Today, more than 80% of global shipping involves containers. They're packed with everything from personal storage items in dry containers to heavy machinery on flat rack containers. For business owners shipping products, getting a container from point A to point B requires precise planning and high-level tracking. But that's easier said than done when global supply chains become over-congested, leading to loading time issues and delays.
That's bad news for business owners who are already under a massive amount of stress. The truth is that container storage delays can cripple a business, but there's a viable solution: drayage brokers in Norfolk, VA like RelyEx. Drayage companies provide unique solutions to minimize demurrage and help ensure the successful delivery of your freight.
With more than 30 combined years of experience and a solutions-oriented team, RelyEx has quickly become the first choice for streamlined, efficient drayage services. To understand the true value of RelyEx's offerings in the global logistics industry, it helps to understand first what drayage is and why it's used.
If you're a seasoned business owner who uses port drayage to transport your products, you know exactly how important the service can be. But if you were to poll a group of random people, you may get five different definitions of the term "drayage." That begs the question, how is one of the most crucial steps in the supply chain and most vital components of global trade such a confusing concept? When you break it down, it's not too difficult to grasp.
Drayage, by definition, means the transportation of freight from an ocean port to another destination. Today, drayage is also used to describe the process of transporting products and goods over short distances or over "the first mile."
While drayage often means short-distance movements during the supply chain process, it's primarily used in the container shipping space. Drayage loads usually have arrival and departure points in the same city and don't include long-haul, national transportation.
Because a drayage load can mean a few different things, confusion among carriers is common. Many carriers link drayage with going into a port, but that isn't always true. While all drayage loads typically originate from a port of entry, there are often several legs of a drayage journey before a container turns up at its final stop. Legs of a drayage load may include:
You may be thinking, what's so important about drayage? It's such a small step in the container storage transport process. In reality, it's an integral piece needed in the logistics industry and a crucial part of U.S. supply chain management.
To truly understand the importance of drayage, let's use flowers as an example. Most cut flower shipments enter the market from areas in South America until they end up at Dutch auction houses. Once there, wholesalers purchase flowers in bulk and send those products to retail outlets worldwide. Because flowers are perishable, they typically need to be refrigerated and are often shipped in reefer containers. These refrigerated vessels must maintain a certain temp to prevent loss.
Drayage companies like RelyEx allow flower shippers to send their products from Argentinian ports to airports in the Netherlands with peace of mind because their products are protected. The only way to accomplish this feat is with the help of swift, meticulous port drayage services. Drayage companies allow flower shippers to send their products from Argentinian ports to airports in the Netherlands with peace of mind, because their products are protected. The only way to accomplish this feat is with the help of swift, meticulous port drayage services.
If port drayage is compromised, it can cause delays and even fines. You know the packages you get delivered to your front door from apps like Amazon? Without drayage and drayage brokers, one or two-day shipping times wouldn't even be possible.
As a multi-billion-dollar industry in the U.S. alone, it seems like drayage shipping issues shouldn't exist. But the fact is inefficiencies and congestion are still major problems at ports. Whether it's a lack of carriers, absent chassis, or overburdened terminals, delays lead to missed deadlines, lost revenue, and worse.
But anytime challenges exist, so too do innovative solutions.QUOTE REQUEST
RelyEx was created because our founders saw a need in the logistics space for more reliability and efficiency. The reality of the shipping and logistics industry is that it has become very transactional. It's an odd evolution, because most businesses seek a third-party logistics partner that is accessible, transparent, and committed to providing solutions.
As the logistics space continues to grow, it creates newfound expenses and complexities. Clients like ours know that and need a supply chain partner who is genuinely interested in their business. By understanding the needs of our customers and carriers, we can provide the most reliable, effective drayage services possible.
Unlike some drayage companies in Norfolk, VA, we begin managing your containers before they ever hit the ports by mapping out the most efficient pathways of delivery. That way, our team can discover the best drayage pathways to expedite delivery time and reduce fees that cut into profits.
Our valued drayage customers choose RelyEx because:
At RelyEx, we like to consider ourselves problem solvers. The nature of the container drayage industry presents new challenges every day, but we're firm believers that there's a solution to every hurdle we encounter. And while some drayage businesses implement a reactive approach, RelyEx customers choose us for our proactive mindset. We take pride in solving your company's drayage challenges to help you avoid frustrating fees, missed expectations, and delayed shipments. We strive to make every transaction successful and streamlined by partnering with shippers who prioritize transparent, prompt, and accurate communication.
RelyEx approaches your business from the customer's perspective - a unique approach that helps us provide high-quality, effective drayage services. We've been in the customers' shoes, know their pain points, and because of that, provide first-hand solutions to stressful supply chain issues. With over 30 years of collective knowledge, our team excels in:
Our varied, high-level drayage shipping experience helps us achieve our overarching goal: expertly managing your freight movement needs. That way, you can direct your time and focus on growing the core aspects of your business while we handle the heavy lifting. Throw in proactive planning to avoid bottleneck situations and strong communication for transparent customer relations, and you can see why so many companies trust RelyEx.
When it comes to shipping logistics, it only takes one mistake by a mediocre worker to disrupt your business. That's why, at RelyEx, we pride ourselves on forming and nurturing relationships with carriers who match our standards of care. Our founding partner started his career transporting freight for companies as an on-demand carrier. He uses that knowledge to maximize the resources of our carriers so that our customer's expectations aren't just met - they're exceeded.
Based in the port city of Norfolk, RelyEx has a keen understanding of the challenges of managing the inbound and outbound flow of containers. Our team of container drayage experts provides your business with unique solutions to nuanced shipping problems, minimizing demurrage and ensuring the successful delivery of your freight.
Customers choose RelyEx because:
Some drayage brokers don't care how customers feel about their service as long as they sign a contract and get paid. As a solutions-oriented team, RelyEx takes the opposite approach. We're motivated by the opportunity to overachieve for our customers and to provide them with the best logistics experience possible. With professional experience as carriers and shippers ourselves, we know the roadblocks and challenges you're facing. We excel at mapping out the best plans of action to solve those problems. But that's just the start.
Our tracking experts monitor and manage every aspect of your drayage shipment from booking to delivery, 24/7. Once booked, we look for the availability of your containers hourly once they're at port. When they arrive, our team acts quickly to access your storage containers when they're available.
Plus, RelyEx ensures your company's requirements are met by the carrier during loading and delivery and provide necessary documentation as fast as possible. With real-time tracking updates and access to our customer service professionals, your team has complete visibility throughout the shipping process.
Over the years, RelyEx has built a strong network of drayage carriers, transloading locations, and container storage spaces to provide you with the best possible options to match your drayage service needs. We know that searching for quality service presents an added layer of complexity and stress to our customers. That's why we work hard to take that off your plate by connecting you with our reliable shipping partners.
With a background moving freight as an on-demand carrier, our founding partner understands how to maximize the resources and equipment of our carriers to match your needs.
Like other industries, the global logistics space is complex. Mistakes will be made, and problems will happen. With those truths in mind, RelyEx has built its reputation as problem solvers. Unlike other drayage companies, we don't shy away from this industry's complexities because we take pride in solving problems. Even better, we aim to do what's needed to avoid those problems altogether.
As your logistics partner, we will provide your company with accurate, transparent, and prompt communication. If there are unexpected issues, we'll notify you immediately and will provide several options to remedy the problem. We even offer custom reporting for large clients who need at-the-moment updates and quick access to shipment documentation.
Why let the unpredictability of your industry dictate your success? With a background working in manufacturing, our founders are familiar with the demands of managing production schedules and sales orders. That experience makes it abundantly clear to us that every business and industry is different. If you struggle with seasonal surges or other factors, our team supports your business with a mapped-out plan and schedule, so you stay ahead of the game.QUOTE REQUEST
Based in the port city of Norfolk, RelyEx has a keen understanding of the challenges of managing the inbound and outbound flow of containers. Our team of container drayage experts provides your business with unique solutions to nuanced shipping problems, minimizing demurrage and ensuring the successful delivery of your freight.
Demurrage is a charge issued by a port, carrier, or railroad company for storing containers that do not load and unload their cargo promptly. Once the daily limit of free time is exceeded, shippers are charged daily demurrage fees until their cargo is shipped. Though different ports have different policies, charges can range from $75 to $150 per container, per day, for a set number of days. Additional demurrage fees are incurred if a shipper exceeds the port's parameters.
Even when shippers maintain a tight schedule for unloading freight, external factors can play an uncontrollable part. Typically, shipping mistakes caused by human error trigger the most demurrage charges. Some of the most common causes of demurrage include:
Typically, shippers need four specific documents to clear shipments through customs: A Bill of Lading (or BOL), a commercial invoice, a packing list, and an arrival notice. Seasoned drayage brokers like RelyEx are used to preparing these documents, but new shippers tend to miss this step due to inexperience.
If a shipper only pays for part of their shipment, a vessel operator may refuse to release their freight until their bill is fully paid. Payment delays lead to cargo detention at the port of entry, which triggers demurrage charges.QUOTE REQUEST
Paperwork is needed when you're shipping goods with a drayage company. When documents like the Certificate of Origin or Bill of Lading arrive at their destination late, you can expect demurrage fees. RelyEx avoids this situation entirely by being proactive when submitting paperwork.
Additional causes for demurrage fees can include:
At RelyEx, we know first-hand how stressful supply chain problems can be for business owners. Though drayage shipping might seem minor on the surface, it affects every stage of your shipping process. And when inevitable hurdles manifest, RelyEx propels you over the proverbial roadblocks with a proactive mindset and a passion for challenging projects. We believe that all problems have a solution, and our unique vantage point allows us to provide first-hand solutions to customers in a wide array of industries.
When it comes to your business, don't settle for anything less than RelyEx. Contact our office today to learn more about how we make your shipping experience streamlined and stress-free.843-885-3082
With an abundance of outdoor activities, Norfolk is the perfect destination to enjoy some sunshine. From exploring our gardens to setting sail along the Chesapeake Bay, there is a variety for you to explore. You won’t want to miss these unique ways to get outside!GardensNorfolk is home to plenty of lush green spaces, including the largest botanical garden in Virginia. No matter what time of year you’re visiting, there’s a beautiful assortment of greenery to peruse at these locally loved gardens.The ...
With an abundance of outdoor activities, Norfolk is the perfect destination to enjoy some sunshine. From exploring our gardens to setting sail along the Chesapeake Bay, there is a variety for you to explore. You won’t want to miss these unique ways to get outside!
Norfolk is home to plenty of lush green spaces, including the largest botanical garden in Virginia. No matter what time of year you’re visiting, there’s a beautiful assortment of greenery to peruse at these locally loved gardens.
The Hermitage Museum and Gardens offers visitors a dose of history, art and horticulture all in one spot. With the Hermitage sitting right on the Lafayette River, it’s a perfect backdrop for a day spent outdoors! During the warmer months, be sure to check out their Sunsets on the River concert series for an evening of outdoor entertainment including local music, food trucks, art, local craft beer and wine. Best of all, they allow your well-behaved dog to join in on the fun!
The beautiful Norfolk Botanical Garden has over 60 themed gardens on the property, and there is always something to explore. Most blooms can be spotted during the spring and summer months, but make sure to check out their year-round gardens too. The WOW Children’s Garden features world-themed splash fountains, plus a nature walk through Plant Safari habitat gardens.
Taking the road less traveled is certainly an option. But when there’s well-established trails featuring historic points of interest, restaurants, breweries and wildlife nearby, we say it’s okay to stick to the path. Explore these trails as you get to know more about Norfolk’s past and present!
This self-guided tour marks 400 years of Norfolk and American history. The Cannonball Trail winds along the shoreline of the Elizabeth River and through the districts of Downtown Norfolk. Pay attention to the historic sites noted on this tour for bonus history lessons on this walking trail adventure!
The Elizabeth River Trail (ERT) is a 10.5-mile biking and pedestrian urban trail that will satisfy the highly active. No bike? No problem. Pedego Electric Bikes are available to rent Downtown, so get ready to cruise along as you enjoy some fantastic scenery.
Did you know that Norfolk has 144 miles of shoreline? We’re home to the Chesapeake Bay, plus the Elizabeth and Lafayette Rivers, which equals no shortage of water activities, whether you feel like being active, exploring via boat or simply relaxing on the sand.
Did you know that Norfolk has its very own sandy beach? The areas of Ocean View and East Beach are your gateway to beach days, sandcastles, water activities, seafood and gorgeous sunsets. These beaches are perfectly situated on the Chesapeake Bay where warm waters and gentler waves make it ideal for families. Here are ideas for things to do in Ocean View, Norfolk.
There’s arguably no better way to reconnect with nature than by paddling out on a kayak tour to explore the gentle rivers and quiet coves which some of Norfolk’s most beautiful wildlife calls home. Rent a vessel through Norfolk Kayak Tours, embark on a guided journey at the Norfolk Botanical Garden, or BYOK (bring your own kayak) to paddle off from a public launch.
Bordered almost entirely by water and home to the longest fishing pier in North America, Norfolk is geographically positioned for the ultimate fishing trip. No matter what your choice of fresh catch may be, you’re sure to find it in the nearby Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean or Elizabeth River. Norfolk’s mild climate and wide variety of aquatic life have made the region’s waterways one of the top fishing destinations in the world. Thousands of visitors flock to the area’s shores each year in search of the perfect fishing trip.
With the Elizabeth River and the Chesapeake Bay running along its west and north borders, Norfolk is the ideal home for sailing. Still learning? Check out Sail Nauticus and its informative boating excursions. Sign up for a weekend course emphasizing on-the-water instruction and earn a U.S. Sailing Basic Keelboat certification.
Sometimes it’s nice just to sit back, relax and let someone else be your guide for the day. Here are some tours you can sign up for if you’re looking to learn more about Norfolk’s history, see the city line from a new point of view or perhaps indulge in a scrumptious buffet, cocktails and dancing.
Norfolk’s own tall sailing ship, the American Rover is a three-masted topsail schooner with “tanbark” sails. They offer two-hour narrated harbor tours and sunset cruises April through October embarking from Waterside Marina on the Downtown Norfolk waterfront. Once on board, guests can choose to hoist a sail with the crew, take a turn at the helm or just sit back and enjoy the scenic view. The sunset cruise also features live, acoustical entertainment.
See incredible views of the Norfolk harbor and the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet aboard City Cruises Norfolk. Enjoy delicious new menus and specialty drinks. Then, dance to DJ entertainment or relax on the new rooftop lounge. It all adds up to the perfect Norfolk experience. Cruising year-round from downtown Norfolk, Spirit offers lunch, brunch, dinner, cocktail, moonlit cruises and more.
Experience the most popular way to see the world’s largest naval base and the Port of Virginia. Two-hour cruises depart daily from Nauticus, home of the Battleship Wisconsin, in Downtown Norfolk. Cruise past the vessels that ensure our freedom—destroyers, cruisers, submarines, aircraft carriers and more. A fascinating fact and fun-filled narration is provided.
There’s plenty to see, do and learn off the water as well! Take a self-guided tour of Norfolk’s incredible public art murals, or join a guided tour to learn more about Norfolk’s history, art, architecture and more!
Experience Norfolk in a whole new light with guided tours from Norfolk Tour Company. Explore Norfolk’s most haunted houses and theatres or enjoy the colors of the murals in the NEON District. Walk the city and learn more about its unique history with a tour through Historic Freemason or the “Underground River: Black History Tour on the ERT.”
With self-guided tours aplenty and even guided tours focused on Norfolk’s NEON District, our city’s burgeoning arts scene provides a platform for a multitude of artists to create public murals on local businesses showcasing Norfolk. Any space, whether on a building wall, a house, a shed or even the sidewalk, can be transformed into a stunning display by local artists whose love for the city is obvious in every scene.
Show mom how much you care this Mother’s Day by taking her out and about in Norfolk! There are many Mother’s Day events planned throughout the city that give you and mom a chance to be outside, brunch hard, get on the water and spend some time bonding. It’s a Mother’s Day that neither of you will forget!May 12, 2023Norfolk Yacht & Country ClubKick off Mother’s Day weekend with a luncheon and silent auction. This uplifting event pays tribute to some of the community’s most fierce child a...
Show mom how much you care this Mother’s Day by taking her out and about in Norfolk! There are many Mother’s Day events planned throughout the city that give you and mom a chance to be outside, brunch hard, get on the water and spend some time bonding. It’s a Mother’s Day that neither of you will forget!
Kick off Mother’s Day weekend with a luncheon and silent auction. This uplifting event pays tribute to some of the community’s most fierce child advocates while shedding light on the vital work of court-appointed special advocates (CASA) in the lives of children who are court-involved due to abuse and neglect.
One of Crystal Palate’s more popular educational tasting experiences returns to its original tasting format: a casual, walk-around style tasting of seven wines that all share a connection. Fine out why rosés are so much fun. SCENTSory provides the means to identify a wine’s aromatics, the confidence of conversing with others about those wines and feeling empowered to taste unknown wines with ease.
Get ready for The Mother’s Day 90s R&B Ladies Night Extravaganza. For One Night Only, witness this epic event with iconic R&B groups from the 90’s singing all their hit songs. Artists include Dru Hill, 112, Silk, Hi Five and Soul for Real.
Norfolk Cycle Sisters celebrate moms with an easy-peasy family-friendly ride leaving and ending at Local Bike Shop. Ride starts at 10 a.m.
Join in for a two-hour cruise aboard the elegant sailing ship, American Rover. The top deck provides ample comfortable seating with plenty of shade. Relax with Mom and be entertained by the ship’s musician.
Grain is serving a special, all-day brunch buffet to celebrate Mom! Enjoy the sumptuous buffet you’re accustomed to at Grain, along with a crepe station, carving station with prime rib and whole roast chicken, seasonal salads and quiche and so much more.
This Mother’s Day, Saltine is offering a two-course chef special addition to their weekend brunch. Hummingbird French Toast and Deviled Chocolate Trifle make for a sweet combo to treat Mom to. The special will be available in addition to their weekend brunch menu. Price is $30 per person for the prix fixe menu.
Celebrate mom with the whole family at Varia! They’re serving up a delicious and decadent selection of salads, appetizers, plated entrees and dessert. Price is $65 per person. Make your reservation today!
Hop aboard City Cruises for a beautiful brunch or a classy evening dinner on the water. While onboard, treat the mom in your life to a special day with a holiday buffet, classic cocktails and Norfolk’s most incredible views. Celebrate with dining and dancing from City Cruises’ climate-controlled interior, or soak in the picturesque backdrop from an outdoor deck.
Put Mom on a pedestal with a three-course brunch at one of Norfolk’s most beloved wine bars. Start with everyone’s favorite, cheese and charcuterie, before moving on to beautiful soup and salad selections and irresistible entrees. Save room for their sinfully good desserts, and don’t forget a specialty Mother’s Day cocktail. Kids’ menu items are available as well. Reservations are strongly encouraged; give them a call!
Need more brunch options? Check out our brunch guide here! For more events? Here’s our full calendar. Happy Mother’s Day!
Spring in Norfolk is a downright magical time. Trees throughout the city are showing off with their beautiful pink and white blossoms. Farmers markets are back with a full bounty of spring produce and homemade goodies. Outdoor recreation is in full swing with bikers, joggers and kayakers taking advantage of ideal temperatures. Plus, festival season is back and ready to entertain with a whole lineup of reasons to gather and celebrate. We’ve put together a spring bucket list to ensure you’re getting the most out of your time in Nor...
Spring in Norfolk is a downright magical time. Trees throughout the city are showing off with their beautiful pink and white blossoms. Farmers markets are back with a full bounty of spring produce and homemade goodies. Outdoor recreation is in full swing with bikers, joggers and kayakers taking advantage of ideal temperatures. Plus, festival season is back and ready to entertain with a whole lineup of reasons to gather and celebrate. We’ve put together a spring bucket list to ensure you’re getting the most out of your time in Norfolk during this most wonderful season.
Norfolk is surrounded by water on three sides, which makes for many parks with waterfront views. Stop by Virginia Cheese Co. to pick up an assortment of fine cheeses and accoutrements, or grab sandwiches from Pendulum Fine Meats’ Luncheonette. Then make your way to a relaxing picnic overlooking the Hague near Chrysler Museum of Art or at Norfolk’s Plum Point Park along the Elizabeth River Trail to watch the sailboats glide by. Or for a downtown picnic, pick up a colorful throw from Pure Lagos and a Stockpot Toastie of the day and stroll across the street to Town Point Park for a picnic on the Elizabeth River.
Break out your baseball caps; it’s time to head to Harbor Park Stadium to cheer on the Norfolk Tides! The 2023 opener game is scheduled for April 4, but any of their games are a home run. Get ready for an ice cold beer, hot dogs (or veggie dogs) with all the toppings and a chance to meet Rip Tide and friends as you root, root, root for the home team.
While we may not be a top destination for cherry blossoms, Norfolk is still a cherry blossom dream once everything starts to bloom. Most of these beautiful trees can be found near Downtown or Freemason District, but Norfolk Botanical Garden has several throughout their lush landscape as well. Take shade underneath them, have a photoshoot or just awe in their vibrant pink flowers—and don’t forget to tag us @visitnorfolkva in your photos.
The sun rises in the east, and we are lucky to look out over East Beach and Ocean View to see the sun coming up brightly and beautifully over the Chesapeake Bay horizon. Grab a coffee to-go from COVA Brewing Co. and make your way to either location for a gorgeous sunrise over the water. Bring the pup! Dogs are allowed on both beaches until 10 a.m.
There’s nothing better than scoring locally grown fruits and veggies that were picked just hours earlier. Peruse our farmers markets in Norfolk and find some fun souvenirs like handmade soap and local honey, along with sun-soaked produce. In the springtime, look for locally grown spinach, asparagus, green onions, peas and strawberries.
The beautiful Norfolk Botanical Garden has over 60 themed gardens on the property, and there is always something to explore. Spring is a prime opportunity to behold some blooms. Daffodils begin in late February, mingling with lovely camellias in all hues. In April, azaleas take over in the most wonderful way, followed by a rainbow of tulips. Around May, the rose garden is an absolute dream for the eyes and the olfactory system.
That’s right, enjoy your time, even if the weather isn’t ideal. With spring comes showers (it’s how we get those May flowers, after all), but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! Explore our abundance of museums, including the Chrysler Museum of Art, Barry Art Museum, d’Art Center, Nauticus, Hermitage Museum & Gardens, MacArthur Memorial and the Hunter House Victorian Museum. Be sure to splash in a rain puddle on your way in! For more museums, click here.
Giant sculptures, iron statues and a life-sized kaleidoscope are pieces scattered throughout our city for your enjoyment, particularly in the NEON District. While there are more than 50 pieces of public art (and counting), we’ve rounded up some must-see pieces for you.
One of our favorite springtime excursions is hopping on our bicycles for a picturesque ride along Norfolk’s Elizabeth River Trail. This 10.5-mile-pathway takes you through some of Norfolk’s coolest neighborhoods, with plenty of spots along the way to take a break for a brew or a view. Need to rent bikes? Check out Pedego for an electric bike experience you’ll love.
There’s arguably no better time than spring to enjoy a meal outdoors. Luckily, Norfolk has some great options for patio dining. Check out Longboards for a surf shack vibe and marina views, or grab a bite of Italian food on a rooftop patio with garden lights at Leone’s. Check out more patio dining here.
The Virginia Zoo is located in the heart of the city. Stroll the 53 acres of lush gardens and visit its 700 furry, feathered and scaly animal friends. Witness the animals in their respective habitats; giraffes outstretching for leaves, monkeys swinging from branch to branch and Magpies singing songs.
Festival season in Norfolk springs into action starting with the Virginia International Tattoo in April. This annual event showcases inspirational military music, majestic massed pipes and drums, show-stopping drill team maneuvers and hundreds of international performers! Next up is the Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival, along with the Stockley Gardens Spring Arts Festival (held during the same weekend in early May). The Bayou Bon Vivant Cajun Music & Food Festival brings a taste of Louisiana to Norfolk while the Patriotic Festival celebrates the branches of our armed forces.
From the Chesapeake Bay to the Elizabeth River, Norfolk is surrounded by water; we have 144 miles of shoreline to be exact. This means an abundance of fresh seafood is available in our restaurants. You can find seafood in almost every form, including raw, grilled, baked, sautéed, boiled and fried to please everyone’s seafood flavor palate. Below are the best seafood restaurants in Norfolk.456 Fish456 Fish, located downtown...
From the Chesapeake Bay to the Elizabeth River, Norfolk is surrounded by water; we have 144 miles of shoreline to be exact. This means an abundance of fresh seafood is available in our restaurants. You can find seafood in almost every form, including raw, grilled, baked, sautéed, boiled and fried to please everyone’s seafood flavor palate. Below are the best seafood restaurants in Norfolk.
456 Fish, located downtown on Norfolk’s “restaurant row,” is famous for its potato chip-crusted crab cake. The entrée is served with a huge scoop of garlic whipped potatoes, locally sourced vegetables and a special “Inner Beauty” remoulade.
Freemason Abbey encompasses three pillars of our city: astounding art, rich history and a thriving culinary scene. The building that Freemason is housed in was once a church and dates back to 1873, making it one of the oldest establishments in the city. The restaurant’s stained glass windows are stunning works of art and original to the building. The seafood here is celebrated and awarded. Most popular is their award-winning she crab soup. Another scrumptious dish is the seafood fantasia (shrimp and sea scallops sautéed with peppers and onions, tossed with linguini in a white wine Old Bay cream sauce and topped with lump crab meat).
Hilton Norfolk’s The Main hotel houses three restaurants including the popular seafood restaurant Saltine, located at street level. Saltine offers an airy, open environment, with garage door windows that open to the main streets of downtown Norfolk. We recommend their VA Blue Crab Cake appetizer served with a celeriac remoulade and their whole roasted stuffed trout served with scallop mousse line, succotash, pickled watermelon rind relish and watermelon molasses.
This downtown bistro has been open since 1992 and offers rotating seasonal menus. Chef Todd Jurich uses only the freshest ingredients from local vegetable gardens and Virginia produce farms. The Bistro holds the Triple AAA Four Diamond Award and serves hand-harvested oysters from Virginia’s Eastern Shore that are served on the half shell, fried or in his famous oyster stew.
A bi-level seafood restaurant that is tucked away off Granby Street is Big Easy, as locals call it. They have a speakeasy-style atmosphere in their downstairs dining room with a full mahogany bar and a more upscale scene on the upper level. No matter which floor you dine on, their menu offers seafood with a cajun creole twist.
With beautiful, sweeping views of the Elizabeth River, Stripers offers a variety of fresh catch seafood inside the Waterside District. Their outdoor patio makes for the best ambiance when slurping down an oyster or snacking on their bacon-wrapped scallops. Entrees range from light mahi tacos to more filling dishes like their seafood pasta (shrimp, scallops, mussels, tomatoes and spinach in a white wine butter sauce over penne pasta and served with toasted bread).
Located in the heart of Norfolk’s Ghent neighborhood, AW Shucks is an unpretentious, shanty seafood restaurant where locals can be found. Their laid-back atmosphere makes slurping down a fresh oyster most enjoyable. Their seafood selection is endless, and their raw bar is extensive with locally caught oysters, shrimp, crab, clams and mussels.
Take advantage of the stunningly spectacular prepared raw fish (crudo) available at this Ghent restaurant that specializes in Spanish tapas. Choose from raw salmon, tuna or bay scallop, each prepared in a special blend of oils and seasonings. Prefer cooked over crudo? They’re well known for their octopus with marinated white beans, mussels with chorizo and saffron broth, or sautéed shrimp or calamari.
Known for both seafood and barbecue, The Fishin’ Pig couples the finest from land and sea to offer a menu that’s pleasing to all. Their seafood appetizers include Better Than Bang Bang Shrimp and blacked ahi tuna. Entree favorites are creole baked salmon, Billy’s seafood platter, Caribbean jerk redfish, plus baskets with either fried Alaskan pollock or catfish. Finally, their delicious shrimp, catfish or blackened tuna can be found on tacos, salads and sandwiches.
Longboards sits on the docks of East Beach Marina, where their Hawaiian tiki decor will make you want to relax and sip a Mai Tai all day long. Their seafood dishes range from fish tacos and seafood platters to their big fish sandwich (fried, wild-caught Atlantic cod, lettuce and tomato topped with sunset remoulade sauce). Or, go all in with their crab and bacon burger.
Looking for a water view with your seafood? Then head to Stony’s! They have a great screened-in outdoor space to keep the summertime buzzing of bugs away from you while you dive into their seafood mac and cheese (lobster, scallops, crab and shrimp tossed in cajun cream sauce). Also a hit with the locals is their fresh catch sandwich!
Dive down into the local culture to discover the buried treasure known as Captain Groovy’s, a haven for the hungry, thirsty and sandy. Their breezy atmosphere, friendly staff and appetizing morsels have earned a place in the hearts and taste buds of locals and visitors alike.
Downtown Norfolk is the perfect destination for a fun-filled weekend. It’s got with never-ending historic sites, attractions, a waterfront, tours and endless places to munch and mingle. Make sure you stop by the VisitNorfolk Visitor Center for free maps, guides and recommendations to help you make the most of your stay here. While you’re here, browse our ...
Downtown Norfolk is the perfect destination for a fun-filled weekend. It’s got with never-ending historic sites, attractions, a waterfront, tours and endless places to munch and mingle. Make sure you stop by the VisitNorfolk Visitor Center for free maps, guides and recommendations to help you make the most of your stay here. While you’re here, browse our Mermaid Market to find some Norfolk- and Virginia-centric gifts to remember the best moments.
While strolling through Downtown and visiting these destinations, you can check into the spots through our Discover Downtown Pass and earn your way to some Norfolk freebies. You will earn free swag for every five check-ins; no purchase required. Download the free pass here!
Downtown Norfolk is filled with many attractions and shops, but one of the best parts is the city’s bikeability. Venture to Pedego bike shop, located within MacArthur Square, for electric bike rentals to explore our 12 tight-knit blocks—water views of the Elizabeth River, the Cannonball Trail, Harbor Park, the Battleship Wisconsin and Freemason District are all among the things you may see while rolling through our streets.
Once you’re tuckered out from pedaling, make your way to Leone’s on Granby Street for a pre-dinner cocktail. It’s Norfolk’s only Italian rooftop restaurant and offers sweeping views of Norfolk’s famous historic Granby Street. Cocktails are classics with an Italian twist: Mojito Italiano, Limoncello Martini and Margarita Italiano, for example. Wines and beers are available as well.
Next, head to Codex, a modern American eatery featuring a fabulous selection of farm-to-table dining that mixes upscale food and a resolutely casual vibe. They serve rare and hard-to-find beers and wines, as well as curated cocktails. Start out with oysters served with yuzu mignonette, or go for a twist on a Southern favorite like pimento cheese or a chicken liver tart with a pistachio crust. For entrees, you’ll find anything from freshly caught seafood to top-notch burgers.
Today will be busy, but fueling up at Stockpot will give you all the energy you need to make it through a full day of exploration. Stockpot’s menu is all about healthy comfort foods created with fresh ingredients that are full of nutrients. You won’t feel guilty eating options like their Southender, a rosemary biscuit with house-made sausage, pimento cheese, an over-easy egg and a side of strawberries. Their vegan chocolate oats bowl features cocoa-coconut overnight oats, sliced banana, honey and toasted hemp seed.
Now, onto shopping. One of Stockpot’s exits feeds you directly into Selden Market, an eclectic, historic shopping hall that features local artisans, chefs and new pop-up shops weekly. Because it is ever-changing, you’ll see new vendors each time you visit. Shoppers may find an assortment of offerings like handmade leather goods, unique jewelry, candles, international cuisine and more.
Now, head over to the Freemason District to grab one of the best baguette sandwiches in the city. Virginia Cheese Company offers lunchtime bites on fresh, locally made breads. Their Lemon Whipped Feta features turkey, bacon, tomato, arugula and lemon whipped feta served on a warm baguette. While we love their classic sandwiches, they are best known for their cut-to-order cheese counter. Their variety is endless and the best place to create a custom cheese board. They also sell wine, ciders, spreads, crackers and more!
Neighboring The Virginia Cheese Co. is a Norfolk favorite, Cure Coffeehouse. Cure is a petite kitchen in historic Freemason District that turns out amazing coffee concoctions, pastries and more. They exclusively serve Counter Culture Coffee from Durham, N.C. and take pride in the shop’s comfortable, laid back and welcoming environment.
Now that you’re fully caffeinated, explore the Hunter House Victorian Museum built in 1894 for local merchant and banker James Wilson Hunter and his family. It was designed and built in the Richardsonian Romanesque style and serves as a rich example of Victorian decorative arts and architecture. Be sure to call ahead to schedule a tour.
Walk or bike along the Elizabeth River Trail (ERT). This 10.5-mile urban trail takes you from Norfolk State University through Downtown, past the Battleship Wisconsin through the Freemason District all the way to the Lochhaven neighborhood where you will find the Hermitage Museum.
Time to slow down for the day and enjoy dinner and drinks. After freshening up, head to Gershwin’s, a swanky piano lounge along Granby Street. While there is no fancy dress code required, their wait staff dons tuxedos to coincides with their speakeasy scene. Gershwins serves up elevated dishes and specialty cocktails like their Grand Illumination, Makers Mark smoked directly in front of you with cherry wood. While your taste buds are relishing one of their New York Strip steak entrees, your earbuds will be humming to the tunes of Frank Sinatra or Cole Porter music.
Once the meal is complete, take a stroll down brightly-lit, historic Granby Street and make your way to Norfolk’s high-end rooftop beer garden, Grain. Grain has sweeping views of the Elizabeth River, a birds-eye view of Granby Street and a unique head-on perspective of the Downtown icon, the Battleship Wisconsin. Grain hosts live music as well, with live performers ranging from country to rock. While Grain has more than 50 beers on tap, know that they save spots for local breweries for you to try.
Stroll the picturesque gardens that surround the Pagoda, a vibrant iconic Tawainese building located along the Elizabeth River Trail, where bamboo sways with the wind and water rushes through fountains, making for the perfect zen morning in the heart of Norfolk.
Once your morning walk is over, head to Four Eleven York for brunch, and bring your appetite! They put together some incredible classic brunch dishes like their French Toast made with housemade brioche topped with maple syrup. Their more unique meals like fried oyster Benedict features Wicked Salt oysters, crispy bok choy, English muffin and hollandaise. Oftentimes, Four Eleven treats guests to something truly special: their house-made doughnuts created in a variety of yummy flavors.
A final site to see, Fort Norfolk is the last remaining of 19 harborfront forts authorized in 1794 by President George Washington. In the Civil War, Confederate forces seized the fort and used its magazine to supply the CSS Virginia (Merrimack) during its battle with the USS Monitor. In 1862, the fort was recaptured by the Union Army and used as a prison. Guided tours are available from noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.