Should You Visit Norfolk?

Are you thinking about visiting Norfolk, Virginia? Here's what you need to know before planning your trip.


Is Norfolk worth visiting?

This city is a good place to visit for one to two days. Norfolk is a waterfront city that is home to a naval base and several military museums. It has a working class vibe, but it's also cultural with a growing arts scene. While it's often overlooked by tourists, there are some interesting aspects to the city. We first visited in 2010 and have returned several times. During our time here, we fell in love with its low key setting and authenticity.

Norfolk, Virginia Norfolk, Virginia

Reasons to Visit Norfolk

Museums
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.

Food
You'll find a decent collection of restaurants in the downtown area. Food options include local seafood, brunch, casual eateries, and fine dining.

Nightlife
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.

Shopping
There's a mix of shopping malls, local boutiques, farmer's markets, and shopping centers around town.

Authenticity
Norfolk has an authentic vibe where you can experience local culture, cuisine, and activities without the large tourist crowds of other popular destinations.




Is Norfolk worth visiting in the Summer?

The high season for travel in Norfolk is the summer, so expect to see more tourists than usual. Even though this destination is not very touristy, in the high season it's busier than usual because this is when most visitors come here.

The weather in Norfolk is fairly warm during summer, and stays around 26°C (79°F). But it can get as warm as 31°C (87°F) at times, too. It's also quite rainy during this season, so be prepared.

During this season it's fun to experience the famous sights and museums and the nightlife scene.


Summer Weather in Norfolk
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
July 26°C (79°F) 145 mm (5.7 in)
August 25°C (78°F) 150 mm (5.9 in)
September 22°C (72°F) 107 mm (4.2 in)

Is Norfolk worth visiting in the Autumn?

You'll find the weather to be very nice here during autumn with average temperatures around 16°C (62°F).

Autumn is the shoulder season for travel in Norfolk, which means slightly less visitors than in the peak season. This destination is not very touristy, and in the shoulder season it can become fairly quiet.

This is a great time of year to browse the museums.


Autumn Weather in Norfolk
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
October 16°C (62°F) 78 mm (3.1 in)
November 12°C (53°F) 75 mm (3 in)
December 7°C (44°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)

Is Norfolk worth visiting in the Winter?

Winter is the low season for travel in Norfolk. This destination is not very touristy, so in the low season it can become fairly quiet.

The weather in Norfolk can be quite cold during winter, and averages around 4°C (39°F). But be prepared for much lower temperatures, too.

You'll find plenty to do during winter, as you'll be able to spend time at the museums, dine out at amazing restaurants, and dance the night away.


Winter Weather in Norfolk
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
January 4°C (39°F) 85 mm (3.3 in)
February 5°C (41°F) 84 mm (3.3 in)
March 10°C (49°F) 87 mm (3.4 in)

Is Norfolk worth visiting in the Spring?

This is the shoulder season for travel in Norfolk. This destination is not very touristy, and in the shoulder season it can become fairly quiet.

You'll find the weather to be very nice here during spring with average temperatures around 14°C (58°F).

During this season it's fun to experience shopping, the museums and landmarks, and the nightlife.


Spring Weather in Norfolk
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
April 14°C (58°F) 69 mm (2.7 in)
May 19°C (67°F) 85 mm (3.3 in)
June 24°C (74°F) 92 mm (3.6 in)

Things to Consider Before Visiting Norfolk

Getting Around
The area is not very walkable, and public transit is not great here, so it might be difficult to get around without arranging your own transportation.

The Cost
Depending on your budget, schedule, and travel style, Norfolk might be an expensive destination for you. You can find out the travel costs for Norfolk here or see if Norfolk is expensive here.

Related

What is Norfolk most famous for?

Norfolk is most famous for its naval base and military presence. The city is very popular for its museums, food, nightlife, and shopping. It is often described as blue collar, maritime, and authentic.

What is the most famous sight in Norfolk?

The most popular sight in Norfolk is the Battleship Wisconsin. You can see prices and costs for this and other sights in Norfolk on our travel costs page.

Or, see tickets, activities, and tours for the Battleship Wisconsin and other attractions here.

How touristy is Norfolk? Is it a popular city to visit?

Norfolk is an off-the-beaten-path city that many travelers overlook. Here are some of the most popular activities and tours. (Prices in US Dollars)

  • Electric Bike Rental Downtown Norfolk (self guided tour): $60
  • Skip the Line: Virginia Living Museum Admission Ticket: $22
  • Norfolk Buffet Brunch Cruise: $84
  • Neon District Contemporary Art Walking Tour: $32
  • Experience the season with a scavenger hunt in Norfolk with Holly Jolly Hunt: $20
  • Norfolk Father's Day Buffet Brunch Cruise: $104
  • Mother's Day Signature Brunch Cruise Norfolk: $124
  • Virginia Zoo & Battleship Wisconsin Combo Ticket: $38

How long should I spend in Norfolk?

The ideal length of time for a trip to Norfolk is one to two days. Since Norfolk has activities such as nightlife, shopping, and museums, most people visit for up to two days.

If you have a specific amount of time for your trip, see our advice about how much time to spend here: Should I spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Norfolk? and Should I spend 3, 4, or 5 days in Norfolk?.