20 Best Things to Do in Wheeling, WV

20 Best Things to Do in Wheeling, WV
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The towns in West Virginia are nothing but serene and gorgeous, and Wheeling is no exception.

Known as the Friendly City, it boasts an interesting history and it can be quite a relaxing vacation destination.

When you are done with the historical sightseeing around town, do not forget to check out the natural sights.

Here's a list of the best things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia:

Cross the Wheeling Suspension Bridge

Wheeling Suspension Bridge
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Wheeling Suspension Bridge is not a new addition to the city; it has been here since 1849.

When it was built, the people only had one thing in mind: that Wheeling Suspension Bridge was supposed to be the largest one of its kind.

It connects Wheeling Island to Wheeling and stands there as a work of art.

Half of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge
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Running above the Ohio River, the bridge provides some of the most attractive opportunities to take a picture.

If you want to capture some gorgeous shots for your social media, park your car and walk across the bridge.

Take a look down at the mighty river flowing down and snap some of the best shots of your vacation right here.

Aerial view of Wheeling Suspension Bridge
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Take a Look at the Mount Wood Castle and Cemetery

Wheeling is a mysterious city.

Did you know that at one point in time, Wheeling was the wealthiest city per capita in America?

Unfortunately, it does not hold that position anymore.

Back in the days, Wheeling even had some notorious gangsters, who made a lot of money off of the ships and the industries of the region.

Mount Hood Overlook, or just as the locals call it “the Castle,” is another location in Wheeling steeped in profound mystery.

Legend has it this was a couple's dream house, but when the lady died, her lover couldn’t take it upon himself to continue building it.

A doctor did stay here at one point in history, but the property now falls under the "donated" category.

The structure is ethereal, and you can catch a good glance at the entire city from this location.

Pray at the Blue Church

The Blue Church is one of the most aesthetic blocks of architecture in Wheeling.

You might even think of it as a tribute to the original Greek Revival style of architecture—and, indeed, the design has to be called a work of art.

There are several stories associated with the Blue Church in Wheeling.

Wheeling faced a lot of destruction during the Civil War.

You will not see many buildings that made it through the war.

In such a scenario, Blue Church plays a significant role as it was one of the earliest buildings built in Wheeling.

Since it was constructed in 1837, it has seen a lot of ups and downs in its lifetime.

It has even undergone a lot of renovations.

So, unfortunately, you will not be able to see the original version of the church as it used to be.

Take a Peek at the Good Zoo

The Good Zoo is a beautiful family-friendly location in the city's heart.

Located inside Oglebay Park, this zoo attracts a lot of visitors.

Not only are you going to find local species of animals, but there is also no shortage of exotic animals from around the globe.

Animals of over 50 different species have been flown in from all over the world, and you can learn new things about them here.

It will be a fun activity to enjoy with your kids.

Take a Walk Along the Madonna of the Trail

Statue at Madonna of the Trail
Brorson at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Not every historical story has to be about strong men finding things and protecting their families.

Some stories are of brave women who did not let the shackles of society stop them from doing something.

Many such women went beyond their limit to find new places for settlement and established their entire community or group in that region.

The Madonna of the Trail pays its respects to these courageous women.

There are 12 statues dedicated to the women who played a leading role in establishing communities.

These statues were commissioned by the Daughters of the American Revolution and placed in each of the 12 states along the National Old Trails Road.

In Wheeling, you will find one of these statues located in the downtown area.

In the National Road Corridor Historic District lies the monument of a woman with a baby in her hands.

Visit the Historical First State Capitol Building

The First State Capitol Building, also known as Linsly Institute Building, is an important historical site in Wheeling.

So if you are a history buff, this should be extra interesting for you.

The First State Capitol Building was meant to be the very first of its kind.

It was constructed in 1858 but only came to be used as the State Capitol Building in 1875.

It still holds the title of the state's first official capitol building.

There are other significant stories, too; if you want to learn more, pay a visit to the Wheeling Academy of Law and Science Foundation, which is based in this building.

Fill Up on Italian food at Undo’s Family Restaurant

Good food is essential for every vacation.

You won’t enjoy a trip if you do not have some delicious food in your stomach.

Fortunately, Wheeling has some of the most incredible food locations and diners in the area.

Undo’s Family Restaurant is one of the oldest in the city.

Jenny and Undo Sparachane opened up this place with dreams of serving people some of the best Italian dishes.

So, yes—you get to savor authentic Italian flavors during your vacation in Wheeling.

Spend a Morning at the Oglebay Park

Oglebay Park
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If you are looking for some quiet time inside the city, Oglebay Park is an excellent place to sit back, relax, and take in the city’s beauty.

The park is enormous and extends across 1,650 acres.

Also, you can take part in many activities here.

The park has golf courses and tennis courts; there’s even a pool inside.

Waterfall stream at Oglebay Park
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If you want to go on a little bit of an adventure, you can also go on a hike.

There are a couple of hiking trails inside the park.

Even the Good Zoo is located here.

If you are looking for a room to stay in, Wilson Lodge is right here, with plenty of space available throughout the year.

View from under a waterfall at Oglebay Park
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Go for a Quick Walk in Wheeling Park

Wheeling Park is a worthy alternative to Oglebay Park, but its Olympic-sized pool is the best thing about this one.

Have some fun with your friends or family in this pool on a warm summer day.

If you are not much of a water person, you can always get on with the golf course.

The course is massive, too.

There are even tennis courts here.

Since it is near the White Palace and the Good Lake, the park is pretty popular among tourists.

There are several pavilions here, too, and they offer some fantastic picnic locations.

Visit the Cathedral of St. Joseph

Before you visit this church and learn about its history, you should also know about its marvelous architecture.

Yes, the architecture is something that tourists gaze at for a minute.

Being the home of the Bishop of the Catholic Church, the Cathedral of St. Joseph is an important spot here in Wheeling.

The first building was constructed in 1820, but that was nowhere near the end of its construction.

The cathedral has undergone many renovations; after after a lot of redesigning and re-construction, what you now see was finalized!

The interior is splendidly decorated with mesmerizing paintings and designs.

The Cathedral is open to everyone.

Snap Photos of the Infamous Mingo Native American Statue

Mingo Native American Statue
MandellBrad, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When you look to the top of Wheeling Hill, this brilliant creation will catch your eye.

An ode to all the Mingo Native Americans, the statue stands as a marvelous work of art.

When you go up the hill, you will see the man more clearly.

He is a native who welcomes and opens his land for the immigrants to use and stay.

He is dressed up in his traditional clothes.

His warm hospitality is worthy of mentioning, which is portrayed through the statue.

Catch World-Class Performances at the Capitol Theatre

Exterior of Capitol Theatre
Carol M. Highsmith (https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/res/482_high.html), CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Capitol Theatre, West Virginia's largest theater, was established in 1928.

Theatergoers today have the opportunity to witness Broadway productions, bands, and other live performances.

Renting out the theater is an option for those looking for a sophisticated setting with plenty of room.

Details of the Capitol Theatre
Carol M. Highsmith (https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/res/482_high.html), CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Grand Ballroom is a popular choice for elegant wedding receptions.

The facility is ADA compliant and provides security and stringent conduct standards to ensure everyone has a memorable experience.

The Capitol Theatre's radio shows, which are broadcasted live to the public, set it apart from other theaters.

Tour the West Virginia Independence Hall

Built just before the Civil War, this striking structure served as a government headquarters long before West Virginia was formally recognized as the 35th state.

This $96,000 hand-cut sandstone structure opened in 1859 and housed the Wheeling Custom House, post office, and federal court.

The Custom House's facilities played a crucial role in the statehood campaign by offering federal military protection, a venue for hot political debates, and a location for constitutional convention sessions.

The wrought-iron and stone structure of the building's construction is remarkable.

The hall features exhibits showcasing the building's history and how it impacted the individuals after the civil war.

There is a permanent display dedicated to Civil War history and the building's significance in the Civil War era on the first level.

Explore the Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum

Visitors will experience nostalgia with the exhibits, which feature vintage toys and train-related memorabilia.

On top of that, there is much more to explore.

As guardians of a region's railway heritage, this museum preserves toys people remember from their youth and collects them for future generations.

See life-size trains which served the area decades ago.

People of all ages may enjoy the exhibitions that feature working railway engines.

The museum also has an extensive collection of miniatures, toy soldiers, Western-themed items, and more for guests to explore.

Additionally, the museum hosts several public activities throughout the year.

Check Out the Stunning Glassworks at Oglebay Institute Glass Museum

In 1990, one out of every 10 in the Wheeling workforce was involved in the glass business.

So it isn't surprising that about half of America's pressed-glass dinnerware was produced here.

The Glass Museum at Oglebay Institute pays homage to Wheeling's rich glass and china history with an impressive collection of more than 3,500 pieces.

Here, you will find the world's most enormous cut glass bowl, the Sweeney Punch Bowl.

In OI's glass studio, visitors may see and participate in glassmaking demonstrations and seminars.

Visitors may study and experience Wheeling's history while admiring the Museums' collection of historic buildings and landscapes.

Its glassmaking classes are an excellent option for those who want to learn the craft of glassmaking in a hands-on environment.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Snap Photos of Prabhupada's Palace of Gold

New Vrindaban Palace of Gold
Wendy van Overstreet / Shutterstock.com

When in Wheeling, there are some unusually amusing sights to see nearby—Prabhupada's Palace of Gold is one of them.

The Krishna Community of the US has shown its marvelous vision by building this palace, and the backdrop of the Appalachians adds to its beauty.

The first thing that will catch your eyes is its magnificent structure and design.

Nicknamed “America’s Taj Mahal,” it is the best of ISKCON.

The palace was modified and restored multiple times, and what you see now is the best version of the palace.

Get Spooked at the Archive of the Afterlife

If you are someone who is fascinated by the paranormal, here's an excellent suggestion for your Wheeling itinerary.

The Archive of the Afterlife, which bills itself as the National Museum of the Paranormal, is the spookiest spot in the area.

It does not lie in the city bounds, but a short drive to Moundsville will take you to the exact location.

The first things you will see are artifacts from the Second World War.

There are a lot of artifacts from the terrible war that have found their way here.

A lot of odd stories and rumors are associated with the museum.

Check Out the West Virginia Penitentiary

West Virginia Penitentiary
Raeann Davies / Shutterstock.com

This is yet another terrifying place in Wheeling.

The old West Virginia State Penitentiary, a stunning Gothic-style building, is close to the Archive of Afterlife.

You can check it out after you are done with the spooky stories and objects at the museum.

You will notice that the prison contributes to many stories about the museum.

Aerial view of the West Virginia Penitentiary
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This place has seen a lot of deaths.

People were incarcerated here until the second half of the 1990s, when the prison was shut down.

Most death sentences were carried out by hanging.

A lot of spooky stories have come to be associated with this prison.

Learn About Ancient Burials at Grave Creek Mound

Grave Creek Mound
aceshot1 / Shutterstock.com

If you are near the penitentiary area, this is another place you might want to visit.

Herein lies the largest conical-type burial mound in the United States.

The Grave Creek Mound might look like a big grassy mound at first glance, but it is an important historical site that provides insight into the ancient Adena culture.

The creation date of this mound dates back to around 250-150 BCE.

A grave mound at Grave Creek Mound
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Nearly 60,000 tons of dirt were shifted to create this mound.

Everything about this mound is an assumption, but scientists have excavated traces of bodies buried here.

Go around, take a look, and see how the marvels of ancient architecture work!

A statue at Grave Creek Mound
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Final Thoughts

The Friendly City is an ideal weekend getaway because of its Victorian beauty, quaint charm, and soul-satisfying cuisine.

When it comes to getting away from the hustle and bustle of the large metropolis, Wheeling is an excellent choice for history buffs and those looking to escape the big-city bustle.