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190 miles SE of Washington, D.C.; 93 miles E of Richmond; 17 miles W of Virginia Beach
Downtown Norfolk was notorious for its sailor bars when I was growing up about 75 miles south of here. For many years, in fact, we didn't go into downtown Norfolk. That's not true now, for the city has undergone a notable renaissance. Today, the rowdy joints are out in suburban strip malls, replaced by a vibrant, modern downtown of high-rise offices, condominiums, marinas, museums, shops, nightspots, a 12,000-seat minor league baseball park, and a downtown cruise-ship terminal. The MacArthur Center, a shopping mall just a few blocks from the riverfront, now dominates downtown. More condos and office buildings are going up as I write.
Also here are Virginia's finest art museum, the state's official zoo, and a botanical garden that comes ablaze with springtime azaleas. After dark, the state's symphony, opera, and stage company add highbrow culture. And if you're a foodie, hot restaurants bring exciting tastes to downtown and the hip residential neighborhood known as Ghent. Interspersed among the modern ingredients are reminders of Norfolk's past, such as historic houses and the old City Hall, now a museum and memorial to World War II hero Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
Indeed, this rising Southern star -- dubbed by the local tourist bureau as "The New Norfolk" -- is one of the more diverse and fascinating Virginia cities in which to spend a day or two.
American Airlines flights to Norfolk let you visit this friendly city, known as the heart of the Virginia Waterfront, where the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay meet. You'll discover interesting places to see and things to do in Norfolk that the entire family will love and remember long after you've gone home.
As a seaside destination, many activities in Norfolk are centered around the water. We suggest starting with a visit to Nauticus, especially if you're traveling with kids. This 120,000-square-foot maritime attraction houses more than 150 exhibits, including a simulated interactive naval destroyer. There's even a touch tank where you can get hands-on experience with a shark. Or learn about underwater parks maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and step inside a submersible. The NOAA exhibit even features artifacts recovered underwater from the Civil War. Then go next door to the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, where you can see a collection of antique ship models and soak up history from more than 200 years of Norfolk Harbor naval activity.
Add a visit to the USS Wisconsin to your list of things to do in Norfolk. America's largest battleship was involved in World War II, the Korean War and the Gulf War. It is berthed next door to Nauticus, making it a natural place to see after you're done there. Walk on the decks of this famous battleship and feel naval history come alive.
To see what's currently in action, go to Naval Station Norfolk. It's one of our favorite activities in Norfolk because you'll get to see actual Atlantic Fleet training centers, aircraft carriers and submarines during the 45-minute tour, which is led by Navy personnel.
If you can tear yourself away from the water for a bit, a visit to The Chrysler Museum of Art is in order. It features one of the most comprehensive collections of glass in the world, along with paintings and sculptures by American and European artists including Henri Matisse, Winslow Homer, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Roy Lichtenstein. Spending an afternoon here is one of the most enchanting things to do in Norfolk.
From fine art to maritime marvels, there's something here for everyone in the family to treasure. Let American Airlines help you fly to Norfolk so you can experience it all.
Prices shown are round-trip fares, including taxes and carrier-imposed fees. Advertised travel may be operated by an American Eagle or an American Connection carrier. American Eagle® service is operated by American Eagle Airlines, Inc., SkyWest Airlines, Inc., ExpressJet Airlines, Inc., or Republic Airline Inc. American Connection® service is operated by Chautauqua Airlines, Inc.
New York Kennedy
|International Azalea Festival||Apr 2014 (annual)||Norfolk|
|Bayou Boogaloo and Cajun Food Festival||Jun 2014 (annual)||Town Point Park|
|Norfolk Jazz Festival||Jul 2014 (annual)||Town Point Park|
|Virginia Children's Festival||Oct 2014 (annual)||Town Point Park|
|Town Point Virginia Wine Festival||Oct 2014 (annual)||Town Point Park|
|Douglas MacArthur Memorial||Landmark||3|
|Hunter House Victorian Museum||Historic Site||1|
|Moses Myers House||Historic Site||1|
|NAUTICUS, The National Maritime Centre||Museum||1|
|Norfolk Botanical Garden||Park/Garden||3|
|St. Paul's Episcopal Church||Religious Site||2|
|The Chrysler Museum of Art||Museum||4|
|The Virginia Zoo||Zoo/Aquarium||2|
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