The East End boasts a plethora of parks, green space galore, and plenty of opportunities to get outside and be active, all without even having to get in your car. The city’s most walkable neighborhood not only offers all the amenities necessary for urban life, but more than ample opportunity to relax, recharge, visit, and exercise within a short stroll from home. Whether you’re looking for safe, flat bike path or jogging trail, a space for Fido to run and play with other local pooches, or just a quiet bench to sit and meditate in the midst of the urban bustle, the East End is your place to be. Learn about our various parks and green spaces here.
The Capitol Complex occupies 16 beautifully-landscaped acres in the heart of the East End historic district. Aside from its extensive footpaths and seating, it also features a great variety of public art, monuments, and cultural opportunities. Located between Greenbrier and California Streets.
Located in the heart of the East End’s bustling business district is the Ruth Rafferty Peyton Dog Park, the Kanawha Valley’s only dog park. Conceived of and built by East End Main Street in a partnership with the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, who owns the lot, and the City of Charleston Dept. of Parks & Rec., who maintains it, the park is intended to give dogs from the neighborhood and around the Valley space to run and play. The park is fully fenced-in and features a covered pavilion, water, a pet waste bag dispenser, and benches for dog owners to relax. A neighborhood landmark and a favorite of dog-lovers from all over the area, the dog park is also the best vantage from which to enjoy Chris Dutch’s dog-themed mural, “Double-Dog Star”. Located at the corner of Washington St., East and Maxwell St.
The Living AIDS Memorial Garden is one of the City’s most beautifully-landscaped plots, right in the heart of the bustling Washington Street corridor. Built in the late 1990s in remembrance of those who have died of AIDS and to provide a place of reflection for survivors and those struggling with the disease, the garden features tables, benches, a meandering brick footpath, and an extensive array of beautiful flowers, shrubs, and trees. Located at the corner of Washington St., East and Sidney Ave. http://www.livingaidsmemorialgarden.org/
Charleston’s oldest park was dedicated in 1920, and to this day is a quiet, contemplative space with a beautiful view of the Kanawha River. The park was actually once a graveyard (130 of the City’s early leaders are still buried here), though the only apparent memorial honors the memory of the Kanawha Riflemen, who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Located on the 1500 block of Kanawha Blvd., just west from Elizabeth St.
The East End and the entire city of Charleston run along the length of the Kanawha River, and there is plenty of recreational opportunity along its banks. A walking/biking path along the top of the bank is a favorite of runners, dog-walkers, and residents enjoying an evening stroll. Another sidewalk halfway down the bank brings you closer to the river’s surface and removes you from the activity of Kanawha Boulevard. As Charleston is nestled deep in the Appalachian Mountains, the riverfront is one of the few places in town to properly view the sun set. Together, the two trails provide a safe, scenic, and uninterrupted conduit from past the State Capitol to downtown and beyond for pedestrians and bikers.
West Virginia’s largest cemetery and one of the most stunning views in the Kanawha Valley, Spring Hill Cemetery has been in operation for more than 130 years. Located on 150 acres on a hill overlooking the East End and Charleston, the cemetery is the eternal home of many early city leaders, including former governors, senators, and Civil War heroes, many of whom are commemorated by architecturally-significant and impressive monuments. Accessed by Farnsworth Drive near Morris St. and Piedmont Ave. http://cityofcharleston.org/government/city-departments/spring-hill-cemetery
One of the city’s newest green spaces graces one of the most heavily-trafficked entrances to the city, across Washington Street from the Clay Center and just blocks from the heart of downtown. Designed by Andropogon Associates, of Philadelphia, a leader in sustainable design, the space was dedicated in 2010 to one of Charleston’s leading supporters of educations, the arts, and beautification. The site features stacked terraces that establish a backdrop resembling the southern Appalachian Mountains, a rocky stream fed by recycled rooftop storm-water, and a small forest of native plants. Retaining walls provide nearly unlimited seating and interesting views of downtown and the surrounding mountains. Located at Washington St., E. and Leon Sullivan Way.
The City of Charleston’s newest park is still in its first phase, but already is proving popular with East End residents. It features an entryway with an iron arch overhead, a walkway of pavers and concrete leading into the park, seating, planters, space for public art, and a pavilion at the end of the walkway. A paved walkway around the park’s large green space will be added in the second phase. Located on Dixie St. near the corner of Nancy St.
Across Leon Sullivan Way from the Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral is a small, beautifully-landscaped meditation garden. Nestled in between three of the city’s most beautiful churches, the garden features meandering paved footpaths, ample seating, landscaped trees, shrubs, and flowers, and two gorgeous bronze sculptures by John Collier depicting scenes from scripture. Located at the corner of Leon Sullivan Way and Virginia Street.
Robert L. Porter Park
Tucked away in a calm corner of the East End, the Robert L. Porter Park is a quiet space where neighbors gather for picnics and barbecues, birthday parties, and other community events. A small, fenced-in yard is adorned with benches, a pavilion, and picnic benches to seat all your friends. Donated to and maintained by the City of Charleston, this park is often locked when there is no event taking place; nearly all residents of Thompson Street have a key. Located at 908 Thompson St., between Piedmont Ave. and Hansford St.