PROS and CONS | Living in Norfolk Virginia

Exploring the Pros and Cons of Living in Norfolk

Are you contemplating a move to Norfolk? Or are you just curious about what it's like to live in this vibrant city? Let's delve into some of the advantages and challenges of living in Norfolk.

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First Things First: Pronouncing Norfolk Correctly

Before we dive in, let's get the pronunciation right. Newcomers often pronounce it as "Norfolk" as it’s spelled, but that's not quite correct. Locals might say "Nor-fuck," but due to its profanity-like sound, "Nor-fick" is preferred. If you're from up North, "Naw-fick" works too.

Geography and Location

Norfolk is at the heart of the South side of the Hampton Roads area, also known as the Tidewater region. This area includes seven cities, divided into north and south sectors. On the south side, along with Norfolk, you'll find Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Suffolk. Suffolk is the largest city in Virginia by land mass, featuring extensive farmland and the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Northern Suffolk is more developed. There's also Portsmouth, right across the water from Norfolk.

Commuting can be a challenge, especially with the notorious Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel traffic. If you work on the North side, living in Norfolk might not be the best choice due to potential traffic delays.

The Pros of Living in Norfolk

Rich Arts and Culture Scene

Norfolk is a cultural hub in the Hampton Roads area. Art enthusiasts will love the Chrysler Museum, which showcases both local and international art. For those into performing arts, the Virginia Opera, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and Virginia Stage Company offer a wealth of entertainment. Venues like the Harrison Opera House and Chrysler Hall host various theatrical productions, operas, ballets, and concerts.

Affordable Housing

As a real estate agent with nearly a decade of experience, I can attest to Norfolk's affordable housing market. As of February 2024, the median sales price in Norfolk is $299,000, which is lower than the South side's average of $329,000 and significantly less than Virginia Beach's $350,000.

In Norfolk, you'll find a mix of new constructions and charming older homes. For instance, new constructions can be found for under $300,000, while luxury homes in neighborhoods like Larchmont can be listed for over $1.4 million.

Diverse Community

Norfolk is a melting pot of cultures, making it a wonderfully diverse city. This diversity is reflected in the variety of cultural festivals and events that celebrate different traditions and communities.

Beautiful Beaches and Parks

Outdoor enthusiasts will love Norfolk's beaches and parks. The northern part of the city boasts several beautiful beaches, such as Ocean View Beach Park and Chesapeake Beach. These areas are perfect for relaxing or enjoying a day out with your dog.

The Cons of Living in Norfolk

Flooding Risks

Norfolk's coastal location means it's susceptible to flooding, especially during heavy storms. According to, many properties in Norfolk have a significant risk of severe flooding over the next 30 years.

Traffic and Commute Challenges

Traffic, especially around the tunnels, can be a significant issue. The Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel is particularly notorious for congestion, causing major delays during peak hours or when accidents occur.

Higher Unemployment Rate

Norfolk's unemployment rate is slightly higher than the national average, at 7.3% compared to the U.S. average of 6%. However, the city has seen a 1.3% increase in market growth over the past year, with future job growth expected.

Varied School Quality

School quality can vary greatly, so if you have children, it's crucial to research the school districts. Websites like provide valuable insights, though it's important to read the reviews carefully.


Norfolk has much to offer, from its rich arts scene to its affordable housing and beautiful beaches. However, it's important to consider the challenges, such as flooding risks and traffic congestion. If you’re thinking about moving to Norfolk or have any questions, feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to help you determine if Norfolk is the right place for you.

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