24 September 2022

Activities for Small Meeting and Professional Groups

Norfolk is an ideal meeting destination for many reasons. Our convenient location in the middle of the Eastern Seaboard makes Norfolk easily accessible via plane, Interstate 64 or Amtrak. Our meeting spaces are top-of-the-line and designed with you in mind. The city’s restaurants offer elevated culinary experiences that veer far from ordinary. Finally, our close proximity to water combined with beautiful outdoor experiences make us home to a multitude of off-site activities (because we believe in a healthy combination of work and play). 

The city is equipped to host meetings and conventions of all sizes, including those smaller groups that enjoy a more intimate, tailored experience. Whether you’re hosting a board retreat, VIP experience for clients or company workshop for your top performing teams, Norfolk has what it takes to elevate the experience from underwhelming to unforgettable. Here are our top picks for team building, dining and leisure activities for professional groups with less than 100 attendees.

Team Building

Get Creative

Gather your group in the spirit of creativity and give them the tools necessary to discover new talents. Norfolk is home to several activities in which groups work together or side-by-side to conceive something unexpected. As a bonus, participants get to head back home with a unique piece of Norfolk with them. The Chrysler Museum’s Perry Glass Studio offers group classes and workshops geared to the exciting world of glassmaking. No experience—only patience—is necessary to create a stunning masterpiece. 

Norfolk is known as Mermaid City due to the extraordinary collection of mermaids that can be spotted throughout. Locally founded Mermaid Factory gives guests the chance to paint and decorate their very own mermaid (or shell, starfish or dolphin) using a fun assortment of paints, glitter, sand and other accessories. Projects can be taken home right away to enjoy. 

Nothing brings out a creative spirit like a spirited sip. Pinot’s Palette hosts teambuilding events centered on painting and sipping, and they have private rooms available for groups. 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.

learn something new

Courtesy of Norfolk Tour Company

Norfolk is quite a fascinating city due to its rich history, diverse culture, impressive arts scene and stunning architecture. Don’t just take our word for it though. Book an outing with Norfolk Tour Company to take a deeper dive and learn something new about our city. Your group can join a tour focused on Norfolk’s mural art, African American history, architecture or even its haunted past. 

Want to learn more about Norfolk’s naval base—the largest in the world? Book a cruise for your team aboard the Victory Rover. Their two-hour narrated cruise departs daily from Nauticus to explore naval station and Port of Virginia, cruising past vessels such as destroyers, cruisers, submarines, aircraft carriers and more. 

Here are more opportunities to learn something new during a tour of Norfolk.

Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

There’s nothing that will keep a team on their toes and foster collaboration more than taking part in an improv class. Norfolk’s Push Comedy Theater specializes in workshops geared to smaller groups of professionals to strengthen skills in leadership, agility and communication. 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. It may seem uncomfortable at first, but soon enough, your group will be laughing their way to new achievements. 

See more creative team building opportunities here. 

Dining

Irresistible Views

No better view of Norfolk’s skyline can be enjoyed than from the Elizabeth River itself. On board a City Cruises vessel, your group can be treated to a fantastic buffet, superior service and unprecedented views of Norfolk while cruising along the Elizabeth River. Music from professional DJs, dancing and a blissful breeze from the upper deck makes the experience one to remember. 

It would be such a shame to journey to Norfolk without enjoying a true seafood dinner. You’ll get that, plus stunning views of the Elizabeth River during a dinner at Striper’s Waterside. Featuring fresh seafood and a made-from-scratch menu featuring pasta, steak, sandwiches and more, Stripers is well suited to accommodate up to 60 guests for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch. Plus, with 30 beers on tap, there’s surely something to fit everyone’s preference. 

International Eats

Omar’s Carriage House was originally built in the 1840s as a place to keep horses and carriages. There’s no horsing around here today though; their focus is on the finest Moroccan-inspired cuisine in the city. Omar’s private dining area seats up to 45 guests for brunches and dinners, and their outdoor tent is available to rent for up to 65 guests.

Orapax is one of our region’s premier Greek restaurants with a menu that focuses on authentic, fresh Greek cuisine combined with some Italian and American options as well. Orapax’s private dining room, The Taverna can accommodate up to 60 guests and features a full-service bar with the option of a private bartender, plus a folding glass wall system giving guests the feel of an outside dining experience. Best of all, Orapax can provide custom menus to ensure fabulous options for every member of your group.

Elevated Experiences

Known for chops, seafood and spirits, Brothers is a Downtown Norfolk restaurant offering a fine dining experience that’s vibrant, inviting and entertaining. Founded by NBA referee and Norfolk native Tony Brothers, the restaurant boasts a broad menu that will entice the most sophisticated and adventurous palate. 

Whether you’re here for the superior steaks or the top-notch caviar service, Byrd & Baldwin is a Norfolk staple in fine dining that won’t steer you wrong. They source beef from premiere stockyards and feature Harris Ranch as a source of their chophouse selections. While you’re there, consider a bottle from their award-winning, extensive wine selection. 

For five-star cuisine and world-class wines in a relaxed atmosphere, bring your group to Todd Jurich’s Bistro. Offering a unique experience in upscale dining, Todd Jurich’s takes great measures to utilize small farmers and producers who practice natural and ecologically sound agriculture. Their talented chefs can also accommodate requests for vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free or gluten-free dishes.

Top-Notch Sips

If beer is top of mind for your group, consider Brick Anchor Brew House located in Downtown Norfolk. They feature 60 craft beers on tap, many of which are from local breweries. The food is focused on farm-to-fork offerings that support regional farmers when possible. With three levels of seating, the restaurant has room to accommodate many different group sizes. The first floor has a capacity of 111 while the mezzanine is more intimate with accommodations for 29. The third dining level can hold up to 76 guests and features a projector and pull-down screen, plus its own bar, entrance and facilities.

@codex_va, Instagram

Dining at Codex is an experience for the senses. Their brief yet impressive menu always features the season’s freshest fare prepared in the most exciting and extraordinary methods. While the food is forever rave-worthy, the bartenders sure do know their way around a cocktail. Come here for something out-of-the-ordinary, including hard-to-find beers and wines. 

Did you know that Norfolk has its own winery? The appropriately named Mermaid Winery produces small batches of well-balanced wines using Virginia grapes. The vibe is sophisticated and welcoming, with menu options including multi-course meals, buffet packages and a la carte options. Beverage packages feature wine flights or wines by the glass. The winery’s dining room is ideal for hosting functions from 15–100 guests.   

See more restaurants ideal for group dining here. 

Leisure Activities

Experience Norfolk from a watery vantage point when you book a cruise with American Rover Sailing Cruises. This three-masted topsail schooner offers two-hour narrated harbor tours and sunset cruises from April through October. The experience can be as interactive as your group desires. Once on board, guests can choose to hoist a sail with the crew, take a turn at the helm or just sit back and enjoy the scenic view. 

Take in the city’s esteemed culture with a museum visit. The Barry Art Museum at ODU features internationally-known glassmakers, while the Chrysler Museum has its own impressive collection of glass, along with 30,000 original works of art spanning more than 5,000 years. The Hermitage Museum & Gardens features 12 acres of gardens and grounds and a permanent collection of over 5,000 objects representing 30 countries. See more of Norfolk’s incredible museums here. 

Photo by Gregory Nearhoof

Norfolk is known for its rich maritime history, and your group can explore the past and present with a visit to Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin. Nauticus is a maritime discovery center telling the story of the maritime environment, industry and military. The Battleship Wisconsin is one of the last and largest battleships built by the U.S. Navy, and we’re so fortunate to have the ship berthed in Norfolk as a piece of history for all to explore. 

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