14 July 2023

Guide to Norfolk Waterfront Jazz Festival

The Norfolk Waterfront Jazz Festival is the area’s longest-running outdoor jazz festival, bringing a star-studded cast of some of the biggest names on the international smooth jazz scene. In its 40th year, the two-day event promises unforgettable musical acts, a smooth summer breeze and the gorgeous backdrop of the Elizabeth River. Here’s all you’ll need to know about this year’s Jazz Festival, plus some other ways to experience amazing jazz in Norfolk while you’re here. 

Event Overview

Friday and Saturday, Aug. 18–19, 2023

The 40th annual Norfolk Waterfront Jazz Festival hosted by Festevents is held in Town Point Park on the Downtown Norfolk waterfront. The event is open 5–11 p.m. both days. 

Tip: In the event of severe inclement weather, the event will be moved inside to Scope Arena. 


Friday, Aug. 18

Saturday, Aug. 18


Tip: Buy your tickets in advance to save; don’t wait until the week of the event. 

General admission tickets (one day)
$35 in advance
$45 week of 

General admission tickets (two days)
$60 in advance 
$70 week of 

Reserved seating tickets (one day)
$50 in advance
$60 week of 

Reserved seating tickets (two days)
$90 in advance
$100 week of 

Two-day VIP Reserved Seating Tickets: $220
This ticket option includes admission into the festival along with VIP reserved seating in the first 10 rows in front of the stage and access to the VIP Lounge, which includes private, air-conditioned restrooms, light refreshments and discounted bar pricing. There is limited availability for these tickets. 

Please Don’t Stop the Music

Want more musical experiences during your time here? Here are some other ways to keep the beat flowing in Norfolk.


Conveniently located Downtown, Brothers offers a fine dining experience that is vibrant, inviting and entertaining. Founded and inspired by NBA referee and Norfolk native Tony Brothers, the restaurant boasts a broad menu and frequently hosts live jazz performances. During both nights of Jazz Fest weekend, Brothers is hosting a Nightcap Live Entertainment event running from 10 p.m. to midnight. 

City Cruises Norfolk

What’s better than cruising around the Norfolk harbor with your closest friends while partaking in an all-you-can-eat buffet? Join City Cruises on Saturday for their Gospel Mid-Day Cruise featuring performances by Chris Evans at 3 p.m. Note: No alcohol will be served on these cruises. 


Step back to the roaring ’20s to experience the Golden Age of Gershwin’s, featuring French eats with Southern roots right on Granby Street. Gershwin’s often hosts live music where sensational singers are accompanied by the Baby Grand piano near the restaurant’s entrance.

Where to Stay

We recommend staying Downtown for easy, walkable access to and from the Jazz Festival. Downtown Norfolk is home to some fantastic hotels, including some with unique attributes that make this city and stay one-of-a-kind. From plush mattresses fit for a queen to art galleries and rooftop beer gardens, our Downtown hotels have so many distinctive amenities and features to offer. Below, you will find the most unique hotels in Norfolk. This guide will help you pick the perfect place to rest your head after a night of smooth jazz. 

Additional Experiences During Jazz Festival Weekend

Since the event doesn’t start until 5 p.m. each day, you’ll have plenty of time to explore Norfolk on your own. Start the day at one of these beloved brunch restaurants where you’ll find anything from biscuits to Benedicts to buffets, plus plenty of mimosas. 

Soak up some summer fun at Ocean View/East Beach where you’ll find sandy beaches and calm waves to get your mind right for the flowing sounds of music you’ll hear later on. 

Explore Norfolk Botanical Garden, home to more than 60 distinctive themed gardens, 95 species of birds and 30 kinds of butterflies. 

Get to know Norfolk by foot or bike along the Elizabeth River Trail, a 10.5-mile path that takes explorers through multiple neighborhoods. Start on the trail Downtown and journey for as long or as little as you like. 

Support Norfolk’s Black-owned restaurants and retail businesses. From scrumptious soul food to self-care sanctuaries, we celebrate these businesses within our city and encourage you to visit their establishments to continue to support and lift them up. 

Learn about Norfolk’s maritime history at Nauticus, a maritime discovery center along the Norfolk waterfront. Nauticus is home to the Battleship Wisconsin, one of the largest and last battleships built by the U.S. Navy, as well as the Hampton Roads Naval Museum. 

Spend time perusing local wares and sweet treats at Selden Market, an eclectic, historic shopping hall featuring rotating pop-ups and emerging entrepreneurs. 

Come see us at the VisitNorfolk Mermaid Market located at 232 E. Main St. We can recommend some additional activities during your time here, and you may also find some unique Norfolk wares to take home. 

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