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Norfolk - Waterside District

Ships, shops and a tattoo

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postedFebruary 21, 2018

If members of a group are fond of the TV series “NCIS,” they can find the real deal in Norfolk, Virginia. Home to the largest U.S. Navy base in the world, as well as one of NATO’s two Strategic Command Centers, the city will make anyone who loves the big guns (literally) giddy with delight.

At Naval Station Norfolk, visitors can see aircraft carriers, destroyers and amphibious assault ships during year-round 45-minute tours conducted by actual naval personnel.

As water is so much a part of life in Norfolk, it stands to reason that the annual Harborfest on the Downtown Waterfront takes pride of place. The three-day event, held each June at Town Point Park, includes activities ranging from a tall ships parade and a build-a-boat contest to the largest fireworks display on the East Coast.

If you tell your group they’re going for a tattoo, you could be in danger of scaring some members off. Make sure they know it’s not a skin design that’s on the agenda but a band performance—as in the Virginia International Tattoo (held each April). With a colorful collection of drummers, pipers, fifers and other musicians, it is the largest military show of its kind in the U.S.

New to Norfolk as of last year is Norfolk Premium Outlets, where visitors can shop for brands such as Nike, Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger at 25 percent to 65 percent off.

While not new, a revitalized Waterside District offers the best in national, regional and local restaurants in addition to live music and festivals.

For more information, email VisitNorfolk’s Melissa Hopper or go to

Top photo: Waterside District in Norfolk, Virginia
Photo by VisitNorfolk