Skyrim: Complete Guide To Whiterun

Quick Links

  • Whiterun Quests
  • How To Become Thane Of Whiterun
  • How To Buy A House In Whiterun
  • Merchants
  • Crafting Stations
  • Trainers
  • Followers
  • Marriage Partners
  • Notable Loot

Whiterun is the center of Skyrim, both geographically and in terms of its story. It is here that everything begins as you start your journey from Helgen, through Riverwood, all the way to this big city. Whiterun is economically one of the most vibrant cities, even if it pales in comparison to Solitude.

As the ultimate starter city, it is here where you'll most likely become a Thane for the first time, get your first Housecarl, and purchase your first property. With how much Whiterun provides, especially early in the game, it's good to know what to look out for.

Whiterun Quests

The centrally-located city plays host to many of your first adventures in Skyrim. The locals live in a relatively safe part of the province, sheltered from curses, marauding vampires, and high-profile assassinations. Despite this, they have more than a few problems for you to resolve. Whiterun is also where you start your journey as Dragonborn.

Main Quests

Assuming that you do not go on a completely bizarre adventure after completing Unbound, your fellow Helgen survivor will direct you to Riverwood before shuttling you off to Whiterun to warn the Jarl. This will be the first of many main story quests taking place in Whiterun and the first of many trips to the Cloud District.

Before The StormYou are sent from Riverwood to Whiterun to warn Jarl Balgruuf about the dragon attack.
Bleak Falls BarrowFarengar Secret-Fire sends you from Dragonsreach to Bleak Falls Barrow to retrieve the Dragonstone.
Dragon RisingYou help the Whiterun Guard fend off a dragon attack on the Western Watchtower.
The Way Of The VoiceThe quest is started when you walk through Whiterun after completing Dragon Rising.
Season UnendingThe Jarl of Whiterun forces you to negotiate a ceasefire to halt the Civil War.
The FallenYou use the Voice to trap a dragon within the old mechanism in Dragonsreach.

Side Quests

Whiterun's citizens keenly feel the aftermath of the Great War with many of the city's side quests deal with its consequences. Royalty in exile, family feuds, and decaying temples all feature in the quests.

In My Time Of NeedYou are tasked with finding a Redguard woman hunted by Aliki'r Warriors sporting iconic curved swords. You get to choose which side to take at the conclusion.
Blessings Of NatureA priestess of Kynareth asks you for help in restoring the Gildergreen, a tree found in the center of the Wind District that is central to the Temple of Kynareth.
Missing In ActionYou need to free a citizen from unlawful imprisonment. This quest focuses on the conflict between the Gray-Manes and Battle-Borns.
The Whispering DoorThis quest brings you in contact with a Daedric Prince and promises a powerful Daedric artifact as its reward.
Miscellaneous QuestsTalking to the city's many inhabitants will likely yield a short and easy quest for you to complete.

The Companions

The Companions are a group of warriors based out of Jorrvaskr in Whiterun. They can trace their history beyond the founding of the city. They offer the chance to earn glory and gold by fighting alongside them, though they have some dark secrets of their own.

How To Become Thane Of Whiterun

Whiterun is the easiest hold to be awarded Thane in. You will automatically be made Thane after completing the quest Dragon Rising, early in the story.

This status will be revoked if you complete the Battle of Whiterun for the Stormcloaks as Thane. You will need to speak to Vignar Gray-Mane to start a quest to be reinstated. Like the other Holds, you will need to assist five citizens.

You will be given an enchanted weapon, gain the right to buy property, and be assigned Lydia as your Housecarl. Both the weapon and Lydia will be immensely useful for weaker players.

How To Buy A House In Whiterun

Whiterun's primary real estate offering, Breezehome, is well-suited to the aspiring adventurer early in their career. You will need to have earned the right to buy property within Whiterun by completing Dragon Rising or by fighting in the Battle of Whiterun with the Stormcloaks.

Breezehome will cost 5,000 gold to purchase. Its upgrades cost a further 1,800 gold for a total cost of 6,800 gold.


Whiterun is one of the province's most important trading hubs thanks to its central location and its merchants reflect that. Within the city's walls, you can purchase anything from food and drink to arms and armor.

In terms of shopping, Whiterun is one of the best cities in the entirety of Skyrim due to how centralized everything is, and how close the marketplace and the shops are to Breezehome. This is especially true with the city's blacksmiths.

Eorlund Gray-ManeThis legendary smith works at the Skyforge, near Jorrvaskr.
Warmaiden'sThis shop is located on the right of the city gates. You can trade with both of its owners, Adrianne Avenicci and Ulberth War-Bear.

Warmaiden's two owners effectively double the budget available for selling extra weapons for gold. You will be able to earn more money by selling to both of them as opposed to the individual blacksmiths in most cities.

If your specialty lies elsewhere, rest assured there's also a place for all your archery and alchemy needs, as well as a court wizard to consult for some magic skill books and soul gems.

The Drunken HuntsmanThis establishment is both a tavern and a source of hunting supplies, stocking both food and archery equipment for people keen to hunt through the Hold's plains.
Arcadia's CauldronArcadia is the city's resident alchemist. She stocks a wide variety of potions and alchemical ingredients.
Farengar Secret-FireHe is the Court Wizard, set up within Dragonsreach. You can purchase magic tomes, soul gems, and other magical supplies from him.

Additionally, the Plains District is host to the Whiterun Market. Merchants sell a wide variety of items and are great spots to sell chunks of your bloated inventory from your quests.

Belethor's General GoodsThe sleazy Breton runs Whiterun's general store. He is willing to buy the majority of items from you.
AnoriathBased in the Whiterun Market, he sells meat and game to the hungry.
Carlotta ValentiaCarlotta sells fresh produce from Whiterun's many farms to the city when she is not being pestered by men.
Fralia Gray-ManeThe wife of the legendary Eorlud Gray-Mane sells gems and jewelry made by him at the marketplace.
The Bannered MareThis inn dominates the Whiterun Market. It offers food, drink, and a bed for the night.

Crafting Stations

Like most major cities, you can find all the crafting stations you will need within the city. It also has a smelter at Warmaiden's, which is not found in every city.

ForgeThe Skyforge, which is a unique forge, and next to Warmaiden's
Blacksmith's TableAt Warmaiden's
GrindstoneAt the Skyforge and at Warmaiden's
SmelterAt Warmaiden's
Tanning RackAt Warmaiden's
Alchemy LabAt Arcadia's Cauldron and Farengar's study in Dragonsreach
Arcane EnchanterAt Farengar's study in Dragonsreach


Whiterun is one of the best cities to go to if you're looking to increase your skill level. There are nine different trainers located all around the city, with a heavy specialization in all things combat thanks to the presence of the Companions. Keep in mind the Companions will need you to join the faction to train you.

Proficiency LevelSkillTrainer
MasterRestorationDanica Pure-Spring, after completing Blessings of Nature.
MasterSmithingEorlund Gray-Mane, at the Skyforge
MasterTwo-handedVilkas, at Jorrvaskr
MasterHeavy ArmorFarkas, at Jorrvaskr
ExpertAlchemyArcadia, at Arcadia's Cauldron
ExpertArcheryAela the Huntress, at Jorrvaskr
ExpertBlockNjada Stonearm, at Jorrvaskr
ExpertOne-handedAthis, at Jorrvaskr
AdeptOne-handedAmren, around Whiterun.


As for NPCs who can be recruited as followers or gained as followers through various quests or completed favors, Whiterun is also filled to the brim with options.

LydiaAfter becoming Thane of Whiterun.
Most CompanionsAela the Huntress, Farkas, Vilkas, Torvar, Ria, Njada Stonearm, and Athis are all available if you join the Companions. Some require progression through their story to be recruitable.
JenassaThis hireling is found at the Drunken Huntsman and can be hired for 500 gold.
Uthgerd the UnbrokenThis armored woman is at The Bannered Mare. She can be recruited after winning a brawl against her.

Marriage Partners

If you already have your hands on the Amulet of Mara and have received the explanation on how marriage works from Maramal in Riften, you're eligible to look for a spouse while wearing the amulet. Here's who's available in Whiterun.

Most CompanionsAela the Huntress, Farkas, Vilkas, Torvar, Ria, Njada Stonearm, and Athis are all available if you've joined the Companions and completed the entire quest line.
JenassaYou need to hire her first before marrying her.
LydiaShe is quickly available for marriage.
Uthgerd the UnbrokenShe will be receptive to your advances after defeating her in a fistfight.
YsoldaYou need to complete her quest and get her a Mammoth Tusk, after which she can be married.

Notable Loot

The city has a ton of skill books to discover, found in the following locations and catering to quite a few different skills.

SmithingThe Armorer's Challenge, located at the Skyforge.
AlchemyHerbalist's Guide to Skyrim, located at Arcadia's Cauldron.
SpeechBiography of the Wolf Queen, located at Belethor's General Goods.
ArcheryThe Black Arrow, Book II, is located behind the counter of the Drunken Huntsman.
Heavy ArmorHallgerd's Tale, located on the first floor of Jorrvaskr.
ArcheryThe Marksmanship Lesson, inside a locked display case in Jorrvaskr's basement.
Two-handedThe Song of Hrormir, inside Jorrvaskr's basement floor.
Two-handedBattle of Sancre Tor, located in the House of Clan Battle-Born, on the second floor.
IllusionBefore the Ages of Man, located in Dragonsreach, within the Jarl's Quarters.
BlockThe Death Blow of Abernanit, located in the catacombs of Whiterun, is deeper in the Hall of the Dead.
EnchantingEnchanter's Primer, located in Carlotta Valentia's House.

For some random loot and secrets worth uncovering, head to Ysolda's house and make sure to take a peek in Farengar's personal library in Dragonsreach to start several worthwhile secondary quests.

  • A thief cache with random loot, located next to Ysolda's house.
  • Three books that will begin quests: Lost Legends, The Legend of Red Eagle, and The Aetherium Wars if Dawnguard DLC is installed, all found within Farengar's library.

The No Stone Unturned quest will have you chasing after these pesky Unusual Gems, which turn out to be stones of Barenziah's crown. There's a total of three of them located in Whiterun.

  • In the Jarl's bedroom on his nightstand.
  • In the Hall of the Dead.
  • In Kodlak Whitemane's room on his nightstand.

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