A Travel Price Comparison for Virginia Alexandria vs. Norfolk for Attractions, Couples, Food, and Nightlife

Should you visit Alexandria or Norfolk?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Alexandria and Norfolk. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Alexandria

Alexandria is a quaint, historic, and charming city. Don't miss this spot, as it's a charming small town with plenty of activities. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Norfolk

Norfolk is a authentic, blue collar, and maritime city. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Alexandria and Norfolk: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Alexandria or Norfolk?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Alexandria than Norfolk. While Norfolk is larger than Alexandria, Alexandria has more sights and attractions for tourists. Alexandria is more touristy than Norfolk and is popular for its long-running history, beautiful architecture, and small town atmosphere. Also, Alexandria is famous for Mount Vernon. Norfolk is well known for its naval base and military presence.

How is Alexandria different from Norfolk?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Norfolk and Alexandria. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Alexandria or Norfolk?

Alexandria
Norfolk

Alexandria is a great destination for its museums and landmarks. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historical sights.

Alexandria offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. George Washington's Mount Vernon home is an iconic destination in Alexandria. There are also many other museums in town that focus on the region's history. The Alexandria History Museum at the Lyceum and the Gadsby's Tavern Museum are both interesting. There's Gunston Hall and the Carlyle House, as well as an archeology museum and many historic landmarks around town.

Norfolk offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are some interesting museums in town like the Chrysler Museum, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, and the Norfolk Police and Fire Museum. You should also check out the Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin.


Is the Food Better in Alexandria or Norfolk? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Alexandria
Norfolk

Dining out at restaurants in both Alexandria and Norfolk can be an enjoyable experience.

Alexandria is becoming an appealing option for foodies. The food, like the city itself, reflects the area's history. There are many southern classic dishes as well as a lot of seafood. You'll find lots of local restaurants that serve high quality dishes and a quaint atmosphere.

Norfolk offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. You'll find a decent collection of restaurants in the downtown area. Food options include local seafood, brunch, casual eateries, and fine dining.

Is Alexandria or Norfolk Better for Nightlife?

Alexandria
Norfolk

The vibe at night is notable in both Alexandria and Norfolk.

If you're looking for night time activities Alexandria has a few options to choose from. There's a great bar scene, as well as tons of restaurants that make for a relaxing night out.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Norfolk. Downtown is where you'll find the most busy nightlife venues. The city has great breweries, and the live music scene has taken off. There are also lounges, dance clubs, and wine bars to choose from.

Is Alexandria or Norfolk Better for its Old Town?

Alexandria
Norfolk

Alexandria is a must-visit destination for its historic old town. However, Norfolk does not have a historic old town.

The rich history of Alexandria can be explored in its historical center. At the heart of the city is the historic old town. Its lined with townhomes that date back to the 18th century. There are many historic sights that have stories from the early days of the country. There are also cobblestone streets and a great waterfront.

Norfolk does not have a historic old town.


Is the Shopping Better in Alexandria or Norfolk?

Alexandria
Norfolk

Alexandria is a great destination for shopping. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for its shopping opportunities.

Alexandria is an extremely popular place for shoppers. King Street is the main shopping street in town and it offers the largest concentration of independently owned boutiques in the Washington D.C. area. It's the perfectly place to spend an afternoon shopping.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Norfolk. There's a mix of shopping malls, local boutiques, farmer's markets, and shopping centers around town.

Is Alexandria or Norfolk Better for Families?

Alexandria
Norfolk

Norfolk is a good destination for its kid-friendly activities. However, Alexandria is not a good destination for its family-friendly activities.

Norfolk offers lots of family activities. The Norfolk Zoo is always a hit with kids. You should also visit the USS Wisconsin which offers tours, as well as the Douglas MacArthur Memorial Museum.

Alexandria is not the most family-friendly destination. The waterfront area is nice to walk around. You can break up the history with an ice cream shop and kids will also enjoy taking a boat tour.

Is Alexandria or Norfolk Better for Couples?

Alexandria
Norfolk

Alexandria is a great destination for romance. However, Norfolk is a city with minimal options for its romantic activities.

Couples visit Alexandria frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. The charm of the old town makes this a quaint and romantic destination. There's a waterfront area and many historic buildings. There are also romantic restaurants and plenty of places to grab brunch.

Most people don't think of Norfolk as a couple's destination. There are some nice hotels and several great parks and outdoor activities.


Is Alexandria or Norfolk Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Alexandria
Norfolk

Alexandria is a popular place for backpackers. However, Norfolk is a city with minimal options for backpackers and budget travelers.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Alexandria. There aren't any true hostels in town, but you will find some cheap motels.

Norfolk is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. This is an often overlooked area for backpackers.

Is Alexandria or Norfolk Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Alexandria
Norfolk

Alexandria is a must-visit destination for its public transit. However, Norfolk is a city with minimal options for times when you don't have a car.

Alexandria has a world-class public transit network to take passengers everywhere in the city. DASH is the local bus system, but the city is also connected into the Washington DC metro system.

Public transit is mostly limited in Norfolk. While there are buses, ferries, and even lightrail in the area, you really want to have a car to get around.

Is Alexandria or Norfolk a more walkable city?

Alexandria
Norfolk

Alexandria is a must-visit destination for its walkability. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for its high level of walkability.

Getting around Alexandria on foot is easy. It's a very easy city to walk around, particularly in the historic heart where most tourists spend their time.

Norfolk is a somewhat walkable place. Downtown is the most walkable part of the city.


For even more information, also check out Is Alexandria Worth Visiting? and Is Norfolk Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Norfolk or Alexandria?

How long in Alexandria or Norfolk?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Alexandria or Norfolk to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Alexandria than Norfolk because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Alexandria, and 1-2 days is enough time in Norfolk.

Families should spend more time in Norfolk than Alexandria. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Norfolk, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Alexandria than Norfolk. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Alexandria that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Alexandria than Norfolk if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Alexandria.


  • How many days in Alexandria or Norfolk? Ideal Length of Stay
    Alexandria 2-4 
    Norfolk 1-2

One day in Alexandria or Norfolk?

In Alexandria, you'll find nightlife and food. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

With museums and nightlife around the authentic city of Norfolk, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Norfolk, one day is sufficent for most.

A weekend in Alexandria or Norfolk?

In Alexandria, you'll find food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Visiting the old town is also a must. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Alexandria has to offer.

With nightlife and food around the destination of Norfolk, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.

Five days in Alexandria or Norfolk?

Alexandria is a great place to explore. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Norfolk, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


A week in Alexandria or Norfolk?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Alexandria. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Alexandria. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Norfolk is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


Which place is cheaper, Norfolk or Alexandria?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Alexandria is $0.00, while the average daily cost in Norfolk is $166. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Alexandria and Norfolk in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Alexandria $38
    Norfolk $84
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Alexandria $76
    Norfolk $168
Compare Hotels in Alexandria and Norfolk

Looking for a hotel in Alexandria or Norfolk? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Alexandria


Hotels in Norfolk


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Alexandria Hotel Prices and Norfolk Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Alexandria -
    Norfolk $54

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Norfolk

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Norfolk:

  • Bamville Transportation (Private & Airport Transfers): $275

Is it cheaper to fly into Alexandria or Norfolk?

Prices for flights to both Norfolk and Alexandria change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Alexandria -
    Norfolk $49

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Norfolk

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Norfolk.

  • Buffet Dinner Cruise: $101
  • Norfolk Father's Day Buffet Dinner Cruise: $112
  • Norfolk Mother's Day Signature Dinner Cruise: $112
  • Norfolk Buffet Dinner Cruise : $140
  • Norfolk 4th of July Buffet Dinner Cruise: $182

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Alexandria -
    Norfolk $14

Tours and Activities in Alexandria

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Alexandria.

  • Old Town Alexandria Tour: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Phantoms of the Potomac Walking Tour: $26
  • American Revolution Guided Walking Tour: $30
  • A Walk in Washington's Footsteps History Tour: $32
  • Full-Day Bike Tour to Mt Vernon w/ Optional Boat: $68
  • Old Town Southern Comfort Food & History Tour: $127
  • Private Tour of George Washington's Mount Vernon: $165
  • Philadelphia Tour from Alexandria by Rail: $329

Tours and Activities in Norfolk

Here are a few actual costs in Norfolk for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Electric Bike Rental Downtown Norfolk (self guided tour) : $60
  • Experience the season with a scavenger hunt in Norfolk with Holly Jolly Hunt: $20
  • Mother's Day Signature Brunch Cruise Norfolk: $103
  • Neon District Contemporary Art Walking Tour: $32
  • Norfolk Buffet Brunch Cruise : $84
  • Norfolk Father's Day Buffet Brunch Cruise: $103
  • Elizabeth River Candlelit Buffet Lunch Cruise: $84
  • Elizabeth River Sunday Buffet Brunch Cruise: $84
  • Virginia Zoo & Battleship Wisconsin Combo Ticket: $38
  • Skip the Line: Virginia Living Museum Admission Ticket: $22

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Alexandria -
    Norfolk $10

Sample the Local Flavors in Alexandria

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Alexandria:

  • Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Alexandria and Norfolk, we can see that Norfolk is more expensive. And not only is Alexandria much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Alexandria would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Alexandria and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Norfolk would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Norfolk than you might in Alexandria.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Alexandria Expensive? and Is Norfolk Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Alexandria or Norfolk?

Norfolk has a larger population, and is about 84% larger than the population of Alexandria. When comparing the sizes of Alexandria and Norfolk, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Alexandria or Norfolk?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Alexandria or Norfolk in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Alexandria as well as Norfolk. The small town charm and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Alexandria this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Norfolk for the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Alexandria is around the same temperature as Norfolk. Typically, the summer temperatures in Alexandria in July average around 79°F (26°C), and Norfolk averages at about 79°F (26°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Norfolk. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Alexandria this time of the year. In the summer, Alexandria often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Norfolk. Alexandria gets 278 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Norfolk receives 279 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Norfolk. Alexandria usually gets less rain in July than Norfolk. Alexandria gets 3.5 inches (88 mm) of rain, while Norfolk receives 5.7 inches (145 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Alexandria 79°F (26°C) 
    Norfolk 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Alexandria or Norfolk in the Autumn?

Both Norfolk and Alexandria are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Alexandria for the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, many visitors come to Norfolk in the autumn for the shopping scene.

In October, Alexandria is generally around the same temperature as Norfolk. Daily temperatures in Alexandria average around 60°F (15°C), and Norfolk fluctuates around 62°F (16°C).

It's quite sunny in Norfolk. Alexandria usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Norfolk during autumn. Alexandria gets 197 hours of sunny skies, while Norfolk receives 211 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Alexandria usually receives around the same amount of rain as Norfolk. Alexandria gets 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain, while Norfolk receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Alexandria 60°F (15°C) 
    Norfolk 62°F (16°C)

Should I visit Alexandria or Norfolk in the Winter?

Both Norfolk and Alexandria during the winter are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Alexandria in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, most visitors come to Norfolk for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Norfolk can be very cold during winter. Alexandria can get quite cold in the winter. Alexandria is much colder than Norfolk in the winter. The daily temperature in Alexandria averages around 35°F (1°C) in January, and Norfolk fluctuates around 39°F (4°C).

In the winter, Alexandria often gets less sunshine than Norfolk. Alexandria gets 139 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Norfolk receives 168 hours of full sun.

Alexandria usually gets less rain in January than Norfolk. Alexandria gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Norfolk receives 3.3 inches (85 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Alexandria 35°F (1°C) 
    Norfolk 39°F (4°C)

Should I visit Alexandria or Norfolk in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Alexandria and Norfolk. Most visitors come to Alexandria for the small town charm and the natural beauty during these months.

In the spring, Alexandria is around the same temperature as Norfolk. Typically, the spring temperatures in Alexandria in April average around 56°F (14°C), and Norfolk averages at about 58°F (14°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Norfolk this time of the year. In Alexandria, it's very sunny this time of the year. Alexandria usually receives less sunshine than Norfolk during spring. Alexandria gets 228 hours of sunny skies, while Norfolk receives 253 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Alexandria usually receives around the same amount of rain as Norfolk. Alexandria gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Norfolk receives 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Alexandria 56°F (14°C) 
    Norfolk 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Norfolk and Alexandria

Alexandria Norfolk
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 35°F (1°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 39°F (4°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Feb 37°F (3°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Mar 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 49°F (10°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Apr 56°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 58°F (14°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
May 66°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 67°F (19°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Jun 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 74°F (24°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Jul 79°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 79°F (26°C) 5.7 inches (145 mm)
Aug 78°F (26°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm) 78°F (25°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm)
Sep 71°F (22°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 72°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Oct 60°F (15°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 62°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Nov 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Dec 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)