Norfolk, Virginia

The Waterfront City For Lovers

Looklyloo Score: 73

View Full Profile


What's it like to live in Norfolk?

Thinking of moving to Norfolk but hesitant!

Gardens are a thing everywhere. You just have to rent a place that will have the balcony or yard for you to create your garden.

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.

The forested area in Virginia Beach is First Landing, like you discovered, and it's huge! Love it there. As for Norfolk, we have some areas (there's a bird sanctuary that will likely suit what you're looking for) and then there is Botanical Gardens. I can't imagine we don't have some forested area to walk around in…

Surfing is a fun thing to learn and to pick up, but unless you plan on making that your life nearly daily for several weeks, you might want to rethink your investment. We have the perfect 'waves' to learn on as a beginner, but even then, it's certainly a time investment in terms of learning and waiting for good water. It's just tough to do. I held onto it for 2 summers and honestly haven't gone since. There's other water activities that still give you a good workout that I picked up: kayaking (plenty of spots here), SUPing, sailing (you could likely find a group to join), etc.

As for hiking, camping, trail running, and outdoor stuff: It's really not that far to travel from here to get all that done. Plenty of people I work with leave for weekend camping/hiking trips. You will have absolutely no problem meeting people in this area who love to do those things, too; myself included.

I'm guessing with the RN graduation, you're looking at Norfolk General? I work there, so I can help if you have any questions with that as well. There's a few ER RNs who love going hiking, camping, and rock climbing. So like I said, you won't be in short supply of finding people with the same interests.

What is it like to live in Norfolk, VA?

Norfolk has milder winters than the Northeast ( while still having distinct seasons), more temperate summers than the south, fantastic water sports opportunities of every kind, a good balance of cost of living and wages. The city's neighborhoods are varied and lively, from the beach front living of Willoughby Spit to the urban downtown to the boho neighborhood of Ghent.

The military presence in the region means that one's neighbors may come from all over the USA and the world, and adds a certain cosmopolitan air to living here.

Norfolk also has more Dog Parks per capita than any other City in the USA except Portland OR.

Unfortunately, we also place second on the list of cities most threatened by rising sea level, right after New Orleans, which makes getting around the city challenging when high tide and heavy rain coincide.

What is it like to live in Norfolk, VA?

It’s pretty good.

low cost of living in a city compared to other metro areas
has all the stuff you’d normally want in a city — music, art, theater, restaurants, public transit / light rail, a legit (but small) downtown area
not a lot of traffic. (anyone whining about traffic has never spent time in DC, Manhattan, or anywhere in California)
near the water, if you care about that sort of thing. traveling is pretty easy: quick 45-minute flights to DC or NY. 90 minutes to Charlotte and Atlanta. 2 hours to Detroit, Chicago, Orlando.
Norfolk is actually quite large, geographically, so I’m mainly talking about downtown Norfolk and Ghent. There are other areas that are less nice that might as well be separate towns, so don’t live there.

How is Norfolk, VA as a place to work and live? Which are some major corporates there? Is there an Indian community?

I am from India and graduated from Old Dominion University. I also worked in Norfolk for over 6 years.

As mentioned in earlier answers, Norfolk is part of the Hampton Roads Metropolitan area. The metro area is by the east coast and is well connected by roads. It recently got lightrail which adds to connectivity.


Norfolk is considered the cultural and economic centre of Hampton Roads because of of the presence of military, large corporates or their regional centers, hospitals and universities. It's also the second largest city in the metro area.

Among corporates, to name a few there is Norfolk Southern (one of the largest rail freight companies), Dominion Enterprises (a large publication company), regional offices of Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Old Dominion University is a large public university with excellent STEM credentials and a good sporting history. EVMS is well known medical school and considered to be among the leading institutions in reproductive medicine.

Most importantly though, Norfolk is home to the worlds largest Naval base. Norfolk also has one of the largest ports in the east coast and is a major logistics centre for Target and Walmart.

The waterfront festivals is celebrated with a lot of pomp and is great place to spend with family. The centre of the city around McArthur mall, historic Ghent are great places to spend an evening shopping, going to theatre or to the movies. The museum has some of finest collections of crystals in the US and the naval museum is a must see. My wife and I enjoyed these places.

Old Dominion University (ODU) has a substantial Indian Student population and faculty especially in STEM. The Indian festival hosted annually at ODU brings together most families in the Hampton Roads area. EVMS also has several doctors and students of Indian origin. There is also a substantial technical staff of Indian origin working at Bank of America (at least that was the case 10 years ago).

Pros and Cons of Living in Norfolk, Virginia