Norfolk, VA [Travel Guide]

I've (almost) officially lived in Norfolk, Virginia for one glorious year. To celebrate, I compiled a travel guide with all my favorite restaurants, cafes, and things to do in town!

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FOOD

BREAKFAST

Yorgo's: If you're looking for top notch bagels or vegan breakfast items, you need to go here. Do yourself a favor and order The Peterman, a tofu egg scramble with hash browns, vegan sausage, daiya cheese and red onion. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Fruitive: I love Fruitive's juices and smoothies, but they also have delicious superberry bowls, supergrain oatmeal bowls, and gluten-free waffles.

For sweet potato biscuit sandwiches, check out Handsome Biscuit. For a farm-to-table brunch experience, check out Commune.

LUNCH

Zeke's Beans and Bowls: Poke bowls and acai bowls and cold pressed juices, galore! I'm obsessed with Zeke's. The PB&J acai bowl is my typical order (with watermelon juice), but you can't go wrong with anything on the menu.

Jack Brown's: If you're looking for a unique burger, Jack Brown's is the place to go. They offer a huge variety of beer (both bottled and on tap) along with some very interesting burgers. My personal favorite is the Greg Brady, which comes loaded with macaroni and cheese, crushed barbecue chips, and their special house sauce. For an extra bang, add bacon. And if you really feel like having a heart attack, order a fried oreo for dessert. (80/20 is another phenomenal burger bar in the area.)

Grilled Cheese Bistro: This place is more popular than ever now that it's been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Their grilled cheese sandwiches are incredible (they offer vegan cheese and gluten-free bread, too!), and their truffle french fries are just as divine.

For traditional sandwiches, check out Pendulum Fine Meats and Taste Unlimited.

DINNER

Orapax: My hunt for savory gluten-free/vegan pizza finally ended with Orapax, and I wasn't disappointed. Their pizza is incredible. They also have traditional Greek dishes, like gyros, dolmades, spanakopita, and hummus. SO GOOD.

Leone's: Jared and I went here for some authentic Italian food, and man oh man, it was divine. The cook is from Italy, and each dish is prepared fresh, from scratch. They also offered gluten-free options, which was great. If the weather is nice, request a table on the rooftop patio.

Press 626: This wine bar in the wonderful Ghent neighborhood has an intimate atmosphere, and the food is delicious (their truffle fries are my favorite). The menu changes on a seasonal basis, but they consistently use fresh, local ingredients. Press is an ideal date night restaurant, and when the weather is nice, make sure snag a table on their small front porch.

For an upscale dining experience, check out Nouvelle, Omar's Carriage House, LeGrand, and Voila.

DRINKS

The Birch: One of the main reasons I love The Birch is because they serve mead. I LOVE MEAD. It's tasty. They also have a ton of craft beer, cider, and beautiful charcuterie boards...and the atmosphere is so warm and cozy. I dig it.

Mermaid Winery: This charming little winery offers wine flights, cheese platters, and delicious entrees. The baked brie is UNREAL.

For fancy cocktails, check out Saint Germain. For rooftop drinks, check out Grain. For craft beer, check out O'Connor, Benchtop, and Coelocanth.

CAFES

Cure Coffeehouse: Good coffee is truly the way to my heart, even though I can't drink it on a regular basis. I love Cure's location in Freemason, and the vibe is on-point when I need to get work done. They also have great food. (Afterwards, head over to Hummingbird for some French macarons!)

Cold Pressed: This place has incredible superfood lattes. The matcha latte is my favorite, but I'm slowly working my way down the menu...I need to try everything! They also serve cold-pressed juices, smoothies, immunity shots, and a variety of awesome food.

Cafe Stella: Stella has great coffee and food (the brown rice salmon bowl is my go-to order!), but my favorite part of this cafe is the warm ambiance. I love sitting outside when the weather is nice.

For dessert-style lattes, check out Fair Grounds (I'm obsessed with their hazelnut almond milk latte).

THINGS TO DO

Catch the sunset. If you want a killer view of the sunset, go to Pagoda Garden or Plum Point Park. From these vantage points, you can watch the sky morph into beautiful shades of pink, orange, and red. There's something about a good sunset that makes me feel hella lucky to be alive.

See a concert at The Norva. The Norva was voted one of the best music venues in the country in 2014, and for good reason. The venue is small and intimate, and their lineup is consistently fantastic. I've seen dozens of shows here, but my favorites so far have been Grouplove, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Passion Pit, Foster The People, The Shins, and Jon Bellion.

Visit the Chrysler Museum of Art. I'm not a huge art fanatic, but there's something so calming and peaceful about walking around art museums. I've seen some pretty cool exhibits at the Chrysler. They currently have a "First 100 Years at NASA Langley" exhibit that I'm dying to go see.

Take a walk around Town Point Park. When the weather is nice, I love strolling around Town Point Park. It's right on the water, and the saltwater breeze is so relaxing. In the summer, live music events are held here (I saw The Revivalists last year!). 

Go shopping along Colley Ave. There are so many cute boutiques on Colley! A. Dodson's, Le Marche, and Bridget's are some of my favorites.

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