Things to Do in Norfolk

American Revolution Museum

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown tells anew the story of the nation’s founding, from the twilight of the colonial period to the dawn of the Constitution and beyond. Exciting new indoor galleries feature period artifacts, immersive environments, interactive exhibits and films, including “The Siege of Yorktown,” with a 180-degree surround screen and dramatic special effects.

In the outdoor living-history areas, visitors can witness artillery demonstrations, drill with wooden muskets at a re-created Continental Army encampment and explore a Revolution-era farm based on a real-life 18th-century family.

Cape Henry Lighthouse

The Cape Henry Lighthouse was built in 1792. It started to crack in 1870 and was replaced with the new Cape Henry Lighthouse only 357 feet away, which is an active aid to navigation and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Old Cape Henry Lighthouse is owned and operated by Preservation Virginia and is a National Historic Landmark, serving as the official symbol for the City of Virginia Beach.

Colonial Williamsburg

Discover the Revolutionary City as you stroll through the restored area of Colonial Williamsburg. A guide will take you to visit the historic homes, public buildings and 18th century craft shops where costumed hosts recreate the sights and sounds of America 200 years ago. Merchants Square offers charming shops and authentic cuisine in the King’s Arm Tavern.

Harbor Cruise

The Victory Rover has cruised from Nauticus on the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront since 2001 – up to 150 guests enjoy plenty of comfortable seating, air-conditioned enclosed deck, open air shaded upper deck, snack bar and souvenir shop. While cruising the smooth waters of the Elizabeth River you will tour one of the world’s busiest sea ports including the world’s largest naval base, home of the Atlantic Fleet: Destroyers, Guided Missile Cruisers, Submarines, Aircraft Carriers and more.

Historic Jamestowne

Historic Jamestowne is the original site of the Jamestown colony. At Historic Jamestowne, you can watch the unearthing of America’s foundations as archaeologists with Jamestown Rediscovery excavate the recently discovered site of the 1607 James Fort. In the Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium, featuring more than 1,000 artifacts from the archaeological site, guests can meet the conservation staff and learn about how they care for, conserve and research the unique assemblage of artifacts from James Fort.

Historic Portsmouth

One visit to Olde Towne Portsmouth and you’ll be hooked. Amble along the famous Seawall. Stroll through three centuries of historic neighborhoods. Go antiquing. Take in some art. Eat at one of the delightful restaurants. Choose from a wide variety of fine, casual and family dining establishments with many offering outdoor seating. Many of Portsmouth’s attractions are clustered within easy walking distance of each other, making it the perfect place to spend a day.

As one of America’s most historic naval seaports, Olde Towne includes both the oldest operating Naval Hospital and the first operational dry dock facility in the U.S. – the Gosport Shipyard. Portsmouth also holds the proud distinction of being an official U.S. Coast Guard City, designated in 2009.

Jamestown Settlement

It’s a perfect time to visit Jamestown Settlement, where visitors are immersed in the world of America’s first permanent English colony. Extensive gallery exhibits and film explore Jamestown’s beginnings as a business venture, the impact of European colonization on the Powhatan Indian culture, and the origins of the first known Africans in Virginia. Outdoors, explore re-creations of a Powhatan Indian village and 1610-14 fort and board a replica of one of the three ships that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607.

Lightship Portsmouth

Built in 1915, the Lightship PORTSMOUTH served an important role as a mobile guide for mariners throughout the East Coast to help them safely enter into the harbor at night. Now a museum, the lightship is full of period uniforms, photographs of its service, and incredible artifacts from its time in use. A truly unique museum, the Lightship PORTSMOUTH should be a stop for any history lover!

MacArthur Memorial Museum

Situated in downtown Norfolk, VA the Memorial consists of a museum, archive and research center, education center, theater, welcome center, and a gift shop. A visit to the Memorial will allow you to explore the life of one of America’s greatest and most complex leaders.

Nauticus Maritime Center

This maritime science museum on the downtown Norfolk waterfront features hands-on exhibits, self-guided tours of the Battleship Wisconsin, touch tanks, 3D films on a giant screen, NOAA exhibits, battleship exhibits, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, a restaurant, gift store, and more!

Naval Station Norfolk

Norfolk is proud to be the home of the world’s largest Naval Station and while visiting, be sure to take a tour of the base. On the guided tour, you’ll see aircraft carriers, destroyers, amphibious assault ships, and learn about the history of Naval Station Norfolk.

Virginia Air & Space Center

Located in Hampton, Virginia, the birthplace of America’s space program, the Virginia Air & Space Center (VASC) is the official visitor center for NASA Langley Research Center.  Its mission is to educate, entertain and inspire explorers of all ages.  VASC features interactive aviation exhibits spanning 100 years of flight, more than 30 historic aircraft, a hands-on space gallery, and more.  Guests can pilot a space shuttle, program Mars rovers for a mission, become an air traffic controller, fly an airplane, and climb aboard a WWII bomber. The Center is home to the Apollo 12 Command Module that went to the moon, a Mars meteorite, a moon rock brought back by the Apollo 17 mission, and the Lunar Excursion Module Simulator (LEMS) used to train the first astronauts to land on the moon.