4 wonderful ways to spend an evening in Norfolk’s Waterside District

4 Wonderful Ways To Spend An Evening In Norfolk’s Waterside District

Photo courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation

By Aila Boyd

March 6, 2024

Norfolk’s Waterside District is in the heart of the central business district and adjacent to the city’s waterfront. It’s the central gathering place for residents and visitors alike.

If you’re looking to have a fun evening in the Waterfront District while taking in views of the Elizabeth River, we have you covered with recommendations for where to grab a drink and a bite to eat, enjoy an event, see attractions, and take a sail.

1. Grab a drink and a bite to eat

Rocky Mountain Grill

Rocky Mountain Grill is a great place to go to enjoy a meal and have a little fun. The full-service restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining, with the large outdoor patio nestled along the Elizabeth River.

Consider going to the raw bar, which features oysters, clams, mussels, and shrimp. Before and after your meal, you can play Connect Four, air hockey, or darts.

Stripers Waterside

Stripers Waterside is the place to be for seafood lovers. It serves made-from-scratch fresh seafood for lunch and dinner against the backdrop of the Elizabeth River. “Varied, quality options will fit every palate and budget, making Stripers Waterside an ideal restaurant to take the whole family for dinner,” the restaurant said.

Be sure to go between 5-7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday for happy hour.

Carolina Cupcakery 

Who doesn’t love a good cupcake? Carolina Cupcakery offers a staggering variety of flavors — 365 to be exact — of all-natural, scratch-baked cupcakes.

“We have something for everyone,” the cupcakery said. Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, and sugar-free options are available. Cranberry cosmo and strawberry white chocolate are two of the recent flavors. The spot also offers coffee, espresso drinks, and snacks.

PBR Norfolk

Those looking for a cold drink and a good time should check out PBR Norfolk. The country bar offers music, cold beer, hard drinks, bull riding, a large dance floor, a soft-seating lounge area, outdoor balconies, and multiple bars.

2. Go to an event

Harbor Park

Baseball fans can catch a Norfolk Tides game at Harbor Park in the entertainment district. The team is the AAA minor league team of the Baltimore Orioles.

The 12,067-seat stadium sits on 35 acres of waterfront property along the Elizabeth River. While watching a game, you can enjoy some ballpark food and beverages.

Town Point Park

Town Point Park is the Waterside District’s central gathering place. Half a million people come to it every year to meet, eat, chat, stroll, listen to music, and relax. The eight-acre outdoor space offers plenty of harbor-side views.

Some of the noteworthy festivals held at the park include Norfolk Harborfest, Norfolk NATO Festival, the Virginia Beer Festival and Bayou Bon Vivant & Cajun Music, Food and Art Festival. Those looking to see a show should check out its schedule for festivals, concerts, and military ship visits. Recreation and athletic events are also held at the park, including yard games, volleyball, badminton, and bocce ball.

3. Explore attractions

Pagoda and Oriental Garden

A trip to the Pagoda and Oriental Garden will leave you feeling as though you’ve been transported to Asia. The garden features unique landscaping, colorful plants, waterfalls, and a koi pond.

“Enter one of the defining gates embraced with gentle swaying bamboo and experience a serene oasis where East meets West on over an acre of urban space,” the Friends of the Pagoda and Oriental Garden Foundation said.

The Chinese Pagoda is the centerpiece of the garden, providing a panoramic view of the garden, USS Wisconsin, and Elizabeth River.

Battleship Wisconsin

Military enthusiasts will surely take a lot away from a visit to the Battleship Wisconsin, one of the largest battleships ever built for the U.S. Navy. The ship served in three wars and is now berthed in Norfolk’s Downtown Waterfront next to Nauticus.

“Walk the Wisconsin’s teak decks, explore her bow to stern, inside and out, up and down several levels,” Norfolk’s Downtown Waterfront said. “Experience a combat scenario in the Combat Engagement Center, take a captain’s eye view from the Navigation Bridge, or imagine the crew’s life in the galley, ship store, library, and much more.”

Guided tours are offered for a fee.

Fort Norfolk

History buffs should check out Fort Norfolk, the last remaining of the 19 coastal fortifications authorized by President George Washington in 1794.

“The fort’s four-acre site overlooks the Elizabeth River and includes earthwork embankments, ramparts, a dungeon, officers’ quarters, powder magazine, enlisted barracks, and guardhouse, all within masonry walls,” Norfolk’s Downtown Waterfront said.

Most of the structures visible today date to 1810. The fort is open for self-guided tours Monday through Friday. Guided tours provided by the Norfolk Historical Society are offered on Sundays from 12-4 p.m. June through September. Admission is free, but don’t forget to bring a picture ID because the fort is on government property.

4. Go for a sail

American Rover

The American Rover provides a unique sailing schooner experience on the smooth waters of the Elizabeth River and Port of Virginia. The 125-passenger vessel offers both daytime and sunset rides.

“Help hoist the sails, and take a turn at the helm, or just relax as the captain points out the sights of the historic Norfolk Harbor in the Coast Guard-inspected safety rover,” Norfolk’s Downtown Waterfront said.

Victory Rover

Victory Rover Naval Base Cruises offer two-hour narrated cruises of one of the world’s largest naval bases, which is home to the Atlantic Fleet.

“The captain provides a fascinating and entertaining commentary aboard this Coast Guard-inspected vessel,” Norfolk’s Downtown Waterfront said. “Guests enjoy plenty of comfortable seating, an air-conditioned enclosed deck, an open-air shaded upper deck, a snack bar, and a souvenir shop.”

Spirit of Norfolk

A sail on the Spirit of Norfolk will surely be a memorable experience. The vessel offers a range of unique cruising experiences for couples and families, including lunch and dinner, bottomless mimosa brunch, and after-dark dance cruises.

“With creative eating and lounge spaces throughout both decks, you can wander and find a cozy place to sit and enjoy the view after your meal,” Norfolk’s Downtown Waterfront said. “Guests enjoy a 360-degree view of the Norfolk and Portsmouth skyline from the Elizabeth River, relaxing on the outside decks with new cocktails created from fresh fruits and juices.”

Elizabeth River Ferry

A ride on the Elizabeth River Ferry is a great way to take in the area. The ride travels between Waterside, downtown Norfolk, North Landing, and High Street in Portsmouth. The 150-passenger paddlewheel ferries are operated by the Hampton Roads Transit.

“This is a fast, economical way to tour the Harbor, with unique views of the river and the waterfront,” Norfolk’s Downtown Waterfront said. Ferries operate every 30 minutes, with 15-minute service at peak times on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.4 wonderful ways to spend an evening in Norfolk’s Waterside District4 wonderful ways to spend an evening in Norfolk’s Waterside District

  • Aila Boyd

    Aila Boyd is a Virginia-based educator and journalist. She received her MFA in writing from Lindenwood University.

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