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Historical

Top Rated Attractions in Norfolk

Search Radius (Miles)
USS Wisconsin

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

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.

Freemason Historic District

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.

Hermitage Foundation Museum and Gardens

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.

Saint Paul's Episcopal Church

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.

Old Cape Henry Lighthouse

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.

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