Are you planning a trip to Norfolk, VA, and ready for a couple’s getaway? It’s such a cool city, I don’t blame you! From museums to wine tasting tours to spending time on the water, here are the best things to do in Norfolk for couples.
Disclosure: I was graciously hosted by the fine folks at Visit Norfolk to give you a firsthand experience for the best things to do in Norfolk for couples. All opinions are my own!
Best Things to Do in Norfolk for Couples
This summer, Mr. locke and I spent a few days exploring the city and we discovered so many fun things to do in Norfolk for couples. I tried a little bit of everything including what to see, where to go, and definitely where to eat. Here are my top picks to help you plan your couples getaway to Norfolk.
For road trip reference, Norfolk is only 20 minutes from Virginia Beach, making it a great additional stop if you’re planning a visit.
Visit the Chrysler Museum of Art
The Chrysler Museum of Art is one of the most popular museums in Norfolk. It is home to a wide range of art, from ancient to modern. If you love exploring, the museum is a great place to learn about art and history, too.
What we loved most were the varied art rooms – there’s everything from paintings by the masters to an exhibit featuring M.C. Escher (he’s one of my husband’s favorite artists) so, while we did explore much of the museum together, we toured on our own for an hour to really dig into the painting styles we loved.
Take a Stroll Through Town Point Park
Town Point Park is a beautiful park located in the heart of Downtown Norfolk. It is the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll with your significant other, especially on beautiful weather days.
The park also has a number of events throughout the year, including concerts and festivals, so make sure you check out the event guide before you visit the city.
See the Norfolk Mermaid Sculptures
The Norfolk Mermaids are so pretty and definitely worth checking out. There are three sculptures in total, each with a different design. The sculptures were created by local artists and add a touch of whimsy to the city.
With hundreds of unique mermaid statues, it’s no wonder that the city has been given the fun nickname ofThe Mermaid City.
Visit the Nauticus Maritime Center
The Nauticus Maritime Center is a must-visit for any couple interested in maritime history. The center has a number of interactive exhibits, which my husband thoroughly loved.
Visitors can also take a tour of the battleship USS Wisconsin, which was my favorite part of the museum, for sure. Until you’re on one of its decks exploring, there’s no real way to see just how massive it is and it blew my mind. It has a barber shop and dental office on board.
Tip: Definitely expect to spend half a day moseying around the displays and battleship
Go on a Wine Tasting Tour
Norfolk is home to a number of excellent wineries. Couples can go on a wine tasting tour to sample some of the best wines in the area. There are also a number of vineyards that offer tours and tastings.
Here are a few of the top rated Norfolk Wine Tasting Tours for reference:
- Crystal Palate Wine & Gourmet
- Vino Culture
- Branches Tasting Room
- Virginia Beach Winery
Tip: Depending on what kind of wine you like, you’ll want to choose a winery that specializes in that type to really amp up your experience.
Have a Picnic at Norfolk Botanical Gardens
The Norfolk Botanical Gardens are a beautiful place to spend an afternoon. Couples can pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the scenery. The gardens also have a number of events throughout the year, including concerts and festivals.
Make sure to take time to see the gardens via the narrated tram ride. It meets hourly and it so worth the ride.
Tip: To really see which gardens you want to visit, take the tram ride first. That way, you can make a beeline for them. Additionally, make the rose garden a priority – it’s gorgeous!
Visit the Virginia Zoo
The Virginia Zoo is a fun no matter how old (or young!) you are. The zoo has a wide variety of animals, from lions to tigers to bears I’m not going to do it. Nevermind… oh, my!). There are also a number of interactive exhibits, such as the Giraffe Feeding Station.
The zoo isn’t massive, but really is a fun way to spend a few hours. If you want to see the animals more active, visit first thing in the morning.
Take a Boat Ride on the Elizabeth River
Couples can take a leisurely boat ride on the Elizabeth River. This is a great way to see Norfolk from a different perspective. There are a number of boat tours available, as well as private charters.
Go on a Sunset Boat Cruise
Couples can take a boat tour of Norfolk to see the city from a different (but still beautiful!) perspective. There are a number of boat tours available, as well as private charters.
If I had to give you my pick for a romantic cruise, check out American Rover Sailing Cruises. A tall sailing ship, each two-hour tour is an awesome way to see the city – especially at sunset.
Take a Ghost Tour of Downtown Norfolk
Downtown Norfolk is home to a number of historic buildings. Couples can take a ghost tour to learn about the city’s history and see some of the most haunted places in town. And while you may be skeptical about ghosts and hauntings, you’ll still get plenty of cool facts about Norfolk.
Visit Hermitage Museum and Gardens
The Hermitage Museum and Gardens is a great place to spend the day with your sweetie The museum has a wide variety of exhibits, as well as a beautiful garden – all gorgeously historical.
We loved spending the evening at the museum for one of its Sunset on the River events. Featuring live music from local bands, food trucks, and museum tours, it’s a cool trifecta of fun.
Check Out Norfolk Waterside District
Norfolk Waterside District is a festive marketplace located along the Elizabeth River with an outdoor concert stage, unique shops, and restaurants with great views of the harbor. Don’t miss the light show on the fountain!
The park also has a playground, carousel, and splash pad for kids (sure, you may not want to partake in the splash pad, but it’s a fun feature!).
Go on a Hiking Adventure
Did you know Norfolk is home to a number of excellent hiking trails? Couples can go on a hike and enjoy the beautiful scenery. There are also a number of guided hikes available if you’re interested.
Doin’t forget to pack hiking boots or comfy shoes, sunscreen, and bug spray!
Attend a Show at the Wells Theatre
The Wells Theatre is a great place to see a show. Couples can enjoy a wide range of performances, from Broadway musicals to live concerts.
Again, check the calendar of events for the time you’ll be in town and grab your tickets early.
Explore the MacArthur Memorial
The MacArthur Memorial is a must-visit for any couple interested in history. The museum has a wide range of exhibits, as well as a theater with high definition film, The MacArthur Story.
Soak up the Sun at Ocean View Beach Park
Ocean View Beach Park is the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. The park has a wide range of amenities, including a playground, picnic tables, and grills.
Spend an Evening at Granby Theater
Granby Theater is a great place to see a show. Couples can enjoy a wide range of performances, from Broadway musicals to live concerts.
Sample the Local Cuisine at one of Norfolk’s Many Restaurants
Norfolk is home to a number of excellent restaurants. Couples can sample the local cuisine and enjoy the city’s diverse culinary scene. Here are my picks:
Blue Moon TapHouse – The first place we ate at when we came to Norfolk, it’s a cool place to dine for burgers and beer. Add in the fact it has a hip, industrial chic vibe, it’s only a couple of minute’s walk from The Sheraton Norfolk Waterside hotel (where we stayed – check it out below), and it was a no brainer spot for us.
Vessel Craft Coffee – Amazing breakfast options (hello, avocado toast!), really good coffee, and a cool atmosphere. We visited around 9am and it was starting to get pretty busy, so keep that in mind if you’re not a fan of crowds.
Norfolk Botanical Gardens Café – If you’re planning on spending hours at the botanical garden, make the café one of your pit stops. You can grab sandwiches and drinks, coffee, or simply enjoy the outdoor patio area.
Handsome Biscuit – Probably my favorite restaurant in Norfolk so far, Handsome Biscuit is a no frills kind of spot. With outdoor-only seating, what it doesn’t have in indoor seating it more than makes up for with its biscuits menu.
The Veil Brewery – Another cool Norfolk brewery The Veil is one of Mr. Locke’s fave spots in the city. Its menu ins’t massive but there are several styles of pizza to order. My pick: the Lil Rita, a classic margherita-style pizza.
Where to Stay in Norfolk – Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel
Located in the heart of the downtown Norfolk Waterside District and just steps from the new Elizabeth River Ferry, the hotel is a perfect home base for your Norfolk couples getaway. The hotel features an outdoor pool, spa, and fitness center.
We absolutely loved our stay during our visit. If you are able, ask about having Club Access. You’ll need to be a high-tier Marriott Bonvoy Member, so double check your status before you go.