Southern Belle in Training

Virginia Lifestyle Blogger || Southern Blogger || Charlottesville Blogger

June 10, 2019

TRAVEL GUIDE: NEON District Mural Guide in Norfolk.

     I'm so excited to be sharing my second travel guide post about my recent trip to Norfolk, VA today on Southern Belle in Training! I was originally just going to share my hotel review in one blog post and other with Norfolk restaurant and activity suggestions, but I loved visiting the NEON District so much that I thought it deserved its own post! Buckle up for a lot of photos of one of the most unique neighborhoods in Virginia that I've ever seen!





    Nashville. Houston. Miami. Los Angeles. These are a few city names that come to mind when I think of places that have lots of murals, and are popular Instagram destinations. I now officially have a new city to add to that mental list: NORFOLK! I was able to really dive in and explore the NEON District during my recent weekend trip to Norfolk, and getting to explore this neighborhood was absolutely the highlight of my trip. VisitNorfolk was so kind as to set a up a private walking tour for myself and my friend Perrin, with Norfolk Tour Company. Our guide Josh gave us so much information about the murals and public art in the NEON District, as well as the city in general! While it would still be cool to explore this neighborhood on your own, having a tour guide made the experience even better.




     The NEON District is an acronym for New Energy of Norfolk. While many buildings in neighborhood are steeped in Norfolk History, this area being known called the NEON District is something that's still very new- less than a decade old in fact! This area of the city was originally known for automotive sales and car dealerships, and then had become a bit less desirable in the early 2000s. In 2012, plans were first enacted to make the neighborhood a celebration of art and culture in Norfolk, dominated by vibrant street art! And so the NEON District was born.




     The NEON District is located about a mile from downtown Norfolk, and is easily walkable! Perrin and I started walking up Granby Street, which ran right by our hotel Hilton Nofolk The Main, and followed it until we reached the stat of the NEON, as Granby is one of the main streets running through it! Currently there are 30+ murals and pieces of public art that are free and easy to view, all within the few streets that comprise this area. There are so many cool art pieces that sometimes it's hard to know where to look, depending where you're standing! I suppose that's a good problem to have. I tried to photograph as many favorites as I could during our walking tour with Josh, but there were tons more murals that I probably didn't even notice or didn't have time to snap a picture of.





    The official NEON District website has a wonderful directory that provides information about all of the murals! Most of them have important symbolism in the art, and some are dedicated to certain local causes, or represent something special about Norfolk, and it's fun to learn the behind-the-scenes, as well as the artist info!




 
     One part of the NEON District that was especially cool to see was a back alley called Magazine Lane. The backs of the buildings on this street are free for graffiti artists to work their magic on, so the wall art back here is ever changing. This was definitely some of the coolest graffiti that I've ever seen- and I love how it's hidden away as a secret gem of the NEON!




     Finally- my favorite mural of all! This is one of the largest and oldest murals in the NEON District, and it's titled "Razzle Dazzle." Artist Nick Kuszyk did a phenomenal job with it. The colors and design are even more breathtaking to see in person. It's on the side of the Bob's Gun Shop building, which is a local business that's been in operation since 1945!


    The NEON District was by far my favorite hidden gem that I discovered about Norfolk. I think we can all agree that murals are a pretty trendy thing right now (Thanks Instagram!), and I'm honestly shocked that more people in the South / Virginia aren't talking about this incredible neighborhood! It really should be more of a destination- hence why I wanted to write a separate blog post filled with photos and information all about the NEON District! Perrin and I spent a good couple hours here on our tour, but honestly I could have spent all day.





    I can't wait to share my official Norfolk Travel Guide later this week! While the NEON District was my favorite surprise of the weekend- I still loved all the other places and sights that I got to see, and I can't wait to share those as well.


     God Bless,


     xoxo Annaliese


     Thank you to VisitNorfolk for hosting me for a press trip, and providing me with the Tours of Norfolk NEON District tour experience. All opinions in this post are honest and my own, and thank you for supporting Southern Belle in Training!







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8 comments

  1. Who knew! I never knew there was a Neon District in VA!

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  2. SO MANY beautiful places! I am happy Madison is starting to get murals up.

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  3. Ahh I love your outfit and this district is so neat. You could do many photoshoots in one day and no one would realize it was the same area.

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  4. ahh what a cute little district!! We have some places like this locally and I loveee them!

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  5. I love murals. I need to discover more of Chicago's murals.

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  6. Murals are such a great way to add color and culture to a city. I had no idea there were so many in Norfolk!

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  7. Wow, this amazing! I never knew that Norfolk had this. I share this with my mom who lives in MD and is planning to travel around VA this summer.

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  8. Beautiful! I haven’t heard of this district. Definitely worth a visit.

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