If a spot by the sea is your idea of home, Norfolk rests along the Chesapeake Bay with waterfront residences, shops and restaurants galore. Seven miles of beachfront and 144 miles of shoreline along the city’s rivers, lakes and bay make for an array of scenic surroundings. But don’t get us wrong; The Tree City also houses botanical gardens and multiple parks. One of the largest municipalities in the Hampton Roads region, Norfolk is brimming with arts and culture, offering festivals, performances, museums and higher education options to its 245,000 residents.
With a population that’s large and diverse, you’re bound to run into anyone: young professionals, students from Norfolk State and Old Dominion University, members of the U.S. Navy, doctors and reps from the city’s burgeoning healthcare community, or any number of artists, from actors to opera singers. It’s an educated, ethnically and racially diverse coastal town with something to offer everyone. Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base in the world, drives a large portion of the local economy, as does shipbuilding, the healthcare complex, railways and defense contracting, though a fair percentage of Norfolk dwellers telecommute and work from home.
This is a city with a slew of options unto itself, but it’s also connected to Newport News and the Delmarva Peninsula through bridges and tunnels, for access to additional beaches, museums and historic sites. With stunning natural surroundings, it lends itself to a number of aquatic activities, all while existing just a few hours outside of the state capitol. While you’ll most likely need a car, some areas of Norfolk are incredibly walkable: downtown, with an arts district and bayside attractions, is a perfect place to take a stroll, and the nearby Ghent District neighborhoods are an ideal place to call home if you’re sans vehicle. If you’ve got two wheels, the city offers a number of bike lanes as well as the We Roll Together initiative, which campaigns to create a bike-friendly city through education, maps and trails.
If you’re looking for fun in the sun, you can always hit the beaches. Be sure to stop in for bayside dining along Ocean View Avenue, and scout out some of the city’s best diverse international food hidden in little-expected strip malls throughout the area. Go fishing at one of the area’s many spots to cast a line, try kayaking on the water, or play a round of golf at a water-view course. Feel like monkeying around? Try a visit to the Virginia Zoo. And with The Virginia Opera, the Virginia Symphony, the Virginia Arts Festival and the Virginia Stage Company all in play, there’s no reason not to catch a performance and feel incredibly cultured, and lucky, in these beautiful surroundings.
|Square Miles||54 square miles|
|Population Density||4,519 people per square mile|
|Total Population||243k people|
|Median Household Income||$43,914|
|Median Age||29 years old|