Things to Do in Norfolk, VA – Explore the Attractions of Downtown Norfolk and Beyond

Norfolk is a bustling city with plenty of things to do and see. From popular tourist attractions to hidden gems, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city west from Virginia Beach. Here’s our list of the top things to do in Norfolk, VA!

things to do in norfolk va

Things to Do in Norfolk, VA – Viewing Fauna and Flora

Any plant and animal lovers reading this? There are several things to do in Norfolk, VA for a close encounter with nature. Families and lone travelers alike will enjoy these attractions.

Norfolk Botanical Garden

The Norfolk Botanical Garden is one place where you can view and learn about the different plant life in Virginia. With 60 themed gardens over 175 acres, this attraction boasts a wide variety of native and exotic plants.

There’s even a Butterfly House with public Monarch Tag and Release traditionally held every year, except during the pandemic. Children can play and interact with plants in the WOW Children’s Garden.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for children, and include general admission to all the gardens.

Virginia Zoo

If you’re looking to get closer to nature, the Virginia Zoo is another great option. Home to over 700 animals of more than 150 species, the zoo gives you the chance to learn about fauna from around the world. General admission is $17.95 for adults and $14.95 for children.

It also holds special events, educational programs, and opportunities to feed and pet some animals. There are even behind-the-scenes tours, so you can learn from a zookeeper about their job and the quirks of the specific animals they care for. You’ll also see the animals up-close – for example, by entering the exhibit of Aldabra Tortoises.

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Town Point Park

This park is perfect for a leisurely stroll, river cruise, or a picnic lunch with a view. Located along the Elizabeth River, Town Point Park has gorgeous views of the water and the skyline.

The park also hosts many events throughout the year, such as festivals, concerts, and art shows. If you’re looking for things to do in Norfolk, VA that are free and outdoors, this is a great option.

Ocean View Beach

This beach is one of the most popular places in Norfolk for locals and tourists alike. With its wide stretches of sand and waves perfect for surfing, it’s easy to see why. The beach is open year-round, but it really comes alive in the summer. There are also several restaurants and bars in the area, so you can refuel after a long day in the sun.

Things to Do in Norfolk, VA – Learning about History

Norfolk is also home to several museums that offer a glimpse into the city’s past and present, as well as art from many historical periods.

  • The Chrysler Museum of Art. It’s one of the largest museums in Virginia and has a wide collection of art in over 50 galleries, from ancient to contemporary.
  • Hermitage Museum and Gardens. The museum has a collection of art spanning 5,000 years, as well as a beautiful waterfront garden with over 100 varieties of roses.
  • The Hampton Roads Naval Museum. It chronicles the history of the United States Navy in the Hampton Roads area and has a variety of exhibits, including a submarine.
  • Hunter House Victorian Museum. This museum is a beautifully preserved example of a Victorian-era home. It was built in 1894 and furnished with items from that period.
  • General Douglas MacArthur Memorial. This museum is dedicated to General Douglas MacArthur, who fought in World War II, the Korean War, and the Philippine-American War.
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Touring these museums is a great way to spend a day, especially if the weather isn’t cooperating. And best of all, admission to all five museums is free!

Moses Myers House

Another place to visit for history buffs is Moses Myers House, which is the oldest house in Norfolk. It was built in 1792 and is a National Historic Landmark. 70% of its furnishings are original to the first generation of Myers.

Nauticus & The Battleship Wisconsin

Nauticus is a maritime museum with interactive exhibits about the area’s naval history. USS Wisconsin is a retired ship that served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Persian Gulf War. You can explore both of these attractions for $15.95 per adult and $11.50 per child.

Naval Station Norfolk

Norfolk is also home to the world’s largest naval base, Naval Station Norfolk. The base spans over 14 piers and has 75 ships. It’s a working base, so it’s not open to the public. However, you can take a narrated bus tour that will take you around the base and give you a glimpse of daily life on the base.

Places to Visit in Norfolk for Sports and Live Entertainment

Norfolk is also home to several professional sports teams. For example, the Norfolk Admirals are the city’s American Hockey League team, and they play at Scope Arena. If you’re looking for other kinds of live entertainment, Norfolk has you covered as well.

Norfolk Tides Baseball Club at Harbor Park Stadium

Norfolk is home to a minor league baseball team, the Norfolk Tides. The Tides play at Harbor Park and offer a family-friendly environment with affordable tickets and plenty of things to do on game days.

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The MacArthur Center

The MacArthur Center is another great option for those looking for things to do in Norfolk, VA. This mall offers over 200 stores, a movie theater, and a variety of restaurants. It hosts special events throughout the year, such as holiday celebrations and live music.

Virginia Stage Company

The Virginia Stage Company is the state’s largest professional theater company. It produces a wide variety of shows, from classics to new works by local playwrights. You can see everything from musicals to Shakespeare at the Virginia Stage Company.

Visit Norfolk, Virginia and Lose Yourself in Coastal Beauty

These are just a few of the things to do in Norfolk, VA. With its rich history, beautiful views, and variety of things to see and do, Norfolk is a great place to visit for a weekend or a week-long vacation.

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