Norfolk’s outdoor venues have always been a part of our city’s appeal. Finding venues with open decks and space for social distancing is still an important factor for many meeting planners. With extended summers and shortened winters, our mild climate makes Norfolk the ideal event location for the majority of the year. From beautiful rooftop restaurants to on-the-water attractions, Norfolk has the best and most unique outdoor venues to host your next meeting.
Grain, a popular rooftop bar on site at Norfolk Hilton The Main, offers both city and river views from the restaurant’s two balconies. The city side features breathtaking scenery of the Downtown high rises with unmatched sights of the impressive Battleship Wisconsin. The riverside balcony features a large fire pit and sweeping views of the Elizabeth River. Grain’s multiple event spaces are also perfect for entertaining with their large windowed garage doors opening fully to allow for the whole venue to be open air.
The soundtrack to your next event could be of the American Rover’s bow smashing waves as it glides through the Elizabeth River. One of Norfolk’s most popular venues, the American Rover tall ship offers harbor cruises and doubles as the most unique event location in the city with the stunning scenery along the Elizabeth River. With music playing in the background accompanied by appetizers and local beers, you may have the best way to network! Whether you’re planning a corporate event or promotion, the Rover staff will be there to make your event seamlessly memorable.
The Virginia Zoo
Choose the Virginia Zoo for your next outdoor event and you’ll be greeted by the amusing orangutans, friendly alpacas and majestic Malayan tigers. Their open-air event space ranges in guest counts from 40 to 2,000, fitting any size of get-together comfortably. Their 7,000-square-foot open-air pavilion with paver flooring, retractable walls and the ability to expand events into the adjacent open field is perfect for larger parties, while the Garden Tent accommodates smaller groups (up to 100 guests) and is tucked away in the luscious Conservatory Garden. The Virginia Zoo is just a short, 10-minute drive from Downtown convention hotels, and with each event hosted, a portion of the funds raised will benefit their animals and conservation initiatives around the world.
Norfolk Botanical Garden
Abundant shrubbery with blooms of azaleas and roses can complement your next outdoor event when held at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. It encompasses 175 acres with seven miles of paved paths along with another seven miles of trails to explore, making it the perfect haven for fresh air and socially distanced spaces. The garden is surrounded by water on three sides and is one of the only gardens in the country that you can explore by foot, tram or boat. The Garden features wide open spaces and large grass lawns that have convenient access to the Visitor’s Center and parking area. Mayor’s Row and the NATO Vista are also ideal locations for company picnics, family reunions or large-scale tented events.
The Battleship Wisconsin (BB-64) is an Iowa-class battleship that was launched on December 7, 1943. During her career, the battleship served in the Pacific Theater of World War II, the Korean War and then again to assist with Operation Desert Storm. Fully decommissioned and serving as a ship museum, she resides in Downtown Norfolk next to Nauticus and is a truly magnificent experience to tour and visit. Both the Main Deck and the Fantail event spaces offer sweeping views of the skyline and the Elizabeth River.
The Hermitage Museum and Gardens
Tucked away in the Lochhaven residential neighborhood of Norfolk is the prestigious Hermitage Museum and Gardens. Once a private residence, this early 20th century arts and crafts estate is now a museum located on the shore of the Lafayette River. It features a nationally recognized private art collection spanning 5,000 years, contemporary exhibition galleries, a Visual Arts Studio and 12 acres of gardens and grounds for you to host your perfect event or meeting.
Waterside District is home to numerous venue options with spaces that fit sizes from 25 to 500. From a lush beer garden with comfortable and private lounge spaces to a restaurant deck overlooking the Elizabeth River, Waterside allows you to design the space that works best for you! Their state-of-the-art audio-visual capabilities present endless opportunities to showcase your logo, photos, slideshows or meeting notes. If you are also looking for a customized menu that will fit your guests’ unique culinary needs, Waterside’s wonderful food and beverage team is more than willing to help facilitate this request for you.
Imagine this for your next event: a warm summer evening, the sun setting over the Elizabeth River, a classic hot dog in hand and the Norfolk Tides hitting a series of home runs. Harbor Park’s unique event spaces can accommodate groups as small as 30 to as large as 500. The tiered outdoor picnic areas, O’Connor Brewing Company Party Deck and two open-air patio areas are the perfect spots for entertaining your guests. Enjoy your company, cheer on the Norfolk Tides and soak up the river breeze!
Assembly is a unique Downtown workspace for leading professionals in creative industries, technology companies, aspiring startups and talented freelancers to share energy, inspiration and resources. Their rooftop deck features comfortably casual patio furniture, canopy lighting, umbrellas for shade and some fine city views. The rooftop can be rented as an individual space or combined with the penthouse and event space.