As someone that's lived in Norfolk (and still owns a house there), I can speak pretty comfortably about the city. I also graduated college from Old Dominion University (ODU), back when the Monarchs were in the Colonial Athletic Conference (CAA).
Yes, I've spent a good deal of my life in Norfolk. And I have to tell you, it's a city full of things to do. There's the NorVa, an acclaimed music venue in Downtown Norfolk across the street from the massive MacArthur Mall. Or there's the WORLD'S LARGEST NAVAL base, which is located at Hampton and Terminal Boulevard. Norfolk is incredible. It has a beach, a downtown, and tons of established neighborhoods. One of the most vibrant neighborhoods is Ghent, and it features the top-rated Maury High School, churches of historic nature, an electric bar and restaurant scene, and much more.
Norfolk is well-educated. It's home to ODU and Norfolk State University, two NCAA Division I schools. It has a wide range of public and private school options, a variety of daycares, and plenty of public parks and bike paths. Norfolk is definitely the "city" of cities here, and that's why some people love it. It's downtown features the typical tall office buildings that you would expect, an under-utilized Light Rail, and a nice park along the Elizabeth River.
Norfolk keeps improving -- it just built its first premium outlet malls, and will soon include the region's first and only IKEA. For this area, that's big news.
But no city is perfect, and Norfolk certainly has its challenges. One of the biggest concerns city officials and residents have is constant tidal flooding that some neighborhoods experience. When it rains and pours, some streets just go under. Flash floods are real thing; I've seen cars floating in the water, I know a client that got his car stuck in a flood, and I have personally experienced the challenges of sump pumps and a basement that floods.
Part of what makes Norfolk so beautiful is the many waterways it has, but it also makes it difficult to deal with at times. The costs of living rise because many homeowners are required to carry flood insurance, ranging anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars a year.
As you'll read throughout the website, Norfolk's schools aren't as desired as Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. In fact, some people leave Norfolk when their kids reach school age; others don't (I tell the truth here). For folks that don't want their children in public schools, there are plenty of private school options, including Norfolk Collegiate, Norfolk Christian, and Norfolk Academy.
Still, Norfolk is an attractive to place to live for many. It is home to the Norfolk Tides, a AAA-baseball affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles and the Norfolk Admirals, a professional hockey team. It's job market is robust, and the real estate values tend to be less expensive than surrounding Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. Major Norfolk employers include ODU, Norfolk Southern, Sentara Healthcare, the Department of Defense, and Portfolio Recovery Associates.
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Chesapeake, VA 23320