Get ready to spend Father’s Day 2024 with dad in a city whose downtown is literally booming. Norfolk is coming of age with a downtown filled with retail, restaurants, and the largest naval base in the world. It’s 66 square miles, features seven miles of Chesapeake Bay beachfront, is home to the Virginia Opera, and The Virginia Symphony, and features neighborhoods bursting with trees and flowers. It’s the perfect place that you’ll want to take dad on Father’s Day to celebrate how special he is. 

While we’ve all heard that Virginia is for lovers, it’s also for families. When celebrating Father’s Day, this city is full of love for everyone and is filled with a host of fun and exciting things to do with and for dad.  

Not Your Typical Father’s Day

Voted the third best in the U.S. by Fodor’s, take dad to the Norfolk Botanical Garden, which also happens to be Virginia’s largest botanical garden. There are more than 60 gardens to check out. “Some of our gardens showcase styles from different parts of the world, while others are focused on one particular type of plant,” according to the website. “We have gardens of intense fragrance and color, and we have some for reflective contemplation.” 

Treat dad to Doumar’s Cones and Barbecue, a historic landmark and beloved institution known for its iconic ice cream cones and delicious barbecue. Doumar’s was founded in 1904 by Abe Doumar, who is credited with inventing the world’s first ice cream cone-making machine. One of Doumar’s most famous offerings is its hand-rolled waffle cones, made using the original cone-making machine invented by Abe Doumar. Visitors can watch as the cones are freshly made right before their eyes, creating a delicious and nostalgic treat. Doumar’s has been recognized as a historic landmark by both the city of Norfolk and the state of Virginia. It’s a beloved institution in Norfolk, cherished by locals and visitors alike for its delicious food, friendly service, and timeless atmosphere.

If you’re undecided and need a variety of activities for dad to choose from, the Waterside District offers a vibrant entertainment and dining destination. Situated along the Elizabeth River, Waterside offers stunning waterfront views that can be enjoyed from many of its outdoor patios, dining areas, and event spaces.

You’ll find a slew of restaurants, bars, and even an outdoor beer garden.Some popular drinking and dining establishments at Waterside include Blue Moon TapHouse, The Market, PBR Norfolk, and Stripers Waterside.

Waterside District regularly hosts live music performances, DJ nights, and special events throughout the year. From acoustic sets to dance parties, there’s always something happening to keep visitors entertained.

Waterside District welcomes visitors of all ages and offers family-friendly activities and attractions. Kids will love the interactive fountain play area, where they can splash and cool off on warm days.

In addition to dining and entertainment options, Waterside District features a selection of shops and boutiques where you can browse for unique gifts, souvenirs, and local merchandise.

Throughout the year, Waterside District hosts various events and festivals, including holiday celebrations, food and drink festivals, and cultural events. These events add to the excitement and energy of the district, drawing locals and visitors alike.

Overall, Waterside District offers a dynamic and lively waterfront destination where you can eat, drink, shop, and play while enjoying beautiful views of the Elizabeth River. Whether you’re looking for a casual meal with friends, a night out on the town, or family-friendly fun, Waterside District has something for everyone.

Take Dad to See Some of Norfolk’s Maritime Centers and Ships

Take dad to Nauticus, “a maritime discovery center” you’ll find on downtown Norfolk’s waterfront. It’s a great place for all ages to learn and experience everything maritime. “Through interactive exhibits and STEM to STERN programming, Nauticus uses the museum, Battleship Wisconsin, sailing center, and Schooner Virginia to tell the story of the maritime environment, industry, and the military,” the website said. You can even take a guided tour of Battleship Wisconsin, which celebrated its 79th birthday on April 15, 2023. 

Head over to Hampton Roads Naval Museum next, which is on the second deck of the Nauticus building. It’s a great museum to take dad for an exciting learning experience about “the U.S. Navy in and around Hampton Roads, Virginia from the Revolutionary War to the present day for service members and the general public,” according to the Facebook page. It’s free to visit the museum.

Home to the largest naval base in the world, dad will be super impressed with Naval Station Norfolk, as it is homeport to aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, large amphibious ships, submarines, supply ships, airplanes and helicopters – 75 ships and 134 aircraft are home-ported here. Be sure to check on tour times and availability – as it is frequent to change.

More Father’s Day Fun in Norfolk

Play ball! Why not take dad to Harbor Park for a fun minor-league baseball game? Home to the Norfolk Tides baseball team (the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles), Harbor Park is sure to bring the fun on or around Father’s Day. Harbor Park also has a 225-seat restaurant called, “Hits at the Park,” with a view of the field so you can enjoy a meal and the game at the same time. Check the schedule for dates and times of a game near Father’s Day and make it a family day. 

The Perfect Father’s Day Brunch or Dinner with Dad 

Father’s Day isn’t complete without the perfect meal. The Father’s Day Signature Brunch Cruise is the way to make family memories that last. You’ll cruise along the Elizabeth River and spend the day with your family enjoying a brunch buffet, classic cocktails, and spectacular views of Norfolk. Enjoy the cruise from the climate-controlled interior or the open-air outdoor deck. 

If dad prefers dinner over brunch, take the Father’s Day Signature Dinner Cruise. The 2-hour dinner cruise on the Elizabeth River features a delectable buffet dinner with spectacular views of Norfolk’s architecture and local landmarks. You’ll make family memories to treasure for a lifetime. Indulge in a delectable dinner and music from a live DJ. The cruise is for all ages and is such a perfect way to celebrate the father in your life. friends on the water

No matter how you celebrate dad on Father’s Day, you’ll make memories to remember in Norfolk. Your father will love that you thought of him and took the time to celebrate with him and the family on his special day. 

Original Post Date: May 2, 2023