Houses in Norfolk
Things to do
On the hunt for a house? Norfolk, VA offers a vibrant waterfront and many family-friendly activities
Creating a rewarding lifestyle begins with finding an ideal location…and then finding the perfect house. Norfolk, VA has it covered on both fronts. This waterfront Chesapeake Bay city offers plenty of water-based activities, parks galore, and a diverse cultural scene appealing to varied tastes. And with a milder temperate climate, it’s easy to stay active all year ‘round.
History of Norfolk
History of Norfolk
Norfolk, Virginia is located on the Elizabeth River near the wide mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Established in 1682, the town soon became a shipbuilding hub. During the American Revolution, Virginia militiamen and riflemen engaged in numerous skirmishes with the British. Finally, the British bombarded the town from the water before the Virginians burned the remaining buildings to prevent British occupation. However, the Virginians left St. Paul’s Church intact. After the Revolutionary War, Norfolk’s recovery was stifled due to several external factors. During the War of 1812, local militiamen twice saved the town from the British. In subsequent decades, Norfolk again prospered due to railroad and canal construction. During the Civil War, Norfolk fell to the Union Army in May 1862. The town remained under Union occupation until the war’s conclusion. After 1880, Norfolk began to boom as railroad systems better served the city’s shipping port. During World Wars I and II, Norfolk became a major maritime center as Naval Station Norfolk gradually took shape. This expansive naval base and naval-air installation is now the largest of its kind.
Things to do in Norfolk
Things to do in Norfolk
The Norfolk metro area is chock full of enjoyable activities for the entire family – not far from the house. Norfolk offers boating, exploring, shopping, sunbathing, and other photo-worthy experiences.
Fishing and Boating
With Norfolk’s proximity to Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, boating and fishing are popular activities. Boaters head out on diverse types of powerboats. Sailors enjoy cruising across the Bay on a fresh breeze or sneaking in a quiet sunset sail after work.
The ship-shaped Nauticus is an innovative maritime discovery center situated along Norfolk’s waterfront near an urban resident’s house. Norfolk offers an all-ages facility combining maritime history, interactive marine world exhibits, and exciting science discoveries. Outside, visitors can see the mammoth Battleship Wisconsin and graceful Schooner Virginia.
Norfolk Botanical Garden
Virginia’s most expansive botanical garden, the Norfolk Botanical Garden comprises 175 acres of floral collections and walking paths. The Children’s Garden and Butterfly House are popular destinations. The gardens are bordered on three sides by water, enabling entry by boat.
Ocean View Beach
Beautiful Ocean View Beach offers numerous outdoor activities. Besides swimming and basking in the southern Virginia sun, beach fans enjoy fishing, crabbing, and kayaking. Many visitors savor locally sourced food at Ocean View’s multiple restaurants.
Norfolk is located on the Elizabeth River at the Chesapeake Bay’s mouth. This mid-Atlantic coastal setting provides the Norfolk metro area with a temperate climate. The mighty Atlantic Ocean contributes plenty of water vapor to the atmosphere. This translates into higher humidity and precipitation. On any given day, it could be raining near a resident’s house. Norfolk summers are generally muggy and hot. Although temperatures don’t often climb above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the ever-present humidity makes it feel hotter. Norfolk’s “cool season” extends from early December through late February. Snow lovers might get treated to a coating of the white stuff just outside the house. Norfolk’s warmer afternoon temperatures lead to quick melting, though.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the April 2020 Census determined that the City of Norfolk had a population of 238,005. In April 2010, Norfolk had a population of 242,803. This represents a population decline of 4,798 residents during the period.
However, the Norfolk metro area also includes the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach. Some of Norfolk’s population may have shifted to these cities.
The City of Norfolk’s population included almost 25,000 veterans during the 2016-2020 period. With the Naval Station Norfolk’s presence, some ex-sailors and other base personnel are likely included in that figure.
Arts in Norfolk
Arts in Norfolk
The Norfolk metro area is home to a veritable feast of cultural venues. Offerings include a versatile performing arts center, a symphony orchestra, an opera house, several notable museums, and beautiful botanical gardens.
Located in downtown Norfolk, this well-utilized performing arts center is home to the Virginia Symphony. Broadway show touring companies make frequent visits to this modern venue.
Chrysler Museum of Art
This world-class facility is one of the United States’ Top 20 museums. The Chrysler Museum showcases works from the last 5,000 years. More than 30,000 artworks grace the facility’s display venues. The 7,000-square-foot Perry Glass Studio offers top-notch glass art and public demonstrations.
Harrison Opera House
The NEON District’s historic Harrison Opera House hosts the Virginia Opera (Virginia’s official Opera Company). Designed as a public works auditorium, this impressive venue previously hosted World War II USO shows.
Hermitage Museum and Gardens
The renowned Hermitage Museum and Gardens features diverse artworks dating back to 5,000 years. The Visual Arts Studio and the adjacent 12 acres offer additional exhibitions. The Hermitage Museum Gardens beckon visitors who enjoy colorful flowers and a serene setting.
Schools in Norfolk
Schools in Norfolk
The City of Norfolk is home to three colleges and universities. Four-year institutions include Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University. Eastern Virginia Medical School and its four research institutions also call Norfolk home. The Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Hampton Roads metro area hosts seven more four-year institutions. Two-year colleges include Norfolk’s Advanced Technology Institute plus four other schools. Within the City of Norfolk, five high schools prepare students for entry to college or the workforce. Booker T. Washington High School, Granby High School, Lake Taylor High School, Matthew Fontaine Maury High School, and Norview High School draw students from specific geographic areas. Six middle schools and 35 elementary schools are convenient to each student’s house. Norfolk, VA offers the full range of educational institutions.
Homebuyers on a mission are ready to jump on the perfect house. Norfolk, VA has plenty of real estate options in varied price points. However, this happening city also has a prime waterfront location and temperate climate.
Next, add lots of family-friendly activities and dozens of scenic parks (some on the water). Multiple colleges and universities and an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary cultural options round out Norfolk’s list of appealing amenities. This thriving mid-Atlantic city is worth serious consideration.
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