barboursville. His restaurant is top-notch Mexican food. This is what I want you to know about Eduardo, he is kind, nice, and humble. His success is that he’s really good at what he does and he’s made the most of that at Tequila Grill. I’ve had a lot of conversations with Eduardo over the years. Here’s what I know, he is really thankful and appreciative of the opportunities the United States has provided for him and his family. If there is such a thing as the American Dream, Eduardo is my picture of what that looks like in practicality. He is, in my mind, one of the people who make the Huntington area great.
“All the success in the world to you my friend! Thanks for always reminding me of what it means to be a good person and a successful business owner. I admire you!” – Bradley
45. Get Your Picture with Carlos
Carlos is the owner of Casa Grande Mexican Restaurant in South Point, Ohio. He is a character and a master advertiser and marketer. He is one of three brothers who each own a significant business in the region. Carlos has made delivering quality Mexican food to his customers a top priority, along with the customer service from his staff. That philosophy starts with him. Carlos makes it a point to talk with people and befriend them. He also likes to use his face to brand his restaurants. This type of advertising is all done in a way that just makes you smile, like, and respect Carlos even more.
46. Visit the Memorial Fountain
Standing as a memorial to the Marshall University football team that perished in a tragic plane crash in 1970. The Memorial Fountain sits in the heart of the Marshall campus. It is a giant copper fountain. It is worth seeing to remember the tragedy that shaped and continues to shape this area even today.
47. See the Memorial Bell
Spring Hill Cemetery is the final resting place for a number of soldiers who fought and died in the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. It is also home to the Memorial Bell Tower, which houses a 600-pound bronze bell. Stop by the administrative office for a printout of the walking tour featuring notable gravesites.
48. Walk the Paul Ambrose Trail
Created in honor of Dr. Paul Ambrose — a native of Huntington and rising political voice in the halls of Washington, D.C., who was killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks — this trail is still in progress and hasn’t been fully completed. It is currently a patchwork of trails and paths that take you all over the city of Huntington. See if you can figure out the whole trail and walk it from start to finish.
49. See the Huntington Kickball League Play
Each summer, people from all walks of life come together under the banner of the Jewel City Kickball League. The group plays on Sunday afternoons from June through August at the old Olympic Pool field (large field past the Arch, Darco, and on the other side of the Goodwill offices). Watching adults play kickball is worth your time. Find a big tree, pull up a chair underneath, and spend an hour enjoying the hilarity that ensues.
50. See a High School Game
Both Huntington High School and Spring Valley High School have a rich tradition of winning in just about every sport. There is nothing better than watching a high school football game under the lights. Basketball games — especially when the teams are good — are a blast to watch too. Make it a point to attend a game sometime. It will remind you of how great the community we live in really is!
51. Visit the Marshall Baseball Stadium
Marshall University recently announced they would be building a new baseball stadium. The project is expected to take several years to complete. Visit the site. There are signs showing where it is going to be built as you drive down 5th Ave. before you get to Stewart’s. As the building goes up — and even after — you need to stop and get your picture taken on the site. Think of it as a historical selfie.
52. Stop for Lunch on the Patio at Mountwest
This is a bit of a hidden gem in Huntington that most people don’t know exists. Venture up the hill to the campus of Mountwest Community and Technical College. There is plenty of parking. Behind the building on the first floor is a modern and beautiful sitting area. Most of the time this space is hardly used. Pack a lunch and have a nice little experience there. You will enjoy it. It’s beautiful!
53. Top the Chafin
The Chafin building is one of the tallest actively used buildings in the area. The first floor is currently being used by United Bank. While the building has been owned by a number of people over the years, it is currently owned by the Hankins Family that lives in the penthouse on the top floor. Their patio is fabulous because of the views of the city it provides. Because it is privately owned, securing an invite is a little bit tricky. You have to get invited to a party or simply ask someone in the family to give you a tour of the building and their patio. Note: the United Bank entrance is worth seeing too. It is one of the most beautiful lobbies in the area.
54. Go on an Odd Museum Tour
For a number of really good reasons, Huntington has a good little list of odd museums you can visit while in town. The Touma Medical Museum is first on this list. If you are into the history of medicine and the equipment associated with that profession, this is worth an hour or two of your time. If you have never seen it at all, you need to. It is very well done.
The Radio and Technology Museum is located just off Harvey Town Road. Take a step back in history and marvel at how radio came to life and how quickly the technology has advanced in the last century.
The Charles W. and Norma C. Carroll Gallery is located at 927 3rd Avenue, inside the Visual Arts Center downtown. Charlie and Norma Carroll are two of the coolest people you will ever meet. I think it is fitting there is a cool gallery named after them. This new gallery showcases the work of students. It is one of the galleries under Marshall’s sphere of influence. Other galleries include Galary 842 and the Birke Gallery — both of which usually have collections worth seeing.
55. Rock Out at the V Club
There is a small bar on the corner of 6th Ave and 8th Street that showcases up-and-coming bands and performers . Between Thursday and Sunday nights late, you can usually see and hear all kinds of music styles for a small cover charge. Not your thing? You should still go and get your picture taken there. The V Club is a rite of passage for all young people in the region.
56. See LaFontaine’s Tobacco and Wine Shop
LaFontaine’s is a quaint little place nestled on a side street in Huntington’s downtown. The shop is a little bit jewelry and a lot of high-end wines and humidifier with cigars. Go there and get something to enjoy!
57. Shop Kenny Queen HardwareGoing to a hardware store that has a little bit of everything, as well as staff able to help you find it, has to be one of the great joys in life. Kenny Queen’s is that place in Huntington. Located just outside the city limits on 5th Street, Queen’s is a huge ACE Hardware store. Make a trip there. The experience is great!
58. Swim at the YMCA
The Bill Noe Natatorium at the YMCA is worth your time. If you’ve never been to the big indoor pool at the YMCA, you should at least go and dip your feet in. The pool is named after one of Huntington’s super successful citizens. Bill Noe’s story is worth a quick read, especially the one published in the Huntington Quarterly.
59. Watch a Dutch Miller Commercial
Chris Miller and Wes Thompson of Dutch Miller Automotive might be the craziest and most creative people in the region. The commercials they produce for Dutch Miller Automotive are at times enough to make you laugh hilariously … turn away in disgust or embarrassment… or prompt you to want to buy a car. Whatever it is, this creative team has managed to make the region laugh and cringe for more than two decades. They’re history is all on YouTube, and some of it is comedy gold. Watch something they create, then maybe go buy a car from them so they can keep producing funny/annoying commercials.
60. Get Huntington Quarterly
Head on over to the book shop in Pullman Square and pick up a Huntington Quarterly. This magazine features really good articles and photography showcasing the area. The local paper is also worth a read as well as: a single sheet called Tidbits. You can pick up Tidbits in any shop around town. The Marshall University student paper is another local read you should pick up at least once, just to get the inside scoop on what is going on in the minds of the students on campus. Get all of them and pull up a bench at Pullman Square and have a good read.
61. Eat at GD Ritzy
This is one of the last standing GD Ritzys in the world. The chain was started back in the 1980s and grew to over 90 locations. Local Sid Torlen ran the business for a long time. It is a local haunt for many Cabell Huntington Hospital employees, and it is especially busy on Sunday afternoons after church. A new owner took over recently and has made many improvements. Get one of their salads with chicken on it. Visit and you won’t regret it.
62. Visit a Local Jewelry Store
Huntington is home to a number of family-owned and -operated jewelry stores. The owners are usually the main people working behind the counter. They are really nice and worth just stopping in to say “hello.” There is a wealth of knowledge about jewelry and history located in each of these stores. The majority of these jewelers can be visited in one quick walking trip through downtown Huntington. My recommendation is to start at C.F. Reuschlein’s shop on 3rd Ave, then cross the street and visit T.K. Dodrill in Pullman Square, then move on to Wellman O’Shea Jewelers on 10th Street. Selfie opportunity — there is a clock right outside C.F. Reuschlein. Make sure to get your picture with it!
63. Find This Guy … and say “Hi” while he’s on his smoke break
The owner of George’s Tailoring is a guy named Michael Saliba. He’s a GREAT guy. Besides his excellent tailoring skills, Michael makes it a point to take a number of smoke breaks throughout the day. He does this right in front of his shop. If you see him out there, stop and say “hello” and get your picture taken with him. He’s kinda become a Huntington landmark. The painting below is by local artist Linda Childers and can be purchased as part of a calendar at the Red Caboose Regional Artisan Center in Heritage Station.
64. Use the Shooting Range at Bare Arms
You have a 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. If you’ve never shot a gun before, you need to! Familiarize yourself with the tools they have available at this unique location. Call Bare Arms and plan your trip to use their indoor range.
65. Listen to Pastor Sam Moore Preach
Longtime public school teacher Sam Moore is a legend in Huntington. He currently serves as the senior pastor at Full Gospel Assembly. Meeting Sam and listening to him teach is a singularly unique experience. Make sure to do it at least once in your life. You will be blessed.
66. Cool Statues in Huntington
There is a Collis P. Huntington statue in front of the train station on 7th Avenue. Who was Collis P. Huntington? He is the namesake for the city. As one of the leaders in building railways across the United States, Huntington brought this area to life by bringing the railroad here. Make sure to do your research so you understand his importance in American history. You may recognize his name from the TV show Hell on Wheels. Once you do, get a shot of yourself with his statue and share it with the world.
Carter G. Woodson
There is a really nice statue of Carter G. Woodson located on Hal Greer Blvd. Woodson was a very well-known historian and author in the early part of the last century. He is known as the founder of Black History Month. Woodson was an amazing person and had direct links to West Virginia in his life. Find out more about him and then get your picture taken with his statue.
Donated by billionaire philanthropist Chris Cline before he passed away, the giant buffalos weigh 6,000 lbs each. The pedestals they sit on weigh even more. These things are really cool and worthy of a quick stop for a selfie. They sit in front of the Chad Pennington Hall of Fame which is worth a quick run through too.
The namesake of Marshall University is Supreme Court Judge John Marshall. His statue stands in the middle of campus. Marshall was a member of the House of Representatives, Secretary of State, and the fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He has no known connection to Huntington, or even West Virginia. The university was named in honor of him by friends who established the school. Marshall’s life is impressive, even with just a cursory read of his history. Much controversy has been made recently about John Marshall’s ownership of slaves.
Honorable Mention — Mothman
A quick drive north of Huntington will get you to Point Pleasant, WV, where there is a fantastic statue of the Mothman. If you haven’t been to Point Pleasant and learned about Mothman, it is worth the trip and the experience. After visiting this statue, you might believe…
67. Attend the Gala at the Huntington Museum of Art
This annual gala fundraiser takes place at the Museum itself. Each year the theme is different. The Gala is put on by a group of Museum volunteers. Tickets are hard to get because they sell out quickly and space is limited. The food is always excellent, and the bar is open. Make sure to Uber there and back. The event is a formal affair — guys need to wear tuxedos and ladies evening gowns. If you like Downton Abbey or simply want a great night on the town, this is a fantastic event. Go at least once.
68. Pizza from Backyard Pizza
Backyard Pizza is one of the area’s finest gourmet pizza spots. The space is huge. The wait staff is tattooed and young. The bar is open … the pizza: wood fired. It is worth a trip to get a slice of pizza in a cool and funky joint that highlights the new dining scene developing around the region.
69. Burger from Fat Patty’s
A city without a greasy burger joint isn’t really a place to brag about, is it? Luckily for Huntington, we have Fat Patty’s! Go there, order a burger (any burger), and enjoy!
70. Explore Artisan’s Express Designs
Over the last several years, the Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation has done a city art project called Artisan’s Express. In 2015, local artists were given fiberglass train engines to paint. In 2019, they were given boats to design. Some of those pieces still remain around town. Make it a point to find one and get your picture taken with it.
71. Learn from Chef Marty
Chef Marty wears the most quirky aprons ever but he’s super talented and committed to teaching people how to eat healthy. Chef Marty currently operates Huntington Kitchen located downtown on 3rd Avenue — a place that came to life in 2009 with the visit of Chef Jamie Oliver to do a reality TV show. Over the years, the kitchen has been run by different organizations. Today, Cabell Huntington Hospital and Marshall University share the responsibility. The kitchen is not a place you can just walk in to visit. You must start at the website and find what classes are being offered. Many times the classes are free as long as you sign up for them early. With the COVID pandemic, Chef Marty has taken his classes to the Internet. You can catch him on YouTube or Facebook. Either way, find out more about Huntington’s Kitchen and take a class. You will appreciate it!
72. Walk Black Sheep Harley
Huntington’s Harley-Davidson shop is worth a trip to visit. There is also a museum connected to the store that highlights motorcycle history. Walking through and looking at the bikes available is wildly impressive. They have a ton of gear and parts too. It is easy to get lost in there imagining yourself out on the open road. Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em is connected to the store as well. Their BBQ is some of the best in the area. Make sure to check this place out.
73. Take a Tennis Class from Laurie Mercer
Laurie Mercer is a local tennis coach and mother to state tennis champs Cassie and J.J. Mercer. She is a great coach and a legend in the area. Give her a call and get some lessons. When you do, you will join a long line of local tennis players who have learned under her tutelage.
74. Listen to the My Brother, My Brother, and Me Podcast
The McElroy family are Huntington people! The dad, Clint, was on local radio for years and also writes an article in the Huntington Quarterly. His sons — the stars of the show — got his funny and creative genes, and their podcast about life has taken off and become nationally known. WARNING: The content is a bit spicy and so is the language, but it is funny and worth listening to so you’re up-to-speed on what makes Huntington unique and cool.
75. Read Dr. Simon Perry’s Last Book
Dr. Simon Perry is one of the most highly regarded academics at Marshall. He is also a student favorite. He recently retired but published his last book in 2013 based on the actions of Presidents Jefferson and Jackson. If you can get your hands on one of Dr. Perry’s books, do it. Let his work challenge you!
76. Visit the Huntington Petsafe Dog Park
The Parks Department saw the need for a Dog Park and developed one. Located at the top of the hill behind Ritter Park and past the tennis courts, the Dog Park is a fenced 3.5-acre area for dogs to experience the best of life. This is a really cool space for animals to run wild and for owners to safely give their animals the exercise they need. If you haven’t walked a dog there or haven’t just stopped to take in how cool it is, you should. It is a fantastic space. Find out more about Huntington’s Petsafe Dog Park.
77. Play Golf at Sugarwood
Sugarwood is a family-owned golf course that is meticulously cared for and kept. The course is fun to play and beautiful. Even if you’re not a golfer, just driving out and seeing this course is worth the time. Playing there is a pleasure, and the green fees won’t break you. Enjoy it!
78. Shave and a Haircut at Jim’s Barbershop
Barbers never used to take appointments. The Barbershop was a place to sit and talk and get to know other men in the community. Somehow Jim has captured that aesthetic. Hidden away in a little section of Westmoreland is an old school barbershop called Jim’s. Go there and get a shave and a hair cut. Jim is a former law enforcement officer, and he’s well versed on just about every topic. He gives a great haircut and knows how to use a straight blade. Attention to detail is Jim’s thing. Go to Jim’s Barbershop and experience excellence!
79. Volunteer at the Food Bank and the City Mission
Serving a meal at the Huntington City Mission is a humbling experience and will remind you of how wildly blessed you really are in life. The mission always needs cash and food donations. Make sure to contact Jodi Dowell to find out what you can do to help. The Facing Hunger Food Bank is the central processing center for all food pantries in the area. The Food Bank is something everyone in the community should support in one way or another. They also need donations of cash and food. Make it a point to be a regular donor to both of these organizations. Offer your time, treasure, and talent. Both need what you can give.
80. Take a Class at Brown Dog Yoga
There are a lot of places in Huntington to take a yoga class. All of them are good. Brown Dog is exceptional. If you’ve never taken a yoga class before, you need to do it just for the experience. Make sure to call so you can attend a beginner’s class.
81. Eat an Empanada at Nomada
Nomada Bakery is the latest shop to fill the restaurant space at Heritage Station. Here’s what you need to know: This place does more than fill the space. It delivers bang for those who get to experience it. Owner and operator Ariel Barcenas is a really interesting and nice guy. See if you can get a minute with him to talk or get your picture taken with him. Make sure to order the empanadas when you go. They are delectable! This place is a gem and one of the things that makes Huntington a special place.
82. Rails & Ales Craft Beer Festival
The annual Rails & Ales Festival is a production like you won’t see in too many places. Craft brewers from all over the region descend on Huntington for this event. Tickets for the event almost always sell out the day they go on sale. When you go, you will see people you know, drink lots of little shots of craft beer and critique them, and generally have a great time. Make sure to bring a water bottle with you and hydrate during your time there.
83. Shop the Hospital Gift Shops
If you’ve ever been to a gift shop that is perfectly curated and makes you want to buy something every time you go in, then you know why these two shops have made the list. I know it sounds crazy to put a hospital gift shop on a list like this, but you can’t know how great these stores are until you see them for yourself. Owned by the respective Auxiliaries of each hospital, the shops are managed by Huntington retail guru Kim Chambers. All income from these stores goes back into the hospitals to provide better care for patients. Make sure to visit An Added Touch Gift Shop at Cabell or Madeleine’s Boutique & Unique Gifts. You can also shop online. You will be impressed at what’s available. And when you buy something, you’ll be helping people in need.
84. See Kenova’s Pumpkin House
Imagine a house covered in 3,000 pumpkins! The Griffith Pumpkin House is the centerpiece of the Ceredo-Kenova AutumnFest. It has become one of the highlights of West Virginia tourism. If you haven’t seen it, you need to. Note: Another great selfie opportunity!
85. Tour the Courthouse
The Cabell County Courthouse in Huntington has some amazing architectural features. The ceilings are stunning. Get yourself a tour and go check this place out.
86. Buy a Tie at Wright’s
There are two clothing shops in downtown Huntington that are worth the trip. Go to Wright’s Men’s Shop and buy a tie. Wright’s has been a Huntington staple since 1911. The current owner is Bill Moore and a class act. Stop in and get your picture taken with a Huntington legend. Buy something while you’re there. And be sure to walk over to Old Main Emporium to get some stylish Marshall gear. Just about everything they sell is kelly green. The owners do some great live advertising on Facebook. Stop in and buy something from them. They’re great entrepreneurs and should be celebrated for what they bring to Huntington.
87. Explore the Frederick Hotel
The Frederick Hotel is a Huntington landmark. The building is old, yet the first floor bubbles with activity between the 21 at the Frederick, Jockey Club, and the first-floor ballroom (home to City Club). The building is worth taking a walk through and looking at all the history that has been collected and displayed. Lore has it that there is a second-floor ballroom that is stunning but has never been updated. See if you can find it!
88. Take in a Little League Game
Over the years, Huntington has produced some of the best little league teams in the country. There are four leagues around city: Huntington Little League (next to Memorial Arch), Hite Saunders Little League, Vinson Little League and Ceredo-Kenova Little League. Little league baseball is part of the Huntington experience. You will find the fields perfectly groomed and the play worth watching.
89. Visit the Veterans Hospital
Named after war hero Herchel “Woody” Williams, the VA Hospital is a massive facility dedicated to providing veterans with medical care. The grounds are expansive and you are allowed to hike and explore them on your own. Visiting with a veteran is a special experience. And … make sure to call and see how volunteering works.
90. Eat at Soul Food Twist
Soul Food Twist is is NEW in Huntington, and because it is unique it made the list. What’s soul food? Good question! This is food that is traditional to African American communities throughout the United States. Let owner Joanna Williams introduce you to foods that will make your mouth water and beckon you to come back for more.
91. Attend Gerardo’s Church
Gerardo Mejía claimed fame in the early 1990s with his pop hit Rico Suave. Today, he’s left the wild life behind him and lives in Ashland, Kentucky, where he is raising a family and serves as the lead pastor of House of Grace. Take in one of his services. You will be glad you did.
92. See the Rose Garden in Bloom
Huntington is not the city of roses, but it does have a wonderful rose garden. Make sure to visit when the roses are in bloom — around the second week of June.
93. Wild Ramp
Looking for some local produce? You should! Wild Ramp is Huntington’s own local food market. Located in Huntington’s Old Central City, you can get local meat, vegetables, honey, and more. It is worth a visit. Go and see what they have to offer — it’s an excellent experience!
94. Antique Shopping in the West End
The West end of Huntington is an antique shopper’s dream. There are numerous shops chock full of everything you can imagine. If you haven’t made it a point to do a walking tour of these shops, you need to set aside a Saturday and make it a reality. You will see things you haven’t seen in years and things you never knew existed.
95. Grab a Glass of Wine at SIP
Newly relocated to downtown, SIP Wine and Whiskey Bar is the place to go to get a fine drink of any kind in Huntington. Owned and operated by local entrepreneur Allison White, SIP spent a few years at Heritage Station in a really small space. White made it work and expanded to a new location right in the middle of the COVID19 pandemic. Their selection of wines is huge with over 40 different blends from which to choose. They have 30 different whiskey selections too.
96. Tour Blenko Glass
Located about 30 minutes outside Huntington is the Blenko Glass Factory. Take a tour. See how glass is blown … and check out their historical museum.
97. Visit the Bill Campbell Room
Bill Campbell is one of the greatest golfers ever to call Huntington home. The Guyan Country Club has a whole room dedicated to his career — complete with trophies, clubs, and clothing. Because the club is private, call first to see if you can pop in and see the room.
98. Go to St. Cloud’s All Inclusive Playground
A brainchild of Kevin Brady, who led the Parks Department for the last decade, the All Inclusive Playground is a unique location for families with children on the spectrum or with physical disabilities. This is a great playground — go and see it. Celebrate that Huntington has something so unique and special. Spread the word about this place. It’s great!
99. Take Your Coffee at Grindstone
If you like coffee, you must visit Grindstone Coffeeology. Make it a point to take your drink in their metal container building. It is really beautiful. Controversy surrounds the container. It caused the City Council to lose their collective minds and ban all future container buildings in the city. For that reason alone it is worth visiting and enjoying as a giant middle finger to city government. By the way, the coffee is pretty good too!
100. Take an Interstate Walk across the 6th Street Bridge
There are very few places in the world where you can walk from one state to another in a matter of minutes. Huntington is one of those places. If you walk across the 6th Street Bridge you will have walked from West Virginia to Ohio. Now that’s an experience!
101. Eat a Homewrecker
HillBilly Hot Dog did not make my Hot Dog Trail list — for two reasons. 1) It is a long way out of Huntington, and 2) it is its own animal when it comes to hot dogs. The dog you need to try at this unique location is called the Homewrecker — one with “jalapeños, sautéed, peppers and onions, nacho cheese, habanero, chili sauce, mustard, slaw, lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese, piled high on a 15-inch, 1-pound all beef weenie in a big ol’ bun!” Visiting HillBilly Hot Dogs is really something you must do when you come to Huntington. There really isn’t any place like it. Note: This place has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives — TWICE!
102. Milton Flea Market
West Virginia and flea markets are two things that just go together. The Milton Flea Market is the king of all of them, and as such it really requires at least one visit in your lifetime. Go and see anything and everything you can imagine for sale.
And the List Can Go On…
This list is incomplete. It seems like I learn new things about the area everyday. If you have ideas or insight, let me know. Example: I’ve heard Huntington was a stop on the Underground Railroad. I don’t know where any of the stops were. Do you know? Somebody told me there are tunnels from the train station to downtown that artists used to travel but I’ve never found anything like that in my searches. I don’t think it is true. If you have an idea for this list, email me and let me know.
About the Author
When he’s not writing for a hobby or for his wife’s website, Bradley Burck is the principle fundraiser for the Mountain Health Network. Before coming to Mountain Health, he started and ran the consulting agency Burck Communications, where his specialty was helping nonprofits craft strategic development and marketing plans to maximize their fundraising efforts. Bradley is the author of two books, Conquering Nonprofit Chaos and You Can Ask. He also has a fundraising podcast on iTunes. Bradley is the co-founder of Forever Changed International, an organization that specializes in orphan care in Latin America. In addition, he has worked in management for several nonprofit organizations around the country. He has taught in the District of Columbia public schools and served as a legislative and communications assistant for two members of the United States House of Representatives. Bradley holds a B.S. in communication from Liberty University and a master’s in strategic communication from Seton Hall University. He also holds a certification in Search Engine Optimization and is a red belt in Tae Kwon Do. He sits on the boards of the Huntington City Mission, Goodwill of KYOWVA, and Covenant School. When Bradley is not working, you will find him playing Archery Tag or sitting on his back porch playing the ukulele, reading books on theology and history, talking with his daughter, or sword-fighting with his son. He and his wife, Dr. Cari Burck, have two children and make their home in Huntington, West Virginia.