Plan a shopping spree, a romantic winter getaway, or a snowy family adventure in West Virginia’s first capital city.
written by Donna Herto
Photographed by nikki Bowman Mills
Wheeling is a nearby destination for an eclectic mix of fun, food, and forty winks. Less than 90 minutes from Morgantown by way of interstates 79 and 70, it’s easy to find when you’re ready for the adventure.
The sights, sounds, and stakes of Wheeling deliver thrills, no matter the season. Famous for its miles of twinkling colors, Oglebay’s Festival of Lights attracts more than a million visitors each year. Displays shine brightly from November into January with more than one million LED lights. The Wheeling Symphony Orchestra enriches the area’s cultural life with performances at The Capitol Theatre and outdoor concerts. The Wheeling Park District hosts various happenings throughout the year, such as Wine and Yoga, Holiday Hoopla, and Happy Noon Year. The excitement never stops at Wheeling Island Gaming, from the casino to greyhound racing. Public ice skating at the J.B. Chambers Memorial Ice Rink takes place through March, and it’s perfect for a lesson, amateur hockey, or a birthday party. If pros on skates are more your thing, secure a single-game seat or season ticket for hockey with the Wheeling Nailers.
Start at historic Centre Market, which houses a myriad of local purveyors and hidden gems. You’ll find everything from cigars and crystals to antiques, accessories, and apparel. A short stroll away is The Wheeling Artisan Center Shop, which showcases local craft masters who focus on products made in West Virginia, Appalachia, and the U.S. Browse, shop, and gift the creations of East Wheeling Clayworks’ talented throwers and potters for distinctive pieces for the kitchen and garden. The short drive to Oglebay delivers shops offering skincare products, Fiesta Tableware, gourmet chocolates, golf apparel, and distinctive glassware, including hummingbird feeders and olive oil dispensers. When looking for your familiar favorites outside of downtown, be sure to hit the shops at The Highlands.
You’ll be delighted with crepes for breakfast at Later Alligator in Centre Market. Make lunch an outing to Good Mansion Wines, where the tastings, deli, and an on-site bakery delight with sandwiches on fresh-made baguettes served with a side of mother-in-law tongue crackers. The famous Coleman’s Fish Market serves up sandwiches, alligator soup, chowder, and oysters six days a week. Figaretti’s ravioli menu, steaks, and Italian specialties will satisfy your Old World hunger, and the handcrafted fare at the Vagabond Kitchen will put a satisfied smile on your face at dinner or Sunday brunch. If you’re looking for craft beer, stop in at Brew Keepers to find more than a dozen refreshers in the taproom.
At Oglebay, a room or suite in the Wilson Lodge or a cozy cottage on the landscaped grounds makes the perfect home base for your regional adventure. When the heart of downtown is your draw, look no further than the McLure House Hotel, where city views and short strolls offer access to the best of Wheeling. The Highlands offers various hotel venues and brands where you can rack or redeem points. No matter your plans, an overnight or weekend stay is a must to take in the exciting creative culture of Wheeling.