In making the decision to move to Norfolk, Virginia, you are coming to a city rich in American and military history. Known as an important mid-Atlantic seaport, Norfolk is also home to one of the largest Naval bases in the country and maintains a superior reputation for patronization of arts and culture. Norfolk houses the elegant Chrysler Museum of Art, hosts a popular annual Azalea Festival, and is headquarters to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Diversity in tradition and lifestyles make Norfolk an interesting place to live.
The question will arise, where in Norfolk should you live? Norfolk is not a large city by scale, but does account for a good percentage of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. It is bordered by the Elizabeth River and the Chesapeake Bay, yet doesn’t carry the reputation of a “beach town” as the neighboring Virginia Beach does. Depending on your income, employment, and other needs like educational resources, you have many options when making Norfolk your home. Here is a brief summary of the better known sections of the city you may consider when making your move.
Freemason Historic District – A (cobble)stone’s throw from downtown’s central business area, Freemason is perhaps the oldest neighborhood in the city. It is an eclectic blend of colonial and contemporary architecture, where a few cobblestone avenues attest to the area’s classic charm. You’ll find modern condominium buildings abutting grand gabled homes surrounded by iron fences. The Freemason area is popular with younger professionals and retired residents wishing to be close to the engaging downtown nightlife.
Ghent – This historic district attracts an artistic and upbeat crowd. Stylish boutiques and tony cafes line Colley Avenue and lead residents to a multitude of renovated homes divided into apartments and condos. Living in Ghent gives you walking access to the popular Naro Cinema house and the Eastern Virginia Medical School, as well as your choice of grandiose cathedrals and temples for Sunday worship. Holidays are a particularly festive time, as Christmas music is piped through speakers each winter, and St. Patrick’s Day brings the annual “Greening of Ghent” festivities.
Ocean View – For those more interested in a life on the beach, the Ocean View area of Norfolk has undergone massive changes. Once home to a large shore-side amusement park, this neighborhood has been revived with contemporary luxury condos and gorgeous villas overlooking the bay. Nightlife is picking up with a number of popular restaurants and raw bars, and the nearby Ocean View Park provides a marvelous venue for area festivals and free concerts.
From history to luxury, elegance to shabby beach chic, Norfolk has the neighborhood to suit your lifestyle and attitude. We haven’t begun to scratch the surface of possible residential spots in this diverse city, but for a life of charm and proximity to a multitude of activities, explore these areas as you begin your new life in Norfolk, Virginia.