15 February 2024

5 Must-Have Norfolk Experiences for the Solo Traveler

Traveling solo can be a truly liberating experience. From start to finish, you’re in full control of your time, your meals and your adventures, making your travel experience exactly what you want it to be. Norfolk is an ideal destination for the solo traveler because of our culturally diverse attractions, incredible culinary scene, abundance of outdoor activities and unique stores for taking a piece of Norfolk home with you.

Here are five must-have experiences to get you started on planning a solo trip you’ll love.

Chrysler Museum of Art and Perry Glass Studio

The Chrysler is renowned for its illustrious collection of glass with more than 10,000 glass objects spanning nearly 3,000 years. The museum is celebrated for its Tiffany glass collection, along with a robust European painting and culture gallery, modern, contemporary and decorative arts galleries, an ancient worlds gallery and a strong photography collection. Perfect for a rainy morning or a humid afternoon, the Chrysler invites travelers to block several hours to enjoy the beautiful pieces found in this cultural enclave. Bonus — the Chrysler Museum has free admission! Adjacent to the museum sits the Perry Glass Studio, an educational facility with a full slate of public demonstrations and performances. Plus, there’s free glassblowing demonstrations Tuesday–Sunday at noon!

@handsomebiscuit, Instagram

Abundance of Locally-Owned Restaurants

Filled with a vibrant mix of chefs, bakers and makers, Norfolk has blossomed into one of the Southeast’s most dynamic foodie destinations. The city’s captivating urban appeal and history lure visitors in, and the culinary creations keep them here. Being right on the coast means an abundance of fresh seafood served in both traditional and eclectic ways. But there’s also a myriad of eateries focused on anything from healthy fare to desserts to international cuisine. Check out our culinary series, City With Bite, for a closer look at some of Norfolk’s best restaurants.

@shaundanecole, Instagram

Water activities

There are so many ways to enjoy the water in Norfolk. Grab your suit, a beach chair and magazine and head to Ocean View Beach to soak in a day of leisure! Cruise the Elizabeth River harbor aboard the American or Victory Rover, or learn the ropes with Sail Nauticus. Spend some quiet time journeying along the Lafayette River with Norfolk Kayak Rentals. Finally, for unmatched water views, head to Grain — located on the fifth floor of Norfolk Hilton The Main — to enjoy a cold beverage on a rooftop beer garden. See more ways to enjoy the water here.

Explore the Elizabeth River Trail

Hop on a bike, walk or run along the Elizabeth River Trail, a 10.5-mile urban biking and pedestrian trail built on several former railroad right-of-ways. Spend the morning or afternoon exploring the waterfront and the historic Freemason District, Ghent and Chelsea neighborhoods. Along the way, you’ll pass Plum Point Park, Weyanoke Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary, Hermitage Museum and Gardens and beautiful residential streets. See more things to do along the ERT.

Courtesy of Downtown Norfolk Council

Shop Locally

Norfolk is a city bustling with creativity, which extends to the eclectic wares and souvenirs featured at local stores. You’re likely to come across locally poured candles, leather goods, art, jewelry, clothing, accessories, home goods, plants and more during your time browsing through shops. Here’s an outline of the best gift shops, artisan wares, consignment and antique stores that are scattered throughout the city.

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