Part of the Nauticus Maritime Center, the USS Wisconsin came to Norfolk in 2000. The ship is over 60 years old, first launched in 1943, and is one of the largest battleships ever built by the US Navy. Children and history buffs especially love it, and docents are placed in various spots on board to answer any questions about the ship's colorful history.
Fort Norfolk is the last of the George Washington authorized harbor-front ports. Set on four acres next to the Elizabeth River, the fort had a significant role in the War of 1812. Sites to be seen include the dungeon, ramparts and barracks, most of which date back to 1810. Located in the historic Ghent area, Fort Norfolk is an interesting and educational outing.
The Freemason District contains some of the major historical sites in Norfolk. Part of the original plot of land given to Captain Thomas Willoughby in 1636, the streets are cobblestone, with brick houses and trees lining the sidewalk. Among the many museums and history centers here are the Moses Myers House, Norfolk History Museum, and Hunter House Victorian Museum.
The Hermitage Foundation Museum holds the Sloan art collection that includes pieces collected from across the world. The Chinese tomb figures and pieces from Czar Alexander's collection are particularly striking pieces. The museum also conducts art classes and holds workshops. Surrounded by 12 acres of well planned gardens, the Hermitage Foundation Gardens are a particularly picturesque. The gift shop sells creations of local artisans and designers.
St. Paul's dates back to 1739, making it one of the oldest original colonial buildings in Norfolk, but the history of the parish goes back even farther than that. Today, visitors to the church can still see a cannonball that was lodged there in 1776. The church also houses some historic grave sites dating back to the 17th Century.
Designated as a National Historic Landmark, the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse is a stunning lighthouse that dates back to 1792. This archaic structure boasts amazing architecture that makes it a worthwhile tourist attraction. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy the spectacular views it affords. There is also an onsite museum store.
This 83-foot tall granite statue is a wonderful memorial to one of the principle defenders of American civil liberties, Martin Luther King. The base of the monument is inscribed with his most significant quotes. It is one of the tallest monuments of its kind in the United States and it well worth a visit. Only street parking is available.
The Queen Street Baptist Church is a historic church that caters to Norfolk's African-American community. Constructed between 1910 and 1911, the rectangular structure is an imposing one that draws from Late Gothic Revival traditions. From the pointed spire to the arched windows, the structure exhibits classic architectural features of this style. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Queen Street Baptist Church is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks.
Counted as the oldest Baptist place of worship of Norfolk, First Baptist Church is a 19th-century structure. Established in the year 1800, this historic edifice was built to the designs of R.H. Hunt and apportioned in the year 1906. Serving as a fine specimen of Romanesque-Revival style of architecture, it features a heavily adorned facade, complete with limestone and pink granite brickwork. Its imposing tower stands tall at eight storys, while a shorter one is found at the opposite end.
This beautiful basilica, constructed in 1858, is one of Norfolk's most beautiful and distinctive religious buildings. Honored as a minor basilica by Pope Jean-Paul II in 1991, the church has a proud tradition and is an active member of the local community. The church is worth seeing for the dramatic spire alone. Check the website for details of masses and communion.
Built in 1850, Freemason Street Baptist Church is a historic baptist church designed by Thomas Ustick Walter. Made in the Perpendicular Gothic style, the stuccoed brick church also has an octagonal spire on top. Coffee hours are also held after worship time where visitors to the church can meet and interact with locals and other spiritual seekers. Book clubs, interfaith dialogues spiritual retreats and workshops are also organized by the church on a regular basis. One of the best religious sights in the city, Freemason Street Baptist Church is a must-visit for anyone who is in town for a couple of days.