Located right on the water, Norfolk is the heart and central city of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, a sprawling metro and harbor that covers nine cities and seven counties near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay.

So, what makes Norfolk, VA, unique from its neighboring cities? Here’s a short list of a few key things that make Norfolk stick out.

1. It’s great for military members

Norfolk is home to the Naval Station Norfolk, the world’s largest naval base. This base was established in 1917 and now covers roughly 3,400 acres and houses 149,000 personnel that includes active duty members and their families, reservists, civilians and joint forces as well as 75 ships and more than 130 aircrafts.

Being such a home for military members, Norfolk is also among the best cities for military retirees.

2. Military and mermaids?

Whether you’re visiting, lived there for awhile, or just relocated, you’re going to notice the mermaids around Norfolk. It’s in the city’s logo, makes up much of the cities art, and you can even find a guide to Norfolk’s mermaids. Believe it or not, the mermaids are another benefit of the military presence. Legends tell tales of mermaids’ songs leading soldiers back to shore safely through the harsh waters.

3. Enjoy the rest of Norfolk art

As mentioned above, you’re going to find mermaid- and nautical-themed arts all over the place, but you’ll also find more. If art is your thing, checkout artistic neighborhoods such as the Norfolk Arts District or Gent or even the Chrysler Museum of Art, a recently renovated 220,000 square-foot museum filled with European, contemporary American, and glass art. 

4. Best beaches in Hampton Roads

While there are plenty of beaches around the bay, Norfolk is home to Ocean View Beach Park. This beach is loved by locals in and out of Norfolk for its calm waters, low crowds, free parking and more. Some even enjoy visiting OV even outside of the summer season for a stroll along the water on a warm winter day.

5. Norfolk restaurants have it all

A nice thing about Norfolk is that you’re going to find a bit of everything when it comes to food, from Modern European cuisine at Blanca, new American at The Green House Kitchen, and even bbq at My Mama’s Kitchen.

There are many things that make Norfolk unique and stick out from the rest of Hampton Roads, and we’ve only given you a few. The best stuff should be experienced in person, however, so we encourage you to check out Norfolk for yourself and let us know what you think makes it stand out below!

And if you’re looking to get the most out of your space in Norfolk, click here to learn how we can help.

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