Norfolk - Virginia Beach, VA

Travel Guide
Sandbridge Beach showing surfing and a sandy beach as well as a small group of people

Discover the arty side of this attractive port city, which promises waterfront views, craft breweries and an increasing number of cultural attractions.

Although it’s best known for being home to the world’s largest naval base, the port city of Norfolk is slowly starting to attract outsiders’ attention for its cultural and art-themed attractions. Explore thriving art districts, attend events and festivals and browse fascinating museums, which cover topics ranging from glass art to the life of World War II General Douglas MacArthur.

Having been originally settled by British colonists in the 17th century, Norfolk was officially incorporated in 1736. In 1776, during the Revolutionary War, much of the city was destroyed during a siege. In 1804, the city was significantly damaged again when a fire raged along the waterfront. Head to St. Paul’s Church, one of just a few buildings in town to have survived the 1776 siege. Look for a cannonball from the battle in its southeastern wall.

Life has long revolved around the water here. Learn about Norfolk’s naval history and inspect various vessels during a tour of the Norfolk Naval Base. Step aboard the Battleship Wisconsin and trace the history of the region’s naval fleet at the Hampton Roads Naval Center, both of which are located in Nauticus, a maritime-focused museum and science center. Alternatively, get out on the water with a harbor cruise.

Explore the city’s artier side by strolling around the mural-dotted NEON Art District. Look for striking interactive installations such as the interactive MetalMatisse, a 30-foot (9-meter) tall stainless steel sculpture that lights up and makes sounds in response to the movement of passers-by.

Nearby is the Chrysler Museum of Art, which has a collection that spans ancient to contemporary works. An on-site glass studio here offers glass-blowing workshops for visitors. Don’t miss the MacArthur Memorial, which recounts the life of the World War II hero.

Norfolk is located in east Virginia, about a 95-minute drive from Richmond. The nearest airport is Norfolk International Airport. To get around downtown Norfolk and the surrounding areas, walk and use the Tide light rail system. For craft beer bars and exciting dining options with views over the bay, head for the Waterside District or The Main.

Where to stay in Norfolk - Virginia Beach

Holiday Inn Virginia Beach Norfolk Hotel & Conference Center, an IHG Hotel
Holiday Inn Virginia Beach Norfolk Hotel & Conference Center, an IHG Hotel
3.5 out of 5
5655 Greenwich Rd, Virginia Beach, VA
The price is $116 per night from Nov 7 to Nov 7
Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Norfolk Premium Outlets, Virginia Beach Town Center, and Norfolk State University. Norfolk Botanical ...
3.7/5 Good! (973 reviews)
"It’s was an okay experience. Nothing top notch. The rooms were outdated but decent. Staff was nice, some of them. Breakfast was okay."

Reviewed on Oct 16, 2021

Holiday Inn Virginia Beach Norfolk Hotel & Conference Center, an IHG Hotel
Delta Hotels by Marriott Norfolk Airport
Delta Hotels by Marriott Norfolk Airport
3.5 out of 5
1570 N Military Hwy, Norfolk, VA
The price is $122 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
Situated near the airport, this hotel is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) from Norfolk Premium Outlets and within 3 mi (5 km) of Virginia Wesleyan University and Gallery of Military ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (564 reviews)
"The hotel was very clean and comfortable but I really appreciated the shuttle to the airport"

Reviewed on Oct 14, 2021

Delta Hotels by Marriott Norfolk Airport
Norfolk Waterside Marriott
Norfolk Waterside Marriott
3.5 out of 5
235 E Main St, Norfolk, VA
The price is $118 per night from Nov 23 to Nov 23
Located in Downtown Norfolk, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Waterside Festival Marketplace and Harbor Park. Norfolk Scope and Chrysler Hall are also ...
4/5 Very Good! (979 reviews)
"Good location. Excellent breakfast. Friendly and helpful staff. Clean and comfortable room. However, check-in took way too long, as there were no carts available, so after a half-hour wait, the desk staff finally went out to the parking ramp and carried in our luggage. Then when we got to the room, ..."

Reviewed on Oct 15, 2021

Norfolk Waterside Marriott
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Home2 Suites by Hilton Norfolk Airport
Home2 Suites by Hilton Norfolk Airport
3 out of 5
5620 East Princess Anne Road, Norfolk, VA
The price is $104 per night from Nov 16 to Nov 16
Situated near the airport, this aparthotel is 1.1 mi (1.8 km) from Norfolk Premium Outlets and within 3 mi (5 km) of Gallery of Military Circle and Virginia ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (47 reviews)
"I was very impressed with everything about the room and the environment."

Reviewed on Aug 19, 2021

Home2 Suites by Hilton Norfolk Airport
Beach Cottage Surf Suite
Beach Cottage Surf Suite
Norfolk, VA
Located in Bayview, this apartment building is 2.1 mi (3.3 km) from Ocean View Beach and 2.5 mi (4 km) from Sarah Constant Shrine Beach. Norfolk Botanical Garden ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (13 reviews)
Nice stay
"Great beach access and doggo friendly"

Reviewed on Jul 11, 2020

Beach Cottage Surf Suite
Norfolk Beach Cottage Rental
Norfolk Beach Cottage Rental
Norfolk, VA
The price is $189 per night from Oct 26 to Oct 26
This family-friendly Norfolk cottage is located by the sea, within 3 mi (5 km) of Ocean View Beach and Sarah Constant Shrine Beach. Norfolk Premium Outlets and ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (133 reviews)
Great place!
"My wife and I really enjoyed our stay at East Ocean View. The owners are warm, welcoming and extremely helpful. We found the place to be clean, neat and tastefully decorated. All the furniture is in good condition and comfortable. The kitchen looks new. It is well equipped. The appliances are in ..."

Reviewed on Oct 19, 2021

Norfolk Beach Cottage Rental
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Getting around Norfolk - Virginia Beach

The majority of Norfolk’s major attractions are located in its downtown core, which is easy and pleasant to walk around. The central neighborhoods of the city are also covered by the Tide, a light rail network that has 11 stops. The Pace bike share program offers another way to explore the heart of Norfolk. Rent a car or book a taxi to explore the fringes of the city and any sights beyond. Visit the Hampton Roads Transit website.Browse Norfolk - Virginia Beach rental cars.

Best time to visit

Norfolk has extremely hot, humid summers and much cooler winters with frequent rain and sometimes snow. Peak tourist season in the city is June and July, and May also tends to get quite busy. Avoid the most intense heat and the biggest crowds by planning your visit for April if possible. At this time of year, daytime temperatures will usually fall between the high 60s F and the low 70s F (20 C).

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