Norfolk, Virginia

The Waterfront City For Lovers

The only thing here was a long gray ribbon of road, stretched like tape stuck by a toddler onto a rolling carpet of green hills under a huge arch of blue sky. This is Virginia. My Virginia, anyway.
-Beth Harbison

The Best Thing About Norfolk?


Norfolk offers a lot of what bigger cities can while still feeling like a smaller town. People are friendly, but transitory due to so many being in the military - friends you make today may not live here next year. Norfolk is a fairly solid second tier for concert tours etc. No major league teams but you can see just about any sport if you don't mind minor league or college teams. Richmond, Washington DC, North Carolina's Triangle and the Outer Banks are all easily accessible.

There’s BBQ, homemade ice cream, she-crab soup, in-town breweries, an urban winery and The Hampton Roads Pridefest. And duck races! Maybe most important to some of you: Norfolk has more Dog Parks per capita and any city in the US other than Portland OR.

Here's a local on the doggo situation here:
There are tons of dog parks here in Norfolk. I can't speak for Virginia Beach because I never paid too much attention in that regard. PETA has a very large dog park that dogs can run around, play, and swim in. There's no strong association with PETA other than the dog park is right next to it. There's another good sized dog park in the Colonial Place neighborhood where dogs can play, but it definitely is mostly dirt.

For more reviews of Norfolk from locals check out: The Buzz

The Worst Thing About Norfolk?


All the bridges/tunnels can easily become bottlenecks. Construction to relieve the problems have been funded with tolls. Summer means high humidity and temperatures. Minor rainstorms cause massive flooding and water levels are rising.

**Here's a local on how you should live given the drag of the bridges/tunnels: **
I actively avoid the HRBT if I can. What worries me most is just how antiquated the damn thing is. It way overexceeds the original daily capacity, it's failed load testing in the past two years, and it's literally got a 5 mile backup every day from Granby Street all the way to the Hampton Coliseum. It's an engineering disaster waiting to happen… which the Pilot has reported on before. As it stands, I recommend no one ever live and work on separate sides of the water if they can ever help it.

Lifestyle of Norfolk

Military is really big here and a huge percentage of people here are either in the military or connected to it somehow. Military culture is pervasive. Young professionals flock to and rave about the neighborhood called Ghent. It’s walkable (or bikeable) to Sentaro RMH Medical Center and great indie boutique shopping. Downtown is similar and the young professionals also like Chelsea.

Colonial Place has a similar feel from what you'll find in Ghent (slightly less expensive) but It is a peninsula surrounded on three sides by the Lafayette River. It is a relatively racially mixed area that includes mostly single family homes and a few apartment buildings.
Other neighborhoods of note; The Larrymore Lawns neighborhood, parts of Ocean View (beware of flooding), North Meadowbrook and Larchmont (Both are close to Sentaro.) Camellia Gardens is safe, but you’re fewer apartments to rent (more homes to rent.)

A less expensive alternative is Ward's Corner which is attempting a revitalization but it is going in fits and starts. Talbot Park is further from Downtown but a nice, quiet neighborhood. Old Towne Portsmouth is a ferry ride across the river.

If you want to know what is happening in Norfolk check out the calendar of events:

Why You Should Move Here Now?


Big skies, rolling hills, swathes of green fields, and plenty of wildlife to watch.
It’s great for military families, the cost of living is decent and the food is yummy. Lots of local businesses and pride.