Norfolk is a city by the water, located on the Elizabeth River at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. Once notorious for its bawdy sailor bars, the city has rebuilt its downtown area into a social, cultural and sightseeing hub.
Founded in 1682, Norfolk almost burned to the ground during the American Revolution. It emerged as a vital seaport and later a strategic base for the U.S. Navy’s Atlantic Fleet. The Navy is still a major presence here, but the city also thrives on its many attractions.
Take at least a day to explore the downtown waterfront district. Among the high-rise offices, shops, bars and bistros are many of the city’s most popular sights. Investigate Norfolk’s seafaring past and present at the Nauticus interactive science and technology center. Step aboard the USS Wisconsin, one of the U.S. Navy’s largest ever battleships and now part of the museum’s complex.
While you are in the area, visit the MacArthur Memorial created in honor of World War II hero General Douglas MacArthur. The exhibits tell the story of the general’s career and the millions of Americans who served from World War I to the Korean War. It is also the burial site for the general and his wife.
To learn more about Norfolk’s support of the Navy, take a tour of Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base in the world.
Norfolk is one of the earliest established cities in the United States. Walk the cobblestone streets of the Freemason District, its oldest existing neighborhood. Here, you will find the Moses Myers House, one of the country’s first brick homes.
Revel in some of Norfolk’s many outdoor attractions, including the frequent festivals at Town Point Park, or the joy of nature in venues such as the Norfolk Botanical Garden.
Norfolk is a very easy place to get around. There are many pedestrian-friendly streets. The electric trolley system, the NET connector, covers a 2-mile (3-kilometer) circuit of downtown. Many of the city’s major attractions outside of the downtown area are within a 15-minute car or taxi ride.