The towns in West Virginia are nothing but serene and gorgeous. And, Wheeling is no exception either. The city has 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. Come on, let us take a look at the top 15 things to do in Wheeling.
Cross the Wheeling Suspension Bridge
Wheeling Suspension Bridge is not a new addition to the city. It has been here since 1849. At the time it was built the people only had one thing in mind; the 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.
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.
Take a look at Mount Wood Castle and Cemetery
Wheeling is a mysterious city. Did you know that at one point of time Wheeling was the richest 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. According to a legend, this was a dream house of a couple 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.
Snap some photos of the New Vrindaban Palace of Gold
When in Wheeling, there are some unusually amusing sights to see. The Krishna Community of the U.S has shown its marvelous vision in building this palace. And, the backdrop of the Appalachians just adds to its beauty.
The Vrindaban Palace of Gold has several beautiful attractions about it. And, 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 Archive of the Afterlife
If you are someone who is fascinated by the paranormal, we might have an excellent suggestion for you. 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 and foremost thing you will see is artifacts from the 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
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 a lot of stories about the museum.
This place has seen a lot of deaths. People were incarcerated here till the second half of the 1990s when the prison was shut down. Most of 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
If you are near the penitentiary area, we have another place you might like 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 which provides insight into the ancient Adena culture.
The creation date of this mound dates back to around 250-150 BCE. Nearly 60,000 tons of dirt was shifted to create this mound.
Everything about this mound is an assumption but scientists have excavated traces of bodies being buried here. Go around, take a look, and see how the marvels of ancient architecture work!
Pray at the Blue Church
The Blue Church is one of the most aesthetic blocks of architecture here 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.
Also, 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 to be built 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 heart of the city. Located inside the Oglebay Park, this zoo attracts a lot of visitors.
Not only are you going to find local species of animals, 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 do with your kids.
Take a walk along the Madonna of the Trail
Not every historical story has to be about strong men finding things and protecting their families. Some stories are of the 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.
Madonna of the Trail pays its respects to these courageous women. There are, in fact, 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 are going to 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.
Do not miss the historical First State Capitol building
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 State Capitol Building was meant to be the very first of its kind. It was constructed in 1858 but it came to be used as the State Capitol Building in 1875. It still holds the title of being the state's first official capitol building.
There are other significant stories too, but if you want to know in detail, you might as well pay a visit to the Wheeling Academy of Law and Science Foundation, which is based in this building, to learn more.
Fill up on some 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.
We thought of you and decided to search for some of the best restaurants in the city. In fact, Wheeling has some of the most incredible food locations and diners in the area. But, we realized you might want a twist from the traditional American hamburger once in a while.
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. Yes, you get to have that authentic Italian taste in your mouth during your vacation in Wheeling.
Spend a morning at the Oglebay Park
If you are looking for some quiet time inside the city, Oglebay Park is an excellent option to sit back, relax, and take in the city’s beauty. The park is enormous and extends across 1650 acres. Also, you can take part in many activities if you are bored.
The park has golf courses as well as tennis courts. There’s even a pool inside. If you want to go on a little bit of an adventure, go on a hike. There are a couple of hiking trails that 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.
Go for a quick walk in the Wheeling Park
Wheeling Park is a worthy alternative for Oglebay Park, but the best thing about this one is its Olympic-sized pool. 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 in proximity to the White Palace and the Good Lake, the park is pretty popular with tourists. There are several pavilions in here too and it offers some fantastic picnic locations.
Visit the Cathedral of St. Joseph
Before you visit this church and learn all about its history, we might as well warn you about the 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 is nowhere near the end of its construction. The cathedral has undergone a lot of renovations and after a lot of re-designing 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 some pictures of the infamous Mingo Native American Statue
When you look to the top of the Wheeling Hill, this brilliant creation will catch your eye. An ode to all the Mingo Native Americans, the statue stands here as a marvelous work of art.
When you go up the hill, you will be able to see the man more clearly. He is a native who welcomes and opens his land for the immigrants to use and stay at. He is dressed up in his traditional clothes. The warm hospitality of the man is worthy of mentioning, which is the gesture that has been portrayed through the statue.
Unfortunately, this is the end of our list. We hope that we were able to hold your attention and offer some additions to your to-do lists. We shall be back with another destination soon, traveler! Bon Voyage!