Norfolk, Virginia is decorated for the holidays! All season long, groups can walk through light displays that glimmer and shine with more than a million lights through some of Norfolk’s largest attractions. Gather your bunch and get ready to be in the spirit of the season with dazzling decor, amazing eats and holiday shopping. Here’s a three-day weekend itinerary to inspire some ideas!
Day 1 (Friday)
Norfolk’s historic houses are decorated for the holidays. The Hunter House Victorian Museum, rich in architectural details, displays the Hunter family’s collection of furnishings and decor, adorned for a Victorian Christmas. The Myers House, an elegant Federal period home dating back to 1792, was built by one of Norfolk’s first Jewish residents and is decorated for Hanukkah.
Savor dinner at the historic Omar’s Carriage House, whose original patrons were horses! Converted to a restaurant in the 1940s, Omar’s features American-Mediterranean fusion paired with fabulous wine selections.
End the day aboard the Battleship Wisconsin with Winterfest, a dazzling light trail with over 250,000 lights, an interior “Winterfest” tour, Santa sightings and a lighted sail boat parade. You can also enjoy a holiday performance at the Wells Theatre presented by the Virginia Stage Company.
DAY 2 (Saturday)
Stroll through 5,000 years of art history at the Chrysler Museum of Art. Home to Walter Chrysler Jr.’s world-class collection of more than 30,000 pieces of art, the museum features a world-renowned Tiffany glass collection, Art Nouveau furniture and works of art from African, Egyptian, Pre-Columbian, Islamic and Asian Cultures. The museum will even customize a guided tour to fit your group’s theme. Experience the art of glass with a live glass blowing demonstration at the Perry Glass Studio, Tuesday–Sunday at noon.
Holiday shopping and lunch are a must at Selden Market, featuring shops from Norfolk’s emerging small businesses and one-of-a-kind retail, food and more. Afterward, discover 20 local artists in their studios with a guided tour of d’Art Center in Norfolk’s NEON District. The d’ART Center is an environment where working artists engage the public through the experience of art and the creative process.
End the afternoon by exploring the Hermitage Museum and Gardens, an early 20th-century residence surrounded by 12 acres of formal gardens and natural woodlands. Guided tours of the museum are conducted daily and last approximately 45 minutes.
Enjoy your evening aboard City Cruises Norfolk for their Grand Illumination Early Dinner Cruise from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Start the festivities with great food, a grand view from the water and unforgettable entertainment. End the evening with front row seats at Norfolk’s Grand Illumination that kicks off the third Saturday in November at 7 p.m. Or experience “Garden of Lights” at the Norfolk Botanical Garden by foot or tram through two-and-a-half miles of twinkling lights.
DAY 3 (Sunday)
Stroll through Historic Ghent in the afternoon to find that perfect gift in an antique market or specialty shop. Stop for a bite on Colley Avenue or 21st Street and experience local cuisine. Don’t forget to take home some Virginia wine or a gift or your next holiday party from the Mermaid Winery. The wine-making process can be viewed from the tasting bar where you can enjoy their creations.
Have you admired the mermaid statues around Norfolk? The Mermaid Factory offers handmade miniature Norfolk mermaid statues already painted for the perfect souvenir or holiday gift to take home from your visit to the Mermaid City! The Mermaid Factory can also accommodate groups to have a mermaid painting party where you design your own mermaid.
Holiday shopping is not complete yet! Start saving at the Norfolk Premium Outlets. Stores including brands like Michael Kors, Under Armor, and Armani Exchange offer savings of 25–65 percent every day.