FRIDAY | 3 P.M.

Norfolk Light Rail SystemStart your exploration of the city at VisitNorfolk, the convention & visitors bureau, located at 232 East Main Street in downtown Norfolk. Pick up free brochures, maps, calendars, a visitor guide and more! Stroll around the streets of downtown, check out MacArthur Center Mall or hop on Virginia’s first light rail system to see some sites by train.

For dinner, try one of the many chef-owned restaurants along Granby Street, or “restaurant row,” such as the award-winning Byrd & Baldwin Bros. Steakhouse which serves only grain fed Midwestern all natural beef aged on site. Looking for seafood? At Todd Jurich’s Bistro you’ll find the best local oysters, salmon and tuna.

LATE NIGHT

The NorVaRolling Stone magazine readers recently voted The NorVa, located in downtown Norfolk, as the number one Venue That Rocks the hardest in a poll ranking top live music spots in the United States. The NorVA, known by music enthusiasts for offering an intimate venue with world-class performances, also ranked number 16 on a list of the 20 Best Big Rooms in another Rolling Stone magazine poll.

SATURDAY | 9 A.M.

Move on to historic Ghent for breakfast at the Handsome Biscuit. Try over 10 different biscuit sandwiches made from sweet potatoes. Eating with both hands will not even handle the size of this biscuit.

Spend the rest of the morning & afternoon antiquing in the historic Ghent area. Some of the most popular hot spots are La Marche, Morgan House Antiques Gallery and Three Swallows Imports.

Break for lunch at the popular No Frill Grill featuring chef-created lunch specials & delicious homemade desserts. After lunch, head over to Doumar’s for ice cream. Abe Doumar created the first waffle cone at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.

3:30 P.M.

36 Hours in Norfolk, VASpend the rest of the afternoon at the Chrysler Museum of Art & Glass Studio. The museum has nearly 100 galleries for 30,000 works of art from around the world. The Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, which is open, sits adjacent to the Chrysler Museum of Art in a modern, 7,000-square-foot building and supports artists working in a variety of glassmaking processes, including blown glass, casting, fusing, flame working and cold working. The facility is the only one of its kind in the entire Mid-Atlantic region, and spotlights the Chrysler’s extensive glass collection.

For dinner, circle back to Ghent and try Bardo on 21st Street. This Asian-style restaurant-lounge takes a whimsical view of Buddhist philosophy in its menu and surroundings. Bardo offers some of the most unique, specially-crafted cocktails in the area including the “Yuzurita” drink made with Tanteo jalapeno & yuzu lime juice. Or another house favorite -“Devinity 7” made with fresh Spud Ginger Lemongrass, muddled ginger, cucumber, lemon, house-made lavender bitters and soda.

LATE NIGHT

Late Night in NorfolkInsiders know historic Ghent is a hot spot for the best wine & beer in town. There you will find Virginia’s first urban winery, Mermaid Winery, Smartmouth Brewing Company and O’Connor Brewing Company. Stop in and have a beer at Norfolk’s first gastropub, the Public House on Colley Avenue or the uber-hip Birch Bar which sells craft European beer and cheese. Make your last stop Press 626 Café & Wine Bar which boasts one of the world’s best wine lists according to Wine Spectator magazine.

SUNDAY | 9:30 A.M.

Elizabeth River, Norfolk, VAWake up for a mouth-watering brunch at 456 Fish on Granby Street in downtown Norfolk. Try a Potato Chip Encrusted Crab Cake sandwich, Blackened Tuna Salad, 456 She Crab or the popular Seafood Frittata.

Sail across the Elizabeth River on the American Rover Sailing Cruise. This majestic, three-masted tall ship, modelled after the cargo schooners that once sailed the Chesapeake Bay, leaves from the downtown Norfolk pier for a narrated two-hour harbor cruise. Or Board the Victory Rover Naval Base Cruise for a two-hour narrated cruise which offers the fastest way to see destroyers, frigates, nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers at Norfolk Naval Station.

2:30 P.M.

Before leaving town, see one of the largest collections of azaleas, camellias, roses and rhododendrons on the East Coast at Norfolk Botanical Garden. Experience 155 glorious acres by guided tours on foot, tram or boat.

 

 

MacArthur CenterFrom brewery tours and tastings, to delicious dining and retail shops galore, there is much to experience while in Norfolk, even if it’s only for the day or just a few hours. Whether you’re embarking or returning from your cruise make time to enjoy these highlights of our vibrant port city.

A.M.

Start your day on a stroll through downtown with a fresh cup of java from neighborhood coffee shops. Pop into our locally owned boutiques located just a short walk from the cruise terminal in historic Monticello Arcade. For even more retail therapy, visit neighboring MacArthur Center, a one-million square foot shopping mall anchored by Nordstrom and Dillard’s.

Glass StudioThen take in the vibrant cityscape as you ride the Tide, Norfolk’s light rail service, on your way to the Chrysler Museum of Art, a nationally-renowned art museum with a state-of-the-art Glass Studio on its campus. Spend the rest of the morning perusing its extensive collections and thoughtfully curated exhibits.

LUNCH

Stop by the museum’s Wisteria Café and grab an on-the-go lunch to enjoy while watching the free daily glass art demonstration, performed at noon in the adjacent Glass Studio.

P.M.

Beer TapHop over to one of our local breweries, a short cab ride away in Ghent and the Chelsea District, for an afternoon tour and tasting at Smartmouth Brewing Company or O’Connor Brewing Company. Gain firsthand knowledge of the craft brewing process and get a taste of our growing local beer scene.

Battleship WisconsinContinue your tasting tour with an afternoon bite paired with a delicious wine flight at Virginia’s first urban winery, Mermaid Winery, located in Historic Ghent. While in the neighborhood, explore some of its treasured antique shops and trendy boutiques for one-of-a-kind finds.

P.M.

Grab a cab and head back downtown to explore Nauticus, the interactive and engaging maritime science center located along Norfolk’s sweeping waterfront. During your visit climb aboard and walk along the mighty teak decks of the Battleship Wisconsin, the largest and last battleship built by the U.S. Navy.

DINNER

Dining CoupleWhile in downtown, dine in one of the many renowned, chef-owned restaurants along Granby Street. Known to locals as “restaurant row”, there’s something for every appetite from traditional southern fare and fresh local seafood to trendy, Nouveau Cuisine.

 

 

Nor-Fok, or Naw-Fok, no matter how you pronounce it, the experience will always be the same: fun, vibrant entertainment and culture, delicious cuisine and 144 miles of shoreline waiting be to be explored. Hungry? Norfolk’s chefs are committed to serving only the best, including delicious seafood caught right out of the Chesapeake Bay. Find fresh Lynnhaven Oysters, fish, scallops, mussels and of course the bay’s star crustacean, blue crabs. There are shops, coffeehouses and pubs galore in the hip, historic Ghent district just a few minutes from downtown. Then be sure to make time for scoping out Norfolk’s thriving art scene and jam to some of the nation’s best music.

DAY ONE

waterfrontStart off your trip by experiencing a breathtaking aerial tour of Norfolk by helicopter. For the adventure seekers, feel free to schedule a customized adventure with Hampton Roads Helicopters. Later in the evening experience the history of Rock and Roll in Norfolk at LeGrand Kitchen. The name of the restaurant, which seats 15-16 people, stems from a record label that was once based in Norfolk. Owners Steve and Andrea  have roots in the local music scene. 

DAY TWO

Riding a bicycle is a blast! Everyone loves the feeling we get when we’re peddling in a bicycle friendly city. The Elizabeth River Trail is an off-road biking and pedestrian path. Built on an abandoned railroad right-of-way, the trail provides a taste of Norfolk's wildlife and history. Cyclists, joggers and walkers aren't the only visitors to the path. Birds frequent the river along the trail route, with cormorants, skimmers, ducks and sea gulls often seen frolicking in marsh-covered coves. Catch glimpses of ships and barges, naval vessels and tugs at work in coastal Virginia waters. The trail provides access to historic Fort Norfolk, a National Register property. Other key locations along the trail include the Weyanoke Audubon Bird Sanctuary, Jeff Robertson Park and Plum Point Park. Along the way, park your bike in one of five racks designed by local artists as part of a Downtown Norfolk public art display project.

For lunch try the Handsome Biscuit, with over 10 different biscuit sandwiches made from sweet potatoes. Eating with both hands will not even begin to handle the size of this biscuit. Your eyes will be bigger then your stomach from the Hella Fitzgerald with fried chicken, bacon, cheddar, and red eye sausage gravy to the Mr. Close Love with roasted Pork Shoulder, sweet hot mustard, and cucumber. Spend the afternoon on a hunt for vintage clothing for the perfect outfit to rock the night away! Historic Ghent offers a number of great shops; such as the 2nd ACT Consignment Shop, specializing in the finest women’s clothing for all seasons. Become “Eco’Chic” at Double Take ~ Fashion Forward Consignment; offering unique fashion items from around the world, as well as familiar designer brands such as Coach, Louis Vuitton, and, Ann Klein. Then top off your concert outfit with the perfect accessories at Lili’s of Ghent.

Norfolk RemixTime to rock the night away with a show at the nationally renowned NorVa, a historic theatre built in 1917 that once was home to famous vaudeville acts. Readers of Rolling Stone magazine were recently polled about “venues that rock,” and they chose the NorVa as the place that rocked the hardest. Catch some of the country’s most popular music groups here including Government Mule, G Love & The Special Sauce, Future, Modest Mouse, and Phoenix, to name a few. Before the show enjoy dinner at the FM Restaurant. FM Restaurant offers a “GET IN EARLY” program which gets you into any show at the Norva 10-15 minutes prior then the general public. Looking for some late night grub after an evening out on the town? These eateries are open till the wee hours of the morning; A.W. Shucks, Cogan’s Pizza, The Dirty Buffalo, and Tortilla West just to name a few local favorites! You will not go to bed hungry!

DAY THREE

Norfolk RemixHave a lazy late start to the day by catching a classic movie at the NARO Cinema. This historic theater built in the 1930s and has been a part of Norfolk for over 75 years. NARO Cinema features indie movies, documentaries, environmental films, classic movies and much more.

Vinyl is back in style! There have always been cool record shops in the hip parts of town selling vinyl to the enthusiasts. Well Norfolk is no different. Located in Historical Ghent music enthusiasts can find their favorite music at Skinnie’s Record Store. Find out why over the years such national recording artists have shopped here; such as Sonic Youth, Cracker, Morrisey, and the Foo Fighters.

Stop into O’Connor’s Brewing Company to try a local brew. It all started in 1995 when Kevin O'Connor, a Norfolk native, caught the bug for home brewing in his college dorm room. O’Connor’s Brewing Company offers a full calendar of events throughout the year with live music, Thirsty Thursday nights, Vinyl and Sin, Comedy to Trivia nights. Next stop; head to Smartmouth Brewing Company located on the banks of the Elizabeth River in Norfolk, Virginia. This 20-barrel brew house typically churns out around 100 barrels a month – that’s 33,067 cans, around 200 kegs, and 9,920 forty-ounces. From the bite of Smartmouth’s India Pale Ale to one of the few Saisons brewed in Virginia, get a handle on what you can expect with a behind the scenes tour of the brewery and the tasting room.

Spend the evening with some local bands winding down after a long day of activities in a local spot Hell’s Kitchen. Hell’s Kitchen offers a full menu, live music on Friday and Saturday, and HK Unplugged on Thursday. No cover is needed; just grab a booth for some amazing food, cold beverages and great music. Do not want the music to stop? Then head over to Belmout House of Smoke- featuring happy hour Monday through Friday and special events held throughout the year! Catch live music on the weekends along with great food and beverages.

DAY FOUR

Norfolk RemixBefore you head home explore different coffee shops in downtown Norfolk. Cure Coffeehouse & Brasserie, Borjo, Java Surf Café & Espresso Bar, Café Crema, Café Stella, Elliott’s Fair Grounds Coffee House, Chocollage, and aLatté Café line the downtown district & Historic Ghent. Many Norfolk coffeehouses feature regular musical performances and serve as a meeting point for local artists. 

 

Three Days/ Two Nights

Where else can you explore a battleship, drive a race car, pet a shark, tour the galaxy and take a walk back in time? Come to Coastal Virginia and see for yourself two historic seaport cities divided only by the Elizabeth River, and joined together by their rich cultural history in Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia!

Day One

Lunch Enjoy a picnic on the water at the Pagoda & Oriental Gardens with Portsmouth as your backdrop. Enjoy the view of the maritime traffic while dining in one of the local restaurants.

P.M. Set sail along the Elizabeth River aboard the elegant American Rover Sailing Cruise for a two-hour narrated tour. Enjoy the spacious top decks or relax below in the climate controlled cocktail lounge.

Armed Forces MemorialP.M. Upon your return from an afternoon on the calming seas, stroll through Town Point Park passing the Armed Forces Memorial where, cast in bronze are excerpts from 20 letters written home by U.S. service members who lost their lives in war. The letters are scattered across a portion of Town Point Park as if blown there by wind.

Bryd and BaldwinDinner Dine on Granby Street at Byrd & Baldwin Brothers Steakhouse, a traditional steak and chophouse restaurant housed in a circa 1906. Byrd & Baldwin Bros. serves only grain fed Midwestern all natural beef, aged on site to ensure only the finest product. Premier wine selection is available to ensure a memorable dining experience. Or just stroll down Granby Street to find over 20 locally owned restaurants that will satisfy anyone's taste buds.

Day Two

A.M.  Take part in a guided bus tour of the world’s largest naval installation, Naval Station Norfolk.  A knowledgeable, active duty Navy guide will give a narrated tour of the base highlighting the U.S. Naval Fleet, Admirals Row, and how the base is a working city.

A.M. Stroll through 5,000 years of art history at the Chrysler Museum of Art. Featuring the museum’s world-renowned Tiffany-glass collection, Art Nouveau furniture, works of art from African, Egyptian, Pre-Columbian, Islamic and Asian cultures, and an extensive European and American collection of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts.

Chrysler Glass BlowingWatch works of art created right before your eyes in the glass blowing studio at the Chrysler Museum Glass Art Studio.

FerryLunch Board the paddlewheel ferry from Downtown Norfolk. A quick 10 minute ride brings you right to the streets of Olde Towne Portsmouth. Enjoy lunch at a River Side Café in Portsmouth with a view of the Downtown Norfolk skyline and perhaps a luxury cruise ship preparing to set sail to an unknown tropical paradise.

P.M. The adventure begins at the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame as you play your way into sports history.  The museum features 35,000 sq. ft of sports fun featuring hands on exhibits in baseball, football, soccer and basketball.  If your sport is racing then jump in an auto racing simulator and take a spin on a race track.

Children’s Museum P.M. Imagine, wonder and explore at the Children’s Museum of Virginia.  See the Lancaster Antique Train and Toy Collection which includes four running trains, numerous engines and cars that will amaze adults as well as children. Get whisk off to another galaxy in the Planetarium without the hassles of a hyper speed spaceship.

Dinner As the day draws to a close, relax and enjoy a quiet dinner in one of the many trendy restaurants found scattered throughout Historic Olde Towne Portsmouth.

P.M. After dinner, take a walk through history as you explore Olde Towne. In a single square mile you will see one of the largest collections of antique homes south of Alexandria, VA. During your tour, more than 300 years of American history will be unveiled and you will see many homes where influential leaders shaped the course of future events. As you ride the ferry back to Norfolk, relax on the decks as the setting sun warms your face.

Day Three

NauticusA.M. Spend the morning at Nauticus, a fun and exciting interactive science and technology center, exploring the power of the sea. Discover the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, where you will be introduced to over 200 years of naval activity in Coastal Virginia.

Walk the teak decks of Battleship Wisconsin, one of the last and largest battleships built by the U.S. Navy. Stand beneath her 16-inch guns and feel the excitement of being aboard a historic warship.

 

Norfolk offers a diverse number of activities to please families of all ages. Rain or shine a trip to Norfolk, Virginia will create wonderful family memories to last a lifetime.

DAY One

Fishing FamilyA.M.   Let’s Go Fishing with the family! The Ocean View Pier offers fishing on the Chesapeake Bay with a pier of 1690 feet long known as the East Coast’s most bountiful fishing ground. Fish, relax on the upper deck, stroll down to the beach for a leisurely walk or hang out in the restaurant with great food and entertainment. The Ocean View Pier also offers fishing trips aboard the Judith Ann. Do not forget to bring your camera! Yes, the fish are jumping throughout the year!

Norfolk Botanical GardenP.M.  Families can discover one of the largest collections of azaleas, camellias, roses and rhododendrons on the East Coast at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. Experience 155 glorious acres by guided tours on foot, tram or boat. Stop by the World of Wonder “WOW” for a family adventure. This three arced garden is dedicated to families and children with several distinct areas offering interactive lessons, enrichment and entertainment. Come prepared to get wet!

RoverSunset  Sail across the Elizabeth River on the American Rover Sailing Cruise. This majestic, three-masted tall ship, modelled after the cargo schooners that once sailed the Chesapeake Bay, leaves from the downtown Norfolk pier for a narrated two-hour harbor cruise.  

DAY Two

VA Zoo GiraffeA.M.  Head over to the Virginia Zoo and discover the wildlife! The most exiting expansion in the Zoo’s history, the African habitat Okavango Delta, consists of 10 acres of unobstructed animal viewing. Spot lions, tigers and elephants onboard a train that runs throughout the Zoo, with stops along the way. The Virginia Zoo’s education department is also available to help families observe wildlife firsthand. Have a brown bag lunch at Layette Park. Layette Park also offers, covered picnic area, basketball courts, endless fields and a play ground.

P.M.  Add a little history in the program with The MacArthur Memorial. Discover the compelling story of General Douglas MacArthur, a five star general of the army and the millions of Americans who served our nation through five wars.

Dinner Board the Spirit of Norfolk where you and your family can enjoy a nautical setting with dancing and live entertainment all while enjoying the panoramic skyline of Norfolk.

DAY Three

NauticusA.M.  Experience the world’s largest and last battleship, the Battleship Wisconsin. Your family members can take a hard hat tour of the interior of the battleship exploring and discovering the ship's laundry, tailor shop, library, bakery, doughnut shop, enlisted berthing and galley. Then journey into Nauticus, Norfolk’s science museum for exhibits, programs and activities.

Lunch  Shopping, lunch and movies! Your families can experience over 150 shops and restaurants at MacArthur Center, a premier shopping center in the heart of downtown Norfolk.

 

*Family Fun Days are held in Town Point Park every Friday June through July.

 

Disclaimer: The Passport to Fun is only available through prepaid vouchers from participating online travel agents and not applicable with any other promotions or discount offers. The Passport to Fun is non refundable.

 

Come experience the best of Norfolk, Virginia with the Passport to Fun & enjoy Norfolk's top attractions! Through these specially-issued passes, you can explore Norfolk's Battleship Wisconsin known as the world’s largest and last battleship. Go wild at the Virginia Zoo and see tigers, lions, bears and elephants exploring and learning about different habitats and the way animals live in the wild. Marvel at maritime science and history at Nauticus, uncovering the power of the sea. Step inside the Hampton Roads Naval Museum and discover the history of the United States Navy in Coastal Virginia. Then end your adventure outdoors experiencing 150 acres with over 20 themed gardens at Norfolk Botanical Garden. Don’t miss out on great discounts for harbor cruises, food tours, shopping and attractions!

DAY ONE

Surround yourself with the beauty of the outdoors at Norfolk Botanical Garden. Take a guided tour on foot, tram or boat through bridges, coastal waterways and 12 miles of pedestrian trails that intertwine the 155 acres of the Garden. The Garden offers the largest collections of azaleas, camellias, roses and rhododendrons on the East Coast. The 155 acre garden is home to 40 distinctive themed gardens, 95 species of birds and 30 kinds of butterflies. The latest garden is World of Wonders – A Children’s Adventure Garden – a 3-acre garden where kids explore the connections between plants, international culture and the environment – all while having fun!

Head over to the Virginia Zoo and discover the wildlife! The most exciting expansion in the Zoo’s history, the African habitat Okavango Delta and Asia, consists over 15 acres of unobstructed animal viewing. Spot lions and tigers along your journey. Hop aboard the Zoo train for an informative tour that includes live narration from the train engineer about the Zoo and its collection of plants and animals!

Enjoy lunch and shopping at MacArthur Center’s , 1 million square-foot, 3 story mall, with more than 100 new-to-the-market retailers and restaurants, anchored by Nordstrom and Dillard’s. The “Passport to Shopping” is included with your combo Norfolk ticket. It is full of discounts and special offers for Norfolk’s downtown mall. Receive MacArthur Center’s signature bag with $150 in MacArthur Center same day receipts. Present your same day purchase receipts to the Guest Services Desk.

Tour Nauticus a fun and exciting interactive science and technology center exploring the power of the sea featuring films, exotic aquatic life and more than 150 exhibits. Step inside the Hampton Roads Naval Museum and discover the history of the United States Navy in Coastal Virginia. Climb aboard the Battleship Wisconsin, the largest and last battleship ever built by the U.S. Navy. Walk the decks and stand beneath her 16-inch guns and feel the excitement of being aboard a historic warship.

Enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views of the Norfolk Skyline with dinner aboard the Spirit of Norfolk, listening to great music and dancing as you cruise Norfolk's historic waterways. The Spirit of Norfolk will provide a narrated tour during lunch of Naval Station Norfolk by water, giving the best views of U.S. Naval fleet during lunch cruises only.

DAY TWO

Spend the morning at the Chrysler Museum of Art & Glass Studio. Reopening in the May of 2014, the museum has nearly 100 galleries for 30,000 works of art from around the world. The Chrysler Museum Glass Studio, which is open, sits adjacent to the Chrysler Museum of Art in a modern, 7,000-square-foot building and supports artists working in a variety of glassmaking processes, including blown glass, casting, fusing, flame working and cold working. The facility is the only one of its kind in the entire Mid-Atlantic region, and spotlights the Chrysler’s extensive glass collection. Closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Discover the compelling story of General Douglas MacArthur and the millions of Americans who served our nation through five wars at The Douglas MacArthur Memorial. The MacArthur Memorial is a museum and research center dedicated to preserving and presenting the story of the life of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. The Memorial also pays tribute to the millions of men and women who served with General MacArthur in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. Situated in downtown Norfolk Virginia, the Memorial consists of a museum, archives and research center, education center, theatre, welcome center and a gift shop. A visit to the Memorial will allow you to explore the life of one of America’s greatest generals. 

For dinner journey through one of Norfolk’s historic neighborhoods on a Taste of Tidewater food tour. Visit up to four restaurants and sample house specialties while listening to the staff discuss the culinary creations and history of their restaurant and food. In between locations, gather an insight into the history of Norfolk by visiting landmarks. Transport your senses with the various spices and provisions offered by Norfolk’s “hidden-gems” and culinary visionaries.

DAY THREE

Sail across the Elizabeth River on the American Rover Sailing Cruise. This majestic, three-masted tall ship, modeled after the cargo schooners that once sailed the Chesapeake Bay, leaves from the downtown Norfolk pier for a narrated two-hour harbor cruise. Or Board the Victory Rover Naval Base Cruise for a two-hour narrated cruise which offers the fastest way to see destroyers, frigates, nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers at Norfolk Naval Station.

 

DAY ONE – NORFOLK, VIRGINIA

Spirit of Norfolk PM Set sail aboard a sunset cruise on the American Rover Sailing Cruise or the Spirit of Norfolk. Both cruises sail down the Elizabeth River with a guided tour of Norfolk to learn about maritime history. Then experience Norfolk’s finest cuisine on a food tour of “Restaurant Row” or Historic Ghent. Tasting and sampling local favorites with up to five different locally owned restaurants.

Pub CrawlPM Take a pub crawl through Norfolk’s local’s brewery and wineries with Taste of Tidewater Tours. Sip wine at Virginia’s first urban winery and try several different craft beers at Norfolk breweries. 

DAY TWO – NORFOLK, VIRGINIA

Naval Station NorfolkAM Experience the life of a sailor at Naval Station Norfolk. Take a 45 minute bus tour of the world’s largest naval station, as an enlisted sailor takes you onto the base and shows how our Navy works, lives, and protects our country. Then step back in history with over 5,000 years of art at the Chrysler Museum of Art. Explore the largest collection of Tiffany glass on the East Coast and stop by the glass studio to see artists at work.

Harrison Opera HousePM Take a tour of Nauticus, an interactive science center and then walk the decks of the Battleship Wisconsin, one of the last and largest built by the U.S. Navy. Stand beneath her 16-inch guns and feel the excitement of being aboard a historic warship. Catch a performance with the Virginia Symphony, Virginia Arts Festival, the Virginia Stage Company, or the Virginia Opera to end your evening.

 

DAY THREE – OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA

Norfolk Botanical GardenAM Before you pack your bags and head for the beach, stop at the Norfolk Botanical Garden and experience over 30 themed gardens on a tram or boat tour. Then take off, and in just an hour and a half drive, you will be on the storied Outer Banks, North Carolina.  Along the way, stop at one of the farmers markets for fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood!

PM Head for Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head for a breathtaking panoramic view of the barrier islands atop the tallest sand dunes on the East Coast! Catch the view at sunset and you’ll be amazed at the colors you will see.

Then spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach. Bring a chair, a book and a good pair of sunglasses too. Don't miss the a wonderful sunset with tons of photo opportunities!

 

DAY FOUR – OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA

Wright BrothersAM Become your own pilot at the Wright Brothers National Memorial located in the heart of Kill Devil Hills. See where Orville and Wilbur Wright, two bicycle makers, perfected their flying inventions over the course of four years before taking to the air on December 17, 1903 in the aptly-named Wright “Flyer” in an event that forever changed the world.

PM Stop in for lunch and shopping on the waterfront in Downtown Historic Manteo; full of one of kind boutique, art galleries, shops and cafés. Next, head to Roanoke Island Festival Park, also located on the Manteo historic town waterfront. Here you can climb aboard the Elizabeth II, a 16th century representative sailing vessel similar to what the first English colonists to America would have ventured across the Atlantic Ocean in 1585. Return to your home base and explore the beach. Whether you are exploring the beach for sea treasures or just taking in the salt air, you’ll feel a sense of rejuvenation.

OuterbanksNo Outer Banks trip would be complete without the visually stunning and heartfelt drama of our nations’ first attempted English settlement as told by the cast of America’s longest running symphonic outdoor drama, The Lost Colony. The play conveys the story of Sir Walter Raleigh’s expeditions from 1584-1587, and the mysterious disappearance of 116 men, women and children.

 

DAY FIVE – OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA

AM Today’s journey will take you down the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, famous for its huge stretches of development-free beach wilderness. Bodie Island Lighthouse is your first stop, before continuing to Chicamacomico Life Saving Station, the predecessor to the United States Coast Guard. It is home to one of the greatest rescues in American history, the 1918 rescue of forty-two crew members of the British tanker, Mirlo, torpedoed during World War I.

Cape Hatteras Light HousePM Climb or visit the tallest brick beacon on the American coast, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, standing at 208 feet high. Catch a bird’s eye view of Cape Point and the Graveyard of the Atlantic like nowhere else. It’s all about pirates and lost booty at the nearby Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum; take a behind the scenes tour to see artifacts from historical shipwrecks, unique beach finds and locally carved ships’ models.

 

EVENTS

OBX Taste of the Beach:  An annual four day food and wine festival held mid-March. Featured by Coastal Living, this culinary adventure will have you eating and drinking your way through pub crawls, seafood cooking classes, beef butchery, special event menus, wine tastings, and even a chowder cook-off. All of this leads up to the title OBX Grand Tasting with 20 restaurants and beverage providers under one roof.

HarborfestHarborfestTM: Sail with tall ships in the Parade of Sails on one of Norfolk’s harbor cruises. Enjoy a waterfront festival with food, art, and entertainment. Saturday or Sunday, take a tour of one of the tall ships and meet her crew. End the day with an evening of fireworks and dinner aboard the Spirit of Norfolk.

Waterways to Freedom comes alive in an incredible, emotionally compelling self-guided tour. The story of slaves using local waters to escape north to freedom, the Waterways to Freedom honors Norfolk’s proud participation in the Underground Railroad Network. 

 

In the early half of the 19th Century, tens of thousands of African American slaves escaped from the South to freedom in the northern United States and Canada. Their daring escapes were made possible by a clandestine network of people, hideouts, and willing ship captains that history would eventually call The Underground Railroad. Some speculate that enslaved African Americans departed Norfolk, Virginia more than any other port city along the eastern seaboard.

Day One -  Arrive in Norfolk by 1pm

Explore the power of the sea inside Nauticus, an interactive science and technology center. Nauticus brings to life the story of Alan Paul Dean, Sr., in an inspiring new exhibit, Alan Dean: Rising Above Bias. Dean, who served as an Ensign on the Battleship Wisconsin from 1951 to 1953, was one of only six commissioned black officers on active duty at that time. He was the first African-American officer to serve on the ship. Trace the steps of Alan Dean, on the battleship by standing beneath her 16-inch guns. Then take a stroll through the Hampton Roads Naval Museum and experience 200 years of Naval history in Hampton Roads.

Before dinner join The Norfolk Notables Tours for a twilight walking tour of historic Elmwood Cemetery, led by local historian Joshua Weinstein. The tour focuses on the distinguished founders and illustrious citizens of Norfolk laid to rest in Elmwood Cemetery, a Nationally Registered Historic Place. The West Point Monument at Elmwood Cemetery is a tribute to African-American veterans of the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. The soldier depicted on the monument is Norfolk native Sgt. William H. Carney of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment. Carney was the first black soldier to receive Medal of Honor for his bravery. Nearly 100 African-American veterans are laid to rest in the West Point Cemetery— this historic section of the once segregated cemetery.

For dinner, enjoy great entertainment, delicious food, and 360° views of the Elizabeth River aboard the Spirit of Norfolk.  

Day Two

Enjoy Sunday Brunch in one of the many chef-owned restaurants along Granby Street, or “restaurant row,” offering over 20 restaurants within five blocks in Downtown Norfolk.

Spend the afternoon at the Chrysler Museum of Art & Glass Studio. The museum galleries present a selection from the 30,000 works of art in the collection, from ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary masterpieces by African American artists such as Robert ColescottBarkley Hendricks, and Kehinde Wiley. The Chrysler’s Perry Glass Studio, adjacent to the museum, is a state-of-the-art glassmaking facility that demonstrates how works in the Chrysler’s extensive glass collection were created. Take a no-experience-necessary class to get a taste of the magic of glass, which include blown/sculpted glass eggs, flame worked jewelry/ wine glass charms, and fused-glass coasters.  Free demonstrations of glass blowing are held daily at noon.  

Enjoy dinner and shopping at MacArthur Center, a 1 million square-foot, 3-story mall, with more than 100 new-to-the-market retailers and restaurants, anchored by Nordstrom and Dillard’s.  Or Norfolk’s newest entertainment venue Waterside District. The revitalized waterfront will be a central place to dine and shop. It will feature the best of national, regional and local restaurants and will offer live music, festivals and more.

Day Three - Depart Norfolk by 1pm and head home

Wake up and surround yourself with the beauty of the outdoors at Norfolk Botanical Garden. Take a guided tour on foot, tram or boat by coastal waterways, bridges and 12 miles of pedestrian trails that intertwine through the 155 acres of the Garden. Visit the WPA Memorial Garden to learn how this beautiful garden was built under the Works Progress Administration (WPA) by 200 African American women and 20 African American men. For a period of four years, the 220 original workers continued the back-breaking task of clearing trees, pulling roots and removing stumps. This memorial serves to honor and remember the legacy of beauty the 220 WPA workers created to be enjoyed by generations to come. 

No matter what time of year, explore the heritage, history and water of Coastal Virginia. Walk the decks of the largest and last battleship. Dip your toes in the majestic Atlantic Ocean. And experience local cuisine all in Coastal Virginia.

Day One - Norfolk, VA

Spend the morning at Nauticus, a fun and exciting interactive science and technology center, exploring the power of the sea. Discover the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, where you will be introduced to over 200 years of naval activity in Hampton Roads. Walk the teak decks of Battleship Wisconsin, one of the last and largest battleships built by the U.S. Navy. Stand beneath her 16-inch guns and feel the excitement of being aboard a historic warship. Experience the life of a sailor at Naval Station Norfolk. Take a 45 minute bus tour of the world’s largest naval station, as an enlisted sailor takes you onto the base and shows how our Navy works, lives, and protects our country. Enjoy dinner at the Freemason Abbey Restaurant and Tavern, a restaurant located in a over 135 year-old renovated church in the Freemason Harbour area of Norfolk. The menu offers a wide variety of foods featuring fresh lobster, pasta, fish, seafood, and choice prime rib. End the evening with a famous waffle cone from Doumar’s. Abe Doumar invented the waffle cone by taking a waffle and rolling it into a cone, to which he added ice cream. Doumar’s still bakes cones on the original cone machines.

Day Two - Norfolk, VA

Take a fun-filled boat ride at Norfolk Botanical Garden and explore the waterways or stroll the garden discovering a variety of plats from the cultivated to the wild. Be sure to take part in one of the garden's popular programs such as Active Gardens, Creative Gardeners or Garden Design. The Norfolk Botanical Garden's professional horticultural staff will be on hand to share their knowledge and experience and inspire new ideas for your garden. Set sail aboard the American Rover Sailing Cruise or the Spirit of Norfolk. Both cruises sail down the Elizabeth River with a guided tour of the waterfront discovering maritime history. Savor dinner at the historic Omar's Carriage House, whose original patrons were horses! Converted into a restaurant in the 1940s by Virginia Bruce Roper, Omar's is sure to please. Try Norfolk's newest brewery Bold Mariner Brewing Company, veteran owned and operated with a unique spin on traditional style ales. Or try Norfolk's Rip Rap Brewing Company owned and operated by two Coast Guard sailors. 

Day Three - Virginia Beach, VA

Enjoy an old–fashioned breakfast at Doc Taylor’s, inside a 1920’s beach cottage which was once the office of the town doctor. Explore your morning creativity with a tour of the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and experience The Great Create. After breakfast in your hotel, pick up your step-on guide for a view of area history including Fort Story and the Cape Henry Lighthouses, the oldest government-built lighthouse in America.

For a WWII-themed lunch, head over to the Military Aviation Museum for SwingTime in the Skies. After your trip back in time, head to Naval Air Station Oceana to experience “The Sound of Freedom” home to the Navy’s most sophisticated aircraft. Have a special evening of dinner entertainment at Waterman’s Surfside Grille. Invite the Doorway Singers for “Liberty Call,” a musical trip back to the 1940’s, while enjoying a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Day Four - Virginia Beach, VA

Start the day with fluffy pancake breakfast at Pocahontas Pancake House & Waffle Shop. Then stop in for the Surfman Chronicles at the Old Coast Guard Station or visit the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum, an 1895 beach cottage and the oldest remaining structure on the oceanfront. Don’t leave without an unforgettable Dolphin Cruise or Whale Watching boat trip. These two-hour excursions take you offshore where dolphins splash in the warmer months, and whales’ migration path follows in the coolest weather. Back at the marina, enjoy a waterfront lunch at Rockafeller’s.
 

Day One - Washington, D.C.

Arrival in the afternoon at the Nation’s Capital Washington DC. Start at The National Mall is home to a host of museums, including the National Gallery of Art, where the U.S.’s only Leonardo Da Vinci painting hangs, and the National Archives, which houses the original Constitution and Declaration of Independence, is a must for any American history buff. Start your evening with dinner at Union Station, where there are a number of sit-down and quick-service restaurants to sample. Plus, the glorious beaux-arts train station is the departure point for tours of the monuments at moonlight offered by Old Town Trolley. For something a bit quirkier, Bike and Roll, Bike the Big Capital and City Segway Tours (for ages 16 & up) also offer evening tours in season departing from other points in the city. Even if you’ve made the rounds at all the monuments and memorials by day, there’s something extra special and magical about a nighttime tour.

Day Two - Washington, D.C.

Head to the Arts District/U Street/Shaw neighborhood for breakfast at a DC institution, Ben’s Chili Bowl. Or, if you’re visiting on a weekend, visit the colorful farmer’s markets at Dupont Circle or Eastern Market on Capitol Hill. The blueberry buckwheat pancakes at Eastern Market are a local favorite. After breakfast, tour the Capitol Hill neighborhood and explore the U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress and Supreme Court. The neighborhood is also home to the Folger Shakespeare Library, which houses the largest collection of Shakespeare memorabilia outside of England.

For lunch, head to the Downtown/Penn Quarter/Chinatown neighborhood, where you’ll find an array of options on 7th Street, near the Verizon Center. Or feast on fresh noodles and flavorful soups in Chinatown. And don’t forget to snap a photo of the ornate Friendship Arch that looms over H Street. Go undercover at the International Spy Museum, where you can crack codes, take on covers and even lead a covert operation. Or stop by the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum to see portraits of some of the country’s most famous historical figures.

End the evening discovering DC’s theater scene. The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage offers free performances at 6:30 p.m. nightly, along with a host of ticketed performances from opera to musicals to jazz. Other theaters, such as the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Arena Stage, Warner Theatre and National Theatre, regularly present familiar classics. For something a bit more contemporary, catch a show at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company or Studio Theatre.

Day Three - Richmond, VA

Just only two hours away is Virginia’s State Capital Richmond, Virginia. Begin your Richmond Region adventure with a tour of the Virginia State Capitol. Designed by Thomas Jefferson, this architectural marvel is home to the oldest continually-operating legislative assembly in the Western Hemisphere. The Capitol also served as the White House in Stephen Spielberg’s 2012 Oscar-nominated film, Lincoln.
Follow the cobblestone streets of Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom and explore the many dining options for lunch. Stop in one of the many shops along the way for a few great souvenirs to take home.

After lunch take a tour of the American Civil War Museum & White House of the Confederacy. The White House, a National Historic Landmark, has been carefully restored to its wartime elegance as Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ executive mansion. Then relive history at St. John’s Church, the oldest church in Richmond, where Patrick Henry delivered his famous “give me liberty, or give me death” speech. Stroll along Monument Avenue – the only street in the United States to be named a National Historic Landmark. Take in the grandeur of the street’s seven larger-than-life statues and its impressive historic homes. Visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and do a scavenger hunt or a docent led tour. Dinner at the museum’s elite restaurant Amuse is a great way to preface an evening of entertainment options.

Day Four - Richmond, VA

Start your next day in Richmond, Virginia with a journey to Henricus Historical Park and explore the re-created site of the second successful English settlement in the New World. The 1611 Citie of Henricus was the site of the first English hospital in the New World and served as the home of Pocahontas and her husband John Rolfe.

Enjoy lunch and shopping in Carytown, which offers a variety of eclectic shops, boutiques and food stores. Take a walking tour with the Valentine History Center that includes the 1.25 mile stretch of historic Canal Walk ,Trolley tour or a Segway Tour around the city, or visit the Virginia War Memorial. Sitting on a hill overlooking the city, this memorial honors all Virginia fallen soldiers from World War II to current conflict. Groups can do a wreath laying ceremony and see the film “Into Battle”.

End the day with a visit to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Hanover Tavern, or take a narrated canal cruise on a charming bateau boat. Do not forget to visit scenic Hollywood Cemetery, which serves as the final resting place of Jefferson Davis and his family, 25 Confederate generals and 18,000 Confederate soldiers. Take in a show at one of our beloved dinner theatre’s Swift Creek Mill, or an evening with a performance by the Virginia Repertory Theater, the Richmond Ballet, Virginia Opera, the Richmond Symphony or just relax and take in one of our four wineries, twenty breweries, Virginia’s first urban Cidery and Moonshine Distillery.

Day Five - Norfolk, VA

Continue your journey to Coastal Virginia. Start off the morning walking in the shoes of a five star general at the final resting place General Douglas MacArthur, The Douglas MacArthur Memorial. Discover the story of the life of an Army General and pay tribute to millions of men and women who served with the General in three wars.

Uncover the mystery behind the power of the sea at Nauticus, an interactive science and technology center, where you can explore the hands-on exhibits. While there, step aboard the Battleship Wisconsin, one of the last and largest battleships built by the U.S. Navy. Eat and shop at MacArthur Center, a downtown shopping experience. Stop by their great café for lunch with the Elizabeth River as your back drop.

In the afternoon, set sail aboard a cruise on the American Rover Sailing Cruise or the Victory Rover Naval Base Cruise. Enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views of the Virginia Waterfront’s skyline with a narrated tour and great music as you cruise Norfolk’s historic waterways.

Enjoy the evening tasting Norfolk’s finest local cuisine on a food tour of Historic Ghent or Downtown Norfolk. Then stop for ice cream with a famous ice cream cone from Doumar’s. Doumar’s is where Abe Doumar invented the waffle cone by taking a waffle and rolling it into a cone, to which he added ice cream.

Day Six - Norfolk, VA

End the trip with a 45-minute bus tour of the world’s largest naval station, at Naval Station Norfolk. An enlisted sailor takes you onto the base and shows you how our Navy works, lives and protects our country. Then step back in history with more than 5,000 years of art at the Chrysler Museum of Art. Explore the largest collection of Tiffany glass on the East Coast. Stop by the Chrysler Museum’s Glass Studio, where glass blowing artists create pieces of art right before your eyes.

For lunch stroll down Colley Avenue in Historic Ghent for some great local finds with more than 20 locally owned restaurants and shops all within walking distance. End the trip by relaxing and sipping wine at Virginia’s first urban winery, the Mermaid Winery. Or pub crawl to O’Connors Brewing Company and Smartmouth Brewing Company.

Day One - Prince William & Manassas, VA

Begin your adventure at The Winery at La Grange. Nestled at the foothills of the Bull Run Mountains, the winery features stunning views and a manor house that dates back to the 1790s. Enjoy your tasting in the 18th-century home then snuggle into a chair by the fireplace or take a bottle outside for a picnic.

Continue testing your palate with a visit to Cork & Fork, a family owned business that features international wine and beer. The store hosts weekly wine and beer tastings and special wine seminars throughout the year. Eat, drink and relax at Grafton Street Irish Pub. Named after the popular street in Dublin, Ireland, Grafton Street captures that mix of old and new by offering a stylish neighborhood menu in a vintage Irish setting.

Day Two - Prince William & Manassas, VA

Season dependent, stop at Yankey Farms to pick your own strawberries or pumpkins. The farm also grows and sells everything from tomato and pepper plants to cucumber and melon plants.

Continue to Historic Downtown Manassas, a designated Virginia Main Street, to visit with merchants and find that one-of-a-kind gift. While here, visit Aroma, the wine tasting room of Morais Vineyards. Enjoy a selection of gourmet cheeses, cured meats and be sure to try their Cherry Wine served in a chocolate shot glass.

If you visit on Thursdays or Saturdays, stop by the farmer’s market in the heart of town to find fresh produce and baked goods. Grab lunch and drinks at Malones, located in a historic church built in 1875. After, head to Historic Occoquan for a late afternoon cruise on the Occoquan River.Board the Miss Rivershore, which is licensed to sell beer and wine, and enjoy the scenery and the history of the community. For dinner, visit Cock & Bowl, a husband and wife-owned eatery. Tucked away on one of the alleys in Occoquan, the restaurant mimics a European bistro with Belgian beer, frites and seafood. The restaurant features 60 different Belgian brews that are each served in a specially designed glass.

Day Three - Prince William, Manassas & Richmond, VA

Enjoy your last morning strolling the streets of Historic Occoquan. Stop by Bottle Stop for a wine tasting then head south and jump into the boots of a Marine at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Grab lunch and a beer at the museum’s Tun Tavern before heading to Richmond. Begin your afternoon in the Historic Richmond Region at the 5 Star, Five Diamond Jefferson Hotel for high tea. The Jefferson is one of Richmond’s crown jewels and provides an unmatched setting for tea, a meal or overnight stay. The next stop is Maymont, a gilded Victorian Mansion. The mansion tour explores the glitz and glamour displayed by the Dooley family in the 1930s. Gorgeous table settings for a garden party or dinner invite visitors to imagine an extravagant life at Maymont. Following the mansion tour, explore the lush gardens and 100-acre estate. Visit the James River Cellars Winery as you make your way into Richmond. This family-owned and operated winery offers award-winning wines from Virginia-grown grapes including the dessert wine Dolce Vino, winner of the 2005 Governor’s Cup for the best Virginia wine. Stop, Shop, Sip and Savor in Carytown – Richmond’s Mile of Style, where you will find boutique shops and unique restaurants for dinner, boasting from burgers to gourmet and a full bar at Can Can.

Day Four - Richmond, VA

Housed in the 1861 Gun Foundry, the Richmond National Battlefield Park - Civil War Visitors Center is a U.S. National Park site that relates to battles around Richmond and tells many civil war stories from naval battles to visits to the surrounding battlefields for a hike. Visit the Virginia State Capitol, designed by Thomas Jefferson and has the only posed and exacted size statuary of George Washington. Free tours are offered. Then grab a great lunch in downtown Richmond at the Capital Ale House that features over 100 beer selections.

Visit the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in the afternoon that boasts of a million blooms in spring or the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts that houses the largest collection of Faberge` eggs outside of Russia. Take a Richmond Brewery tour with several companies offering as many as 5 stops along the way. The new Richmond Beer Trail map that offers up to two dozen breweries in the Richmond Region is available if you’d like to explore them on your own.

Enjoy a vintage 75 foot paddle wheel on a 3 hour narrated cruise along the James River for dinner aboard Richmond Riverboat. Learn the history of the longest river in Virginia and the part it played in forming American’s history. Have a nightcap at one of the most popular evening activities at the rooftop bar at the Quirk Hotel for a great view of the city.

Day Five - Richmond to Norfolk, VA

Complete your afternoon in Richmond at the American Civil War Museum and White House
of the Confederacy
. The museum houses the nation’s most comprehensive collection of military, political and domestic artifacts and art associated with the confederacy, and offers guided tours of the White House. Start on your journey to Norfolk and in route stop at the Upper Shirley Vineyards in Charles City for a treat in wine tasting and farm to table culinary experience.

Begin the afternoon in Norfolk with a famous ice cream cone from Doumar’s Restaurant where Abe Doumar invented the waffle cone by taking a waffle and rolling it into a cone, to which he added ice cream. Doumar’s still bakes cones on the original cone machines. Your group can delight in fresh made waffle cones from the original machine with advanced notice. Then stop by 5 Point Community Farmers Market for fresh local produce from over 40 area farmers. The market also features the Get Fresh Café serving up healthy eats, which was taped in April for a segment of Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”.

Todd Jurich’s Bistro is where you will discover a unique dining experience in upscale dining — casual elegance. Enjoy five-star cuisine and world-class wines in a relaxed atmosphere. Check the calendar of events to sign up for one of the many wine events hosted each month.

Day Six - Norfolk, VA

Discover one of the largest collections of azaleas, camellias, roses and rhododendrons on the East Coast at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. Experience 155 glorious acres of gardens with guided tours on foot, tram or by boat. Then take a wine tasting class among the flowers to learn how to make informed smarter wine purchases! Start the afternoon on a wine on tour with the Town and Country Wine Tour. Go behind-the-scenes at top regional wineries and wine bars, learn about the heritage, styles, and production of wine. The tour will also highlight local lore and history. One of the stops on the wine tour is Norfolk’s first urban winery located in the charming Ghent neighborhood. Mermaid Winery focuses on producing small lots of well-balanced wines using Virginia grapes.

Next, head to The Hermitage Museum & Gardens, formerly home to the Sloane family, is an early 20th century Arts-and-Crafts estate located on the shore of the Lafayette River in Norfolk, Virginia. Featuring a nationally recognized art collection spanning 5,000 years, the Hermitage is home to the arts. For dinner, Sip over 50 wines from around the world at Press 626 Cafe & Wine Bar. The menu will please all taste buds using only ingredients from local farms for the freshest tastes!

Day Seven - Norfolk, VA

Before heading back home, head to Pinot’s Palette for an unforgettable time of fun, friends, and fine art with beer and wine! All you need to do is get ready to be inspired by local artists who will guide you step-by-step through a featured painting. At the end of the class you’ll leave with your very own masterpiece, and maybe even a painted wine bottle to commemorate your delicious visit.

Depart for home!