Are you looking to spend time this winter in Norfolk, VA? This guide will show you the best things to do in Norfolk in winter, as well as what to expect weather-wise.
I will also talk about some of my favorite events if you are looking to spend Christmas in Norfolk, VA.
I honestly think that Norfolk is such an incredible city break (any time of the year!) but there is so much going on during the winter months that I think it is a must-add to your Virginia winter bucket list!
Let me know if I missed any of the top Christmas events in Norfolk, VA as well as some of the best things to do in the winter (but outside the holiday season). Thanks!
- When is it winter in Norfolk, Virginia?
- What are the average temperatures in Norfolk in winter?
- Does it snow in Norfolk, VA?
- Best Events During Christmas in Norfolk, VA
- Top Things to Do in Norfolk in Winter
- Additional Things to Do in Norfolk, VA in Winter
- Where to Stay in Norfolk, VA
- More Tidewater Travel Guides
- Pin this Norfolk Christmas and Winter Guide
When is it winter in Norfolk, Virginia?
So, technically speaking, winter in Norfolk, Virginia is from the middle of December until the middle of March.
However, Norfolk has a fairly mild climate compared to many places on the East Coast, and you will experience the occasional cold days as well as the occasional warm days.
You can see the temperatures below to determine what will (and will not) feel like winter to you!
What are the average temperatures in Norfolk in winter?
Due to Norfolk’s location along the coast, the temperatures tend to be relatively mild (unless you’re from Florida or something). Here are the average temperatures from November until March:
- Norfolk in November: highs of 60F, lows of 43F
- Norfolk in December: highs of 53F, lows of 36F
- Norfolk in January: highs of 49F, lows of 32F
- Norfolk in February: highs of 52F, lows of 33F
- Norfolk in March: highs of 59F, lows of 40F
On average, there are anywhere from 6–8 days of precipitation from November until March in Norfolk.
Does it snow in Norfolk, VA?
Rather than give a random estimate in inches, I will just state that some years will see a little bit of snow (never too much) and some years will see none.
Snow is not a frequent sighting in the winter months in Norfolk.
Best Events During Christmas in Norfolk, VA
One thing that surprised me about Christmas in Norfolk, VA (and even in late autumn in the city!) was that they really know how to get down with the holiday!
There are several events throughout the city that celebrate the season, and here are a few that you can find annually with their 2023–2024 dates (I detail some of my favorites below in further detail):
- Grand Illumination Parade (November 18 at 7pm)
- 9th Annual Great Hot Cocoa War (November 18-25)
- WinterFest on the Wisconsin (November 10-January 1)
- Miracle on Waterside Drive (a holiday pop-up bar that runs from November 24-December 30)
- Dominion Energy Garden of Lights (at the Norfolk Botanical Garden from November 10-December 31)
- Holiday Yule Log Bonfire (a holiday market on December 2)
- NEON Holiday Market (December 9)
Many theaters and cultural hubs also do their own celebrations across Norfolk as well. These are just some of the bigger events or festivities that I think are worth catching on your trip to Norfolk.
Top Things to Do in Norfolk in Winter
1. Warm-up at the Great Annual Hot Cocoa War
I feel like it is only right to preface this guide with one of my absolute favorite things to do in Norfolk in winter: the Great Annual Hot Cocoa War!
So, it is pretty much exactly how it sounds. It is a hot chocolate competition between many of the local Norfolk businesses. And it gets down and dirty.
In fact, on this last trip, I was greeted at all of the participating businesses that I went to with an immediate question of whether or not I wanted to try their hot chocolate. I always said yes. Obviously.
In 2023, there were about 20 businesses participating, with Stripers at Waterside holding the title of reigning champ (for the last few years).
While all the ones I tried were good, I would give my vote to Cafe Genevieve, simply for the fact that they topped it with a macaron.
The Great Annual Hot Cocoa War took place from November 18-25 in 2023 and I will update you with the 2024 dates as soon as they are released.
2. Grab a Delicious Soup at The Stockpot
The Stockpot has a location in Virginia Beach’s ViBe Creative District as well as one in Downtown Norfolk (in the same building as the Selden Market). I have eaten at both and have nothing but positive things to say about this tasty lunch spot!
While The Stockpot’s menu contains everything from avocado toast to steak breakfast burritos and beyond, I still stick with my old faithful favorite, their chicken noodle soup.
The reason I love this soup is that the bowl it comes in is not oversized (so I can save space for an afternoon coffee), and it has kimchi and cilantro in it, making it a bit more exciting than the traditional chicken noodle soup we are used to eating.
The Stockpot is an affordable lunch option in Norfolk and is conveniently located near several other businesses and public transportation.
In addition, every Wednesday is Ramen Day, where you can find shoyu, spicy miso, and shio ramen options from 11am-8:30pm. Vegetarian options are always available.
There is nothing more delightful than a bowl of soup in the winter months and The Stockpot does it beautifully!
Address: 215 E Plume St #100, Norfolk, VA
3. Enjoy WinterFest at Nauticus and the USS Wisconsin
One of the main things to do during Christmas in Norfolk, Virginia is to go to WinterFest at Nauticus and the USS Wisconsin.
Running from November 10 to January 1 on select nights, this event is major, with illuminations, seasonal activities, and entertainment all season long.
I am going to be completely honest; I went, but I made a huge mistake when I did. I didn’t fully understand what I was getting myself into, so I paid for my ticket and entered.
I thought the entire event just took place outside around the Christmas lights and where kids and parents were. I watched a few interactive workshops and sessions with kids as I sipped on a local beer before leaving an hour later.
Turns out, I missed pretty much the whole thing and never walked on the USS Wisconsin to see the 1,000,000+ lights set up. When I returned the next two days for a ‘redo’, WinterFest was not on.
Next year, next year. Until then, this is a must for those traveling to Norfolk in winter. Be sure to see it all when you’re there!
You can see the entire schedule here. Please note that it changes from day to day, so be sure to see what is on when you’re planning your visit.
Ticket prices in 2023 were $18.50 for adults and $14.50 for children ages 3–12. Members get $5 off, and military get a discount from November 10 until November 30.
Please be aware that WinterFest is cashless, and you will need to pay for tickets and drinks with a card.
Address: 1 Waterside Dr, Norfolk, VA
4. Visit the Garden of Lights at the Norfolk Botanical Garden
From November 10 until December 31, the renowned Norfolk Botanical Garden lights up with over 1.5 million lights as part of their ‘Garden Aglow’ with Dominion Energy.
This is one of the best things to do in Norfolk during the winter with kids, and it is even a great place for a romantic date at the time.
Beware; it gets crowded! So booking tickets in advance is recommended. On value nights, it is $20 for adults and $12 for children.
Military and member discounts are available. On premium nights, tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children. These ticket prices are for those who book online, which is suggested as walk-up tickets are $5 extra and may not even be available on the spot.
The walking route is about a mile long, and even though it is a walking route, it is wheelchair and stroller accessible.
Norfolk Botanical Garden’s holiday lights have been named one of the best in the USA, so I highly recommend heading over and seeing them for yourself if you’re visiting Norfolk in the winter!
Address: 6700 Azalea Garden Rd, Norfolk, VA
5. Indulge in Moroccan Mondays at Omar’s Carriage House
I love checking out new restaurants every time I am in Norfolk, and one of my latest discoveries was Omar’s Carriage House.
Located in a historic building from the 1840s, the site used to be a carriage house, and you can even see evidence of this in the center of the room.
Over the years, the Carriage House has undergone new ownership and finally was purchased by Omar Boukhriss in 1988 and renamed ‘Omar’s Carriage House’ after being previously called ‘Maude’s House’.
Today, the restaurant is gorgeous. It has an old feel without being stuffy or outdated. The staff was friendly, and the food was delicious.
But, what really impressed me is that a part of Omar’s Moroccan heritage is put center stage on Monday nights when the restaurant celebrates its weekly ‘Moroccan Mondays’.
While this is not solely a winter thing, I think tagine is one of the most comforting foods during the colder months and I felt compelled to put it on this guide as a result.
On the Moroccan menu, you will find chicken tagine (with preserved lemons), kefta tagine, lamb tagine, and more. It transported me back to my two visits to Morocco and made me nostalgic!
The regular menu is also available. I would recommend booking a table ahead of time as it can be crowded.
Omar’s Carriage House is open Monday-Thursday from 5pm until 9pm, Friday-Saturday from 5pm until 10pm, and Sundays from 10am-2pm.
Address: 313 W Bute St, Norfolk, VA
Additional Things to Do in Norfolk, VA in Winter
While I could go into detail about each of these things (and I have on other Norfolk guides!) I will just list a few other things I think are cozy or worth doing during the winter months in Norfolk.
Here are some of my top picks:
- Cozy up with a coffee at one of Norfolk’s best coffee houses (a must!)
- Watch football and basketball games live at the Waterside District (I met so many cool people there last time)
- Have a s’mores at S’mores Amore in the Selden Market
- Take a winter cruise on the Spirit of Mount Vernon
- Explore the many museums of Norfolk
- Have a bowl of she crab soup at Freemason Abbey Restaurant
Where to Stay in Norfolk, VA
If you are looking for some of the top places to stay in Norfolk, here are my top picks.
- Hilton Norfolk The Main (which has an indoor pool in a great location downtown)
- Glass Light Hotel & Gallery, Autograph Collection (modern design and also has one of the best restaurants in Norfolk)
- Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel (located on the water and right beside Waterside District and one of my favorite coffee shops, Neptune’s Fury)
- The Inn at Four Eleven York
Did I miss any of the best things to do in Norfolk in winter? Or are there any unique ways to celebrate Christmas in Norfolk, VA? Let me know in the comments!
More Tidewater Travel Guides
- Best cafes in Norfolk
- Things to do in Norfolk
- 2 days in Norfolk, VA
- Things to do in Virginia Beach
- Things to do in Portsmouth
Pin this Norfolk Christmas and Winter Guide
Megan is a travel blogger and writer with a background in digital marketing. Originally from Richmond, VA, she has lived all around the world (including Germany, Finland, Norway, etc) but her heart always finds its way back to Virginia. This blog is to help encourage travelers to explore the great state of VA… and its wonderful neighbors! Megan has written for or been featured by National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, Fodor’s Travel, the New York Times, and more. She has visited 45 US states and 100+ countries… and wholeheartedly believes that Brunswick Stew is probably the greatest food to ever exist.