About the Area
Situated in the northern panhandle of West Virginia on the Ohio River, Wheeling is a tight-knit, safe community with all the amenities of a large city. Wheeling’s charm includes unique stores and shopping complexes, beautiful parks, walking trails, coffee shops and its very own symphony.
Wheeling is a city on the rise, and Wheeling University is proud to be Wheeling’s University.
With these abundant opportunities available in the Wheeling area, it’s no surprise that over 90% of Wheeling University graduates place into a full-time job or graduate school within one year of graduation.
Experience Wheeling’s Culture
Wheeling is a small city with culture, dining, and adventure that compares favorably to many larger cities.
A Certified Arts Community, Wheeling showcases its culture and creativity throughout the year. The Wheeling Symphony Orchestra has called Wheeling home since 1928, playing at Wheeling’s landmark Capitol Theatre. The Oglebay Institute offers classes, art exhibitions, and performances at its Stifel Fine Arts Center and Towngate Theatre – their instructors are part of the WJU community as well!
Wheeling, the “Friendly City,” also celebrates its diverse culture during numerous festivals throughout the year. In particular, Wheeling’s Heritage Port draws thousands of visitors to its many festivals and events each year, and Oglebay Park’s “Festival of Lights” is a six-mile long Christmas light display popular with visitors of all ages.
Wheeling is increasingly being recognized as a haven for foodies. The Centre Market district is home to a multitude of restaurants and craft breweries, including Coleman’s, one of the most famous fish markets in America. Meanwhile, closer to campus, Avenue Eats was recognized by Thrillist for serving up one of the 33 best burgers in the United States. Last but not least, like New York and Chicago, Wheeling is home to its own unique style of pizza. “Ohio Valley-style” pizza has been served up locally by DiCarlo’s Pizza since 1945.
As a Wheeling University student, you’ll have no shortage of fun activities on and off campus. Wheeling is home to West Virginia’s only pro ice hockey team, the Wheeling Nailers. Most weekends in town are busy with live music and other fun activities; many of which are highlighted during Wheeling’s monthly “First Fridays” series.
Shoppers will also find lots of options in the Wheeling area. Wheeling’s neighborhoods are home to many boutique and antique shops. The Ohio Valley Mall and The Highlands are regional shopping centers located roughly ten minutes west and east of campus, respectively.
Wheeling’s picturesque location provides ample opportunities for outdoor adventure. Oglebay Park, a 3,200 acre municipal park, is home to a zoo, resort hotel, multiple golf courses, a mountain bike trail, and an aerial adventure course. Wheeling Park, just a five minute drive from WJU, boasts golf, tennis, and a covered ice rink, among other activities. If you’re bringing your bike to campus, you can also take advantage of Wheeling’s Heritage Trail System – an 18 mile network of paved biking and walking trails. A 10,000 square foot skate park is also located just a few miles from campus.
Wheeling’s waterways are also increasingly used by adventure seekers. In particular, Wheeling Creek is popular for canoeing and kayaking, and the Ohio River is home to an annual dragon boat race and Regatta.
Experience Wheeling’s History and Future
Wheeling is certainly a small wonder, but we’re used to influencing American history. We’re America’s first “Gateway to the West,” highlighted by the landmark Wheeling Suspension Bridge. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Wheeling was where West Virginia broke away from Virginia and become its own state. (We even have our own Independence Hall). We have quite the industrial heritage as well. Wheeling was once known as the “Nail City” and served as the nation’s leader in nail production. All of this growth led to an impressive collection of architecture; the City of Wheeling is home to 12 National Historic Districts.
With this rich history, it’s no surprise that in 1996 the National Park Service recognized Wheeling as a National Heritage Area – one of just 49 in the United States.
While Wheeling is proud of its rich history, it is also excited to move forward and craft a prosperous future. In 2015, the Wheeling metro area was ranked as having the fifth-fastest growing economy in the nation. In 2016, we learned that median household income in Wheeling increased by 16.5% from 2014 to 2015. Finally, in 2017, Wheeling received even more good news: Business Insider ranked us as the best city in West Virginia to buy a home, and WalletHub ranked us as the 61st-best small city (out of 1,200 ranked) to start a small business.