Stroll the cobblestone streets of Freemason District 

Rebuilt shortly after the destruction of the Revolutionary War, Norfolk’s Freemason District features cobblestone streets and beautiful historic homes with colonial architecture. Located along the waterfront, the area’s charm provides a perfect location for a stroll after a big family meal.

Freemason Holidays - Crowdriff

@virginiafamilytravel, Instagram


Go Ice Skating at MacArthur Center 

While it may get cold in Norfolk, ice and snow is a rarity, except at MacArthur On Ice. Here, you can enjoy a night of ice skating and snow right in the center of downtown. Afterward, stop in next door for a bit of shopping and meet Santa at MacArthur Center.

View the Lighted Boat Parade 

Norfolk’s love of the water and holiday lights combine each Saturday at 6pm for a lighted boat parade at Nauticus. In the tides at dusk next to the Battleship Wisconsin, beautifully lit boats will sail by as Santa waves from the water to those watching from the shore.

Santa Boat Parade

Snuggle up at an outdoor fire pit

Baby, it’s cold outside in Norfolk during the winter! Snuggle up at one of our many outdoor fire pits and grab a snack, cocktail, or glass of wine. 

See the lights at Norfolk Botanical Garden

The light show at the Norfolk Botanical Garden was named one of the “best botanical garden holiday light shows in the country” by USA TODAY. Grab a hot coco from their Marigold & Honey Cafe food truck and walk through this dazzling landscape.

Try the Holiday Helper IPA at Smartmouth Brewing Co.

Smartmouth Brewing Co.’s Holiday Helper IPA-Red is a local wintertime favorite here in Norfolk. Find it on tap at the brewery’s headquarters, located on the banks of the Elizabeth River. Bring the pup to have some whole-family fun.

Smartmouth - holiday Bucketlist@smartmouthbeer, Instagram

Go caroling in the Ghent neighborhood

While you really could carol everywhere in Norfolk, our historic Ghent neighborhood boasts beautiful tree-lined residential streets, parks, and water views of the Hague. Take your pick of hundreds of eclectic eateries, unique shops, and antique stores along your path.

Ghent House@virginiacolonial, Instagram

Shop local fares at Selden Market 

Located in the heart of downtown, the Downtown Norfolk Council recently received top honors for the innovative Selden Market. Selden houses local retail start-ups and pop-up shops that are cycled out, so you’ll always find something new and exciting. Can’t find a business you loved there before? Try looking around town! Many of these retailers open permanent locations after their Selden Market days.


Admire the giant tree at Townebank Fountain Park

The massive Christmas tree located on the waterfront in Townebank Fountain Park provides a great location to snap cute holiday photos. Afterward, stop by Waterside District next door for yummy food, or walk through the park to Nauticus where you can explore Winterfest.

Christmas tree - holiday bucket list@shailaja_ra0, Instagram