A waterfront city with plenty of appeal
Norfolk, home to 247,000 residents, is the second largest city in Virginia. With seven miles of Chesapeake Bay beachfront, the Atlantic Ocean nearby and 144 miles of shoreline along lakes, rivers and the bay, residents and visitors are always close to a body of water. Appropriately, the city is home to Naval Station Norfolk, the world’s largest naval base, and Nauticus, a maritime-themed science center and museum on the waterfront that hosts the Battleship Wisconsin. Norfolk’s vibrant downtown is a commercial hub featuring restaurants and museums and is surrounded by diverse neighborhoods. Home to the Norfolk Botanical Garden, the city has been recognized as a Tree City and its neighborhoods are filled with trees, flowers, and a variety of parks and open spaces. This scenic beauty complements the city’s impressive architecture, which includes its many sports facilities on college campuses like Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University and the new downtown campus of Tidewater Community College.
Never a dull moment in Norfolk
Out-of-towners visiting Norfolk won’t struggle searching for activities. The Legends of Music Walk of Fame on iconic Granby Street pays homage to Hampton Roads natives who have made significant contributions to the world of music. The Chrysler Museum of Art is considered one of the finest museums in the country as it displays more than 30,000 objects in a collection that spans more than 5,000 years. The museum also houses the Perry Glass Studio, where every day a free glassmaking demonstration takes place. The Hampton Roads Naval Museum is dedicated to the study of naval history and is an official museum of the United States Navy. Since 1997, the Virginia Arts Festival has presented top-flight performers in the worlds of music, dance and theater and is renowned as a cultural destination. The Virginia Zoological Park is a 53-acre zoo that opened in 1900 and features hundreds of animals, including the endangered Siberian tiger. The MacArthur Memorial is a museum and research center that honors the life of General Douglas MacArthur, while the Police and Fire Museum pays homage to our nation’s heroes. Mermaids on Parade, mermaid castings decorated by artists, are found throughout Norfolk and have been a favorite of tourists and locals alike for more than a decade.
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Superb sports facilities make their homes in Norfolk
Sports: Hockey, basketball
Featuring the world’s largest reinforced thin-shell concrete dome, Scope is a beautiful multi-function complex that consists of a 12,000-person arena, a 2,500-person theater and a 10,000-square-foot exhibition hall. Scope is home to the Norfolk Admirals hockey team, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference basketball tournament, conventions, concerts and family shows. The arena floor is 25,651-square-feet and seating for exhibition halls have a total of 76,000-square-feet plus five breakout rooms. The arena has undergone $11 million of renovations since 2003, with the major work being the replacement of an old scoreboard for a center-hung scoreboard with LED video and matrix boards.
Ted Constant Convocation Center
Sports: Basketball, wrestling
A 219,330-square-foot multipurpose arena on the campus of Old Dominion University, the Ted Constant Convocation Center has seating for 10,000, a 23,000-square-foot arena floor and a multipurpose room with over 9,000 square feet of space that can be broken into five sections. In addition to being used for Old Dominion basketball games and wrestling matches, the center also hosts concerts and lectures. Among the many stars that have performed at the center are Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Dave Chappelle, Elton John and Green Day. Other events include the Harlem Globetrotters, Disney performances and cheerleading competitions.
This AAA baseball stadium located on the Elizabeth River in downtown Norfolk was once rated the best minor league stadium in the country by Baseball America. With a seating capacity of almost 12,000, Harbor Park is renowned for its outstanding view and sound design. Opened in 1993, the park features almost 9,000 lower-deck seats, 2,800 upper-deck seats and 400 seats in 24 luxury skyboxes. Overlooking left field is a 300-person picnic area, and the park also features a 225-seat restaurant. The park’s largest-ever crowd totaled 14,263 on August 31, 1996.
Norfolk Boxing & Fitness Center at Harbor Park
A 13,000-square-foot boxing facility that opened in November of 2016, the Norfolk Boxing & Fitness Center has two USA Boxing regulation-sized rings, twice as many bags as the previous boxing center, fitness equipment and classes, a homework and tutoring classroom, a parents’ lounge, and has the capability of hosting larger boxing shows and state championships.
Old Dominion University
Sports: Baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball, tennis, field hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, golf, rowing, swimming and diving, sailing
Old Dominion University is a public university in Norfolk that has an array of top-notch stadiums, with the newest being the Mitchum Basketball Performance Center, which opened in May. The $8.4-million complex is an impressive basketball complex that houses the men’s and women’s teams. The ODU football team competes in the state-of-the-art 20,118-seat multipurpose Foreman Field, which underwent extensive remodeling prior to the 2009 season. The tennis teams hone their skills at the Folkes/Stevens Indoor Tennis Center, a 74,000-square-foot facility that includes eight indoor and 12 outdoor courts, while the baseball team plays at the Bud Metheny Baseball Complex, a ballpark with seating for 2,500 spectators that opened in 1983 and was last renovated in 2012. The university also features impressive facilities for its soccer, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, wrestling, swimming and diving teams.
Norfolk State University
Sports: Baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball, tennis, field hockey, lacrosse, track and field, volleyball, bowling
Norfolk State University is a public four-year university with a 134-acre campus. The football team plays in the spacious William “Dick” Price Stadium, which was built in 1997, has a seating capacity of 30,000 and is one of the largest Division I Football Championship Subdivision stadiums in terms of capacity. Located on the south end of the campus, the stadium has a brick façade, a natural grass surface and an eight-lane synthetic track as well as two state-of-the-art LED video display boards on each end of the stadium. The baseball team plays at the Marty L. Miller Baseball Field, which debuted in 1997 and has metal bleacher seating for 1,500, a spacious press box and full stadium lighting for night games, one of the few colleges in Virginia that can boast that. The school’s softball field sports bleacher seating for 500 fans and is wheelchair-accessible, while the basketball team plays in Joseph G. Echols Hall, a 4,500-capacity building that has served as the team’s arena since 1982 and has seen numerous improvements in recent years.
Virginia Wesleyan University
Sports: Baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, tennis, field hockey, lacrosse, track and field, volleyball, swimming
Virginia Wesleyan University is a liberal arts and sciences college situated on a 300-acre park-like campus on the border of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia. The school’s swimming team competes in an eight-lane, 25-yard swimming pool located in the $18.6-million Jane P. Batten Student Center. The Batten Center also houses the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the women’s volleyball team, and the 137,000-square foot facility serves as the hub of activity for the college. The Marlin Softball Field is pristine and surrounded by beautiful trees, while Birdsong Field, which was constructed in 2015 and is home to the field hockey and lacrosse programs, features a synthetic turf that enables games to be played in most weather conditions.
How to get to Norfolk
Located in the southeastern corner of Virginia at the junction of the Elizabeth River and the Chesapeake Bay, Norfolk is linked with nearby cities through a network of interstate highways, tunnels and bridges. The major east-west routes are Interstate 64, U.S. Route 58 and U.S. Route 60, while the major north-south routes are U.S. Route 13 and U.S. Route 460. The city is also served by the Norfolk International Airport and Amtrak.