Sometimes you just want to have a little fun without spending a lot of money. Norfolk has plenty of ways to have a great time for less than a dime. Here are free and fun things to do in Norfolk, Virginia.

Festivals, Concerts, and Outdoor Shows

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Norfolk plays host to a wealth of premier festivals and special events, providing entertaining, culturally enriched experiences for individuals and families alike. Many of these signature events are free and open to the public, drawing thousands of visitors annually to our historic waterfront city. Year-round.

The MacArthur Memorial

macarthur memorial - free things to do


The MacArthur Memorial is dedicated to the life and legacy of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. The Memorial also pays tribute to the millions of Americans who served during the Civil War, World War I, World War II and the Korean War. The three-building complex on a tree-lined square consists of a museum (formerly the Norfolk City Hall and Courthouse), a research center and a visitor center with exhibits and special presentations. Open Tuesday- Sunday.

The Hampton Roads Naval Museum 

Presenting more than two centuries of naval activity in and around the great harbors of the region, The Hampton Roads Naval Museum is one of ten officially operated by U.S. Navy Museums and the Naval History and Heritage Command. Located inside the Nauticus building on the Norfolk waterfront, the facility showcases over 50 exhibits including a priceless collection of naval ship models, 19th-century naval artwork and underwater archaeological finds from the American Civil War. Open Tuesday-Sunday.

The NEON Arts District

NEON - fun & free article

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NEON stands for New Energy Of Norfolk. Whether you are a local or visiting for the first time, the NEON District offers a unique cultural experience. Within a few short blocks, you can see a muralist at work adding to the many murals popping up in the area, take in an improv comedy performance, watch a live glass-working demonstration, shop for unique home goods, get a tattoo or dine out at an eclectic restaurant. 

The Chrysler Museum of Art & Glass Studio

Chrysler Museum

The museum and glass studio are located in the NEON district and offer free general admission. Considered one of America’s most distinguished mid-sized art museums, The Chrysler Museum of Art features a nationally recognized collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the great glass collections in America. In addition to growing collections, especially of American art, contemporary glass, and 21st-century works, The Chrysler mounts an ambitious schedule of visiting exhibitions and educational programs and events each season. The Chrysler opened a full-service glass studio adjacent to the Museum. This state-of-the-art facility features a 560-pound- capacity glass furnace, a full hot shop, aflame working studio, nine annealing ovens and a cold working shop. Free daily demonstrations Tuesdays through Sundays at Noon.

Historic Homes of Norfolk

Two historic homes in Norfolk are open for visitors. Completed in 1794, Willoughby-Baylor House presents a fascinating mix of art and artifacts. The oldest Jewish home in America, the Moses Myers House offers a glimpse of the life of an early 19th-century merchant family. Open Saturday & Sunday, 12-5 p.m.

Free Wine Tasting Friday’s at Mermaid Winery

Mermaid Winery - crowdriff photo

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Norfolk’s Mermaid Winery offers a free wine tasting in their Tasting Room. Every week there is a specialty wine, rotating from countries around the world, for your enjoyment! Every Friday from 5-8 p.m.

Ocean View Station Museum

Located at the Pretlow Library, the Ocean View Station Museum houses a collection of images, memorabilia and oral histories documenting past times in the beaches, neighborhoods and commercial districts of Ocean View.

The Cannonball Trail

This self-guided tour allows you to follow the Cannonball Trail through 400 years of Norfolk and American history. The trail winds along the shoreline of the Elizabeth River and through the districts of downtown Norfolk. Follow the historic sites highlighted on this tour and allow a minimum of two hours to walk the entire trail.

The Barry Art Museum

Barry art museum

The newest museum added to Norfolk's ever-growing art scene is the Barry Art Museum. The museum stands tall as ODU's gateway to campus, enticing the entire community to come inside and see what's behind its serpentine glass wall. Open Tuesday-Sunday