Experience the best of the best with this Top 8 list of things to do and see in Portsmouth.
Walk through history and see Olde Towne’s origins and it’s continued evolution.
Plan for your visit and explore Portsmouth with the Visitor Directory.
Looking to discover something new? Are you up for a challenge, or looking for an excuse to exercise? Did you know that Olde Towne Portsmouth not only features a rich history and variety of attractions, but you can have it your way by choosing from one of six different tours of Olde Towne Portsmouth we have mapped out for you. Just find our all new updated interpretive signs, maps, and more! Along the same streets, you’ll also find centuries’ worth of different styles of architecture, over 300 years of history, hidden bier gardens, and family-friendly locales. From Fort Nelson Park to Gosport Park, to playgrounds and pup hydration stations, we’ve got you covered through it all.
Want to try it at your leisure? History buffs can download the Path of History self-guided tour. This tour connects Fort Nelson Park (at the Naval Medical Center) to Gosport Park (at the Naval Shipyard) with many sites covering more than 250 years of history. This hidden gem is even featured by Carrie Cochran in her blog article “15 highlights from the Path of History“, where she talks about all the fun and lively things she discovered, such as “One of these gorgeous historic neighborhoods that I can’t stop drooling over is Olde Towne Portsmouth,” and “the historic walk offers you the chance to learn about some fascinating history where it happened.”
For those of you who prefer a little more of a semi-structured timeline, then try the Olde Towne Walking Tour. The Olde Towne Walking Tour is a self-guided tour with just over 2 miles of brick sidewalks to travel within this quaint district. The tour was written and designed by local historian and Olde Towne resident Dean Burgess.
For those of us who need a more structured tour, but still wants to see all the hots spots of history, we’ve thought of that too! Just check out Mary Veale and the Colonials guided tours, where they have several fascinating walking tours to choose from. Each tour is an experience in ‘edutainment” and features songs of the time along with the narrative tour.
Would you rather tour Olde Towne by looking at breathtaking art? Then try exploring Portsmouth though one of our more famous art tours! There are several to choose from for almost any style of exploration and any age group.
Art aficionados can enjoy art in the outdoors with the Olde Towne Public Art Walking Tour. Choose from a pre-planned 1.25-mile walk from Olde Towne Public Art Walking Tour – Olde Towne Portsmouth, VA, or plan your own tour from the public arts brochure at Portsmouth Virginia’s Public Art Catalog. Why not make a game of it with the “Walk Your Art Out” Scavenger Hunt ? You can pick up the form at the Portsmouth Welcome Center (206 High Street Portsmouth, VA 23704) or download it from home. It contains clues to help you locate art all over Olde Towne. Once completed, you can bring your form back and get a free souvenir from Portsmouth!
For those who were looking to either help save our planet, or just looking to cycle around the city, why not do both? On the Second Saturday of the month, join a group of fellow cyclists for an hour long, guided ride to explore the art of Olde Towne Portsmouth. This is great for people looking to foster friendships or just looking for a fun activity while supporting our planet. So bring your bicycles and support recycling with a 3-mile guided Bike the Arts tour from Olde Towne #ArtTour – | Portsmouth VA Guided Bicycle Art Tour.
Fun for the whole family is included in the Toads on High Street Scavenger Hunt, complete with a variety of toads and a fun story for the kids! Pick up a Toads brochure at the Portsmouth Welcome Center or download the brochure at Toads on High Street Scavenger Hunt – Olde Towne Portsmouth, VA! Follow Bufo’s adventure as he searches for his true love Ana, all up and down High Street.
So, come on down to Olde Towne, where you’ll feel like you’re in a time portal. One minute you will find yourself in modern times discovering the hottest, new, hip bistro. The next, you’ll be wandering the streets of the early 18th century, being surprised by the friendly people dressed in period costumes.
What’s that, you have a dog? No problem, bring them along too! This community is inclusive to all – even your four-legged fur-babies (on a leash of course). During your explorations you’ll also find mini dog hydration and clean up spots throughout the neighborhood.
Still not enough to challenge you? Then challenge yourself to see ALL 60 historical sites, 41 murals and dimensional art, in 20 minutes (by biking or jogging), in one day, or spread it out over weeks. Either way, we’ve got you covered. Head on over to the Welcome Center for more information, brochures, and maps.
When you’re done, don’t forget to check out the local shops for some refreshing beverages!