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Norfolk Waterside-a great place to visit

Updated on June 5, 2013

Waterside at Norfolk

Not long ago, I was spending some time with the family and went to the Waterside in Norfolk, Virginia. I was encouraged and at the same time, saddened. Sad, because it is no longer a bustling place, full of life. The toll of today's economy has hit hard, but, nevertheless, it is a great place to visit. Let's start from the beginning and where it is headed-


Waterside was known as the Waterfront. It was a working waterfront, full of aging facilities. It had its share of old buildings, tug boat operations and ferry docks. Unfortunately, it was, also, a place where sailors and prostitutes would met. Seeing this problem, the mayor and leadership decided to give the place a much needed facelift. In 1977, it held its first Haborfest and the response was a positive one. Soon, new buildings were springing forth and progress was being made.

In 1983, the Waterfront became the Waterside. Soon, the area was bustlng with businesses and people started to flock in that area. Every week, there was a concert inside and restaurants,as well as, fast food places, were making a fortune. It seemed that every month, there was a festival going on. Even the Hispanic community were excited when it held its Latino festival. A few well known Latin bands have toured Waterside such as the likes of Puente, Willie Colon and Eddie Palmieri. Yes sir, Waterside was busy and ready for business.

In 1994, Waterside had a new addition-The Nauticus Museum. This is a great museum in which you can see the history of old ships and maritime businesses in the area of Norfolk. It had a great write up on the Titanic.We got to see old footage of the ship and the items listed there. If you like the sea and ships, this museum is for you. Great atmosphere with a multitude of information. The Waterside has, even, added a US Naval vessel in which you can come inside and check out the rooming and workplace.

It, also, added the New Spirit. The New Spirit is a big ship with modern facilities in which you can tour the Elizabeth river. It has entertainment and great food for a great price. If you go to Norfolk, treat your wife and family to a tour that they will never forget. Norfolk,still has some nice places to go, if you are considering spending your vacation in that area.


Norfolk started to expand so rapidly that people were beginning to call it little New York. With the building of one of the biggest shopping mall in Virginia called the MacArthur Shopping Center, Waterside started to lose its luster. Soon, people flocked to the MacArthur Shopping Center, leaving the Waterside with little or no business. The tough economy had a toll on the businesses there and soon Norfolk's leaders were considering doing away with it. In my opinion, that would be tragic.

My hope is that Norfolk's leaders would come with some answer to revitalize this great historical site. It is beautiful and still a nice place to see, even though some of its businesses have left. For example, you can still take the ferry to the Portside on the other side of the river. Nauticus and a US Naval vessel are still there for touring. The area, in itself, is good, so pack up this summer for the Waterside at Norfolk, Virginia and enjoy a well deserved vacation.

My granddaughter Kathy walking on the waterside

Norfolk Waterside!



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