Is Norfolk, VA a Good Place to Live? 10 Pros and Cons of Living in Norfolk

Norfolk, VA has won the hearts of many with its stunning waterfront views, rich naval history, and thriving arts scene. But is Norfolk a good place to live? While the city offers a plethora of opportunities for entertainment, career growth, and a lively urban lifestyle, it also comes with its own set of challenges. In this Redfin article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of living in Norfolk to help you decide if it’s the right place for you.

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Quick Facts about Norfolk

Median home sale price $308,500
Average monthly rent $1,424
Walk Score 46/100
Transit Score 36/100
Bike Score 47/100

1. Pro: Proximity to water

Norfolk is uniquely situated with easy access to various bodies of water, including the Chesapeake Bay and the Elizabeth River. This makes it an ideal location for water enthusiasts who enjoy activities such as boating, fishing, and kayaking. The city’s waterfront areas, like the Waterside District, offer scenic views and vibrant nightlife, making it a great place to relax and unwind.

2. Con: Flooding issues

One of the significant downsides of living in Norfolk is the frequent flooding, especially during hurricane season. The city’s low-lying areas are particularly vulnerable to storm surges and heavy rainfall, which can lead to property damage and disruptions in daily life. Residents often have to invest in flood insurance and take preventive measures to protect their homes.

3. Pro: Rich historical heritage

Norfolk has a rich historical heritage that is evident in its well-preserved landmarks and museums. The city is home to the historic Freemason District, where cobblestone streets and 18th-century buildings offer a glimpse into the past. The Chrysler Museum of Art and the Nauticus maritime museum provide educational and cultural experiences for residents and visitors.

4. Con: Rush hour traffic

Traffic congestion can be a significant issue in Norfolk, particularly during rush hours and tourist seasons. The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and the Downtown Tunnel are notorious for bottlenecks, causing delays and frustration for commuters. Public transportation options are limited, making it challenging for residents to avoid the traffic woes. This can be a considerable inconvenience for those who rely on daily commutes.

5. Pro: Great arts scene

Norfolk has a thriving arts scene that caters to a wide range of tastes and interests. The city is home to the Virginia Opera, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and the Virginia Stage Company, offering world-class performances throughout the year. Additionally, the NEON District, Norfolk’s arts district, is a hub for contemporary art, featuring murals, galleries, and studios.

boats in norfolk va GettyImages 183406189

6. Con: Limited job market

While Norfolk has a diverse economy, the job market can be somewhat limited, particularly for those seeking opportunities outside of the maritime and military sectors. The city’s economy heavily relies on the presence of the naval base and related industries, which can make it challenging for professionals in other fields to find suitable employment.

7. Pro: Delicious food options

Norfolk provides a great food scene that reflects its multicultural population. From seafood restaurants along the waterfront to international cuisine in neighborhoods like Ghent, there is something to satisfy every palate. The city’s food festivals, such as the Norfolk Greek Festival and the Town Point Virginia Wine Festival, provide opportunities to explore new flavors and culinary traditions.

8. Con: High humidity

Norfolk experiences high humidity levels during the summer, making the heat feel even more oppressive and uncomfortable. This muggy weather can deter outdoor activities and affect the overall quality of life for residents who prefer milder climates. Additionally, the high humidity can contribute to issues such as mold growth and increased wear and tear on homes, posing challenges for homeowners.

9. Pro: Short drive to Virginia Beach

Living in Norfolk offers the significant advantage of being just a short 20 minute drive away from the beautiful Virginia Beach. This proximity allows residents to easily enjoy the sun, sand, and surf, making it a perfect getaway for relaxation and recreation. The convenience of having a popular beach destination nearby enhances the overall appeal of Norfolk as a good place to live.

10. Con: Limited green spaces

While Norfolk has some beautiful parks and recreational areas, the city is somewhat limited in terms of green spaces compared to other cities. The urban landscape and ongoing development projects can make it challenging to find large, open areas for outdoor activities. This can be a drawback for those who prioritize access to nature and outdoor recreation in their daily lives.


Methodology: The median home sale price and average monthly rental data is from the Redfin Data Center. The Walk Score, Transit Score and Bike Score data is from Walk Score.

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