14 July 2022

Best Things to Do Indoors in Norfolk, VA

Norfolk is known for its sprawling water views and outdoor activities, but when the weather or the mood calls for some indoor fun, we’ve got options! Whether you’re looking to sit down for a bite or a drink, explore some of Norfolk’s indoor attractions, create something new or shop for that perfect outfit or souvenir, you’ll have everything you need to spend a day indoors in Norfolk. Here are our picks for best things to do indoors in Norfolk.

Eat & Drink

Cold and Rainy?

@alkalineva, Instagram

Looking to get cozy during a cold or rainy day? Try some of our favorite comfort food restaurants! Indulge in authentic ramen at Alkaline, grab made-from-scratch soups and rosemary biscuits at The Stockpot Norfolk, warm up with the spices of Indian Chaat street food at Tamarind or take a seat at Grilled Cheese Bistro with one of their gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Foodie tip: Enhance your grilled cheese with an order of fresh tomato bisque. If you’re in Norfolk’s Ocean View neighborhood, be sure to stop by My Mama’s Kitchen for Southern comfort dishes like barbecue or Mama’s Wings plus some of the best cornbread in town.

Hot and humid?

A.W. Shucks

During the beloved summer months, Norfolk can bring some hot and steamy days where there’s nothing better than a light meal and place to cool off. For lunch or dinner, opt for fresh, local seafood at A.W. Shucks, or meander into Waterside District, where a plethora of foodie options are available with a view of the Elizabeth River. Dig in to creamy gelato at Strawberry Fields, where flavors are made fresh daily, then stop by Mermaid Winery and catch a buzz with a refreshing flight of white wines or visit COVA Brewing Company for an iced latte or cold beer.

Explore

Museums

Chrysler Museum of Art

Discover Norfolk’s maritime history at the Hampton Roads Naval History Museum located inside Nauticus on the second floor, peruse paintings, dolls and glass art at the Barry Art Museum, view a permanent collection of objects representing 30 countries at the Hermitage Museum & Gardens, or explore over 30,000 original works of art that span more than 5,000 years at Chrysler Museum of Art. All venues offer free admission every day.

Performance Venues

Wells Theatre

Later in the day, you can catch live music at The NorVA, named the No. 1 concert venue in the country by a 2013 Rolling Stones readers’ poll. Or, you can watch local artists shine while enjoying a tasty craft beer at Smartmouth Brewing Company’s warehouse entertainment space. Check out the latest musical, comedy and theater performances at some of Norfolk’s top venues including Chrysler Hall, Harrison Opera House, Attucks Theatre, Wells Theatre or Little Theatre of Norfolk.

Indoor Fitness

If you’re wanting to get active, try Latitude Climbing + Fitness, where adults can participate in bouldering and yoga while kiddos can tire themselves out in the kids’ corner or throughout the gym with your supervision.

Sit Back and Watch

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Finally, kick back and relax while watching a Norfolk Admirals hockey game at Scope Arena, or enjoy an Indie film at the NARO Expanded Cinema.

Create

Chrysler Museum Perry Glass Studio

Feeling creative? Make your way to the Chrysler Museum’s Perry Glass Studio for a glass blowing class, or catch a free demonstration every Tuesday through Sunday at noon. If playing with fire isn’t your thing, paint and decorate your very own Norfolk mermaid at the Mermaid Factory, or get your hands dirty throwing clay at All Hands Pottery. Plant lovers will delight in building their own bouquets or picking up a new plant baby at Horticulture Design Co. Check out their open workshops to create something fun like a tabletop garden or kokedama (Japanese moss ball).

The creativity doesn’t stop there. You can paint your own pottery at Color Me Mine, design a beautiful wooden sign for your home or office at Board & Brush or delight in a combination or painting plus wine at Pinot’s Palette.

Shop

Malls, Outlets and Markets

Treat yourself to unique shopping at Selden Market, a historic indoor arcade where you will find a mix of local businesses that specialize in everything from handmade leather goods and jewelry to soy candles and streetwear fashion. Across the street, be sure to check out MacArthur Center mall for brand name stores like Dillard’s and more. MacArthur Center also offers a full movie theater for your entertainment.

Out toward the Norfolk International Airport you’ll find the 331,000-square-foot IKEA where you can wander through Swedish home furnishings until your heart’s content. Nearby, Norfolk Premium Outlets features the styles and brands you like at prices you’ll love.

Shop Local

Less Than

Head to Ghent where you’ll find a lovely collection of locally owned shops. Texture is great for gifts, baby items, home decor, women’s clothing and accessorie. Vintage Rooster features a selection of antiques and curated secondhand items from a variety of consignment vendors. Decorum Furniture has all the home furnishings you need, plus a fantastic gift shop with unique wares. Kitsch is the place to go for locally and regionally made jewelry, wall art, greeting cards, accessories, baby items and decor. Less Than inspires us to put a green foot forward with their eco-friendly and sustainable home products. White Rabbit is the go-to for secondhand children’s and baby clothing, plus brand new kid gifts. Le Marche is a French-forward boutique with plates and serving ware, home decor, child and baby items and gourmet chocolates and nibbles.

Downtown Norfolk offers opportunities to buy plants at Plant Norfolk, check out custom clothes while sipping coffee at Bonaire Custom, purchase sustainably made bags at Hamilton Perkins and, of course, snag all the original Norfolk and Virginia souvenirs you could want at VisitNorfolk’s own Mermaid Market.

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