Ramadan Mubarak. Given that this conference falls within the observation of Ramadan, we wanted to make note of The Muslim Community of Tidewater right on campus, across the street from our conference center. For information on services, please visit their website.
Norfolk, center of the seven-city Hampton Roads greater metropolitan area, was once famous as a shipping port on the Chesapeake and a gateway to the Carolinas via the large Elizabeth River. Later, it became famous as a railroad town, and then as a military town. Norfolk is home to the world’s largest naval base.
Norfolk is increasingly becoming known as a hip, up-and-coming metropolis. A recent USA Today article summarizes our diverse and innovative food scene well, and a recent study found that the Hampton Roads was the #1 metropolitan area in the United States for proportion growth in Millennial population.
This area has much to offer to conference attendees able to arrive a few days early, or stay a few days after the conference.
Norfolk is also home to free public beaches on the Chesapeake Bay, less crowded and with warmer water than the more famous ocean beaches of nearby Virginia Beach, and with calmer waves. Virginia Beach is not far, and is well-known for its beaches and boardwalk.
Norfolk is home to several well-recognized microbreweries, including O’Connor’s, Smartmouth, Benchtop, and Coelacanth. O’Connor’s is a particularly nice destination, in that, in addition to having a tasting room and full beer service, they also offer free brewery tours, host live bands, and partner with favorites in Norfolk’s food-truck scene, including the award-winning Karnage Asada, famous for their kimchi and tacos. Smartmouth, however, is also a good option, with a tasting room, food-truck partnerships, and around the corner from The Birch, a nationally-recognized beer bar that also features grilled cheese variations and local charcuterie.
The Chrysler Museum of Art:
The Chrysler, located in The Hague, just north of downtown, is home to diverse collections of ancient, modern, and contemporary painting, printmaking, photography, and sculpture, but is most notable for its collection of art glass, which is one of the largest in the world. Admission is free.
The Barry Art Museum:
ODU’s new Barry Art Museum is scheduled to open in October, 2018, and will host permanent collections including an art glass collection, an American modernist painters collection, and a collection of antique dolls and automotons. We’ll post updated information once it opens, but for now, you can view construction on its webcam.
The Virginia Zoo:
The Virginia Zoo is located in Norfolk, just a few minutes’ drive from ODU. The Virginia Zoo features over 500 animals, including lions, tigers, and giraffes, living in lush open-air enclosures.
The Virginia Aquarium:
The Virginia Aquarium is located in nearby Virginia Beach, and features dolphin- and whale-watching boat trips, 3D iMax documentaries, outdoor nature trails and an Adventure Park, as well as over 10,000 species of animals.
There are many nearby destinations of interest for those coming early or staying after the conference. Norfolk is not far from Washington, D.C., and Amtrak runs a direct train there. The trip takes about five hours. Norfolk is also a two- to three-hour drive from North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a major windsurfing and kitesurfing destination and home to the Wright Brothers’ first-flight Museum and the Jockey’s Ridge dunes. Other nearby destinations of interest include the Blue Ridge Mountains in western Virginia and the Research Triangle in North Carolina.
Food Just Off Campus
- Borjo (Monarch Way & 45th) – Best coffees shop near campus. Also serves breakfast sandwiches and salads and wraps for lunch.
- Osaka Ramen & Sushi (Monarch Way) – Sushi and ramen at reasonable prices. Good lunch specials.
- Herradura Tex/Mex (Monarch Way and ~43rd)
- Hair of the Dog (Hampton and 49th) – Burgers and beer gastropub. Good mac and cheese w/ gouda, giant pancakes, shrimp & grits.
- Del Vecchios (Hampton and 48th) – Daily lunch special from 11a-5p – two HUGE slices of pizza + drink for $5.
- No. 7 Chinese Fast Food (Hampton and 48th) – American-style Chinese food.
- Lin’s Garden (Hampton and 40th) – American-style Chinese food.
- Jimmy Johns (Monarch Way) – Sub and sandwich shop. Delivers to dorms, might need to come down if building is locked.
- Tropical Smoothie (Monarch Way) – good vegetarian/vegan options. Good smoothies and salads.
- Insomnia Cookies (Monarch Way) – delivers cookies to dorms until 3am. If you need cookies & cold milk, do it!
Food Close By
- LeGrand Kitchen (4515 Colley) – Rockabilly-themed dinner-only establishment. Best burger in Norfolk.
- Cogan’s Pizza North (4311 Colley) – Good pizza with a great upstairs outdoors balcony.
- The Dirty Buffalo (4110 Colley) – Best wings in Norfolk.
- Mazzika Mediterranean (Colley & 48th) – Excellent vegan menu. Their falafels are delicious.
- Torch Bistro (601 Oropax) – Great lunch, okay dinner. Open 11a-Midnight. Located near the shipyard 2 miles south of campus. Good vegetarian/vegan options.
- Freemason Abbey (Downtown) – Best Sunday brunch in city? It’s likely. (9:30a-2p) Pricier, good lunch. Open 11a-9:30p.
- Captain Groovy’s (Ocean View) – Widely regarded as the best seafood in the city. Their $7 lunch special between 11:00-3:00 is an amazing value.
Stuff To Do
The Chrysler Museum of Art is free to the public and amazing. You can make the trip on your own or get a small group together. It is a beautiful space. Plenty of parking available. And the Glass Studio has free glass blowing demos every day by local artists.
Norfolk Botanical Gardens is a 155-acre public botanical garden that features over forty themed gardens, including seasonal gardens and a special WOW Children’s Garden.
The Nauticus Museum in downtown Norfolk is a large maritime museum that covers the environmental and naval history of the Hampton Roads area. Paying a bit more for your entrance ticket grants access to walk around the decommissioned battleship the USS Wisconsin.
Pretlow Planetarium on ODU’s campus has scheduled showtimes.
Naro Expanded Cinema is an amazing indie movie theater not far from campus in the trendy Ghent area.
Catnip Cat Cafe is a great place to hang out, drink tea or coffee, play games with friends or read…with about 17 cats to lounge in your lap. The Cafe features cats and kittens from area shelters/rescue orgs for adoption – even if you don’t take one home, the cover charge goes to help the shelters, and you get relaxing cat cuddles and play time in a cool space.
Doumar’s is a local institution of delicious goodness since 1904 – ice cream, burgers, awesome – as featured on The Food Network and Travel Channel.