5 Places in Norfolk That are Must-Sees for First-Time Visitors


From its many historical attractions to its delicious food scene, world-class museums, and natural beauty, Norfolk offers a lot to visitors. The rich maritime legacy of Norfolk is the biggest attraction and the lifeblood of the city. The maritime heritage gives a distinct identity to the quaint and charming city which is a 25-minute drive from Virginia.  The historic churches and monuments together with the Victorian-era houses bear testimony to the efforts of the local government to preserve the historical heritage that adds a special charm to the place. With lots of opportunities of tasting the local culture and the culinary scene, here is a list of 5 places to visit in Norfolk, Virginia.

Take a tour of the battleship USS Wisconsin

The USS Wisconsin, one of the biggest US battleships that earned glory for the country in several wars since World War II, is a must-see for those visiting Norfolk for the first time. The Hampton Roads Naval Museum at Nauticus is home to the battleship.  Move around the galleries and view the exhibits at Nauticus while having a sneak peek at the Officer’s Quarters, wardroom, and outdoor decks, and view the chapel, galley, barber shop, CPO lounge, berthing areas, and other areas. A 90-minute guided tour of the ship’s control areas aided by a historical interpreter will cost you an additional $20 over the ticket price of $15.95.

Enjoy Desserts at Doumar’s

To soak in the Norfolk’s old-world charm, drop in at Doumar’s in Ghent. The old-fashioned curb-service restaurant which allows dining, too, is a heritage of sorts as it still uses the world’s first four-iron waffle cone machine. The device, a 1904 invention of Abey Doumar is still functional and serves the most delicious desserts that have the touch and flavors of the grand old days.

 Chrysler Museum of Art

To discover Norfolk’s artistic side you must visit the Chrysler Museum of Art which is also a cultural hub.  The Museum is one of the gems of the city and has an extensive collection spanning over 5,000 years.  The Museum has one of the world’s largest collections of glass art besides contemporary art by Pollock, Warhol, Rothko, and Lichtenstein.  In addition to more than 30,000 Ancient, American, European, and Modern art pieces on display the Museum have 4,000 photographs.

Sample the local Beer, Wine, Cider, and Mead

Mermaid Winery in Ghent is the go-place for sampling several types of wines. The best time to visit is between 4.30 and 6.30 pm to enjoy the happy hour specials that include wines for $5 a glass and mimosas made with various flavors for $7.  Visiting the Breweries in Chelsea, North Colley, and Railroad neighborhood gives great pleasure to craft beer aficionados.   To enjoy the meals in downtown, visit the Grain, the only rooftop restaurant in Norfolk.

Roam around the Botanical Garden

The Norfolk Botanical Garden is the best place to discover Norfolk’s flora and fauna. The vast stretch of greenery across 175 acres is an excellent place to soak in the opulence of natural beauty while witnessing the flowers, enjoying the Butterfly Garden, and visiting the Children’s Garden.

Roam along the paved paths of Seven Miles or enjoy the tram and boat rides.