Portsmouth is a Coastal Virginia treasure with its collection of antique homes spanning three centuries, its assortment of quirky shops and eclectic, locally owned restaurants, and a spectacular waterfront along the busy Hampton Roads harbor. It’s an ancient seaport with a decidedly hip vibe. The smallest of the coastal cities, Portsmouth is known for providing legendary hospitality since 1752.
For lovers of history and architecture, Olde Towne Portsmouth is a must see. The Path to History is a self-guided tour that links America’s first naval hospital to her oldest naval shipyard, the one that gave birth to the CSS Virginia (Merrimac) and America’s first aircraft carrier (USS Langley). The Portsmouth Naval Hospital and the Norfolk Naval Shipyard are integral parts of the Portsmouth community. The path meanders through the Olde Towne Historic District and along Portsmouth’s scenic Seawall with a number of stops along the way, including the Lightship Portsmouth, the Naval Shipyard Museum, the Fresnel Lens, the Hill House Museum, and even a few of the homes of history’s most notorious scalawags and heroes.
Portsmouth is a walkable city replete with artistic expression at every turn. The Arts and Cultural District offers over twenty public art displays in eight city blocks. It incorporates the Portsmouth Arts and Cultural Center, Tidewater Community College’s Visual Arts Center, the historic Commodore Theater, the waterfront concert hall Harbor Pavilion, and the Children’s Museum of Virginia, the largest of its kind in the Commonwealth.
Located on one of the world’s deepest natural harbors, Portsmouth is home to the Port of Virginia and the Fifth District of the US Coast Guard Command. At mile-marker zero of the Intra-Coastal Waterway, Portsmouth has spectacular waterfront views, many full service marinas for visiting boaters, and the Elizabeth River Ferry connecting pedestrians to downtown Norfolk. Chartered party boats, water taxis, kayak rentals, and more offer visitors the opportunity to get out on the water and explore the city, its wetland parks, and rambling neighborhood channels.
City of Portsmouth
Dept. of Marketing and Communications
Portsmouth, VA 23704