Planning to spend some time in Portsmouth and see the sights? Make sure you have plenty of time! This charming area of Virginia not only is rich in tradition and history, it also offers an incredible variety of things to do and see. From great art to the mystique of the sea to plenty of kid-friendly activities, you're sure to find an amazing array of attractions that offer something for everyone when you visit the charming city of Portsmouth.
Your kids won't know where to start when you take them on an adventure for the senses at the Children's Museum of Virginia
. This is one of Portsmouth's most popular attractions as it offers families an opportunity to explore in a highly kid-friendly environment. This impressive facility sprawls out over an impressive 64,000-square-feet that is packed with many interactive exhibits as well as a planetarium. Also, don't miss the many specialty exhibits that include a model train collection.
Address: 221 High Street, Portsmouth, VA - MAP
Phone: (757) 393-8393
Portsmouth's proximity to the ocean is an inescapable part of the city's beauty. But you don't have to admire it from a distance, thanks to the presence of the Spirit of Independence Charter Schooner
. This amazing watercraft offers you the chance to take to the open waters without having to worry about navigating! There are various cruise packages available like harbor tours, sunset cruises and even customizable private charters. Make some unforgettable memories on the sea when you let the Spirit of Independence move you!
Address: 101 High Street, Portsmouth, VA - MAP
Phone: (757) 971-1865
Travel back to a time when the only mode of mass transportation was the railroad. A slice of that history is still very much alive in Portsmouth with the Pokey Smokey
. Efforts to raise funds to complete the repair of an impressive scale replica of this 19th century steam locomotive are underway. For 41 years, the Pokey Smokey traveled through Portsmouth City Park and offered the opportunity for visitors to ride through and see the area from a truly unique perspective. Soon, that tradition will be continued again. Until then, history buffs and train enthusiasts can still flock to see the Pokey Smokey for a closer look and for many excellent photo opportunities.
Address: 25 Rivercrest Drive, Portsmouth, VA 23701 - MAP
Phone: (757) 488-1101
Fans of history will not want to miss the opportunity to visit the Museum of Military History
in Portsmouth. This is much more than a history lesson–this impressive facility houses an incredible collection of military artifacts, pictures, weapons and other memorabilia and attractions from the American Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II and the Korean War.
Address: 701 Court Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704 - MAP
Phone: (757) 393-2773
Sports fans young and old will be mesmerized by all of the memorabilia, photographs and multimedia exhibits and attractions that await them at the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Museum
in Portsmouth. Marvel at the more than 300 athletes from both the past and the present that have earned their rightful place in this one-of-a-kind museum. There are also additional interactive exhibits that you won't want to miss out on, like the NASCAR driving simulator as well as the one that tests how fast your baseball pitch flies by it.
Address: 206 High Street, Portsmouth, VA - MAP
Phone: (757) 393-5228
There is no question that Portsmouth is a city that is proud of history. And you can even reach back and experience a bit of it for yourself when you take the popular Olde Towne Lantern Tour
. This is a walking tour of the Olde Towne Historic District and your guide not only leads the way with a big lantern, but he is also dressed in period attire to add to the authenticity of the tour. Held at twilight, you will visit some of Olde Towne's most significant attractions and structures, and hear about the legends and folklore that are still very much alive here.
Address: Olde Towne Portsmouth, VA - MAP
Phone: (757) 393-5111
Nautical pursuits and adventures are tightly woven into the fabric of Portsmouth's history. To get an even better idea of how important the sea has been in the development of the area, hop aboard the Lightship Portsmouth Museum
. These types of ships were known as “floating lighthouses” as they anchored themselves at various points to guide the larger ships to safe harbor. When you board this incredible vessel, you will learn the importance of what it was built to accomplish. Also, don't forget to stop into the museum shop to pick up a souvenir of your visit to this attraction.
Address: London Slip, Water and London Streets, Portsmouth, VA 23704 - MAP
Phone: (757) 393-8741
Learn about the vital role that the sea has played in the history and development of the area when you visit Nauticus
. This premier maritime-themed science center and museum is located just a short drive away in nearby Norfolk. The attraction opened its doors in June of 1994 and is located on the former site of Norfolk's banana pier. Interactive theaters, hands-on exhibits and many special presentations are all a part of the Nauticus experience.
Address: Norfolk, VA - MAP