Norfolk General Attractions
Norfolk general attractions range from waterfront dining to honoring a war hero to upscale shopping in a downtown mall. They also anchor adult activities for Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Virginia and a chunk of the U.S. Navy. How fitting that most of them are maritime attractions.
DESCRIPTION: This Downtown Norfolk destination for dining and entertainment was built by the same company as the one responsible for Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor. It features harbor setting at the mouth of the Elizabeth River that whets your appetite for seafood restaurants, specialty shops, and the nightlife inside. Highlights of the location are a comedy club, Joe’s Crab Shack and a popular Chinese restaurant. The restaurants and bars inside have an ever-changing calendar of events.
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Sat 10a-until, Sun Noon–until; all shops close at 6p
ADDRESS: 333 Waterside Drive, Norfolk, VA MAP
PARKING: garage across the street
DESCRIPTION: Located downtown in the restored 1850 City Hall, it is the final resting place for one of America’s most celebrated military officers, General Douglas MacArthur. The complex contains a museum, theater, galleries, military archives, personal artifacts and a gift shop. Revisit the compelling story of Army General MacArthur and the millions of American men and women who served our nation during the Spanish American War, World Wars I, World War II, and the Korean War.
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Sat 10a-5p, Sun 11a-5p
ADDRESS: Bank Street and City Hall Avenue, Norfolk, VA MAP
PARKING: downtown garages nearby
DESCRIPTION: This complex consists of one million square-feet of fine department stores, an 18-screen cineplex, a 600-seat food court, and 70 unique retailers. MacArthur Center is the local favorite for shopping, dining and entertainment in greater Norfolk.
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Sat 10a-9p; Sun 12p-6p
ADDRESS: 300 Monticello Avenue, Norfolk, VA MAP
PARKING: garage on premises
DESCRIPTION: Several blocks full of restaurants, coffeehouses, galleries and nightclubs, it transforms into the heart of the Norfolk’s nightlife at sunset. Even if you’ve visited several years ago, Granby is the place where most Millennials dine, meet friends and enjoy nightlife.
ADMISSION: free, but some bars have a cover charge for shows
DAYS & HOURS: Noon-until
ADDRESS: Grandby Avenue next to MacArthur Cente, Norfolk, VA MAP
PARKING: garages nearby
PHONE: varies by establishment
Norfolk Botanical Garden
DESCRIPTION: Discover brilliant floral displays among one of the largest collections of azaleas, camellias, roses and rhododendrons on the East Coast. The botanical garden features 25 themed-gardens among its 155-acres, including a Bicentennial Rose Garden, Sara Lee Perennial Garden, and Bristow Butterfly Garden. Explore it by tram or boat via in warm months when rides are offered.
DAYS & HOURS: daily Apr 15–Oct 15 9a-7p, Oct 16-Apr 14 9a-5p
ADMISSION: Adults $6, Seniors $5, ages 6-18 $4, under age 5 enter FREE
ADDRESS: 6700 Azalea Garden Road, Norfolk, VA MAP
DESCRIPTION: Located along the northern border of where Norfolk meets the Atlantic Ocean, this beach is frequented by Nofolk and Suffolk locals who avoid the larger crowds of Virginia Beach.
ADDRESS: along US-60 Highway, Norfolk, VA MAP
The Great Dismal Swamp
DESCRIPTION: In the mid-Atlantic region, there is no better place than national wildlife reserve to observe black bear, bobcat, river otters and loping cypress trees. On an important historic note, many people escaped slavery by fleeing into this 106,000-acre Dismal Swamp. It should be treated with reverence.
ADDRESS: visitor center along US Highway 17, Chesapeake, VA MAP