Newport News, located in the picturesque Hampton Roads area of coastal Virginia, is a city rich in history, natural beauty, and cultural attractions. Whether you’re a history buff, art enthusiast, nature lover, or adventure seeker, this charming city has something to offer for everyone.
From exploring museums to biking along scenic trails numerous activities and hidden gems are waiting to be discovered in Newport News. Here are the 15 best things to do in Newport News that will make your visit truly unforgettable.
1. U.S. Army Transportation Museum
Experience the rich history of military transportation at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum, showcasing a diverse collection of tanks, helicopters, and airplanes. Engage in hands-on activities for all ages, and best of all, admission is free. Plan your visit for Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 4:30 pm; closed on Sunday and Monday, ensuring an exciting day filled with learning and exploration.
2. The Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center
The Christopher Newport University campus is home to the cutting-edge Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center. Hosting diverse performances like plays, musicals, and concerts, the center also features art galleries exhibiting student and professional work.
Named after philanthropist Mary Torggler, a key arts supporter in Newport News, this venue is a must-visit for art enthusiasts seeking an enriching experience. With its state-of-the-art facilities, the Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center offers an immersive journey into the world of performing and visual arts.
3. Self-Guided Driving Tours
Explore native wildlife and exhibits at the Virginia Living Museum while on your self-guided driving tour in Newport News. Visit the historic Mariner’s Museum and Park, home to the USS Monitor Center, and discover the city’s historic landmarks and neighborhoods along the way.
Spend a day at the expansive Newport News Park, offering 8,000 acres of forests, trails, and fishing lakes. Don’t miss the rotating exhibitions and art classes at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center during your visit to the area.
4. Ride Along the Bike Trails
Explore over 30 miles of scenic bike trails in Newport News, offering the perfect outdoor adventure. The popular Newport News Park Trail System provides beautiful views of forests and lakes for cyclists.
Don’t miss the 52-mile Virginia Capital Trail connecting Jamestown and Richmond, passing through Newport News. Convenient bike rentals are available at various locations throughout the city, ensuring you can easily embark on your cycling journey without any hassle.
5. Go Fishing
Newport News provides diverse fishing experiences, from freshwater to saltwater and pier fishing. The area boasts various fishing charters and guides to help locate prime spots and reel in big catches.
Striped bass, flounder, red drum, and bluefish are popular species. Whether an experienced angler or a novice, there are options for everyone, including family-friendly fishing trips. Before embarking on a fishing adventure, ensure compliance with local fishing regulations and obtain required permits.
6. Hunt for Our LoveNN Rocks!
Hunt for Our LoveNNRocks! is an enjoyable, free activity where participants hunt for painted rocks hidden throughout Newport News. It’s an excellent way to explore the city, get some exercise, and discover new places. The rocks often feature uplifting messages or cute designs, appealing to all ages. If found, the rocks can be kept or re-hidden for others to discover.
LoveNN Rocks also has a Facebook group for sharing found rocks and connecting with other participants in the community. Whether a local or visitor, this unique activity is a delightful addition to any Newport News itinerary.
7. The Mariners’ Museum & Park
Explore one of the world’s largest maritime museums, The Mariners’ Museum & Park. Its 90,000 square feet of exhibition galleries showcase model ships and artifacts from sunken ships. Discover the USS Monitor Center and its Civil War ironclad story.
Enjoy outdoor activities like kayaking and paddleboarding along scenic trails. Attend lectures, concerts, and family-friendly festivals hosted throughout the year. Don’t miss dining at the museum’s restaurant, offering a seasonal menu inspired by the Chesapeake Bay region.
8. The Newsome House Museum & Cultural Center
The Newsome House Museum & Cultural Center offers a captivating glimpse into the lives of African American families in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As a prominent part of the African American community in Newport News, the museum showcases the rich history, art, and culture through interactive exhibits and hands-on activities for all ages.
The beautifully restored Victorian architecture, guided tours, and year-round educational programs make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and families alike. With special exhibits and traveling displays, there’s always something new to discover at the museum.
9. Peninsula SPCA & Barnyard
Visitors to the Peninsula SPCA can engage with barnyard animals, including goats, chickens, and pigs. The barnyard welcomes the public on weekends with complimentary admission. This nonprofit organization presents volunteering and pet adoption chances.
A trip to the barnyard is both enjoyable and informative for kids and animal enthusiasts. Furthermore, the SPCA organizes events and fundraisers to bolster its cause.
10. Toast the Coast in Newport News
Take in the picturesque Colonial Parkway, explore the Virginia Living Museum for native wildlife, and tour the Newport News Shipyard, a pivotal site in American history. Delve into maritime exhibits at the Mariner’s Museum and Park, and uncover military history at the Virginia War Museum. For contemporary art, the Peninsula Fine Arts Center is a must-visit. Toast the Coast in Newport News with a blend of American history and special events amidst sunny beaches and natural parks.
11. Party Bike Pub Crawl in Downtown Norfolk
Experience the exhilaration of a party bike pub crawl along the lively streets of downtown Norfolk. Indulge in local brews, picturesque views, and animated company during this distinctive and enjoyable pub crawl.
Traverse the city’s historical landmarks while cycling through the bustling district, fully immersing yourself in the coastal Virginia ambiance as you navigate from one pub to the next. It’s an invigorating and unforgettable method to explore Norfolk’s preferred local hangouts and hotspots.
12. Colonial Ghosts Tour By US Ghost Adventures
Delve into Williamsburg’s colonial past with the Colonial Ghosts Tour for an evening of spine-chilling tales and historical insights. Wander through haunted streets, led by knowledgeable guides offering a fascinating blend of history and the supernatural.
Uncover eerie secrets and captivating stories of ghosts, witches, and pirates, immersing yourself in the city’s dark and mysterious side. Experience the thrill of a memorable ghost tour, exploring the haunting past of Williamsburg.
13. Williamsburg Ghosts, Witches, and Pirates Tour
Embark on an exciting journey through Williamsburg, delving into its eerie history and mythical tales. Join a captivating tour leading you on a spectral expedition, encountering stories of sorceresses, buccaneers, and unsettled souls. Uncover the city’s spine-chilling chronicles, from early colonial periods to the present, on a guided exploration brimming with hair-raising narratives.
Engage with knowledgeable raconteurs who will transport you to bygone eras, unveiling the supernatural aspects of Williamsburg. A remarkable encounter offering a distinctive viewpoint on the city’s phantom folklore and mysterious heritage.
14. Busch Gardens Williamsburg Theme Park Tickets
Immerse yourself in the excitement of Busch Gardens Williamsburg, a renowned theme park. Enjoy diverse attractions, thrilling rides, and captivating shows. Experience enchanting gardens and themed areas, entertaining for all ages. Create unforgettable memories at this thrilling venue.
15. Patrick Henry Mall
Discover an exceptional shopping destination at Patrick Henry Mall, featuring a diverse range of retail and dining choices. Explore an array of stores, from popular national brands to local boutiques, within this vibrant shopping center.
Delight in a diverse dining experience, with numerous restaurants and eateries catering to various tastes. Experience a convenient and pleasurable shopping spree, complemented by the mall’s inviting ambiance and amenities. Whether it’s fashion, entertainment, or dining, Patrick Henry Mall offers a fulfilling and gratifying experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some must-see attractions in Newport News?
Some must-see attractions in Newport News include the unique Virginia Living Museum, which combines science and nature. The Mariners’ Museum and Park offers exhibits on maritime history and a scenic park with hiking trails. Historic sites like Lee Hall Mansion and Endview Plantation give a glimpse into the area’s past. Newport News Park is perfect for outdoor recreation with its trails, lakes, and picnic areas.
What are some outdoor activities to do in Newport News?
Looking for outdoor activities in Newport News? Explore Newport News Park with its hiking trails, fishing options, and golf course. Don’t miss the beautiful Mariners’ Museum and Park for scenic views and maritime history. Head to Huntington Beach for swimming and relaxation, or visit the Virginia Living Museum to see native wildlife exhibits.
Are there any great restaurants or bars to try in Newport News?
Yes, there is a wide range of excellent dining and drinking options in Newport News. From Smoke BBQ Restaurant and Bar to Circa 1918 Kitchen + Bar, and Tradition Brewing Company, there’s something for everyone. Seafood enthusiasts will love Crab Shack at the James and Fin Seafood Restaurant. Don’t miss out on local breweries like Oozlefinch Craft Brewery and The Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery.
Can you recommend any family-friendly activities or events in Newport News?
Looking for family-friendly activities in Newport News? Check out the Virginia Living Museum where you can learn about local wildlife. The Mariner’s Museum and Park offers interactive exhibits and beautiful outdoor spaces to explore. Newport News Park is perfect for hiking, picnicking, and even camping. Head to the Peninsula Fine Arts Center for art classes and exhibitions enjoyable for all ages.
In conclusion, Newport News offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in history, art, outdoor adventures, or simply relaxing with your family, Newport News has something for everyone.
From exploring the U.S. Army Transportation Museum and The Mariners’ Museum & Park to enjoying bike rides along the scenic trails and fishing in the local waters, there are plenty of options to keep you entertained. Don’t forget to indulge in the local cuisine and toast the coast in Newport News. So plan your visit and make the most of your time in this vibrant city.
Ferona Jose is a passionate travel writer and blogger at Travelistia. She has traveled throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. Her writing focuses on cheap travel destinations, travel experiences, cultural insights, and travel hacks.