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Living in Norfolk

A comprehensive guide about living well in Norfolk

Expats living in Norfolk will find that the city is the cultural ‘heart’ of the Hampton Roads region. Norfolk is home to new and old art works. This mix of old and new makes Norfolk a charming place to live in for expats. Get more info on the opportunities that Norfolk offers in this guide.

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Life in Norfolk

Education in Norfolk

Norfolk is home to several US government funded schools as well as four universities.

The public school system comprises elementary school followed by middle school and onto high school. To date Norfolk has exemplary institutions for compulsory education, having been awarded the 1 million USD Broad Prize for Urban Education in 2005. Full details of Norfolk’s public schools and instructions on how to apply can be found on the Norfolk Public Schools website.

As well as 34 elementary schools, nine special purpose/preschools, eight middle schools and five high schools all within the state-funded structure; Norfolk also has several private schools, schools dedicated to certain religious denominations and the Governor’s School for the Arts, dedicated to those pursuing a career in performing arts.

Education after high school is optional and takes the form of a college or university education program for most students. Norfolk has a community college campus as well as three public and one private university for those entering further education, with Old Dominion University alone, founded in 1930, offering 68 undergraduate and 95 graduate programs.

Transportation in Norfolk

Norfolk is well served by rail, water and road infrastructure as well as Norfolk International Airport, which is the region’s main commercial airport, as well as Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport serving international and domestic passenger routes.

Norfolk is connected with its neighboring cities and states through an extensive road network comprising interstate and arterial highways, linking Norfolk to major routes across the country, as well as The Hampton Roads Beltway which operates a loop system around Norfolk diverting through-traffic away from the city center roads. America’s infamous ‘Greyhound’ coach and bus services also frequent the central bus terminal located in downtown Norfolk.

Norfolk is also home to the Norfolk Railway Station, located adjacent to the Harbor Park Stadium, which is served by the Northeast Regional Amtrak service and provides rail routes paralleling the US Route 460 through to Petersburg and onto Richmond for those living in Norfolk

Bus, ferry and light rail services are all operated and managed by a regional public transportation system, Hampton Roads Transit (HRT), headquartered in neighboring Hampton, who are also responsible for Norfolk’s licensed taxi-cab services.

Culture and Leisure

Expats living in Norfolk will find that the city is the cultural ‘heart’ of the Hampton Roads region. It is home to several large performing arts companies, as well as hosting many parades and festivals throughout the year, including large scale concerts at the Norfolk Scope Arena and Ted Constant Convocation Center. Norfolk also houses several museums, including the Chrysler Art Museum, reported by the New York Times as the’ finest art museum’ in the state of Virginia.

Within the Ghent District, the Virginia Opera stages state-wide performances from its base at the Harrison Opera House as well as the Virginia Stage Company, one of the country’s leading regional theaters performing at the Wells Theatre, also in the Ghent District, which shares its facilities with the Governor’s School of Arts.

Norfolk’s rich maritime history is celebrated in Nauticus, the National Maritime Center, which hosts a variety of educational programs as well as housing exhibits, interactive theaters and an aquarium. Nauticus is also home to the last US-built battleship, the USS Wisconsin, which served the US Navy in the Korean and Gulf Wars, as well as for a brief period during World War II.

In addition to its historical significance, Norfolk is also the home to the world’s largest animal rights organization, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

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Updated on: June 30, 2015
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