7-Day Itinerary in Norfolk, VA

7-Day Itinerary in Norfolk, VA

Planning a trip to Norfolk, VA? Look no further! In this comprehensive 7-day itinerary, I’ll guide you through the best attractions and activities this vibrant city has to offer. From historic sites to art districts, waterfront views to epicurean delights, Norfolk has something for everyone.

As you explore Norfolk, you’ll discover the rich history, diverse culture, and exciting nightlife that make this city a must-visit destination. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply looking for a memorable vacation, Norfolk has it all.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the best of Norfolk with this 7-day itinerary
  • Immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and vibrant art scene
  • Experience the breathtaking waterfront views and outdoor activities
  • Indulge in the local cuisine and explore the thriving local businesses
  • Enjoy the lively nightlife and entertainment options in Norfolk

Day 1 – Downtown Norfolk Exploration

On your first day in Norfolk, explore the vibrant downtown area. Start at the VisitNorfolk Visitor Center for maps, guides, and recommendations. Make sure to visit the Mermaid Market to find unique Norfolk and Virginia-centric gifts. Take advantage of the Discover Downtown Pass to earn free swag as you check in at various attractions. Rent an electric bike from Pedego bike shop and explore the waterfront, historic sites, and the Freemason District. End the day with a pre-dinner cocktail at Leone’s, the only Italian rooftop restaurant in Norfolk, offering sweeping views of Granby Street.

Attraction Description Location
VisitNorfolk Visitor Center Get maps, guides, and recommendations for your exploration of Downtown Norfolk. 232 East Main Street, Norfolk, VA
Mermaid Market Shop for unique Norfolk and Virginia-centric gifts, souvenirs, and artwork. 333 Waterside Drive, Norfolk, VA
Discover Downtown Pass Unlock free swag by checking in at various attractions with the Discover Downtown Pass. Available at participating attractions
Pedego bike shop Rent an electric bike to explore the waterfront, historic sites, and the Freemason District. 110 West Tazewell Street, Norfolk, VA
Leone’s Enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail with sweeping views of Granby Street at the only Italian rooftop restaurant in Norfolk. 455 Granby Street, Norfolk, VA

Must-See Sites in Downtown Norfolk:

  • MacArthur Square – Discover the heart of downtown Norfolk at MacArthur Square, a public park with fountains, green spaces, and statues.
  • Historic Freemason District – Explore the charming neighborhood known for its well-preserved 19th-century homes and cobblestone streets.
  • Waterfront Views – Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront to enjoy scenic views of the Elizabeth River and Norfolk skyline.
  • Historic Sites – Visit historic landmarks such as the Moses Myers House and the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
  • The NorVa – Catch a live music performance at this iconic music venue in the heart of downtown Norfolk.

Day 2 – Art and Culture

Immerse yourself in Norfolk’s vibrant art and culture scene on day two. Explore the NEON District, the city’s official art district, known for its street murals, local businesses, galleries, and eclectic restaurants. Witness a glass blowing demonstration at Perry Glass Studios and learn about the art of glassblowing. Visit the Chrysler Museum of Art, which houses a vast collection of glassworks and other art spanning various styles. Indulge your sweet tooth at Hummingbird Dessert Boutique, known for its delicious macarons and decadent desserts.

NEON District

The NEON District is Norfolk’s official art district, a vibrant neighborhood filled with creativity and artistic expression. As you wander through the streets, you’ll encounter colorful street murals that adorn buildings, creating a captivating outdoor gallery. The district is home to numerous local businesses, galleries, and unique shops, offering a diverse range of art styles and experiences.

Glass Blowing Demonstration at Perry Glass Studios

Experience the mesmerizing art of glassblowing at Perry Glass Studios. Watch skilled artisans create intricate glass sculptures and learn about the techniques and craftsmanship involved in this ancient art form. The studio offers informative demonstrations that provide insight into the delicate process of shaping molten glass into beautiful creations.

Chrysler Museum of Art

Discover a world-class collection of art at the Chrysler Museum of Art. The museum features a wide range of artistic masterpieces, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. One of the museum’s highlights is its extensive collection of glassworks, showcasing the beauty and versatility of this medium. Explore the galleries and immerse yourself in the rich history and diverse artistry on display.

Hummingbird Dessert Boutique

Satisfy your sweet cravings at Hummingbird Dessert Boutique. Indulge in delectable macarons, mouth-watering cakes, and other decadent desserts. Known for their exquisite flavors and beautiful presentation, these irresistible treats are the perfect way to end your day of art and culture in Norfolk.

Day 3 – Historic Sites and Museums

Dive into Norfolk’s rich history on day three by visiting some of its historic sites and museums. Explore the U.S.S. Wisconsin at Nauticus, one of the largest battleships built by the U.S. Navy. Take a self-guided tour and learn about its role in World War II and the Korean War.

Next, visit Fort Norfolk, the last remaining harborfront fort authorized by President George Washington. Explore the fort’s grounds and learn about its strategic importance throughout history.

Step back in time at the Hunter House Victorian Museum, a beautifully preserved historic home that offers a glimpse into the Victorian era. Admire the intricate architecture and elegant interiors as you tour the museum.

End your day with a leisurely stroll through the Freemason District. This historic neighborhood is known for its stunning architecture and charming streets. Admire the Victorian-era houses and take in the ambiance of this picturesque district.

Historic Sites and Museums Details
U.S.S. Wisconsin at Nauticus Explore the massive battleship and learn about its military history.
Fort Norfolk Visit the last remaining harborfront fort authorized by President George Washington.
Hunter House Victorian Museum Experience the elegance of the Victorian era at this beautifully preserved historic home.
Freemason District Take a leisurely stroll through the historic neighborhood known for its stunning architecture.

Day 4 – Outdoor Activities

Spend day four enjoying the beautiful outdoor recreation options along the Elizabeth River. There’s nothing quite like the fresh air and scenic views to invigorate your senses.

Set Sail on the American Rover

Start your day with a memorable experience aboard the American Rover, a 19th century-style schooner. As you set sail, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the working harbor and the picturesque Elizabeth River waterfront. Let the gentle breeze guide you as you take in the sights and sounds of the surrounding natural beauty.

Explore the Elizabeth River Trail

If you’re in the mood for a delightful walk or bike ride, the Elizabeth River Trail is the perfect choice. Stretching for 10.5 miles, this urban trail takes you on a scenic journey through Downtown Norfolk and past the renowned Hermitage Museum. Discover hidden gems along the way and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Elizabeth River.

Enjoy the Hermitage Museum

While exploring the Elizabeth River Trail, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Hermitage Museum. Nestled along the waterfront, this cultural gem offers a fascinating collection of art and artifacts. Take your time to admire the stunning exhibits, stroll through the picturesque gardens, and soak up the artistic atmosphere.

Whether you choose to embark on a sailing adventure with the American Rover or take a leisurely stroll along the Elizabeth River Trail, day four of your Norfolk itinerary promises an unforgettable outdoor experience.

Day 5 – Shopping and Local Businesses

Discover the vibrant local business scene in Norfolk on day five. Norfolk is home to a variety of unique shops, restaurants, and artisans that showcase the creativity and craftsmanship of the local community. One must-visit destination is the Selden Market, an eclectic shopping hall that offers a diverse range of products from local artisans, chefs, and pop-up shops.

At Selden Market, you can browse through a wide selection of handmade leather goods, unique jewelry, and locally crafted artwork. Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind gift or a special treat for yourself, the artisans at Selden Market have you covered.

After exploring Selden Market, indulge your taste buds at the Norfolk Cheese Company. This delightful shop offers an array of artisanal cheeses, and their cut-to-order cheese counter allows you to sample and select your favorites. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a delicious baguette sandwich, featuring their delectable cheeses.

For a caffeine fix and a cozy atmosphere, make sure to visit the Cure Coffeehouse. Located in the historic Freemason District, this coffeehouse is known for its amazing coffee and pastries. Sit back, relax, and savor the rich flavors of their artisanal coffee, expertly brewed to perfection.

Local Gems in Norfolk

Business Name Description
Selden Market An eclectic shopping hall featuring local artisans, chefs, and pop-up shops.
Norfolk Cheese Company A shop offering a variety of artisanal cheeses and delicious baguette sandwiches.
Cure Coffeehouse A cozy café known for its amazing coffee and pastries.

Day 6 – Waterfront Views and Nightlife

On day six of your Norfolk adventure, get ready to experience stunning waterfront views and vibrant nightlife. Norfolk offers a range of exciting attractions that will keep you entertained until the late hours.

Rooftop Beer Garden at Grain

Start your evening by visiting Grain, Norfolk’s exclusive rooftop beer garden. Located in the heart of the city, Grain offers breathtaking views of the Elizabeth River and Downtown Norfolk. Sip on craft beers and cocktails while enjoying the cool breeze and panoramic scenery. Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or simply looking for a relaxing evening with friends, Grain is the perfect spot to unwind and appreciate the beauty of Norfolk.

Take a Stroll around the Pagoda

After enjoying the rooftop experience, take a leisurely stroll around the Pagoda, a stunning Taiwanese building nestled amidst picturesque gardens. This serene oasis offers a tranquil escape and provides the ideal setting for a romantic moonlit walk. Marvel at the intricate details of the Pagoda and soak in the peaceful ambiance.

Explore the Waterside District

Make your way to the vibrant Waterside District, where you’ll find live performances, events, and an energetic atmosphere. Immerse yourself in the local culture as you wander through this lively waterfront destination. Be sure to admire the enchanting mermaid sculptures that dot the area, adding a touch of whimsy to your evening.

Experience Norfolk’s Lively Nightlife

No visit to Norfolk is complete without experiencing its lively nightlife. The city boasts a thriving music scene, with numerous bars, pubs, and live music venues to choose from. Whether you’re into jazz, rock, or country, there’s a spot in Norfolk that will cater to your musical tastes. Dance the night away or simply relax and enjoy the live performances that Norfolk’s nightlife has to offer.

In summary, day six of your Norfolk itinerary will treat you to stunning waterfront views, serene walks around the Pagoda, and a vibrant nightlife scene. Soak in the beauty of Norfolk’s skyline, explore the lively Waterside District, and immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant nightlife. Norfolk truly comes alive after hours, offering a memorable evening for visitors seeking entertainment and excitement.

Conclusion

Norfolk, Virginia is a destination that offers something for everyone. From historic sites to art districts, outdoor activities, and vibrant nightlife, this 7-day itinerary provides a comprehensive guide to exploring the best of Norfolk. Whether you’re a history lover, an art enthusiast, or a nature enthusiast, Norfolk has it all.

When planning a trip to Norfolk, use this itinerary as a starting point to make the most of your time. Explore the city’s rich history by visiting its historic sites and museums, immerse yourself in the vibrant art and culture scene, and enjoy outdoor activities along the scenic waterfront. Don’t forget to experience the vibrant nightlife, with a range of venues offering live performances and entertainment.

With its diverse range of attractions, Norfolk is a must-visit destination in Virginia. So start planning your Norfolk itinerary today and get ready for an unforgettable trip filled with exciting things to do and see!

FAQ

Is Norfolk, VA a good destination for a 7-day vacation?

Absolutely! Norfolk, VA offers a wide range of attractions and activities that can easily fill a 7-day itinerary. From historic sites to art districts, waterfront views, and delicious dining options, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Norfolk.

What can I do on the first day in Norfolk?

On the first day in Norfolk, you can explore the vibrant downtown area. Start at the VisitNorfolk Visitor Center for maps and recommendations. Visit the Mermaid Market for unique gifts, rent an electric bike, and explore the waterfront and historic sites. End the day with a cocktail at Leone’s rooftop restaurant.

Are there any art and culture attractions in Norfolk?

Yes, Norfolk has a vibrant art and culture scene. Visit the NEON District known for its street murals, local businesses, and eclectic restaurants. Witness glass blowing at Perry Glass Studios and explore the art collections at the Chrysler Museum of Art. Don’t forget to indulge your sweet tooth at Hummingbird Dessert Boutique.

Which historic sites and museums should I visit in Norfolk?

Norfolk is rich in history. Visit the U.S.S. Wisconsin at Nauticus, Fort Norfolk, and the Hunter House Victorian Museum to learn about different eras. Don’t miss the charming streets of the Freemason District with its stunning architecture.

What outdoor activities are available in Norfolk?

There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy along the Elizabeth River. Set sail on the American Rover for scenic views, explore the Elizabeth River Trail for a walk or bike ride, and visit the Hermitage Museum for picturesque gardens.

Where can I go shopping and support local businesses in Norfolk?

Selden Market is the place to go for a unique shopping experience. You can find local artisans, handmade goods, and international cuisine. Visit the Norfolk Cheese Company for delicious baguette sandwiches and Cure Coffeehouse for amazing coffee and pastries.

Is there a vibrant nightlife scene in Norfolk?

Absolutely! Head to Grain, Norfolk’s only rooftop beer garden, for stunning waterfront views. Take a stroll around the Pagoda and experience live performances and events at the Waterside District. Norfolk has a range of bars, pubs, and live music venues to keep you entertained at night.

Why should I consider visiting Norfolk, VA?

Norfolk, VA offers a diverse range of attractions, activities, and experiences for visitors. Whether you’re a history lover, an art enthusiast, or a nature enthusiast, Norfolk has something to offer everyone. Use this 7-day itinerary as a starting point to plan your trip and make the most of your time in Norfolk, Virginia.

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