Welcome to Norfolk!
With such a reasonable cost of living and a welcoming atmosphere, Norfolk, Virginia, is the perfect place for PETA’s headquarters. As the second-largest city in Virginia, Norfolk offers all the modern amenities of East Coast living nestled in myriad lovely tree-lined neighborhoods with historic charm.
Part of the seven-city “Hampton Roads” area, this metropolis is surrounded by many other unique and vibrant communities, including Virginia Beach, a fun-loving resort town with miles and miles of pristine beaches along its oceanfront, and Willamsburg, a quaint and cozy village steeped in 400 years of history.
Virginia is for lovers of all kinds—from adventurers to activists, history buffs to bird-watchers, patriots to party animals—and Hampton Roads has it all:
OK, we’ll admit to being a little prejudiced since this is our stomping ground, but trust us—Norfolk is a vegan’s paradise. In fact, vegetarian cuisine is so hot in Hampton Roads that there are tons of local restaurants now serving up meatless meals!
For a quick lunch that packs a punch, nothing compares to Machismo’s massive, mouthwatering Boca burritos slathered with nondairy sour cream and nondairy cheese. Speaking of cheese, Bella’s sensational soy cheese pizza will tempt your taste buds with its gooey goodness. And we can’t live without coffee, cookies, and pastries from Elliot’s Fair Grounds, Azar’s mouthwatering Mediterranean cuisine, and Rajput’s samosas and tofu palak.
Beaches and Parks
Luckily, we never have to lose touch with nature here, thanks to our close proximity to beautiful beaches, forests, marshlands, and mountains. Looking to lounge on the beach and soak up the sand, surf, and sun? Virginia ‘s 5,000 miles of shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay are waiting for you!
Into exploring the great outdoors? Head out to one of Virginia ‘s nearly 75 state and national parks. From the bogs and bays of nearby First Landing Park to the mysterious and magical marshes of the Great Dismal Swamp to the forested slopes of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia’s parks are perfect for camping, hiking, biking, boating, and bird-watching. And don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers at the Norfolk Botanical Garden . An oasis of nature nestled in the city, the Garden offers a lush landscape of colorful flowers, including one the largest collections of camellias, roses, azaleas, and rhododendrons on the East Coast.
Theme Parks and Recreational Activities
Whether your idea of a good time is picking up spares or splashing down a waterslide, there’s always something fun to do in Hampton Roads. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you can get your fix of fast-paced fun riding roller coasters at Kings Dominion or revving it up on Motor World’s go-kart track. For a cool way to beat the heat, cruise on over to the nearby Ocean Breeze Waterpark, or get wet and wild at Williamsburg ‘s Water Country USA.
If you’re looking for something a little more on the mild side, strike a pose at Norfolk’s My Yoga Spirit (where you get a discount for being a PETA or FSAP employee), climb the walls at the Virginia Beach Rock Gym, bowl a few frames at an AMF bowling alley, or get into the swing of things at a local golf course.
Museums and Historic Landmarks
The birthplace of Colonial America and a number of famous Colonial Americans, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Patrick Henry, Virginia is home to many historical landmarks, including presidential birthplaces and estates, churches, cemeteries, settlement sites, battlefields, and monuments. Must-see attractions include Jamestown , the site of America ‘s first English settlement; the Yorktown battlefield where American forces finally defeated the redcoats; and Colonial Williamsburg, an interactive living history display of Colonial life. The next best thing to a time machine, Colonial Williamsburg transports visitors to a bygone age when powdered wigs were all the rage and craftsmen plied their trades along cobblestone streets. With more than 500 restored and reconstructed buildings, including the courthouse and the capitol building, at least two taverns, a parish church, and scores of “villagers” going about their daily business, this historic park offers a unique glimpse into what it was like to be out and about in the Old Dominion in the 18th century.
There’s also a lot of great art in these parts! Check out the extensive collection of paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts at the Chrysler Museum of Art, and catch one of the ever-changing contemporary art exhibitions at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center . With something to float everybody’s boat, Hampton Roads is also home to a variety of other top-notch museums and centers, including the Mariner’s Museum, the Virginia Air and Space Center , and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. And for a truly out-of-this-world experience, explore the wonders of the universe at the Chesapeake Planetarium.
Festivals and Special Events
As if PETA’s presence doesn’t make this area special enough, Hampton Roads is also home to an array of fun festivals and special events all year round! Summers around here wouldn’t be the same without the Boardwalk Art Show and Festival, a four-day event full of fine art, great shopping, and live entertainment at the oceanfront, or Harborfest, a time-honored city celebration featuring great eats, hot music, and the popular Parade of Sail, during which hundreds of majestic tall ships and character vessels sail into downtown Norfolk.
In the fall, the Neptune Festival at the Boardwalk is the place to be to enjoy music, libations, and interesting events, such as the North American Sand Sculpting Championship. As the temperature drops, things start to heat up for the holidays at the Grand Illumination in downtown Norfolk, which includes 20 miles of lit-up skylines and a parade filled with festive and lighted floats, marching bands, giant balloons, and more. Speaking of illumination, the Garden of Lights , a drive-through holiday-themed light show at the Norfolk Botanical Garden , is a very merry must-see. And in the spring, you won’t want to miss the boys of PETA donning their dresses to show that “fur is a drag” in Norfolk ‘s wacky Doo Dah Parade or the start of Downtown Hampton’s lively Saturday night block parties.
Night Life and Live Entertainment
With a sparkling social scene that includes a variety of cool clubs and pubs and state-of-the-art live entertainment venues, Hampton Roads is a great place to step out for a night on the town. If you want to get your ears on some local talent, there are loads of live music venues specializing in homegrown bands, including the Jewish Mother and the Tap House. If you’re in the mood for something a little more mainstream, catch today’s hottest music acts at The Norva, the Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheater, and the Ted Constant Center .
Mad about musicals, symphonies, and operas? Check out Chrysler Hall and the historic Harrison Opera House. For something a little more sporty, head down to Harbor Park for some Triple-A baseball action with the Norfolk Tides or get hooked on hockey with the Norfolk Admirals. And if you’re mad about movies, get your fill of art-house flicks and cool documentaries (including PETA films) at Norfolk ‘s funky Naro Expanded Cinema.