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The 15 Best Things To Do In Norfolk


Norfolk, located in the southeastern part of Virginia. There are plenty of best things to do in Norfolk. Known for its rich history, waterfront location, and cultural attractions, Norfolk offers visitors a wide range of activities to suit every interest.

Whether you're a history buff, an art lover, or an outdoor enthusiast, there are countless best things to do in Norfolk that will keep you entertained and engaged.

From exploring museums and historic sites to enjoying the natural beauty of the region, Norfolk has something for everyone.

16 Best Things To Do in Norfolk and Suffolk

Visit The USS Wisconsin At Nauticus

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One of the most popular things to do in Norfolk is to visit the USS Wisconsin at Nauticus, a maritime museum located in downtown Norfolk.

This battleship was once one of the largest and most powerful in the world, and now visitors can explore the ship's history and learn about its role in some of the most important battles of the 20th century.

Stroll Through The Norfolk Botanical Garden

The Norfolk Botanical Garden is a beautiful 175-acre garden located on the shores of Lake Whitehurst. It features a variety of themed gardens, including a Japanese garden, a rose garden, and a butterfly garden. Visitors can also take a guided tram tour of the garden to see some of its most beautiful areas.

Explore The Chrysler Museum Of Art

The Chrysler Museum of Art is one of the top art museums in the Southeast, with a collection that includes over 30,000 objects spanning 5,000 years of art history.

The museum has a particular focus on American art, with works by some of the country's most important artists on display.

Take A Boat Tour Of The Elizabeth River

The Elizabeth River is a scenic waterway that runs through Norfolk, and there are a number of boat tours available that allow visitors to see the city's sights from the water.

These tours offer a unique perspective on the city and are a great way to learn about the area's history and culture.

Discover The Norfolk Naval Station

The Norfolk Naval Station is the largest naval base in the world and is home to a number of important naval assets, including aircraft carriers and submarines.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the base to learn about its history and see some of the ships up close.

See A Show At The Wells Theatre

The Wells Theatre is a historical theater located in downtown Norfolk. It is a part of the Virginia Stage Company, which produces a wide variety of shows throughout the year.

The theater has been around for over a century and has been host to countless performances, making it a must-visit attraction in the city.

The building itself is an architectural masterpiece and features ornate designs and intricate details. Visitors can choose from a variety of shows including plays, musicals, and concerts.

Walk Through The Historic Freemason District

The Freemason District is a historic neighborhood in Norfolk that features well-preserved buildings dating back to the early 1800s. Visitors can take a walk through the neighborhood and see examples of Georgian, Federal, and Victorian architecture.

The district is also home to some of the best restaurants in the city, offering a range of dining options from casual to upscale. This is a great place to spend an afternoon exploring the local history and culture.

Visit The Hermitage Museum And Gardens

The Hermitage Museum and Gardens is a 20th-century arts and crafts estate located in Norfolk. The estate is a mix of Colonial Revival and Arts and Crafts styles, with a main house and several outbuildings.

The gardens are a major attraction and feature a mix of native and exotic plants, as well as several water features. The museum features a collection of contemporary and traditional art, as well as historical artifacts. Guided tours are available, or visitors can explore on their own.

Check Out The Slover Library

The Slover Library is a modern library located in downtown Norfolk. The library is a state-of-the-art facility that features a wide range of resources and services for visitors.

It has a large collection of books, as well as computer labs, meeting rooms, and multimedia resources. Visitors can also enjoy a cup of coffee at the on-site café, or take a stroll through the outdoor courtyard.

Enjoy A Day At The Ocean View Beach Park

Ocean View Beach Park is a popular destination in Norfolk for beachgoers. The park features a wide stretch of sandy beach, as well as several amenities including picnic areas, playgrounds, and a fishing pier.

Visitors can also rent kayaks, paddleboards, and other watercraft. The park is a great place to spend a day with family and friends, enjoying the sun and the water.

Take A Tour Of The MacArthur Memorial

The MacArthur Memorial is a museum and research center dedicated to the life and legacy of General Douglas MacArthur. The museum is located in downtown Norfolk and is housed in the former Norfolk City Hall and courthouse.

The exhibits in the museum include artifacts and personal belongings of General MacArthur, as well as information about his life and military career.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the museum and also visit the final resting place of General MacArthur and his wife, Jean, in the memorial rotunda.

Visit The Virginia Zoo

The Virginia Zoo is located in Norfolk and is home to more than 500 animals from around the world. The zoo is spread across 53 acres and features exhibits such as the Africa Savannah, Asia – Trail of the Tiger, and World of Reptiles.

Visitors can see animals like lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, and more. The zoo also offers educational programs, camps, and events throughout the year for visitors of all ages.

Explore The NEON District

The NEON (New Energy of Norfolk) District is a vibrant arts district located in downtown Norfolk. The district is home to many galleries, studios, and public art installations.

Visitors can take a self-guided walking tour of the district or join a guided tour to learn more about the art and artists in the area. The district also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, including the NEON Festival, which features live music, food, and art installations.

Take A Ride On The American Rover Tall Ship

The American Rover Tall Ship is a 3-masted schooner that offers sailing cruises on the Elizabeth River in Norfolk. Visitors can choose from various cruises, including day sails, sunset sails, and private charters.

The ship offers stunning views of the Norfolk skyline and the Elizabeth River, and passengers can enjoy food and drinks while onboard. The crew provides narration about the history of the area and the ship itself.

Tour The Moses Myers House

The Moses Myers House is a historic home in Norfolk that was built in 1792 by Moses Myers, a prominent Jewish merchant. The house is now a museum and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the house and learn about the life and times of Moses Myers and his family. The museum features period furnishings and artifacts, as well as exhibits about the history of Norfolk and the Jewish community in the area.

People Also Ask

What Are The Best Outdoor Activities In Norfolk?

Norfolk has many great outdoor activities to offer such as walking along the waterfront, kayaking, paddleboarding, and exploring the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

What Are Some Of The Best Museums To Visit In Norfolk?

Some of the best museums to visit in Norfolk include the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Nauticus National Maritime Center, and the MacArthur Memorial Museum.

Some of the most popular events and festivals in Norfolk include the Norfolk Harborfest, the Virginia Arts Festival, the Bayou Boogaloo & Cajun Food Festival, and the Norfolk NATO Festival.

What Are The Best Places For Shopping In Norfolk?

Some of the best places for shopping in Norfolk include the MacArthur Center Mall, the Selden Market, and the Norfolk Premium Outlets.

What Are Some Family-friendly Activities To Do In Norfolk?

There are many family-friendly activities to do in Norfolk such as visiting the Virginia Zoo, taking a harbor cruise, exploring the Battleship Wisconsin, and visiting the Children's Museum of Virginia.

Final Thoughts

Norfolk offers an abundance of diverse and exciting activities for visitors to enjoy. From the historic USS Wisconsin battleship to the charming neighborhoods of Ghent and Freemason, there are best things to do in Norfolk for everyone.

The city's rich cultural heritage is reflected in its numerous museums, galleries, and performance venues, and its location on the Chesapeake Bay makes it a prime destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you're looking for history, art, nature, or entertainment, Norfolk has it all.

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