2010: 242,803, #78 in U.S., #2 in Virginia

1950: 213,513, #48 in U.S.

2010 Metropolitan Area (Virginia Beach MSA): 1,671,683, #36 in U.S.

1950 Metropolitan Area: 446,200, #43 in U.S.


Norfolk was first settled in 1636. It is located where the Elizabeth River flows into Hampton Roads, part of Chesapeake Bay. Today, the city has the huge Naval Station Norfolk, a major port for cruise ships and commercial shipping, and scheduled harbor cruises. Hampton Roads Transit operates the Elizabeth River Ferry between Norfolk and Portsmouth.

Norfolk is the traditional business center for the Hampton Roads area, which includes the cities of Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Newport News, and Hampton.


Tallest building: Dominion Tower, 340 feet (1987)

List of tallest buildings


MacArthur Center (1999), an enclosed mall located downtown, has a Dillard's department store. Its Nordstrom store closed in 2019. The Waterside District has stores and restaurants.


Amtrak has no service to Norfolk. The seven-mile Tide Light Rail opened in 2011.


The Chrysler Museum of Art, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, the MacArthur Memorial Museum, and the Nauticus maritime museum are in the downtown area.

USS Harry Truman and Downtown Norfolk
(Photo by Tyler Folnsbee)


The Regal MacArthur Center 18 is a first-run theater. The Roper Performing ArtsCenter (the former Loew’s State Theater, 1926) is a restored movie theater that now has a variety of concerts, plays, and special events. The NorVa Theater (1922) is used for concerts.

Chrysler Hall (1972) hosts the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and touring Broadway shows. The Virginia Opera plays at the Harrison Opera House (former Municipal Auditorium and Center Theater, 1943, renovated 1993). The Virginia Stage Company and the Generic Theater are also downtown.


The Norfolk Tides, Triple-A International League affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, play at Harbor Park (1993), along the downtown waterfront. The Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League play at the Scope Arena (1971).

Map of Downtown Norfolk