19 September 2023

Norfolk, VA Fall Bucket List

Fall (aka sweater weather) has arrived, bringing with it a slew of fantastic events and activities, plus eats and drinks. Arguably one of the best times of year to visit Norfolk, fall means weather that’s just right, sunny days and brisk, cozy evenings and a ramped up festival season. We’ve put together some local favorite activities and recommendations for your ultimate fall bucket list in Norfolk! 

Slurp a Virginia Oyster

Sure, you can enjoy oysters from any coastal town, but have you tried a Virginia oyster? Fall is oyster season, and November is Virginia Oyster Month! Dining at one of Norfolk’s many oyster restaurants will allow you to taste the character of our waters in one quick, complex bite. 

Shop at a Witch Boutique

With crisp fall air comes pumpkins, full moons and all things spooky. So, head to Velvet Witch, a modern, witch boutique in the Freemason neighborhood where the owner is a psychic medium and professional tarot card reader. After your reading, shop the store for all your incense, crystals, candles and magic supplies. Other local options include Aries Apothecary in Riverview and The Crystal Sunflower in Freemason.

Sip a Pumpkin Spice or Fall Flavored Latte

It’s officially pumpkin spice season, but that’s certainly not the only fall flavor around. Check out our coffee guide on where to find the best cup of joe, and explore menus to find your perfect sip of autumn. Go traditional with a PSL, or discover a new favorite flavor like Biscoff, coriander caramel, hickory boysenberry or whiskey brown sugar. Plus, you can get perks as you sip with our Perk Up Pass, offering discounts and rewards at participating coffee shops.

Oktoberfest Beers and Celebrations

Visit one of our breweries and enjoy a seasonal brew! Smartmouth Brewery has the Princess, a Märzen (copper lager) that boasts the perfect union of caramel toffee sweetness with warm, toasty maltiness. This is their version of an Oktoberfest beer that is named for the fair and fertile Princess Elizabeth (she birthed 13 royals) and is the namesake of the river that courses through our region, the Elizabeth River. Elation Brewery Company is hosting an Oktoberfest celebration where wearing dirndls and lederhosen are highly encouraged. 

Attend a Farmers Market

Attend one of Norfolk’s seasonal farmers markets to find plenty of fresh fall produce including squashes, pumpkins and fall flavored sweet treats like cinnamon apple scones.    

Fall Flowers and foliage at Norfolk Botanical Garden

Norfolk Botanical Garden is the perfect spot for a stroll with a hot latte to admire fall flowers, which include the popular Chrysanthemum (mums) which can be found in the Matson Garden. Keep in mind that our fall foliage usually does not occur until November, so you can still see green leaves in September and October. Once those leaves start to turn, the experience is nothing short of magical.

Attend a Festival 

Since Norfolk’s temperature is perfect this time of year, it makes for the best time to attend an outdoor waterfront festival. Attend the Town Point Virginia Fall Wine Festival and you’ll find yourself sipping some of Virginia’s finest grapes. That same weekend, you can also peruse paintings, pottery, jewelry and more from artists local, regional and beyond at the Stockley Gardens Fall Arts Festival. Another great option is the NEON Festival celebrating Norfolk’s very own arts district. For more of our fall festivals, click here.

Attend a Football Game or Watch it on the Big Screen

Football season has arrived, and our friends at Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University are just waiting for you to cheer them on! Attend one of their home games to feel the Norfolk spirit, or if you’re looking to cheer on your favorite college or NFL team, head to Waterside District. They broadcast the games on massive screens while selling plenty of wings and beer for you to enjoy.  

Indulge in fall treats

Head to one of our bakeries or restaurants for scrumptious seasonal desserts. You will find everything from traditional apple pie from Stockpot to pumpkin cheesecake brownies from Bar-Q Desserts. If you’re a fanatic ice cream lover all year long, Strawberry Fields creates some amazing fall flavored gelato like brown butter pecan.

Explore the Elizabeth River Trail (ERT)

As cooler temperatures make their debut in Virginia, strolling the ERT is much more enjoyable. Whether you walk, bike, run or picnic along the ERT, relax your day away by listening to the swaying of the fall leaves. For chillier days, don’t forget to treat yourself to a Mermaid City hoodie from our Mermaid Market, conveniently located Downtown.

Join a Haunted Tour of Norfolk

Journey through some of Downtown’s otherworldly histories from ghost stories and real life tragedies to experiments from another dimension. Norfolk Tour Company will guide you through the depths of Norfolk to explore all the spooky charm our city has to offer.

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