Welcome Guide – Hampton Roads Cities

Here's your guide to each amazing city in the Hampton Roads area!

by Coastal Virginia Magazine | Jan 12, 2018


If you’re interested in scenery and love the outdoors, Chesapeake may be the place for you. Popular outdoor activities include kayaking, fishing, golfing, biking and camping. The Great Dismal Swamp is known for its unique and diverse wildlife and offers trails for visitors to explore while taking in the scenery. Chesapeake’s Greenbrier area offers an exciting array of shopping, dining and entertainment. One of the biggest events offered is the annual Chesapeake Jubilee, a carnival featuring a BBQ competition, a livestock sale, musical acts and fireworks.



Nestled along gorgeous views of the Chesapeake Bay, Hampton is one of America’s oldest cities. Its rich history is embedded in the many historic attractions located within the city, but new attractions are constantly arriving, and now Hampton is one of the fasted growing cities in the region. The city is ideal for youngsters on the rise because of the fascinating museums and water cruises, and it’s also perfect for on-the-go adults who enjoy live musical performances, weekend events and cultural arts. Hampton offers upscale shopping, delectable dining and a diverse variety of entertainment to keep residents satisfied for an entire day—or an entire lifetime!


Newport News

Whether you’re learning about marine life, exploring the cultural arts or wandering the historic paths on a plantation, Newport News offers many attractions for the local explorer. Home to Christopher Newport University, a young institution with a formidable reputation, Newport News is populated with fresh, educated minds as well as nature lovers, sporting enthusiasts and Civil War buffs. Favorite pastimes include viewing the many ships that can be seen along the downtown area or paddleboating near one of the Newport News parks.



Norfolk could best be described as Hampton Roads’ cultural center. Similar to Virginia Beach, there’s always an event happening, most of which are based in the arts. Norfolk houses various venues that host events such as Broadway plays, musical acts, dancers, comedians and even hockey. Downtown Norfolk offers the true city vibe, with MacArthur Mall and other fabulous shopping and dining destinations. Norfolk is also known for the waterfront and many annual festivals, such as Harborfest, wine and beer fests and scrumptious food festivals. The city even has its own minor league team, The Tides, which offers a great opportunity for the family to catch a game at Harbor Park. Old Dominion University’s football and basketball teams are also popular events to catch.



Across the water from Norfolk, a quick ferry ride away, is Portsmouth. Known for being quaint and historic, Portsmouth is a good place for antiquing, learning about history and perusing the shops of Olde Towne. The city also has numerous museums, including the Children’s Museum of Virginia, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, the Virginia Hall of Fame and the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center. History buffs will enjoy the Civil War battle sites and beautiful historic homes.



There’s one thought that comes to most people’s minds when they hear the mention of Smithfield—hams! The town is best known for the curing and production of the Smithfield Ham, and this juicy pork can be purchased at shops or found on restaurant menus throughout the area. Smithfield is also known for its rich history; the town features several museums, a historic fort and even a walking tour that showcases the many charming buildings of bygone eras.



Just as Smithfield is known for their incredible cured hams, Suffolk is best known for their peanuts. The town was the birthplace of Mr. Peanut, the mascot of Planters’ Peanuts, which was established in Suffolk. However, there are many other attractions that bring people to Suffolk such as historic structures that have been turned into adorable shops, restaurants and arts venues, the Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge featuring areas to swim, scuba dive, kayak or fish and a thriving cultural arts community. There are also many festivals that attract visitors to Suffolk such as the Suffolk Peanut Festival, Nansemond Indian Pow Wow and more!


Virginia Beach

Although Virginia Beach is mainly known for its oceanfront and boardwalk, this isn’t a small beach town. Virginia Beach is the largest city in Hampton Roads and offers a lot more than just the beach. Virginia Beach offers features something for everyone, including a live music venue, which draws in major artists, the Sportsplex, museums, parks and a well assorted variety of shops and restaurants. Many of the citizens are brought to the area because of the military, and the Oceana Naval Air Station is housed here. Virginia Beach is a good compromise between the excitements of a typical city, because there’s always something to do, and the suburbs, because of its neighborhoods and ideal location to raise a family.



Williamsburg lets visitors take a trip to the past with Colonial Williamsburg and the Jamestown Settlement. Visitors can walk the historically accurate Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg and interact with colonists to learn more about the time period. However, Williamsburg also offers a completely modern atmosphere where locals and visitors can find terrific deals at the outlet mall or visit one of the several amusement parks. Williamsburg offers an exciting and equal mix of past and present.



The land of the free and the home of the brave describe Yorktown precisely. It’s most famous as the site of the surrender of General Cornwallis to George Washington during the American Revolutionary War, and Yorktown also figured prominently in the Civil War. Today, Yorktown’s history is celebrated continually through patriotic events and festivals, and it’s also a great spot for getting out on the river, enjoying an excellent meal or visiting a thriving local farmers’ market.


City and lifestyle magazine celebrating the Southeast Virginia region and its unique charm, customs and ways of living

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