Home to the world’s largest Naval base, Norfolk, one of Virginia’s largest cities, is an historic downtown district with the Norfolk Waterside Marketplace with shops, restaurants, cruise boats and ferries. There are a variety of museums along the Elizabeth River around the Port of Hampton Roads, a natural harbor. The city is home to Old Dominion University, Eastern Virginia Medical School and Norfolk State University, and Virginia Wesleyan College. Waterfront cruises are offered on the tall ship American Rover, the paddle wheeler Carrie B, and the Spirit of Norfolk, as well as the Victory Rover, and the Elizabeth River Ferry to Olde Towne Portsmouth. Norfolk also has eight-mile long Ocean View Beach along Chesapeake Bay.
Inns and luxury hotels close to the city’s attractions and restaurants include the Best Western Holiday Sands Inn & Suites, Springhill Suites, Ramada Limited Oceanview, Doubletree Hotel, the Radison, Sheraton Norfolk Waterside, the Hilton, Hampton Inn, Clarion James Madison Hotel, Courtyard Marriott, Howard Johnson, and the Best Western Inn.
Dining options range from casual to elegant, such as Luna Maya, Famous Uncle Al’s, Joe’s Crab Shack, Doumar’s, Grate Steak, Backstage Café, Blue Hippo, Freeman Abbey Restaurant (a converted 1873 church), Alexanders & Riverwalk Café, O’Sullivan’s Wharf, Chez Beau, La Galleria Ristorante, Bodega, Havana, Ship’s Cabin Seafood Restaurant, and Wild Monkey Gourmet Diner.
Attractions and museums include the Nauticus, the battleship Wisconsin, the National Maritime Center includes the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration exhibits, and the historic Battleship Wisconsin docked alongside, the Tugboat Museum, Hunter House Victorian Museum, the Chrysler Museum of Art and the Norfolk Naval Base, mermaid statues around town designed by local artists, Norfolk Botanical Gardens, and the Virginia Zoo.
Annual events include the Stockley Gardens Spring Arts Festival, International Azalea Festival, Virginia Beer Festival, Norfolk Harborfest, Cingular Wireless Bayou Boogaloo & Cajun Food Festival, Town Point Summer Farmers Market, Great American 4th of July Picnic & Fireworks, and the Greek Festival.
Some of the best shopping is at the MacArthur Center Mall, close to his memorial museum, that offers upscale shopping, restaurants, and entertainment.
Norfolk Scope and Chrysler Hall are the home of Norfolk's major sporting and concert events.
Written by: Natasha Lawrence