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Best Things to do in Norfolk, Virginia

things to do in Norfolk

The best flavors in town

Despite Norfolk being a naval military town, that doesn’t mean the food is going to be exclusively landlocked. Expect to see a wide variety of tastes from all over the world that feed into old family roots and traditional European heritage too. Join Viewcation to know more about the best things to do in Norfolk, Virginia

The Ten Top

Here is one of those- ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ spots that happen to be a very popular eating spot for locals in Norfolk. Everything offered at the Ten Top is as fresh as possible and includes veggie and vegan options. They offer lunch and dinner with a variety of American-style and international favorites mixed together. It’s also very healthy and fresh eating instead of fast and greasy food.

Luce Restaurant

If you are looking for an Italian wine bar and restaurant experience, you better book your reservation at least 3 weeks in advance. Not only is the service at Luce top-notch, but the food is also mind-blowing for authentic Italian entrees. Prices are nowhere near what the other 5-star restaurants are charging which makes any meal at Luce feel like a bargain.

Boil Bay

If you’re a big fan of Creole and Cajun seafood in the heart of Norfolk, this is where you can celebrate your inner southern side. In fact, if you’re not from the south, you just won’t get the decor and menu options at all. Sorry, there are no veggie or vegan options on this menu which obviously is a big hint in the name of this seafood joint.

A rich pastime of history

It’s not so easy to read a city like Norfolk so easily, but there is plenty of evidence and clues that you can see from these local museums. When you finally have a chance to visit, these top three picks are a superb choice to spend the entire day learning something new about Norfolk.

Chrysler Art Museum

Not only is this museum completely free, but it also has the largest collection of glass artwork exhibits that you’ll ever likely see. They also have live glass-blowing sessions that you can take part in for a small reservation fee that’s totally worth it. The museum is so large that one day is not enough for some but perfect for those who are looking for a few hours to blow before their next scheduled activity. If you love art, don’t miss this museum trip!

Hermitage Foundation

This 42-room mansion is actually the previous summer home for the Sloane Family that was originally built in 1908. It’s now a converted museum that houses over 5,000 objects that are all dedicated to fine art and works of beauty. While the mansion is part of the tour, you’ll find their immaculate gardens just as refreshing next to the picturesque Lafayette River.

Hampton Roads Naval Museum

This is well worth a few hours learning about the naval history in Norfolk, seeing the real battleship Wisconsin, and the intricate wonders within the Nautilus museum. The Vietnam section of the museum features important relics from that era that are certainly more fascinating than you might have imagined. There’s an outstanding collection of naval models too!

Majestic and beautiful Norfolk parks

Getting out and enjoying the fresh air is always what any trip should be about. And unlike the average public parks that you’re used to, the parks in Norfolk offer something for everyone. Bring your favorite recreation gear and picnic basket, to enjoy the outdoor weather and relax outside for a few hours.

Lafayette Park

Lafayette Park isn’t very large as a park venue but they do cover a nice rounded 32 acres. They have three picnic shelters that can be reserved for a small fee and are covered picnic areas for grilling and large family celebrations. Aside from that, there is a children’s playground, a lit baseball field, basketball, and kayak launch piers at the riverside.

Northside Park

If you’re looking for a little bit more interactive fun, Northside Park offers some great extras. They have an indoor swimming pool with aquatics programs and activities. There is also an outdoor softball and baseball field. If you have teens who like skateboarding, there is an excellent skate park included too. They also offer more than 5 picnic shelters that can be reserved for large parties.

Town Point Park

This park is located right next to the Nautilus museum and isn’t the typical city park you might have expected. It’s a long strip of green parkland along the Lafayette River with plenty of benches. If you love sunsets, this is the best location to enjoy one every day. And there is enough room to enjoy a grassy picnic under any of the shade trees along the park path.

Explore Norfolk’s wild side

To see another side of town that’s considered some of the best things to do in Norfolk, Virginia is an understatement if you forget to include these activities. It’s a chance to see more of the wild side that is seldom seen around town. After visiting these well-hidden gems, you’ll know why they’re considered wild sites.

Virginia Zoo

Here is one local zoo that isn’t going to take up your whole day but you get a lot for the admission price! It’s packed with animals, reptiles, birds, and excellent interactive areas to get closer to the animals. The enclosures are well-designed and give these animals tranquility rather than being cooped up. A pro tip is to bring your own water and snacks instead of park vendor food.

Norfolk Botanical Garden

This is one place that you’ll enjoy every season that always offers something special. Christmas is especially popular for the Christmas light displays at night. There are more than 60 gardens to explore and the entire garden includes no less than 4.5 miles of walking path through the entire garden! All in all, this well-trimmed garden oasis is a beast so be sure to bring comfortable shoes.

Sarah Constant Beach Park

Here is one of the few beaches that are home to many local festivals and residents who like to relax next to the Chesapeake Bay. There is a pier that stretches onto the bay and a short sandy beach to take walks upon. If you like to get away from the bigger crowds in town, this is the perfect spot to hide out for a few hours, and is completely free to be at the beach.