Things To Do in Norfolk

Norfolk, the Mermaid City, is a charming melting pot of people, cultures, and ideas. Norfolk’s walkable, waterfront downtown is the urban hub of the city full of shopping, entertainment, restaurants and excitement! Everywhere you turn there are beaches, shopping, exciting foods, entertainment, educational opportunities, or chances to dive into history and sail the seas! This is just a brief list of opportunities you might want to check out while you are in this dynamic city.

The Chrysler Museum Perry Glass Studio

The Chrysler Museum Perry Glass Studio is a state-of-art facility on the Museum’s campus and the only one of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Studio brings the Museum’s internationally-acclaimed glass collection to life by showing how these masterworks were created. Visitors also enjoy free noon demonstrations, cutting-edge performance evenings and appearances by world-acclaimed artists.


Nauticus is a maritime discovery center located along the waterfront in downtown Norfolk, offering a unique form of experiential learning for all ages. Through interactive exhibits and STEM to STERN programming, Nauticus uses the museum, Battleship Wisconsin, sailing center, and Schooner Virginia to tell the story of the maritime environment, industry, and the military. Explore their many fascinating exhibits at your own pace! Learn more about the Battleship Wisconsin and their maritime community and environment. Weekends always have additional interactive programs to enhance our exhibits, all lead by friendly Nauticus staff and volunteers! Come explore with us!

The MacArthur Memorial

The MacArthur Memorial is a museum and research center dedicated to preserving and presenting the story of the life of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. The Memorial also pays tribute to the millions of men and women who served with General MacArthur in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. Situated in downtown Norfolk, 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 most complex leaders. Admission is free.

Pagoda and Oriental Garden

The Marine Observation Tower, also known as the Pagoda, was a gift to the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Norfolk from the Taiwan Provincial Government, Republic of China, as a result of a Sister State relationship established in 1981. Governor Dr. Lee Teng-Hui of Taiwan, later President of the Republic of China, proposed the riverfront gift during a good will trade mission to Norfolk in 1983. Found on the downtown waterfront in Freemason Harbor, enter one of the defining gates embraced with gentle swaying bamboo and experience a serene oasis where East meets West on over an acre of urban space. The naturalistic setting embodies many of the Chinese concepts of harmony and tranquility. Stroll the winding walkways and enjoy the essential elements of this exquisitely arranged landscape of plants, water, stone and architectural features. Views along the path framing the Pagoda change by season, revealing a layered beauty of both natural form and culture.

Selden Market

Located in the heart of Downtown, Selden is an eclectic, historic shopping hall that features local artisans, chefs, and rotating pop-up shops. Because it is ever-changing, every time you visit Norfolk, there will be different vendors and goods. Worried your favorite shop will disappear once it leaves Selden? Don’t fret. Success stories like Pure Lagos and Vessel Craft Coffee have these shops moving out of Selden Market and into brick and mortar stores within Norfolk, so you can follow your favorite vendors wherever they head next. Visitors may find an assortment of offerings like handmade leather goods, unique jewelry, DIY candles, international cuisine, and more.

Mermaid Trail

Which came first, Norfolk or its Mermaids? Norfolk ‘s iconic mermaids can be found throughout the city – each one reflecting nautical and Norfolk themes, civic pride, the diversity of the region, and anything else the artists and sponsors could dream up. You’ll find a mermaid covered in coins, sponsored by a bank, while a mermaid sporting a chef’s hat and apron sits in front of a bakery. To see the Mermaids in all of their glory, you can download the Mermaids Walking Map — Mermaids on Parade Tour of Downtown Norfolk — or a Blank Mermaid Map so you can do your own mermaid hunt! Us this helpful Mermaid Interactive Spotting Map to help in your search!