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 for things to do? This art scavenger hunt for public art around Olde Towne Portsmouth provides exposure to fun and informative art installations as well as about a one mile walk to keep you healthy. There are over 20 pieces of public art located throughout the district and this hunt asks you to visit ten of them, but who knows how many you will see along the way. Click the box below to download the Track Your Find form and begin your search. When complete, return it for a Portsmouth prize. It’s easy, fun, and a good reason to get outside. Hint: Find them in this order for the least amount of backtrack.
TRACK YOUR FIND AND GUIDE FORM
The Battle of Craney Island Mural
Artist Sam Welty created a series of “Great America” murals and this is the 4th in his series. It features the famous War of 1812 battle led by Captain Arthur Emmerson at Hoffler Creek and is one of the few land battles won by the Americans, and with no American casualties. Commissioned by the Portsmouth Heritage Initiative.
The Battle of Hoffler Creek wears on
Near the tavern west of green
Look across an empty lot
This mural waits to be seen
The Speckled Trout Mural
Designed and painted by Sam Welty, the Speckled Trout is a native fish and can be found in numerous grassy flats in the Elizabeth River.
Hidden behind the local Baron
Where Tutthill plies the law
These two trout swim freely
Posing with open jaw
Commodore James Baron Mural
Painted by Sam Welty in 2015, the mural honors Commodore James Barron (Commodore Theater and Baron’s Pub) who commanded a number of famous ships including the USS Essex, USS President, and the USS Chesapeake. The mural is a part of Sam Welty’s “Great America” series and was commissioned by Support Portsmouth Public Art and the Portsmouth Museum and Fine Arts Commission.
The Baron looms tall on Court
His ships upon the sea
When you smell the fajitas on the grill
At the mural you will be
The First Amendment Sculpture
Celebrating our most valuable rights of religion, press, speech, and assembly, this sculpture includes a desk modeled by beloved Portsmouth journalist Ida Kay Jordan and a manual typewriter as a symbol of a free press. Portsmouth sculptor Sue Landerman designed and built this installation with the support of the Portsmouth Museum and Fine Arts Commission and Support Portsmouth Public Art.
Our freedom was hard fought
As told in many books
Walk up the steps from court
Where the king often stops to look
Whimsical Streetscape Mural
Designed and painted by Sam Welty., this mural reflects the spheres and cubes found in the area nearby.
Big, bright colors
Cubes and balls
Look for the king
Where he crosses the mall
The Playful Children Mural
Painted by local artist Sam Welty, the mural was imagined and commissioned by Support Portsmouth Public Art and Portsmouth Economic Development.
Just above the local noodle
High above the mall
Two playful little children
Keep an eye on one and all
The Brick Athletes
Designed by local sculptor Sue Landerman, these bas relief athletes represent a variety of sports and are an integral part of the buildings designed.
Head north from high along the middle
Where coffee drinks are served
Sportsmen play in bas relief
Up above the curb
The Naval Shipyard Museum
Designed and painted by Sam Welty, panels depict woodworking at the age of sail, blacksmith in the age of the Ironclad, the iconic hammerhead crane, and the men and women of shipbuilding during WWII.
America’s oldest navy yard
Its stories do unfold
Walk along the water’s edge
Where ferry rides are sold
The Hiker Spanish American War Memorial
Sculpted by Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson in 1905, this casting is one of at least fifty across the country. The statue was erected by the citizens of Portsmouth and Norfolk County on May 23, 1942. The dedication notes, “United Spanish War Veterans and Auxiliary commemorates the valor and patriotism of those who voluntarily served in the war with Spain, the Philippine Insurrection, and the China Relief Expedition.”
Walk north along the water
Where The Hiker stands his ground
When north turns west at the stage
Your quarry will soon be found
Love Works Sculpture
Designed by Orlen Stauffer, fabricated by Irving Wolff, Portsmouth’s Love Works is one of over 100 Love sculptures throughout Virginia. Virginia is for Lovers
Walk ahead towards the bay
East of Swimming Point
Love Works stands along the shore
Near an awesome seafood joint
Learn more about the Portsmouth’s public art and the Portsmouth Art and Culture website.
For other things to do and information about travel to Portsmouth, Virginia, visit our Visit Portsmouth website.