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Norfolk is one of Virginia's most visited cities and also one of the largest. Because of its ideal location on the water, Norfolk is home to some of the best bridge-tunnel connections in the country, the world's largest naval base, three major international ports, and a highly-developed business riverfront. In fact, some of the biggest retailers in the area are situated right over the bay, in Norfolk. This includes companies such as K & K Toys and Smith & Welton, which sell both to the public and wholesale.
Tourist attractions in Norfolk include downtown Norfolk, which is now a popular shopping destination for visitors arriving in Virginia looking for a bargain. Norfolk is also now a popular stop for cruise ships traveling on the east coast, so many tourist attractions are situated right downtown, not far from the water. In summertime, strolling downtown Norfolk is a favorite pastime for both locals and visitors alike. The recent reconstruction of many local buildings has given the area a much-needed lift, making the area one of the natural tourist attractions in Norfolk.
The Nauticus, also known as the National Maritime Center, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Norfolk. A unique science center featuring over 50 exhibitions based on sea themes, the Nauticus is a must-see for the whole family. Visitors can board the battleship USS Wisconsin for a glance of what a real battleship is like, or explore weather stations, catch one of the nautical movies playing in the indoor screens, or see one of the multiple traveling exhibits.
Tourist attractions in Norfolk include some fine art museums that are worth visiting, such as the Hermitage Foundation Museum, with a large collection of ancient Asian artifacts, and the Chrysler Museum of Art, with some of the most impressive marble sculptures found in any museum in the US. The Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Virginia Stage Company are also great tourist attractions in Norfolk for visitors who want to enjoy a night show without the high ticket price one might expect in other cities.
Tourist attractions in Norfolk also include many outdoor festivals throughout the year. Besides grand parades celebrating the regional aspect of national holidays such as the Fourth of July and St. Patrick's Day, Norfolk also celebrates its own southern heritage with fairs such as the Bayoo Boogaloo and Canjun Food Festival and Town Pointe Virginia Wine Festival. Harborfest, in June, is also a popular event in Norfolk. Created to celebrate the local connection with the water, the festival makes the downtown waterfront come alive for three full days.