Norfolk Itinerary: Holidays in Norfolk, Virginia
The Itinerary at a Glance
Holiday festivities in Norfolk begin with the Grand Illumination of the Downtown Norfolk skyline and the annual Grand Illumination Parade.
4 Unique Experience on This Trip
- Hunter House Victorian Museum
- Chrysler Museum of Art
- Mermaid Winery
- Wells Theatre
Duration: 4 Days
Available: Holiday Months
This Itinerary is Ideal For: All
Day 1 Friday
P.M. – Norfolk’s historic houses are decorated for the holidays. The Hunter House Victorian Museum, rich in architectural detail, displays the Hunter family’s collection of furnishings and decorative pieces done up for a Victorian Christmas. The Moses Myers House, an elegant federal period home dating back to 1792, was built by one of Norfolk’s first Jewish residents and is decorated for Hanukkah.
Dinner – Savor dinner at the historic Omar’s Carriage House, whose original patrons were horses. Converted to a restaurant in the 1940s by Virginia native Bruce Roper, Omar’s is sure to please. Be sure to try the fresh jumbo lump crab cakes and potato crisp flounder while you’re there.
P.M. – Enjoy a holiday performance at the Wells Theatre presented by the Virginia Stage Company. Located in downtown Norfolk’s Theatre District, Wells Theatre was built by Jake Wells in 1901.
Day 2 Saturday
A.M. – Stroll through 5,000 years of art history at the Chrysler Museum of Art, home to Walter Chrysler Jr.’s world-class collection of more than 30,000 pieces of art. The museum features a world-renowned Tiffany-glass collection, Art Nouveau furniture, and works of art from African, Egyptian, Pre-Columbian, Islamic and Asian cultures. The museum also offers an extensive European and American collection of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts (customize a guided tour to fit your group’s theme). Experience the art of glass with a glass blowing demonstration in their new studio, which is located adjacent to the museum.
A.M. – Explore the Hermitage House Museum, an early 20th century residence surrounded by 12 acres of formal gardens and natural woodlands. Guided tours of the museum are conducted daily and last approximately 45 minutes.
Lunch – Holiday shopping and lunch is a must at MacArthur Center with more than 70 new-to-the-market retailers. Enjoy lunch at Macarthur’s 600-seat food court or at one of its numerous sit-down restaurants. Stop by Harry & David for an indulgent chocolate tasting. (The Passport to Style coupon book is available to groups). And celebrate the holidays by participating in MacArthur Center’s outdoor winter carnival complete with an ice skating rink.
P.M. – Explore the d’ART Center, a visual arts center featuring 36 professional artists who, in open studios, create, display and sell an exciting mix of original art. Art classes for groups are available to make holiday ornaments or let your imagination run wild for wonderful stocking stuffers.
P.M. – All aboard! Time for the Grand Illumination Early Dinner Cruise aboard the Spirit of Norfolk, 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Welcome the holiday season with a cruise before the Grand Illumination parade. Start off your festivities with great food, a fabulous view from the water and great entertainment.
P.M. –Norfolk’s Grand Illumination parade. Enjoy front row seats in “Street Seats” and watch floats, bands, balloons and dance teams! Or experience Norfolk’s “Garden of Lights” either by foot or car at Norfolk Botanical Garden. The “Garden of Lights” is a 2.5-mile twinkling light display that features a whimsical flower theme with wisteria arbor arches, animated humming birds, a windmill, scarecrow, leaping frogs, butterflies, mushrooms and a waterfall.
Day 3 Sunday
A.M. – Spend the morning strolling through historic Ghent to find that perfect gift at one of the antique markets and/or specialty shops. Stop for lunch on Colley Avenue or 21st Street and experience local cuisine. Do not forget to take home some wine from Mermaid Winery, Virginia’s first urban winery, for a gift or holiday party. The winery focuses on producing small lots of small well-balanced wines using Virginia grapes. The winemaking process can be viewed from the tasting bar where you can enjoy their creations.
P.M. – Enter into a magical world at Dickens’ Christmas Towne. Stroll through Victorian Streets with Christmas characters, carolers, sweet treats, train displays, activities and crafts.
P.M. – Dinner in lights at Pagoda and Garden LightFEST. A beautiful display of lights featuring over 40,000 sparkles of friendship glowing in the Garden and Pagoda. The Pagoda is the centerpiece of the Oriental Garden. This unique building provides a panoramic view of the beautiful Oriental Garden, the Battleship Wisconsin, sunset over the Elizabeth River, and contains a restaurant serving American cuisine with an Asian flair. The Pagoda is home to Chinese artifacts, an art gallery featuring Oriental brush paintings and a large Koi fish pond.
P.M. – Experience Norfolk’s “Garden of Lights,” a 2.5-mile twinkling light display from the comfort of your tram. Norfolk’s spectacular “Garden of Lights” display features a whimsical flower theme with wisteria arbor arches, animated humming birds, a windmill, scarecrow, leaping frogs, butterflies, mushrooms and a waterfall.
Day 4 Monday
A.M. – On your way home, stop in Williamsburg for a Colonial Christmas experience.