04 April 2024

How to Celebrate National Bike Month in Norfolk

May is National Bike Month, a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling and encourage more individuals to give biking a try. Not only is biking a great form of exercise and fun way to explore the great outdoors; it’s also an environmentally friendly way to get around town. The City of Norfolk has taken great strides in recent years to evolve into a bike-friendly city. With nearly 60 miles of dedicated bike lanes and shared lane markings, Norfolk has many options for bringing more power to the pedal. 

2024 marks the 13th Annual Norfolk Bike Month, and the city will celebrate with 31 days of rides and plenty of opportunities to get the wheels rolling. This city-wide community celebration is sponsored by Lime and organized by the City of Norfolk, Downtown Norfolk Council, Hampton Roads Transit, TRAFFIX, the Elizabeth River Trail and others. Whether you’re riding for fun, fitness or with family, biking means taking part in a movement for safer streets, connected communities, a healthier planet and happier people. No matter if you’re a local or visiting Norfolk during the month of May, we encourage you to park the car, grab a helmet and navigate on two wheels during National Bike Month and beyond.

Where to Bike

Bike Lanes

@h8pavmt, Instagram

Norfolk currently has 35.8 miles of bike lanes, 31.8 miles of sharrows (lanes dedicated for vehicles and bikers to share) and 11.1 miles of off-road shared use paths. This map of Norfolk’s bike lanes can help you chart your course before your journey to ensure you’re traveling on the safest bike-friendly routes.

Elizabeth River Trail

Image courtesy of ERT

This 10.5-mile urban biking and pedestrian trail is an enjoyable way to explore Norfolk on two wheels. The trail journeys steadily along the Elizabeth River connecting the neighborhoods of Downtown, Freemason, Chelsea, Ghent, Larchmont and Lochhaven. Along the way, you’ll encounter many attractions and restaurants worth taking a break for. 

Norfolk Botanical Garden

Pedal through the petals during Norfolk Botanical Garden’s bike nights held April 1–Oct. 15 from 4–7 p.m. With 175 acres and 14 miles of paved and unpaved paths, the garden is a safe and scenic option for getting exercise while immersing yourself in a lush world of botanical beauty.

Northside Park

@NorfolkVA, Twitter

Norfolk may not have been on your radar for places to mountain bike, but perhaps it should be. Northside Park is a 62-acre public park featuring a skate park, tennis courts and ball fields. In recent years, volunteers from a volunteer organization Bike Norfolk have worked to develop access to mountain biking trails within the park, resulting in three separate but connecting trails for a total of 2.2 miles of single track. 

Norfolk’s Bike Shops and Rentals

East Coast Bicycles

@eastcoastbicycles, Instagram

Time for a new ride? East Coast Bicycles sells a fantastic assortment of road bikes, mountain bikes, comfort bikes, cruisers, hybrids and recumbents, plus electric bikes. Their knowledgeable and professional team will go above and beyond to help you select the best bike for your needs. Plus, they’ve got all the accessories, clothing, parts and safety gear to keep you cruising in style. Check out their social media pages to keep up with group ride events. 

Hund’s Recycle Factory

Giving new meaning to the term recycle, Hund’s breathes new life into old bikes by recycling, reusing and rearranging the parts to create custom rides. In addition to used bikes, they can help you find a new bike you love by placing orders from some of their favorite brands. They also have a team of experienced cyclists and repair techs who can help you repair or restore the bike you currently own. 

Lime

@seldenmarket, Instagram

Perhaps you’re familiar with the Lime scooter share program that provides on-demand transportation solutions to help people seamlessly move throughout their neighborhoods and across the community to meet their daily needs. Did you know that you can also rent bicycles through Lime? Simply download the app, view nearby rentals, scan the QR code or enter a number to unlock, then enjoy the ride. Don’t forget to lock up safely when finished and park curbside or at any public bike rack. 

Slow and Steady Bikes and Goods

Occupying the recently vacated Colley Ave. location of Local Bike Shop NFK, Slow and Steady is brand new, but ready to repair your bikes within less than a week. According to its website, the shop is, “A community driven, bicycle oriented marketplace meant to foster a healthier and more sustainable Norfolk by combining the love for cycling with access to thoughtfully curated goods. We aim to create a unique and inclusive space that serves as a hub for bike enthusiasts and the community, offering not only unique bicycles and cycling accessories but also a shared space for bike education, events, and service.”

OV Bicycle Shop

Head to Ocean View to find your perfect two-wheeled match at OV Bicycle Shop. They have a variety of bikes available for test rides and purchase, whether you’re looking for a beach cruiser, mountain bike or road bike. Their team is also equipped to provide maintenance, repairs or a free 21-point checkup. 

Pedego Electric Bikes 

Courtesy of Pedego Bikes

Does your biking need a little boost? Head Downtown to Pedego Electric Bikes. The electric-assist empowers peddlers to go farther and faster, allowing you to see more in less time. You can certainly purchase your own Pedego to go, but if you just want to try it out, Pedego offers rentals for a full day, half day or 24 hours. Locals and helmets are included with every rental, and delivery service is available for full day and weekly rentals. You can even rent a kids’ trailer to bring the littles along on your smooth journey.

Siren Skate Shop

@sirenskateshop, Instagram

Whether you’re rolling on skates, boards or bikes, Siren is here to keep you on your wheels. Conveniently located across from Northside Park, Siren carries an assortment of bikes, plus standout accessories like colorful tires, pedals, handlebars, seats and more to keep you on cycles and in style. 

Celebrate Sustainably

Want to know how your personal bicycling journeys are positively impacting the environment? Download the Traffix app by Hampton Roads Transit, available for Apple or Android devices. Participants see how much money they’re saving in commuting expenses, how many calories they’re burning by not driving and how much they’re helping to reduce CO2 emissions. You can earn rewards and receive real-time data on your progress. 

2024 Bike Month Events

DowntownNorfolk.com has begun compiling a list of Bike Month events. So far, here’s what’s on tap:

  • Weekly easy, medium or fast-paced rides with community cycling groups
  • Zoo Bike Night, May 3
  • Tour de ORF casual ride, May 5
  • National Bike to Work Week, May 13-17
  • Bike to Work Day! featuring pit stops for cyclists, May 17, select locations
  • Glow Ride, May 17, The Plot in the NEON District
  • Norfolk Botanical Garden hosts bikes nights 4-7 p.m. daily from April 1 through Oct. 15. No skates, skateboards, rollerblades or scooters allowed.

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04 April 2024

Top Free Attractions to Visit During Conference Downtimes

Oftentimes, the best part of attending a conference, aside from all the key takeaways and connections made, is having the opportunity to explore the city in which the conference is held. As a destination that welcomes well over 100,000 meeting and convention attendees each year, Norfolk is certainly a place that’s worth exploring to the fullest during downtime. Best of all, the city is home to many free attractions and activities that provide insight into our region’s history, culture and incredible arts scene. Here are the 12 best free attractions to visit during your Norfolk conference. 

Downtown

Elizabeth River Trail (ERT)

Winding through multiple neighborhoods along the Elizabeth River, the ERT is a 10.5-mile walkable and bikeable pathway. Grab a coffee at Neptune’s Fury, then turn right on the ERT to journey past the Battleship Wisconsin, Pagoda and much more. Here’s a full guide of things to do on the ERT.

Glass Light Gallery

Attached to the Glass Light Hotel is the Perry Glass Gallery. Meander through the two-story collection, which is made up of 65 small and life-sized pieces of glass art. Exceptional works of glass art by world-renowned artists such as Dale Chihuly, Peter Bremers and Lino Tagliapietra can be spotted in the spaces around you. The gallery has free admission and is open to the public.

MacArthur Memorial

@macoyvin17, Instagram

Located on Bank Street, 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.

Norfolk’s Mermaids

@gak9_virginia, Instagram

Norfolk ‘s iconic mermaids can be found throughout the city, each one reflecting nautical and Norfolk themes, civic pride, the diversity of the region and more. You’ll find a mermaid covered in coins that’s sponsored by a bank, while a mermaid sporting a chef’s hat and apron sits in front of a bakery. Try to spot them all! Bonus points if you break up into teams and see which group can find the most. 

VisitNorfolk Mermaid Market

One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with our city is to stop in our Visitor Center located at 232 E. Main St. and chat with one of our friendly and knowledgeable team members. We have informational brochures on many of the free attractions listed here (plus more!) as well as a curated selection of apparel, housewares, children’s items and other goods representing Norfolk and Virginia.

Freemason

Norfolk Pagoda

@thru_my_soul_eyes, Instagram

Wander around this serene architectural gem, tucked away in a beautiful garden setting in Freemason. The Pagoda is an excellent spot to read a book, listen to the peaceful fountains, spot a koi fish and simply explore. 

NEON District

Chrysler Museum of Art

Offering free entry as well as free parking, the Chrysler Museum is a cultural enclave featuring more than 30,000 original works of art. Peruse the McKinnon Galleries of Modern and Contemporary Art showcasing internationally renowned artists like Jackson Pollock and Georgia O’Keeffe. Also on view are works by female artists, artists of color and artists from other countries. The museum is also home to one of America’s top glass collections. 

Perry Glass Studio

The Perry Glass Studio, a part of the Chrysler Museum of Art and located just across the street, brings the museum’s internationally acclaimed glass collection to life by showing visitors the process of creating these masterpieces. They offer free narrated glassblowing demonstrations Tuesday through Sunday at noon. 

Walking Tours of the NEON District

Did you happen to notice a neighborhood on the outskirts of Downtown that’s popping with vibrant mural art on every street and alleyway? That’s the NEON District (New Energy of Norfolk), and you can embark on a self-guided tour anytime you like. 

d’Art Center

Wandering through the halls and gallery spaces at d’Art Center is like stepping into the minds of multiple artists at work. Home to seven resident artists and 23 associate artists—plus host to nine annual national exhibitions—there’s always something new to see at d’Art.  

Larchmont/Lochhaven

Barry Art Museum 

@barryartmuseum, Instagram

The Barry Art Museum is a cultural hub at Old Dominion University that advances the understanding of art in its many diverse forms through collecting, display, interpretation and research. There’s an extensive glass collection, paintings, historic dolls and changing exhibitions.

Hermitage Museum & Gardens

@hermitagemuseumva, Instagram

The Hermitage Museum & Gardens is a waterfront estate featuring an Arts and Crafts style mansion located along the Lafayette River. The museum offers innovative changing exhibitions, 12 acres of gardens and grounds and a permanent collection of over 5,000 objects representing 30 countries. The museum and gardens are free and open to the public Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

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14 March 2024

Recently Opened in Norfolk

Because Norfolk is always evolving and changing, we want to make sure you don’t miss out on all the new talented chefs, baristas, boutique owners or pitmasters opening up businesses. Whether it’s trying an innovative dish or buying a new outfit, we’re always excited to try out the new locally-owned shops and restaurants. Although we cannot list every new entity that joins Norfolk’s culture, we encourage you to follow along with us on social media for more openings and happenings within the city!

Amale Tre Focacceria
Amale Tre Focacceria

Amale Tre Focacceria

Operated by husband and wife partner Gabriele and Nicole Pianezze, Amale Tre Focacceria crafts mouthwatering foccacias, imported meats and cheeses and other Italian delights in Selden Market. Also serving homemade breads, pasts, sauces, deserts and more. You may know the pair from their popular La Cucina di Sophia food truck. A steady stream of customers at their kiosk tells you everything you need to know about the quality of their offerings.

Crave Bakery & Coffee Bar

Camille Sheppard-Parrish has recently moved Crave Bakery from its Edinburgh location to the former Chocollage space at Boush and College in the Historic Freemason District. The bakery serves up coffee, pastries, ice cream and a full breakfast and lunch menu including croissants, toasts, waffles and more. 200 College Place.  

Ordinaire, Norfolk
Ordinaire, Norfolk

Ordinaire 

Located in the original Brothers restaurant space at 200 E. Plume St. in Downtown Norfolk, Ordinaire serves up a coastal Gullah-inspired menu. Appetizers include fried pickled okra, fried deviled eggs, boiled peanuts and entrees such as shrimp and grits, lamb chops, chicken and collar alfredo and more. 

Studio Kuumba
Studio Kuumba

Studio Kuumba

This pop-up art studio and workspace began as a pop-up in Selden Market at 208 E. Main St. The concept is simple: pop in any time for simple free flow crafting like creating bookmarks, bracelets, paintings and more. Sign up for guided workshops by yourself or with a group. Also carries local art, jewelry and more, created by the owner and other talented artists. Now, the store is expanding to a full-fledged storefront. 

Biscuit Belly

Slated to open mid-March in the ambitious Railyard at Lambert’s Point project is regional chain Biscuit Belly at 2401 Hampton Blvd. The eatery promises a “brunch menu filled with bold new twists on Southern favorites.”

StretchLab Norfolk

StretchLab

Also found in the Railyard at Lambert’s Point, StretchLab offers “one-on-one, customized assisted stretching sessions. The stretches are given on our custom designed benches by Flexologists who will customize your stretch to your needs and talk you through your stretches.” Find it at 1225 W. 25th St. 

Chicken Salad Chick

Load up on a dozen different types of chicken salad, served on bread, croissants or lettuce at this new Railyard entry. Find it at 1200 W. 26th St. 

Cooking with Greens

Slated to open in early April 2024, Cooking with Greens is operated by Derak and Anita Green (get it?). What began as a Facebook page has transformed into a storefront in Selden Market where the Greens will sell seasonings, cookbooks, kitchenware and more. 208 E. Main St.  

PJay’s Kitchen

Veteran-owned Granby Street spot for shrimp po’boys, slow-braised oxtail sandwiches, tacos and more. 323 Granby St. 

F.R.E.D.

The New F.R.E.D.

If you’ve spent any time downtown, you’ve likely seen F.R.E.D. roaming the streets, offering Free Rides Every Day to visitors. Downtown Norfolk recently unveiled a new, fancified battery-operated F.R.E.D. unit that transports up to 8 passengers with confort. Call 757-478-7233 to hitch a ride. 

Victory Rover

Victory Rover

Like F.R.E.D., Victory Rover has been a downtown staple for many years, but it’s worth noting that March 2024 marked the return of these ever-popular naval base harbor cruises at the Waterside. As things heat up, don’t miss the chance to see Mermaid City from a different vantage point – aboard a 149-passenger ship. 

@CityofNorfolkVA LOVEwork sign at ORF.
@CityofNorfolkVA LOVEwork sign at ORF.

LoveWork AR Installation

As part of its “Love is in the Air” campaign, Norfolk International Airport recently unveiled its newest LOVEwork sign that features an Augmented Reality (AR) experience for those who scan the QR code. Check it out; it’s pretty neat!

Want to tell us about new business openings? Email us your tips

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04 March 2024

Creative Teambuilding Activities in Norfolk

When bringing colleagues together, there’s no better way to spark collaboration than by planning some creative teambuilding activities. After a day of back-to-back breakout sessions, your team will be ready to break out of a conference room and into a fun and relaxing environment. Take advantage of Norfolk’s vibrant arts scene by booking a teambuilding experience at one of these creative options. As a bonus, most activities involve team members bringing a unique, handmade piece of Norfolk back home with them.

Glassmaking at Perry Glass Studio at Chrysler Museum of Art

The Perry Glass Studio is a modern, 7,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the Chrysler Museum of Art that is fully equipped to accommodate aspiring and master artists alike. Group classes and workshops are available for teams to enjoy the excitement of glassmaking. With no experience needed, your group can learn together while creating colorful objects that are as unique as your team. Some classes require several days for objects to cool, so consider booking a glassmaking experience on the first day of your conference or meeting to allow enough time to cool. Objects can also be shipped.

Cooking Classes at Syd’s Fish Pig Cafe

Learn from one of Norfolk’s best chefs, Syd Meers, whose Fish Pig Cafe was recently named one of the South’s best restaurants by Southern Living magazine. Tucked away in Selden Market in Downtown Norfolk, Syd’s is located on the same block at the Norfolk Hilton The Main and across the street from the Sheraton.

Painting and Sipping at Pinot’s Palette

At Pinot’s Palette, located in Ghent, they see a strong correlation between employee retention and the quality of team relationships. Their teambuilding events are centered on two fun and easygoing pastimes—painting and sipping. Group painting has a benefit of encouraging team members’ minds to work in new ways and jumpstart creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Their helpful and professional artists will guide your team each step of the way and provide all the necessary supplies: canvases, brushes, paints, palettes, aprons and more. They’ll even provide wine/beer, glasses, corkscrews, ice and buckets, plates, napkins and plasticware. Appetizers or snacks are welcome.

Mermaid Painting at Mermaid Factory

There’s no better creative Mermaid City experience than sending every employee home with a Norfolk mermaid they’ve painted themselves. Once your group arrives, each team member can choose the item they’d like to paint. Mermaids, shells, starfish and dolphins are all available, but mermaids will be the best reminder of their time in Norfolk. Then they’ll get to work using paint, glitter, sand and glue to make their items unique and special. Projects can be taken home right away to enjoy.

Improv Classes with Push Comedy Theater

Need to break out of the same old ice breakers? Also located in Norfolk’s NEON District, the Push Comedy Theater hosts live improv classes that encourage creativity and team morale while using laughter as a key factor. Will your team be nervous about joining an improv class? Probably. Will they strengthen skills in leadership, agility and communication? Absolutely. Improv is an art form that energizes participants through play and teaches lessons in listening skills, mental agility and shifting to a group mindset to improve chances of team success. Workshops are typically three hours but can be customized to meet the needs and objectives of your group. Workshops can be presented at Push Comedy Theater or at your designated location.

Touring Norfolk’s Arts District with Norfolk Tour Company

On journeys to and from hotel rooms, conference rooms and restaurants, your team will likely notice Norfolk’s vivid arts district. The NEON District is a unique cultural experience energized with colorful murals throughout. Some are by local artists, some are national, and all come with a story. Want to hear some of those stories? Just ask Joshua Weinstein, founder of Norfolk Tour Company. A lifelong resident of the region and lover of local history and art, Weinstein will weave your team through alleyways, along sidewalks and in front of some of the most intriguing murals in the NEON District. If art isn’t in your team’s wheelhouse, other tours explore Norfolk’s Elizabeth River Trail, urban architectural designs, historic districts, cemeteries and even haunted attractions.

Woodworking at Board & Brush

This DIY wood sign workshop in Ghent provides education on woodworking techniques combined with the latest trends and custom graphics. In these workshops, teams can socialize, collaborate and have fun all while creating a unique piece of art they can display in their homes or offices. Staff provides hands-on instruction, materials, music and an enjoyable atmosphere. They’ll even help you partner with a local restaurant for catering, or you can go potluck! Complimentary wine and beer are included. Planners will be provided with a private event link to share with the whole team. Don’t want to leave out virtual employees? Board & Brush ships their kits nationally. 

Painting Pottery at Color Me Mine

Here’s another option for the first day of your convention. Color Me Mine is a paint-your-own pottery studio in which team members can choose from a wide variety of pre-made pottery including plates, travel mugs, planters and more. Employees make the items their own using a variety of paints and techniques. Then the team at Color Me Mine will glaze and fire creations to be picked up in just a couple days.

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23 January 2024

Valentine's and Galentine's 2024 Events in Norfolk

It’s the sweetest time of year, and we’re here to make sure you know the ins and outs of celebrating Valentine’s Day in Norfolk! From cakes and crafts to drag shows and DJ sets, there are plenty of events to celebrate the day of hearts with your Valentine or Galentine group!

Main image: @brennakathcollins, Instagram

Matchmakers Market at Benchtop

Feb. 3
benchtop brewery

Join Benchtop Brewing for their Matchmaker’s Market, featuring a diverse selection of local businesses. The event invites attendees to find a special someone or discover a sweet treasure (or two) to take home. Guests can indulge in delicious barbecue eats provided by Bar Q on-site and sip on handcrafted beers while perusing the goods. It promises to be a delightful experience, and they look forward to seeing everyone there!

Lonely Hearts Market at The Veil

Feb. 9
The veil

Immerse in the enchanting atmosphere at The Veil Night Market’s Lonely Hearts Night – an evening of local delights, live music, and connections. Explore the market with local vendors, enjoy the starry ambiance, delectable treats, and the opportunity to forge new connections under the night sky. It’s a magical experience tailored for lonely hearts to come together and create unforgettable memories.

Galentines Day Brunch at Cure

Feb. 10-11
Cure Coffeehouse

Experience the magic of Galentine’s Day Brunch at Cure on February 10th & 11th from 8 am to 2 pm! Guests can enjoy a delightful brunch menu, savor exquisite cocktails, and capture memorable moments in the fabulous photo booths. To add a touch of elegance, bouquets by “So many Flowers” will be available for purchase. It’s a weekend filled with love, laughter, and unforgettable experiences, making it the perfect Galentine’s celebration. Don’t miss out on this special event at Cure!

Kiss & Tail

Feb. 10
Virginia zoo

Embark on a magical evening at The Veil Night Market’s Lonely Hearts Night, where the ambiance is set under the starry sky. This unique event not only features live music and local delights but also offers a vibrant market experience with local vendors. Wander through the stalls, indulge in delectable treats, and seize the chance to connect with kindred spirits. Lonely Hearts Night is designed to create enchanting memories, making it the perfect opportunity for those seeking both local delights and meaningful connections.

Galentines Day at Mercy O

Feb. 10
Mercy O atelier

An amazing event is on the horizon at Mercy O in Norfolk, promising exclusive gift card deals, exciting raffles, stunning permanent jewelry, fresh bouquets, new inventory, and live music.

Yin + Chocolate Tasting

Feb. 10
Sky’s the Limit Yoga Co.

STL yogis are loving the benefits of a yin practice, so we are bringing a bit more zen your way for Valentine’s Day! Join Christal as she brings together a deeply meditative yin yoga practice with a luxurious chocolate tasting to fill your senses. In this 2-hour event, Christal will guide you through the multitude of layers of your sensory and energetic body, tapping into your sweet spot in this slow, gentle practice that is suitable for all levels of experience. Space is limited! Grab your spot and get ready for fun on + off the mat!

Galentines Day drag brunch

Feb. 11
Waterside District

Get ready for the ultimate celebration as Galentine’s Day Drag Brunch makes a triumphant return! Join us for the city’s most sizzling drag show featuring Sandra Lopez and her fabulous queens, all while indulging in a delectable breakfast buffet. Each ticket includes access to the brunch buffet, complete with a Waffle Making Station, Omelet Making Station, and a Dessert Station featuring Chocolate Fondue. Additionally, enjoy two tickets for your choice of Mimosas or Bloody Marys, secure a seat for the hottest drag show in town hosted by Sandra Lopez and her Queens, and receive a special Galentine’s gift.

galentines Day at The Naro Cinema

Feb. 13
Naro expanded cinema

Ladies are invited to join an unforgettable Galentine’s Day celebration with their best bachelorette party-loving gal pals! The event includes goody bags, trivia prizes from local woman-owned businesses, and a Galentine’s themed selection of boozy beverages. Hosted by the fabulous Whitney Weireter, the evening features a photo booth, a stunning poster for sale by Mallory Jarrell, and a movie starting at 7:15 with doors opening at 6:30. It’s set to be a fantastic night of fun and friendship that shouldn’t be missed!

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

4 Course Valentines Dinner at Press 626

Feb. 13-15
Press 626 Wine Bar

Indulge in a romantic Valentine’s Day 4-course dinner at Press 626, where Chef Leeroi has crafted a delightful menu for you and your loved one to savor. Extend the celebration beyond just one day, as this special menu will be available on February 13, 14, and 15! Secure your table by calling us for a reservation and make your Valentine’s experience truly memorable.

Heart Shaker at Mudita

Feb. 17, 2023
Mudita cafe

Experience love at Heart Shaker, a pop-up Valentine café at Mudita Cafe & Bar on Saturday, February 17, 2024, at 1:00 PM! Enjoy an afternoon filled with raffles, vendors, a special K-pop-themed menu, performances, and the opportunity to make new friends through our friendship matchmaking activity. No admission fee; support the venue by purchasing items from their menu

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23 January 2024

Best Spas in Norfolk

By now, we all can understand and appreciate the benefits of a self-care routine. Feeling our best—and sometimes even looking our best—can rejuvenate and re-energize, boost confidence and provide the motivation needed to work hard, play hard and vacation hard. There’s no need to sacrifice your self-care routine while traveling. Consider booking a massage on the first day of your visit to initiate full relaxation mode. Keep up with your mani/pedi routine at one of Norfolk’s spas. Or, delve into a new experience like meditation or floating. Here are some recommended Norfolk spas to boost relaxation and contribute to your overall wellness. 

Changes Day Spa

Get pampered from head to toe with the award-winning team and establishment of Changes in Ghent. Opt for hair care services like blowouts, relaxers and straightening from a team of technicians at various levels. Try a 60-minute, 90-minute or hot stone massage. Illuminate your look with a lash lift or brow lamination. You can also book a full spa package like the Changes City Escape, which includes a massage, facial, pedicure, manicure, shampoo and blowout and facial wax; lunch is even included! 

Elite European Day Spa

Founder Kima Nazaryan moved to the U.S. from Europe with her sights set on living the American dream through owning her own day spa. This premier, luxurious destination offers treatment for hair, nails, skin and body, plus makeup and waxing services too. Their hydrafacials focus on detoxification, cleansing, extracting and hydrating to leave skin looking and feeling its best. Open seven days a week, there’s always an opportunity to be transported to a European experience right in the heart of Ghent.

Enrich Spa

Conveniently located in East Beach, Enrich Spa prides itself on being a European-style paradise. In addition to the services you may expect—massages, facials, haircare, nail services and waxing—Enrich offers aromatic contouring body treatments to achieve healthy, attractive and toned appearances. Their facials are uniquely tailored to restore skin’s radiance, redefine face contour or erase visible signs of aging. Their spa packages are just as luxurious. Consider the Spa Date, which includes a couple’s anti-stress body massage, foot peeling, paraffin treatment, skin renewal exfoliation and aromatic shower. 

Float Spa

@floatnorfolkspa, Instagram

When was the last time you simply allowed yourself to float on water and feel all your cares quietly drift away? Float Norfolk provides just that experience you didn’t know you were missing. Floating is a proven aid for mental health, physical wellbeing and stress reduction. Immerse yourself in a float pod filled with water containing 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts to help achieve weightlessness. Benefits can include muscle relaxation, meditation, improved sleep, increased immune health, reduced anxiety and elevated mood.

Get Well Soon

@danica_royster, Instagram

Get Well Soon was founded by Virginia Thornton and Zahra Ahmad to cater to a need they saw in themselves and in their community: individuals suffering from anxiety and depression in silence due to major life events such as loss and relocation. The two women committed to creating a fun, welcoming environment for self care and healing. Visit Get Well Soon to experience a variety of services like massages, facials and an infrared sauna. There’s also guided meditation and yoga classes to target wellness in the mind and body. 

Letoile Day Spa

Your body deserves more, and that’s why Letoile Day Spa is committed to providing the wellness services you need. Start with a massage, facial or nail care experience. Revitalize your skin with a body wrap concentrated in mud therapy, herbal slimming, salt glow, hydrotherapy or energy. Book one of their packages for a truly lush experience. Letoile’s My Day in Norfolk package features an herbal slimming wrap, hot stone massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, bio cleanse and hydrotherapy sauna session plus lunch. 

Lotus Day Spa

This Norfolk spa features all natural and organic services for your pampering needs. Whether you’re in need of facials, waxing, eyelash extensions, permanent makeup, makeup application, nails or massage, they’ve got you covered with the tranquility and professionalism to transport you to another place. Their nail services are more comprehensive than most, ranging from acrylics and UV gels to shellac, dipping powder and more. Their manicures and pedicures are an experience, as some feature lava stones or herbal rejuvenating methods. 

Savarnas

Take your beauty and skin routine to the next level with the trusted staff at Savarnas. Their treatments include threading, skincare, eyebrow and eyelash services, plus waxing, permanent makeup and even the ancient art of henna. Along with the services they offer on-site, Savarnas also sells a variety of products to continue the self-care at home: cleansers, toners, exfoliants, masks, serums, moisturizers, eyebrow powders and more. 

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17 January 2024

Norfolk Restaurants Serving Mocktails

Many of Norfolk’s restaurants are celebrated for their phenomenal cocktail programs. But, what about the booze-free bunch? Not to worry. You can find a great selection of nonalcoholic drinks in Norfolk. Below we’ll share some top options for crafted mocktails featuring fresh (and refreshing) ingredients, some enhanced with bitters, some incorporating zero-proof alcohol and all worthy of a guilt-free sip. 

Alkaline

Alkaline is known for many things: addictive ramen, sticky wings and lumpia, tots so good they don’t make sense, must-have miso butter cake and superb cocktails. Luckily for non-imbibers, items from the regular cocktail menu can be made into mocktails. At Alkaline, much time and energy is devoted to preparing the crave-worthy menu of both foods and beverages, and their mocktails are treated no differently.

Crudo Nudo

Here’s a menu you simply can’t go wrong with. The crudo (raw fish) is expertly prepared and artfully and minimally dressed with salt, spice and citrus. The nudo (housemade pasta) is tenderly crafted and adorned with fresh and flavorful ingredients. Believe it or not, things get even more adventurous when you dive into their crafted drinks. We recommend chatting with one of their top-notch bartenders and letting them create a concoction just for you (promise you’ll love it).

Gershwins

Known for their roaring ‘20s vibe, this “speakeasy” style bistro features live music, including jazz and tunes played right from their piano bar. In addition to a cocktail menu highlighting drinks from various decades, Gershwins features an extensive non-alcoholic drink menu with many beverages crafted using Ritual Zero Proof spirits. Take, for instance, their Bohemian, featuring alcohol-free gin, elderflower syrup, grapefruit juice, egg white and bitters. Another popular option, the Grand Illumination is made with non-alcoholic whiskey that’s cherry wood smoked and garnished with orange peel and bitters. 

Grandiflora Wine garden

Courtesy of Grandiflora Wine Garden

There’s no place quite like Grandiflora, which gives off secret garden vibes right in the heart of Chelsea. One thing that’s no secret about this garden is how great Grandiflora’s natural wines are. Something you may not know is what they also concoct a solid mocktail, with a favorite being their Hibiscus Rosemary Spritz. In true botanical fashion, they brew their own tea blend of hibiscus petals, chamomile blossoms, spearmint and damiana leaf and then add homemade rosemary syrup. Topped with fresh sprigs of herbs straight from the garden, this mocktail is as lovely to see as it is to sip.

Orapax

Courtesy of Orapax

Located in Norfolk’s Chelsea neighborhood, Orapax has been cherished in the Norfolk restaurant scene for over 50 years. Serving traditional Greek foods plus specialty pizzas and vegan and gluten-free options, their menu has something to please everyone, including non-imbibers. Their beverage menu features a special section of non-alcoholic drinks that include juices, teas, ginger beer and spritzers. A local favorite is the Sparkling Lavender Lemonade made with refreshing Perrier sparkling water, fresh lemon juice and lavender syrup topped with fresh rosemary and blackberries.   

Local Breweries

Chances are, if you sidle up to the bar at any of our local breweries, they’ll either have an N/A beer or small selection of mocktails to offer you. Just ask!

Only you

The Ginger Sorel Sour and Free Spirit at Only You

Located on the third floor of the Veil at 2314 Colonial Ave., Only You offers a large vinyl collection, which you can hear spinning most nights of the week. In addition to a carefully curated cocktail list, the menu also features a trio of excellent mocktails, including a Ginger Sorrel Sour made with Hibiscus Tea, Ginger-Thyme Syrup, Lemon; a No Coquito, crafted with Lyres N/A Rum, Coconut Milk, Coconut Cream, Cinnamon Demerara, Vanilla; and a Free Spirit, made with Honey Miso Yuzu Syrup, Calamansi, Soda.

Press 626

Courtesy of Press 626

This locally loved wine bar surely knows its way around a corkscrew, bar key and shaker. In addition to boozy drinks, they also feature a lovely selection of Garden Lemonade Spritzers made with fresh squeezed lemon juice and herbs. Quench your thirst and enjoy the subtle elegance stemming from flavors of lavender rosemary, chamomile orange and pomegranate sage. 

80/20 Burger Bar


Dive into a world of flavors at 80/20 Burger Bar, where non-alcoholic options take center stage! From refreshing wines to flavorful beers and a cocktail list that goes the extra mile, there’s something for every palate. What makes it even better? For every non-alcoholic drink you enjoy, $1 goes towards supporting mental health access in the restaurant industry through the Burnt Chef Project. Sip, savor, and make a difference—one delicious drink at a time!

Saltine

@saltinenorfolk, Instagram

When a restaurant comes with its own apothecary bar, you know you can expect good things to come in stylish glassware. Saltine’s drinks are focused on utilizing fresh ingredients from local gardens, bringing their craft selection a step above your average “happy hour.” Many of the drinks on their apothecary bar menu–which features housemade essence, oils and syrups–can be made into mocktails.

Freemason Abbey


Step into the cozy charm of Freemason Abbey, a converted church with rich history. Enjoy the inviting ambiance while sipping on refreshing mocktails like the Sparkly Blue Pearl drink—making it the perfect spot to relax and unwind with a touch of history. They have an extensive mocktail list that will leave for tastebuds dancing.

Stockpot

@thestockpotnorfolk, Instagram

We adore Stockpot for its made-from-scratch options that never make us feel guilty for indulging in comfort food. The same goes for their craft non-alcoholic beverages. Their refreshers come in flavors like pineapple mango or blood orange coconut ginger. Or, you may opt for a lavender basil lemonade or cranberry limeade spritzer. Whatever you choose, rest assured you can indulge to your heart’s content with these fresh and health-conscious ingredients. 

Want to make your own mocktails?

Let’s get to shopping and shaking.

Ceremony

Located inside Less Than in Ghent, Ceremony is the region’s first non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirit shop. The sips are sophisticated and health-conscious with most selections having no added sugar and zero calories, plus being vegan and gluten-free. Happy hours just got a lot happier with a trip to Ceremony. 

Ghent Grab & Go

Whatever you’re thinking, this is certainly not your average convenience store. Drinks are carefully curated and feature both local and regional makers. Unlike most neighborhood markets, they have a great selection of non-alcoholic spirits. You can grab a bottle of your favorite booze-free brand, plus plenty of options for mixing, to create your very own mocktail on the go. 

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10 January 2024

Best Cheese Boards in Norfolk, VA

In recent years, charcuterie boards have undoubtedly taken the world—or at least social media—by storm with artful arrangement of colors, textures and flavors. Many Norfolk restaurants are on board with the trend of curating combinations of cheeses, cured meats and pickled veggies from across Virginia and beyond. Here are eight Norfolk restaurants featuring cheese and charcuterie boards almost too gouda to believe.

The Birch

@thebirchbar, Instagram

Who says cheese only pairs with wine? At The Birch, Norfolk’s first craft beer bar located in the eclectic Chelsea neighborhood, there’s a beer, cider, mead or seltzer to suit every palate imaginable. Speaking of pleasing palates, let’s talk about the boards. Their build-your-own option features a fine selection of artisanal cheeses and charcuterie—choices we can nearly guarantee you haven’t tried before. From there, choose exceptional accompaniments like smoked onion jam, spicy plum chutney, whole grain mustard and wildflower honey, followed by sides such as pickled green tomato, Castelvetrano olives and balsamic onions.

Crudo Nudo

@crudonudo_nfk, Instagram

We can’t get enough of the crudo (raw fish) or the nudo (housemade pasta) at this intimate Ghent restaurant. But trust us when we say their Spanish Meat and Cheese Board is a must. Start with a nutty manchego drizzled with honey before diving into the iberico chorizo. You can go just cheese or just meat, but that tasty combination is what truly transports you to Spain, right in the heart of Ghent. 

Four Eleven York

Nestled in Norfolk’s charming, historic Freemason District, Four Eleven York combines sophistication with comfort to welcome guests into their unparalleled boutique inn and dining experience. They also combine an ideal assortment of bites on their cheese and charcuterie board. Each board comes with three cheeses, two types of charcuterie, olives, honey, candied pepitas and crackers. Cheeses rotate by season and availability, but a recent highlight was a bleu cheese known to persuade even the most steadfast non-bleu cheese lover.

Grandiflora Wine Garden

When you purchase an early 1900s home and lovingly convert it into an inn and wine garden, the results are truly special. Grandiflora, located in Chelsea, is known for their healthy vegetarian fare, natural wines and Turkish brunches, as well as the cozy, at-home atmosphere. To complement this delightful scene, order a cheese board for the table paired with a simple assortment of olives, fruit and crackers.

The Grilled Cheese Bistro 

This adored Downtown eatery is hailed for their substantial sandwiches oozing with cheese and packed with mouthwatering ingredients. Along with their enticing grilled cheeses and hand-cut fries, the Bistro offers cheese in its purest form: the GCB Cheese Board. It comes with a selection of four cheeses, meats and crostini, olive tapenade and a seasonal jam or chutey. Pro tip: opt for the paired bottle of wine for just $15 more and you’ll have a date night or just a tasty bite done right.

Mermaid Winery

There’s hardly a better match than wine and cheese, so where better to experience a perfect pairing than at Norfolk’s own urban winery? At Mermaid, they focus on small lots of well-balanced wines using Virginia grapes. Enjoy a flight of Mermaid wine paired with a Grazing Board: a selection of three cheeses served with the chef’s selection of accoupaniments. Choose from aged Manchego, a housemade farmers’ cheese, brie, Honey Bee Goat Gouda, Blue Shropshire, Black Bomber extra mature cheddar or a mermaid malbec cheese from Virginia. 

Press 626

@press626_awinebar, Instagram

If you need an Instagram-worthy board in your life, you need to visit Press 626. Ghent’s beloved wine bar features a Mezze Cheese Board which features a selection of three cheeses, olive tapenade, pickled vegetables, dried apricots, pistachios and toasted sourdough. And, for just a slight $6 extra, you can add some charcuterie to the mix. Pair this incredible selection with Press’ extensive wine list or cocktail program, and you’ve got yourself a grand start to a great evening. 

Virginia Cheese Company 

As soon as you walk through the doors of this adorable shop in historic Freemason, you’ll be greeted with a stunning display of cheeses, many of which you’ve likely never experienced. Wander around to find all the nibbles you could need for an impeccable board—packaged salami and prosciutto, assorted crackers and jams, plus bottles of local and regional beers, wines and ciders. Craft your own, or let the experts do their magic. Relinquish all control with the Cheesemonger’s Choice, or customize your board from up to 50 selections of artisanal, farmstead, rare cheeses. In a hurry? Their grab-and-go cheese boards are perfect for the beach at Ocean View or a picnic at Norfolk Botanical Garden.

Waters edge Winery

Savor a culinary delight at Waters Edge Winery with their exquisite Seasonal Charcuterie offerings. Crafted to perfection, these delightful platters cater to both solo explorers and those sharing the experience with loved ones. Indulge in the symphony of flavors, featuring a variety of seasonal meats and cheeses, complemented by housemade jam, nut-free pesto, compound butter, and toasted baguette slices infused with garlic oil. Priced at $13 for a single serving, $25 for a cozy twosome, or $45 for a gathering of four, the Seasonal Charcuterie is a celebration of artful pairings, enhancing your wine-tasting experience at Waters Edge Winery.

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20 November 2023

Norfolk's Mermaid Market Holiday Gift Guide

Shopping in the Mermaid City is always a treat, especially during the holidays. During your next visit, be sure to stop by our very own Mermaid Market, located in our Visitors Center at 232 E Main St., Norfolk. We’ve got a great representation of uniquely Norfolk and Virginia-centric items that make terrific holiday gifts. Plus, we carry an assortment of wares from local artisans and makers. So come see us, support local, and get your holiday shopping started all in one stop. Or, shop online for a quick and easy memento of Norfolk delivered to your doorstep.

For the Foodie

Mermaid at Heart Mug

A ceramic masterpiece blending enchantment with elegance. The captivating mermaid tail, subtly adorned with sparkle, elevates your daily sipping experience. More than a vessel, it’s a reminder of maritime mystique. Whether coffee or tea, indulge in serenity and share the allure with friends. Life’s too short for ordinary mugs; let this redefine your mornings, embracing the extraordinary in every sip.

Mermaid tail mug


Introducing the whimsical mermaid tail-shaped mug – a ceramic marvel blending charm with functionality. This unique mug, sculpted in the form of a captivating mermaid tail, transforms your daily sipping routine into a delightful experience. Share the magic with friends or gift it to someone who appreciates the extraordinary. Life is too short for ordinary mugs – let the mermaid tail mug redefine your mornings with a touch of whimsical elegance

City With Bite Hoodie

Know someone who loves streaming our culinary series, City With Bite? Know someone who loves eating their way through Norfolk? Know someone with impeccable style who loves repping a good brand? This City With Bite hoodie is a perfect gift for the foodie in your life.

For the Decorator

Glass Mermaid Ornaments

A favorite among locals and visitors alike, these gorgeously handmade glass mermaid ornaments are the perfect addition to your tree but can also be enjoyed all year round. Created by T. Rose Glass Studio, these ornaments are mesmerizing in swirled colorful glass, making each one unique. Because of the delicate nature of these ornaments, in-store purchases are available only.

For the Lover of Local

Norfolk Love Mermaid T-shirt

Show your love for Norfolk or gift to a local-loving pal! These Norfolk LOVE mermaid shirts were lovingly created by Norfolk’s own Prince Ink and feature the city’s beloved mermaid icon we all know and love.

A History Lover’s Guide to Norfolk Book

This captivating book unveils the hidden tales that have woven Norfolk’s rich historical tapestry. From ancient castles to quaint villages, each page is a portal to the past, offering immersive narratives that breathe life into the forgotten stories of this picturesque county. More than a guide, it’s a companion for explorers, providing practical tips for those eager to traverse Norfolk’s historical wonders. Whether you’re a seasoned history buff or a curious adventurer, this book is your key to unlocking the secrets that make Norfolk a timeless gem. Don’t miss the chance to own this delightful guide—order your copy today and let the history of Norfolk unfold before your eyes!

For the Little Mermaids

Mermaid Plush


Dive into magic with our Mermaid Plush Collection—ideal for kids and collectors alike! These enchanting companions with shimmering tails make the perfect gift for little ones. Bring home a mermaid plush today and let the enchantment begin!

Mericorn

An absolute delight for kids who dream of underwater adventures and magical unicorns! These captivating companions, inspired by the enchanting worlds of mermaids and unicorns, make for an extraordinary and cuddly gift. Bring home a Mermaid Harmony plush today, and let the imagination of your little ones soar with aquatic and mythical wonders!

Stuff for Stockings

Mermaid tail stocking

Need a new stocking to spice up your mantel this holiday season? We have the perfect ocean-themed one! Grab this aquatic stocking to fill with all your goodies.

VA Pennant Keychain

Show your adoration for Virginia with this lovely script lettering VA Pennant Keychain. Put it on your key ring, purse or lanyard to keep a piece of Virginia with you at all times.

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08 November 2023

Norfolk Holiday Activities for Groups

Norfolk, Virginia is decorated for the holidays! All season long, groups can walk through light displays that glimmer and shine with more than a million lights through some of Norfolk’s largest attractions. Gather your bunch and get ready to be in the spirit of the season with dazzling decor, amazing eats and holiday shopping. Here’s a three-day weekend itinerary to inspire some ideas!

Day 1 (Friday)

Norfolk’s historic houses are decorated for the holidays. The Hunter House Victorian Museum, rich in architectural details, displays the Hunter family’s collection of furnishings and decor, adorned for a Victorian Christmas. The Myers House, an elegant Federal period home dating back to 1792, was built by one of Norfolk’s first Jewish residents and is decorated for Hanukkah.

Savor dinner at the historic Omar’s Carriage House, whose original patrons were horses! Converted to a restaurant in the 1940s, Omar’s features American-Mediterranean fusion paired with fabulous wine selections.

@beach_racegirl, Instagram

End the day aboard the Battleship Wisconsin with Winterfest, a dazzling light trail with over 250,000 lights, an interior “Winterfest” tour, Santa sightings and a lighted sail boat parade. You can also enjoy a holiday performance at the Wells Theatre presented by the Virginia Stage Company

DAY 2 (Saturday)

Stroll through 5,000 years of art history at the Chrysler Museum of Art. Home to Walter Chrysler Jr.’s world-class collection of more than 30,000 pieces of art, the museum features a world-renowned Tiffany glass collection, Art Nouveau furniture and works of art from African, Egyptian, Pre-Columbian, Islamic and Asian Cultures. The museum will even customize a guided tour to fit your group’s theme. Experience the art of glass with a live glass blowing demonstration at the Perry Glass Studio, Tuesday–Sunday at noon.

@seldenmarket, Instagram

Holiday shopping and lunch are a must at Selden Market, featuring shops from Norfolk’s emerging small businesses and one-of-a-kind retail, food and more. Afterward, discover 20 local artists in their studios with a guided tour of d’Art Center in Norfolk’s NEON District. The d’ART Center is an environment where working artists engage the public through the experience of art and the creative process.

End the afternoon by exploring the Hermitage Museum and Gardens, an early 20th-century residence surrounded by 12 acres of formal gardens and natural woodlands. Guided tours of the museum are conducted daily and last approximately 45 minutes.

@jgr757, Instagram

Enjoy your evening aboard City Cruises Norfolk for their Grand Illumination Early Dinner Cruise from 3:30 to 6 p.m.  Start the festivities with great food, a grand view from the water and unforgettable entertainment. End the evening with front row seats at Norfolk’s Grand Illumination that kicks off the third Saturday in November at 7 p.m. Or experience “Garden of Lights” at the Norfolk Botanical Garden by foot or tram through two-and-a-half miles of twinkling lights.

DAY 3 (Sunday)

@gorgeousnorfolk, Instagram

Stroll through Historic Ghent in the afternoon to find that perfect gift in an antique market or specialty shop. Stop for a bite on Colley Avenue or 21st Street and experience local cuisine.

Have you admired the mermaid statues around Norfolk? The Mermaid Factory offers handmade miniature Norfolk mermaid statues already painted for the perfect souvenir or holiday gift to take home from your visit to the Mermaid City! The Mermaid Factory can also accommodate groups to have a mermaid painting party where you design your own mermaid.

Holiday shopping is not complete yet! Start saving at the Norfolk Premium Outlets. Stores including brands like Michael Kors, Under Armor, and Armani Exchange offer savings of 25–65 percent every day.

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