Norfolk, Virginia: A Navy Town with a Battleship to Explore

The Chrysler Museum in Norfolk Virginia.
The Chrysler Museum in Norfolk Virginia.

In the southeast corner of Virginia, the city of Norfolk is filled with exciting things to do for families, solo travelers, and couples alike. Home to the largest naval base in the entire world and one of the most important art museums on the east coast, Norfolk draws the attention of a diverse group of visitors. And as this beautiful city is on the water, there’s plenty of nature to indulge yourself in.

Deep inside the Ghent district, better known for being the most artistic area of the city, is the Chrysler Museum of Art. The museum dates back to the 1930s and is based on the art collection of Walter Chrysler, of the automobile fame.

It holds over 30,000 items in the collection that will take you back thousands of years including sculptures, paintings, glasswork, photography, and decorative arts. Famous for being one of the most important museums in the Southeastern United States, this is something you don’t want to miss.

The USS Wisconsin was once a giant active battleship that was in operation during the Second World War as well as the Korean War. Although the ship was retired in the 1980s, it was called up for service again for Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s.

Now, the ship is a nautical museum in Norfolk where visitors can take self-guided tours through different parts of the ship including offices, an onboard chapel,  and the staterooms of the officers.

There are also guided tours available where you can follow the full history of the ship while seeing other parts of the USS Wisconsin including the captain’s cabin.

The USS Wisconsin is a popular tourist attraction in Norfolk, Virginia
The USS Wisconsin is a popular tourist attraction in Norfolk, Virginia

 The former home of the Moses Myers, a famous American entrepreneur who was crucial in the growth of Norfolk, gives visitors a look into how people would have lived in this part of the United States at the turn of the century.

The Moses Myers House has been restored over the years, but many of the original furnishings are still in place. In fact, the house is known for being one of the first brick buildings to have ever been built in Norfolk.

Moses Myers house in Norfolk, VA.
Moses Myers house in Norfolk, VA.

Dive into some colorful nature at the Norfolk Botanical Garden that fills up 150 acres and is divided into different sections that include over forty gardens, each with its own unique theme. The gardens are seasonal meaning the flowers and plants bloom all year round.

The Norfolk Botanical Garden, Norfolk VA.
The Norfolk Botanical Garden, Norfolk VA.

There’s even a special garden dedicated to younger visitors. All visitors can enjoy the different themes such as a relaxing Japanese garden complete with traditional Japanese ponds, as well as a Hummingbird Garden filled with both flowers and the unique birds. There’s even a Tropical Display Garden that features all of the mimics a rainforest environment.

The Virginia Zoo

Inside the lovely Lafayette Park, The Virginia Zoo holds over 500 animals from elephants to rare species of frogs. Visitors will find animals from all over the world here including Africa, Australia, and Asia. The zoo is divided into specific exhibits to showcase the different species, such as the Trail of the Tiger which has tigers from Malaysia. The Virginia Zoo is even open at night to get a glimpse of the many nocturnal animals that are housed there.

A pair of Bongo antelopes at the Norfolk Zoo.
A pair of Bongo antelopes at the Norfolk Zoo.

Hotels in Norfolk VA

Stay at the Hilton Norfolk The Main where you’ll be minutes from Town Point Park and Nauticus National Maritime Center. This 4-star hotel is also close to the USS Wisconsin BB-64 and the Hampton Roads Naval Museum.

The Hilton Norfolk The Main includes 300 air-conditioned rooms with MP3 docking stations and flat-screen televisions. To keep its visitors connected, the hotel offers wireless internet access. In addition, cable programming is available.

Enjoy the family-friendly amenities such as an indoor pool and a 24-hour fitness center. Stay for a bite to eat at one of the hotel’s two restaurants or take advantage of the room service.

Enjoy a stay at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel where you’ll be minutes from Waterside Festival Marketplace and the Douglas MacArthur Memorial. This hotel is also within close proximity of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Town Point Park.

The 468 air-conditioned guest rooms feature flat-screen televisions, complimentary wireless Internet access, and cable programming.

Don’t forget to enjoy the recreational amenities including an outdoor pool and a fitness center.

The Wyndham Garden Norfolk Downtown puts you right in the heart of Norfolk, just walking distance from Norfolk Scope and Chrysler Hall. This hotel is within close proximity of Harrison Opera House and Moses Myers House.

Enjoy your stay in one of the 204 air-conditioned rooms that include refrigerators and microwaves. Each room comes with a Select Comfort bed, complimentary wireless Internet access, and cable programming. Private bathrooms with shower/tub combinations feature complimentary toiletries and hair dryers.

Relax by the outdoor pool or workout in the 24-hour fitness center. This hotel has a picnic area, a restaurant with a bar, and room service. Grab a drink at the bar/lounge. Full breakfasts are available daily from 6 AM to 10 AM for a fee.

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