Things to do in Norfolk

Last updated on September 11th, 2018 at 09:35 pm

Norfolk offers a superb array of exciting and interesting attractions, including historical sites, museums, restaurants, and numerous retail shops. No matter what you are into–sightseeing, shopping, culture, or outdoor activities–Norfolk definitely has something for you. Most any part of the city is easily accessible via car, train ride, or even just a short walk, making it one of the most tourist friendly cities in the region.

The Nauticus National Maritime Center

Exterior view of Nauticus and the USS Wisconsin sitting in the harbor in Norfolk, VA

The Nauticus National Maritime Center, located right beside the cruise terminal, is an essential stop if you have children with you on your visit. With plenty of interactive exhibits and touch pools that provide an up close look at a wide array of sea creatures, the museum offers a superb experience for kids of all ages. Climb aboard the battleship USS Wisconsin, the final (and largest) battleship built by the US Navy.  For a great deal, think about purchasing the Norfolk Passport to Fun, which includes admission to Nauticus as well as other popular Norfolk spots for one low price.  Buy it online now.

Norfolk Botanical Garden

Field of purple coneflowers like those found at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens

The Norfolk Botanical Garden is Virginia’s largest Botanical Garden, perfect for nature lovers, with lush gardens, exotic plants and wildlife, and plenty of calm and peaceful spots. Covering more than 150 acres of stunning natural beauty, the gardens are even more enchanting when explored via the river cruise. It is easy enough to get there via tram and a short walk from downtown, and there is plenty to do for kids as well as adults.

Chrysler Museum of Art Norfolk
By: Allen BrewerCC BY 2.0

3. The Chrysler Museum of Art
The Chrysler Museum of Art is offers an extensive and fascinating collection of artwork, artifacts, and curios from ancient times. With displays dedicated to Egyptian, Persian, Indian, Greek, Roman, African, and Native American art, the museum is an absolutely essential stop for those with even the slightest interest in ancient culture. Don’t forget to check out the glass and China exhibits as well for some of the finest glass and porcelain work on display anywhere.


4. Virginia Zoo

Virginia Zoo Norfolk
By: DirkCC BY 2.0

The Virginia Zoo is a nice stop if you have small children. It is a clean, nice-sized zoo with plenty of animals and great vantage points to see them from. You only need a few hours to wander its grounds, and has a small train to go on a fun ride, plus there’s a nice cafe to grab a bite to eat.Stop in and see elephants, red pandas, kangaroos, tigers and much more! For a great deal, which includes admission to the Virginia Zoo, check out the Norfolk Passport to Fun. It includes admission to four popular Norfolk attractions for one low price.

Naval Station Norfolk
By: Official U.S. Navy PageCC BY 2.0

5. Naval Station Norfolk
See one of the largest and oldest Naval bases that offer tours. For a small fee (unless you are on active duty), a bus takes you around the naval base, guided by Naval personnel. The 45 minute tour shows you aircraft carriers, destroyers, amphibious assault ships, among others. You will also see homes that were featured in the 1907 Jamestown Exposition, which marked the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Virginia colony. Please note, security protocols do not allow tours of the ships, and adults must present picture ID.

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