Portsmouth Attractions

Portsmouth Attractions

Things to Do in Portsmouth

Many of the finest attractions in Portsmouth are clustered within walking distance of one another in Olde Towne.

This neighborhood features a scenic waterfront, upscale dining, antique and boutique shops, and the largest collection of historic homes between Alexandria, VA, and Charleston, SC.


Pick up the Olde Towne Walking Tour Map from the Visitor Center at 6 Crawford Parkway.  The Olde Towne Portsmouth blog  has a good, current, list of restaurants and shops. The Hill House on North Street has limited public visition hours. The 1825 home is an interesting example of an early Portsmouth home and is completely furnished with orginal family belongings.

The Olde Towne Farmer’s Market is held on Saturdays.  The market starts at the northwest corner of High and Court Streets and continues west along High Street and North along Court Street.  9:00 am to 1:00pm.

The Naval Shipyard Museum presents the history of America’s oldest and largest naval shipyard. Founded in 1767, the shipyard been burned three times by retreating armies because of its strategic importance. Historic ships have been built at the shipyard, including the first ironclad to engage in battle, the nation’s first battleship, and the world’s first aircraft carrier. The museum is located at 2 High Street on the waterfront.

The Children’s Museum of Virginia has over 90 hands-on exhibits for kids of all ages, including an awesome toy train collection and a planetarium. Your ticket to some truly amazing places and enlightening discoveries.

Directly across the street from the Children’s Museum is the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.  The Hall of Fame honors the Commonwealth of Virginia’s greatest sports legends.  In addition to the Hall or Honor, which pays tribute to sports greats from the past and present, the facility has lots of interactive features where you can experience what it’s like to be in the game or behind the microphone.


The Courthouse Galleries are located in a building that once served as the Norfolk County Courthouse.  The spacious building provides lots of room to showcase art.  The museum also provides classes and entertainment.  Located at the corner of High and Court.

The Lightship Portsmouth, a National Historic Landmark, can be visited at the foot of London Street in the Historic Olde Towne area.  The lightship was commission in 1912 and has been restored to its original condition.

You can take the Elizabeth River Ferry from Portsmouth across the river to Norfolk.  It’s about a five minute trip and it lets you off at Norfolk’s waterfront, close to Nauticus, shops, and restaurants.

Check out the city’s downtown parking guide before you arrive.

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