Where to go and what to do in Morgantown.
Best Yoga Studio and Best Gym
Personal trainer Leanne DiAngelo wanted a studio that offered a variety of classes all in one place and, less than two years ago, she made it a reality just across Cheat Lake with Cycle Fusion. With beginner to advanced cycling classes, yoga and AIReal yoga with hammocks, and three-week Circuit Shred and six-week Boot Camp programs as well as semi-private and private personal training, Cycle Fusion gives you lots of ways to meet your individual goals. Exciting offerings like cycle workout tracking and progression leaderboards keep you motivated and make sweating fun. Expect convenient scheduling, state-of-the-art fitness equipment, a team of skilled trainers and instructors, and full men’s and women’s locker rooms with showers— all reasons BOM voters chose Cycle Fusion as Best Gym/Fitness Facility and Best Yoga Studio this year. Check the website or download the Cycle Fusion app to see the upcoming class schedule and register (170 Lakeview Drive, 304.594.5126, cyclefusionwv.com, @cyclefusionwv on Facebook).
Best Dance Studio
Kat & Co Dance Studio
Kat & Company works with dancers ages 3 to 18 in styles from ballet, jazz, and tap to modern, contemporary, and hip hop, plus gymnastics and acrobatics. Students perform in The Nutcracker each fall in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and at the West Virginia Dance Festival in Charleston in the spring. Studio owner Katreena Snyder grew up dancing in Morgantown, then danced in Connecticut but returned to Morgantown to open her own studio in 1993. Twenty-seven years later, she and her staff, numbering around 10 these days, have helped hundreds of young women build strength, grace, and confidence. Annual registration takes place in August—mark your calendar (9 Brookstone Plaza, Green Bag Road, 304.291.5287, katandco.com, @katandcodance on Facebook.)
Best Live Performance Theater – TIE
The Metropolitan Theatre & WVU Creative Arts Center
Opened in 1924, the 1,300-seat Metropolitan Theatre was a vaudeville venue designed after New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. The Met’s stage hosted luminaries like The Andrews Sisters, Duke Ellington, and Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Theatergoers can no longer be dazzled by the Met’s four spectacular 2,700-piece Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers—those melted in a 1930 fire—but the city and generous patrons have restored the theater in recent years to near its one-time glory. It now hosts everything from local dance troupes to nationally touring music groups and theater performances in Roaring Twenties style (373 High Street, 304.291.4884, morgantownmet.com).
The 1968 Creative Arts Center at WVU is celebrated year after year by BOM voters, and for good reason. One of Morgantown’s most iconic structures, it offers four intimate venues, including an exciting thrust-style theater. All of that is capped by the grand 1,440-seat Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre, a versatile stage that supports performers with up-to-date technology and theatergoers with comfort and good sight-lines. CAC patrons enjoy everything from community dramatic presentations and university recitals to touring Broadway productions and live recording of Mountain Stage radio show performances (1 Fine Arts Drive, theatre.wvu.edu/aboutus/facilities).
Best Tattoo Shop
Patty’s Art Spot
It’s all about the art at Patty’s. Beyond the awesome body art—unique, custom tattoos as elaborate as anyone could want as well as piercing and body modification—the walls at both shops are hung with original art works. Plus jewelry, rogue socks, West Virginia string art, and more (1836 Listravia Avenue, 304.598.0190; 425 Beechurst Avenue, 304.292.2885; pattysartspot.com, @pattysartspot on Facebook).
Best Local Fundraising Event
Empty Bowls Soup and Bread Luncheon
This fundraiser may take place once every February, but it’s a year-long labor of love. Do-gooders make monetary contributions or volunteer their time, artisans and school kids paint ceramic bowls, and restaurants donate soup and bread. This year’s luncheon is February 29 at Mylan Park. Each guest leaves with one of the empty, hand-painted bowls to serve as a reminder of food insecurity. Funds raised go toward local church charities, food pantries, and feeding programs (ebmon.org, @emptybowlsmon on Facebook).
Best Radio Station
“Hey Alexa—play WKKW.” The humorous and larger-thanlife radio DJs at WKKW have a flair for entertainment and fun. 97.9 WKKW is a mainstream country radio station that plays both current and throwback hits that listeners love. The station has some of the best talent and programming in the region: WKKW was awarded Best Morning Show by the West Virginia Broadcasters Association in both 2018 and 2019.
But WKKW is first and foremost a community radio station. The station gives away more than $25,000 in concert tickets, plus other huge prizes, to fans in any given year. For the latest on local weather, people, and issues, catch 97.9 WKKW on the air, online, on the station’s app, or anywhere you listen to the radio (97.9, wkkwfm.com, @979wkkw on Facebook).
Best Family Fun Venue
The WOW! Factory
Beat the boredom—check out The WOW! Factory. Exploring hands-on activities like pottery painting, clay hand-building, glass fusing, and canvas painting, everyone in the family will be wowed.
The WOW! Factory’s more than 60 regular and 28 specialty paints let everyone’s imagination run wild. And parents don’t need to sit it out, either—if your children finish creating before you do, they can play in the indoor playroom while you complete your project. The best part? All of the supplies are already at the studio, and clean-up is taken care of by staff members.
In addition to the many activities that are available to walk-ins at any time, The WOW! Factory offers workshops like Story Painting and Kids Kanvas that include project assistance provided by a staff member. You will receive the parent of the year award—stress-free. The studio has projects geared toward all skill levels and budgets.
While you’re at it, leave the party planning to them. Host your child’s birthday party at the studio for the quietest birthday party you’ll ever throw. It’s no question why kids and parents alike love The WOW! Factory (3453 University Avenue, 304.599.2969, wowfactoryonline.com, @thewowfactorywv on Facebook).
Monongalia Arts Center
The serene, well-lit Benedum Gallery at the Monongalia Arts Center has hosted hundreds of exhibits, from painting and fiber arts to ceramics, sculpture, and even electronic media, over 40-plus years. The Davis Gallery upstairs offers two studios and a hallway for larger or more complex exhibits. MAC exhibits rotate frequently and are popular Arts Walk stops—but check the active calendar of performances and workshops, too (107 High Street, 304.292.3325, monartscenter.com, @monartscenter on Facebook).
Balloons Over Morgantown
No matter your age, when you see a giant hot air balloon flying overhead, you smile. That’s why people love Balloons Over Morgantown— it’s fun, it’s surprising, and it’s exciting, everything a Best Festival should be.
Each year thousands of people gather in Morgantown to watch the balloons go up, up, and away over Morgantown. In 2019, they flew near Woodburn Hall, University Town Center, the Mon River, and other locations.
Everyone’s favorite part of Balloons Over Morgantown? NightGlow. NightGlow kicks off the festival weekend, and in 2019 it was hosted at the Morgantown Mall. At NightGlow, pilots inflate balloons and keep them tethered to the ground, and then attendees get to walk around and speak with the pilots and see the balloons up close and personal. After the sun goes down is when the balloons show off their true colors—real magic.
Spectators aren’t the only ones with high spirits; the pilots have them too. “The pilots love coming to Morgantown, because we’re typically the last event of the year,” says Sarah Claydon, who coordinates the event. “They also love the difficult topography and, most of all, the people.” Throughout the weekend, people are eager to help and interact with the pilots, which makes for an energetic environment.
Davisson Brothers Band
If you don’t know the Davisson Brothers Band by now, you should. They’ve been topping music charts, and BOM charts, for years. Here are the DBB fast facts:
- Yes, the bandmates include brothers. Guitarist Chris and lead vocalist Donnie Davisson got their start jamming with their father as Ed Davisson and Sons, though their family’s musical legacy spans even further back with generations of talented folk.
- DBB may have Clarksburg roots, but the band is especially popular in the land Down Under. The first introductory episode of the reality TV show “The Davissons” aired in Australia this past July.
- The band’s songs, including “Unbreak You” and “Po’ Boyz,” are Southern rock anthems that speak about all-American grit and persistence.
Best Music Venue
123 Pleasant Street
The nightclub at 123 Pleasant Street has been an outlet and an inspiration since the 1980s. You can catch a show there many nights a week all year ’round: local bands and touring acts, album release parties and benefit concerts, hard core late shows and PopShop performances by young musicians. And the calendar spans all genres, everything from punk to reggae to bluegrass and beyond, including comedy, poetry, and magic. 123 is a club with deep roots in Morgantown’s music scene, a hub where mainstream and underground interests of all kinds intersect. Its layout is part of its charm—the central stage and dance floor is flanked by rooms with bars and varied seating, meaning everyone find the niche they’re in the mood for. 123 Pleasant Street is a watering hole, a musical mecca, and a community (123 Pleasant Street, 304.292.0800, 123pleasantstreet.com, @123pleasantstreet on Facebook).