In a Nutshell: Morgantown is home to West Virginia University [the Mountaineers]. It is a college town that is divided into two campuses: Downtown and Evansdale. Downtown is more of freshman students and frat houses with great proximity to the bars. Evansdale is more of upperclassmen and places that might be better to drive to. Morgantown is one of my favorite cities due to great nightlife, food, entertainment, loyalty, character, and charm. It is growing like crazy because countless people feel the same way.
Best Time To Go [and why]: Autumn. Students party more in the fall than the winter because winter is cold and students have finals to crack down on. Also, students are back in probably their favorite city and ready to celebrate their return. Therefore, the nightlife in the fall is the best. In addition, fall is football season and Morgantown is nuts for Mountaineer football! There is tailgating, parties, bars, and much more.
My favorite event near Morgantown in late summer to early fall is the Wine and Jazz Festival. It is always held around September 18th at Camp Muffly [which is no more than a 15 minute drive from Morgantown]. It used to cost $15 but it’s now $20 because of its popularity; it’s definitely worth $20! For your 20 bucks you get a wine glass, free sampling all day from Wineries in West Virginia and the surrounding states, and great jazz music. Bring a blanket and chairs, go early to claim a spot in the field, and enjoy! It’s such a great time!
Click HERE to visit the WV Wine and Jazz Festival Website for more details!
Night Life: Morgantown is amazing because no matter what you’re in to, it’s there.
“Old Man Bars” – There are local dive bars that hold about 20 people. You walk in and the music stops while you get stared at by the locals with sweat pants and holes and stains in their 30 year old T-shirt.
Dance Clubs – There are a few to choose from but I think that Bent Willey’s is the best. There are different types of music in each room ranging from rap, dance, and an 80s room. There’s a deck outside that’s nice to grab some air to cool off after dancing and they put heaters out there for the colder months. If you get there before 11pm, then it’s free cover [and used to be free drinks].
Martini Bars – There a few but the one that’s been around the longest and is the biggest is called The Vintage Room [which is located right below Bent Willey’s]. There is no cover, but you need to dress appropriately [no ripped jeans, etc.]. I think their happy hour specials are buy one martini, get one free, and their food is really good as well.
Live Music – at 123 Pleasant Street and Gibbies
Wings – Buffalo Wild Wings, Chic-N-Bones, Keglers… but I suggest Mario’s Fish Bowl. It’s not on the main drag downtown, but it’s worth going to. It’s not a chain [which is always a plus for me], has a ton of character, has the best wings, drinks come in fish bowls, prices are great, it’s off the beaten path so you don’t get the drunk freshman students stumbling in, and I think it’s one of Morgantown’s originals.
Gay Bars and Strip Clubs
Click HERE for a complete list of Morgantown Bars
Keglers has a bowling alley below it
Movies – ask the student box office, in the Mountain Lair, about movies playing. I think they’re free for students, but really cheap to the general public
“Up All Night” – WVU didn’t like the reputation of being the number one party schools for so many years, so they created a program called “Up All Night” which was designed as an alternative to going downtown and drinking. It runs on the weekends until about 3am with something new to do each weekend: bumper cars, sand art, T-shirt making, etc… and there is always free food. This was a good idea, in theory, but in reality this program turned into more of “Feed the Drunks.” Students still go downtown and party, and then go to Up All Night at about 2:30am to participate in drunk bumper cars and drunk standard and then get free food. Nevertheless, it’s fun. However, if you’re in Morgantown, want to experience Up All Night, and you’re not a student, no worries: just get in line and as a student if you can be their “guest.” Students are allowed to bring in 1 guest so just walk in with them and then as soon as you’re through the door, say thank you and wander on your own.
Hiking/Camping – Cooper’s Rock is about a 15 drive outside of Morgantown [east on 68]. It’s a great place for a picnic, a short or long hike, rock climbing [mainly bouldering] and camping. There’s a very pretty lookout with parking right near it so the elderly or the handicapped enjoy the scenery as well. Again, my favorite time to enjoy this is during the fall because of the changing of the leaves.
Food: I think that Morgantown has some of the best food. I’ve eaten just about everywhere in Morgantown since I didn’t cook too often… My top restaurants are Hibachi [for sushi], Texas Road House [for amazing rolls with cinnamon butter], Cheddars [has an amazing Monte Crisco sandwich that is deep fried and served with real jam], and Boston Beanery [has great curly fries and Southwest sauce].
Getting Around: Morgantown has a bus system [which I’ve never ridden], but also the PRT [Person Rapid Transit]. The PRT is great – it’s free for students and only costs about 50 cents for everyone else. It’s a monorail type of system that connects the two campuses. The PRT does not run on Sundays and gets very crowded to and from football games.
Where To Stay: I have found that the Friend’s Inn [on the Evansdale Campus] is the cheapest most of the year. It’s not the closest to the bars downtown at all so if that is important to you, you’d need to look in other hotels. During footballs games, however, all of what was previous mentioned changes: It is expensive, but the best location. It’s the closest to the football stadium [you can see the stadium from the parking lot], but because of this great location, you pay for it – prices are more than three times the normal rate.