Norfolk

Population

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.

Setting

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.

Buildings

Tallest building: Dominion Tower, 340 feet (1987)

List of tallest buildings

Stores

MacArthur Center (1999), an enclosed mall located downtown, has Nordstrom and Dillard’s department stores. Waterside Festival Marketplace has stores and restaurants.

Trains

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

Museums

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)

Theaters

The Regal MacArthur Center 18 is a first-run theater. The Roper Performing Arts Center (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.

Sports

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 Norfolk Scope (1971).

Map of Downtown Norfolk

DowntownNorfolk.org