Norfolk Self-Guided Tours

Norfolk, Virginia is rich with historic attractions, world-class museums, and offers unique and fun shopping and dining adventures, all within walking distance or a short car or train ride through the downtown waterfront.

Here is a list of just some of the self-guided ways you can experience our city to see for yourself.

Cannonball Trail History Tour 

This self-guided tour allows you to follow the Cannonball Trail through 400 years of Norfolk and American history. The trail winds along the shoreline of the Elizabeth River and through the districts of downtown Norfolk. Follow the historic sites highlighted on this tour and allow a minimum of two hours to walk the entire trail.


Waterways to Freedom 

Virginia’s Underground Railroad network succeeded in sending hundreds, if not thousands, of runaways to areas in Pennsylvania, New England and Canada. Experience the amazing story of Virginia's Underground Railroad Network through an online, interactive visual and audio tour, told through photographs and illustrations of wharves, steamships, and schooners on which fugitives departed, safe houses (especially churches and neighborhoods) that were used, conductors who assisted, and enslaved African Americans who attempted the journey to freedom. To learn more, click here to view our interactive website with audio.


The Civil War in Norfolk 

In May of 1862, not long after the historic clash of the ironclads occurred just off its shores, the City of Norfolk was surrendered to Union forces. As you explore historic sites within the city, including the Customs House where the city was surrendered, use this story of the federal occupation of Norfolk as told by correspondents who accompanied the troops to Hampton Roads in 1862.


Tales by Rail 

A way to see the city of Norfolk and experience stories of both past and present via The Tide light rail system. There are hundreds of stories to be shared about Norfolk; from a revolutionary cannonball lodged in the brick of a church and passages stolen in secret along the Underground Railroad, to an historic battleship and statues of our nation’s decorated heroes. Your detailed map provides descriptions of stations and points of interest at each stop.