13 Things to Do Downtown As We Say Goodbye to Summer and Hello to Fall

Right now, you are either desperately clinging to the final days of summer or you're rushing to usher in all the autumnal fun. Either way, Downtown Norfolk has you covered with some fun things to do this September.

1. Refresh your wardrobe and accessories as the seasons change at Selden Market's Vintage Sunday

Let's say what we're all thinking: fall in Norfolk can be hard to plan an outfit for. Today it's 90 degrees, tomorrow it might be 60. So you're going to need to have plenty of options in your late summer/early fall wardrobe. You're in luck: Vintage Sunday is here to bring you the region's best retro and vintage finds, so no matter what the weather, you can count on being (or at least looking) cool. Vintage Sunday is on Sunday, September 13 from 11am-5pm at Selden Market.


2. Get a little spooky with Campfire Tales and S'mores

Everybody loves Push Comedy Theater's "Tales from the Campfire," but this event encourages you to add some authentic campfire fun. Pre-order a Create Your Own Six Pack of s'mores from S'mores Amore in Selden Market to enjoy while you watch via Zoom. This event is a partnership between S'mores Amore, Push Comedy Theater, and ODU Alumni Association and is on Thursday, September 24 at 7pm-8:30pm via Zoom. Find more information and RSVP here.


3. See the leaves changing colors while riding along the Elizabeth River Trail on a Pedego Electric Bike

Pedego offers fun, colorful electric bikes for purchase as well as rent. Bikes can go up to 15.5 miles per hour, so you can zoom through the beautiful fall foliage all along the 10.5 mile long Elizabeth River Trail to your heart's content. See Pedego's hours here.


4. Experience opera in a whole new way with Virginia Opera's Stayin' Alive program

Stayin' Alive, Virginia Opera's alternative fall programming, has brought four Emerging Artists to Virginia for a ten-week residency program, including two weeks of quarantine followed by eight weeks of programming, both virtual and live. Follow Virginia Opera on Facebook and YouTube to participate in virtual performances and keep an eye on their Stayin' Alive calendar to track in-person, outdoor events throughout the fall


5. Make your own candle at Sugar & Grace Candle Co. in Selden Market

Create your own non-toxic, luxury candle at Sugar & Grace Co.'s Candle Bar, including your perfect fragrance blend, your choice of container, and a custom label to help set the right tone for your next cozy night in. And a special bonus: since Sugar & Grace Co. is located inside Selden Market, you can shop to your heart's content or grab a quick bite at The Stockpot Norfolk or SlideThru #FAM while you wait for your candle to cool. If you are in a rush or feeling a little less creative, Erica of Sugar & Grace Candle Co. has plenty of already-made candle options for you, as well as a selection of home goods and bath and body care items from around the world. Sugar & Grace Candle Co. is open Friday-Saturday from 10am-5pm and Sunday from 11am-5pm.


6. Take advantage of Downtown Norfolk's outdoor dining options

Many restaurants in Downtown Norfolk now feature outdoor dining thanks to the city's OpenNorfolk initiative. Enjoy your favorite Downtown Norfolk dishes while enjoying a beautiful, sunny September day.  See all restaurants offering outdoor dining here


7. Cozy up with a good book from Slover Library or Prince Books

If you're looking to escape from all things digital with a real, physical book, whether to dig into a murder mystery on a cozy night in or enjoy a sweeping fantasy in the great outdoors, you can find your literary match at Slover Library and Prince Books. Also, be sure to check out the calendar of events at both Prince Books and Slover Library for upcoming events, panels, and more.


8. Have a picturesque picnic along the Elizabeth River Trail

The Elizabeth River Trail stretches 10.5 miles, and part of that runs right along Downtown Norfolk's gorgeous waterfront, setting up the perfect backdrop for a picnic. Grab a cheese sampler from Virginia Cheese Company or maybe a sandwich from Cure Coffeehouse, follow the trail to your favorite spot, and enjoy!


9. Sail and learn along the Elizabeth River with Tales Aboard History on the American Rover

Get on board the American Rover for a fun and educational experience for the whole family. Professional tour guides from Norfolk Tour Company will provide narrated storytelling experiences during the cruise focusing on the industries, everyday lives, maritime activities, and historical events that took place in Downtown Norfolk, Downtown Portsmouth, and along the Elizabeth River. Check the schedule and book tickets here.


10. Take a NEON Mural Tour

Join Norfolk Tour Company for an evening in the NEON District admiring and learning about the district's many public art pieces. The tour will take place on September 18 from 6pm-7pm, but is a limited in-person tour that does require registration in advance via the Facebook event page. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, a mask, and get ready to have some artistic fun!


11. Go on a Voyage to the Deep with Nauticus

Grab the kids and get ready for adventure at Nauticus with Voyage to the Deep: Underwater Adventures. This immersive exhibit was produced and developed by the Australian National Maritime Museum and is making it's first-ever US appearance at Nauticus. The exhibit is based on the French author Jules Verne’s 1870 classic, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and offers kids a chance to explore a realistic Nautilus submarine, sea life, and even the lost city of Atlantis! 


12. Feel the heat at a glassmaking demo

The Chrysler Museum of Art's Perry Glass Studio offers a free narrated glassmaking demonstration every week Tuesday-Sunday at Noon. Watch and learn as artists make beautiful glass creations before your eyes and talk you through the demonstration, explaining the entire process while you follow along with the entire creation from start to finish.


13. Stroll among the Flamazing Flamingos at Norfolk Botanical Gardens

It's a flamingo frenzy at the Norfolk Botantical Garden where 70 amazing topiary flamingos on loan from the Franklin Park Conservatory are scattered throughout the Garden. Get up close and personal with these intricately beautiful birds and learn all about topiary plant maintainance.