Located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US on the eastern coast, Virginia was one of the original 13 colonies of America created by British settlers. Virginia is the 35th biggest state in terms of area, covering 42,774.2 square miles, but has the 12th highest state population. Approximately 8.47 million people live in Virginia, making it the 14th most densely populated state. The name of this state is believed to have been given in honor of Queen Elizabeth I of England, who was also known as the 'Virgin Queen'. Hours/availability may have changed.


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Virginia is known under the nickname 'Old Dominion' as it was actually the first area occupied by the British colonists. The state also has the nickname 'Mother of Presidents' due to the fact that no less than eight different Presidents of the United States were born in Virginia. The capital city of this state is Richmond, but Virginia Beach is the biggest city of Virginia. The Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area is the largest metro area in Virginia. Read on for more details and statistics on the largest cities in Virginia.

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2.Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach
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Situated in the southeastern tip of the state, Virginia Beach is the largest city in Virginia. It was named due to its coastal location and has also earned the nickname 'The Resort City' due to its long stretch of beautiful beaches. Virginia Beach covers an area of 497 square miles and has an estimated population of 450,000, with over 1.7 million in the surrounding metropolitan area.

This city is filled with hotels, eateries, stores, and other attractions and services designed with tourists and travelers in mind. It's one of the most visited locations in all of Virginia and is a prime spot for surfing and other beach-based activities.

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Located in the eastern part of the state, not far from Virginia Beach, Norfolk is the second biggest city of Virginia. This city covers an area of 96 square miles and has an estimated population of 244,000, with over 1.6 million in the surrounding metropolitan area. Like many cities in the area, Norfolk was named after a city of the same name in England.

The city of Norfolk was founded in 1682 and became a key military and transportation location for Virginia, housing the biggest Navy base on the planet. Norfolk has strong links with the neighboring cities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake and is the main cultural and financial center of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area.

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Located in the southeastern part of the state, Chesapeake is the third largest city in Virginia. This city covers an area of 351 square miles and has an estimated population of 233,000, with over 1.6 million in the surrounding metropolitan area. Being located in close proximity to the first and second largest cities in the state, Chesapeake forms part of the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The city was originally known as South Norfolk, but officially became Chesapeake in 1963 and was named after the Native American tribe of the same name. Despite being a large city, Chesapeake is known for its large green spaces and wetlands, being a prime location for recreational activities like hiking and boating.

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Situated in the eastern part of the state, Richmond is the fourth biggest city in Virginia. It covers an area of 62.5 square miles in total and has an estimated population of 227,000, with over 1.2 million living in the surrounding Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Richmond has been an independent city since 1871 and was named after a suburb of London, England. Situated on the James River, Richmond is nicknamed 'River City' and is seen as one of the best spots in the state for rafting, kayaking, and other water-based activities. Other key attractions in and around Richmond include multiple theme parks and the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

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6.Newport News

Newport News
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Located in the southeastern part of the state, Newport News is the fifth biggest city in Virginia and forms part of the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News Metropolitan Statistical Area. Newport News covers an area of 120 square miles and has an estimated population of 183,000.

The origin of this city's name is unclear, with various stories and theories being put forth over the years. The city is home to the largest employer in all of Virginia, the Newport News Shipbuilding. Other key locations around Newport News include the Joint Base Langley-Eustis military facility and the Newport News Victory Arch in the downtown district.

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5 of the Largest Cities in Virginia

  • Overview, Photo: Noel/stock.adobe.com
  • Virginia Beach, Photo: sherryvsmith/stock.adobe.com
  • Norfolk, Photo: HT777/stock.adobe.com
  • Chesapeake, Photo: Thanaphum/stock.adobe.com
  • Richmond, Photo: SeanPavonePhoto/stock.adobe.com
  • Newport News, Photo: Andrew Lundquist/stock.adobe.com
  • Cover Photo: Courtesy of Felix Mizioznikov - Fotolia.com

Attraction Spotlight: Chrysler Museum of Art

In the 1930’s, The Chrysler Museum opened as the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences, but was long ago renamed the Chrysler Museum of Art when Walter P. Chrysler Jr., the son of the founder of The Chrysler Corp., and a great art collector in our nation’s history, arrived with his extensive collection in Norfolk in 1971 once he married Norfolk native Jean Outland.

The Chrysler Museum of Art currently houses a collection of just about 30,000 objects covering 5,000 years of history. Collection highlights feature an impressive and comprehensive survey of American and European sculpture and painting, a world-class glass collection, an outstanding photography program, plus art from Pre-Columbian and Islamic cultures, and Africa, Asia, and Egyptian collections. One of the most alluring aspects of the museum is that admission to the Chrysler’s general collection is always free.

Because admission is free, guests are encouraged to come back often to see the multitude of exhibits. For example, if visitors wanted to spend only an hour to see what’s on exhibit, the website provides advise for doing just that:

Free admission every day gives you the luxury of returning again and again to the museum: there is no pressing need to see everything in one visit.

The museum boasts one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of glass anywhere in the world.


See over 10,000 glass objects spanning 3,000 years of history. The museum’s most revered collection are pieces made by Louis Comfort Tiffany. French glass is also a strong area, as is the English cameo glass collection, though smaller. Pioneers of the American studio glass movement are included as well as 21st century artists.

European Painting and Sculpture

European painting and sculpture at the museum covers pieces from the Renaissance to early modernist canvases. Its collection is one of its greatest assets, ranking among the nation’s finest and most distinctive collections. Donated largely by Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., the European collection covers Jan Gossart and Marx Reichlich to bold early modernist canvases by Henri Matisse and Georges Braque.

American Painting and Sculpture

The Chrysler’s collection of American painting and sculpture is seen as one of its greatest treasures. Visitors can gaze upon the stunning portraits of John Singleton Copley to work by Elizabeth Murray and Nam June Paik. The collection began to take shape in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s with a small but choice group of purchases made by the Chrysler’s predecessor. But most of the collection’s strength, as far as American art goes, comes from substantial gifts made in the 1970s and 1980s.

The most crucial of these, from Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., commenced when he arrived in Norfolk in 1971 to bring hundreds of American images into the fold. Chrysler's sister Bernice and her husband Colonel Edgar William Garbisch expanded the holdings by donating over 164 paintings of 19th-century American folk art. Then, in 1983, the museum secured 70 sculptures from the collection of James H. Ricau.

Modern Art

Modern American and European art in the museum’s collection is widely seen as remarkable. Pieces range from the early 20th century School of Paris to the American Scene movement of the 1930s and ‘40s.

The collection boasts signature works by European early modernists such as Henri Matisse and Georges Rouault to Giorgio de Chirico and Georges Braque. The collection was enhanced by members of The Eight and their circle, including William Glackens, Robert Henri, and George Bellows. Other masters included in the collection are Stuart Davis and Edward Hopper. Walt Kuhn, Reginald Marsh, Phillip Evergood and Thomas Hart Benton attest to Depression-era art.

Ancient Worlds

See non-western and ancient art in the museum’s collection of Greco-Roman, Egyptian, Islamic, East Asian, Pre-Columbian and African pieces.


Better than 4,000 photographic objects are in the collection, from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement. Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. possessed most objects of art, with the exception of photography. The Chrysler Museum of Art’s photography collection is primarily the result of collecting activity since 1978.

Contemporary Art

This collection includes works by Warhol, Pollock, Lichtenstein, and Rothko. At the heart of the collection are pieces acquired by Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. Works by Jackson Pollack, Hans Hofmann, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline, and Helen Frankenthaler, plus pieces by James Rosenquist, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol can be admired. Significant works by Sam Gilliam, Nam June Paik, and Elizabeth Murray can also be seen.

Decorative Arts

Since its founding in 1933, the museum has been collecting decorative arts. The collection saw dramatic growth via donations of the couple in the 1970s and 80s. A much younger Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. collected 18th-century English furniture and silver. The couple also acquired Art Nouveau furniture.

Norwood Viviano: Cities: Departure and Deviation

In Cities: Departure and Deviation, the artist uses 25 minimalist blown glass forms to engage guests in urban American history, and how industrial changes affected the landscapes of cities.

Shades of gray, black, and white characterize Viviano's glass diagrams, which can be seen as three-dimensional timelines, depicting the 400-year story of the rise and decline of industries in urban areas and how changes in manufacturing led to significant population change.

The artist uses the length of the form to convey time; he uses the width to depict population density and applies color to convey a moment of dramatic change. This particular arrangement of blown forms lets viewers see the magnitude of diversity in cities as varied as Flint, Michigan and New York.

These depictions can be seen individually or one might compare one to another, but each graph distills complex data into forms that are subdued.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has loaned this exhibition through July 31, 2016.

Tony Oursler: TC: The Most Interesting Man Alive

Tony Oursler called his collaborative work about Tony Conrad TC: The Most Interesting Man Alive. Unfortunately, Conrad died on April 9 in Buffalo, N.Y., prior to the show’s premier on April 21. In Buffalo, he had taught art and media, and had been struggling against pneumonia and prostate cancer.

Oursler is a U.S. artist, recognized for installations and multimedia art. He created a brief movie on Conrad.

Oursler’s 1996 multimedia work Alien Eye is on view in the museum’s Contemporary Galleries.

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At the Willoughby-Baylor House: Harry C. Mann

This singular exhibit includes the creations of this man who lived from 1866 to 1926, and is considered Norfolk's most prolific photographer during an era when downtown construction and maritime traffic were booming. Throughout the exhibit, the visitor will come upon the creations of a cameraman – seen as pioneering – who captured the busy commercial happenings on Granby Street and Norfolk’s downtown atmosphere with photos of clouds, waves, and shadows on the Virginia Beach sand dunes – which were experimental.

A native of Petersburg, this amateur photographer leapt into professionalism during the great Jamestown Exposition of 1907. He began only as a member of the photographer’s corps documenting the Expo’s spectacle of technology, art, and trade to launching a downtown studio.

Besides taking portraits, he sold views of regional wetlands and beaches and architecture. His work took on another dimension when it was published in National Geographic three times.

He had created thousands of photographs at the time his downtown studio closed in 1924. Seen today, the images he published give the guest a glimpse of Norfolk during a period of quick change. His landscapes are widely held in awe for their celebration of Norfolk’s beauty.

This exhibition presents 50 of his finest photographs from the Chrysler Collection.

Adeline's Portal

Now on display at the Moses Myers House, this is a conceptual art installation by Beth Lipman, an artist-in-residence at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio. The installation was inspired by Norfolk history and it was indeed created live in front of a studio audience.

Lipman’s work has been called a still life in glass. For this piece, she envisioned Adeline Myers, who lived in this home in the early 1800s. Lipman took into account objects used by Myers in her life every day.

For her part, Myers was a member of a well-to-do family. She was well educated and known to have keen social graces. In 1819, she was to be married, but her fiancé died just days before the wedding date, and she never dated again. She died, it is said, of a broken heart in 1832.

Lipman, aided by studio assistants, created this work in March 2013. The entire team gave new life to Adeline’s life, transforming many things in it, from a birdcage to a needlepoint sampler, into glass.

Engage in a combination of history and art at the Willoughby-Baylor House. This exhibit reveals life in the early 1800s through artworks and antiques.

These are suggestions from Gallery Hosts about how to spend your time:

They suggest that if you brought young children, you might begin on the first-floor of Ancient Worlds. Young children may be familiar with the Egyptian mummies and ancient Greece and Rome from school, and the smaller children will be fascinated by the faces in the Meso-American galleries. What’s more is that there’s a create-your-own art station for kids near these galleries.

And if you didn’t bring children to the museum, you will still be fascinated by Ancient Worlds – according to half of the gallery hosts. They advise that you pay particular attention to two statues from the collection of Vincenzo Giustiniani.

A distinctly popular favorite among gallery hosts is the glass art collection, but not just those pieces in the newly refurbished first-floor wing.

Chrysler Chandelier, by Luke Jerram, links the modern and the children galleries. The Baccarat candelabrum in Gallery 216 is also popular among the hosts.

The Wisteria Café

Spend time between exhibits at the Wisteria Café, enjoying a meal or Sunday Brunch.

The café offers a complete menu, including beers and fine wines. It is managed by Cuisine & Company, a highly respected organization.

The Wisteria’s reputation has been earned. Fresh ingredients, which are sourced locally, account for amazing specials of the season and outrageous desserts. The herbs are grown just outside the kitchen door.

The menu is affordable, which makes it all the more attractive to museum visitors. This remarkable setting is inspired by the casual elegance – a hallmark of the Chrysler. The Wisteria keeps museum hours.

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Chrysler Museum of Art,One Memorial Place, Norfolk, VA 23510, Phone: 757-664-6200

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Attraction Spotlight: American Rover

The American Rover is a sailing ship with a tradition of excellence. One the Hampton Roads area's signature landmark sights has been the red "tan bark" sails of the American Rover since 1986. Cruises aboard the American Rover leave from the waterfront of downtown Norfolk at Waterside Marina. At 135 feet long, there is plenty of shaded seating available aboard the American Rover. The three masted topsail schooner also has two climate-controlled lounges below deck, as well as restrooms, a bar, and a store.

Downtown Norfolk is situated in the heart of coastal Virginia, eighty minutes from Williamsburg, and only thirty minutes away from Virginia Beach. American Rover cruises take place from April until October through the smooth waters of the Hampton Roads Harbor and along the Elizabeth River. There are two cruises to choose from: the Narrated Harbor Cruise and the Sunset Cruise. Both cruises last about 2 hours and depart from Waterside Marina daily. Guests can sit back and relax during the cruise, or they can try taking a turn at the helm or helping with the sails.

Cruises aboard the American Rover start at Waterside Marina, then head out north along the Elizabeth River and into Hampton Roads Harbor. Along the way during the cruise, the boat will pass by NOAA Headquarters, downtown Norfolk, Old Fort Norfolk, downtown Portsmouth, Portsmouth Naval Hospital, Portsmouth Marine Terminal, Metro and BAE Shipyards, Battleship Wisconsin, and Norfolk Southern Coal Piers. Giant cargo ships, Navy ships, yachts, and tugboats are often spotted as well. The captain of the ship does a tour as it sails out.

The two hour Harbor Cruise takes place during the day and more popular for families and children. Those aboard can help with the sails, try their skills at steering by taking a turn at the ship's helm, or just sit and enjoy the ride as the American Rover cruises through the Hampton Roads Harbor while the captain points out the sights along the way. These highlights include Private Shipyards, Battleship Wisconsin, and the downtown Portsmouth and Norfolk Skylines among others. Mega-yachts, tugboats, Navy ships, and even occasionally dolphins might also be spotted during the cruise.

The Sunset Cruise aboard the American Rover also lasts about two hours and takes place during the evening. This cruise is more popular for company outings, adults, groups of friends, and couples. Families and children, however, are also welcome. The cruise is both romantic and fun, and is an excellent thing to do for a relaxing but fun evening. The captain provides a short tour featuring highlights of the Hampton Roads Harbor, but afterwards music is provided by the ship's musician.

The American Rover is one of the most popular venues in the Norfolk area for private events. Such events possible aboard the ship are retirement parties, promotion parties, birthdays, reunions, rehearsal dinners, weddings, and corporate events for up to 129 people. Entertainment, bar service, and catering are all available for private parties. During public cruises, guests can buy drinks and snacks from the ship's bar and store. Individuals can also bring food and non-alcoholic beverages on board with them. A picnic basket is allowed, but coolers are not. Groups are not allowed to use their own catering.

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333 Waterside Drive, Norfolk, Virginia, Phone: 757-627-7245

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