30 Fun Things to Do in Newport News, Virginia

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A wooden bridge over a lake with green trees next to it
Newport News has many parks and outdoor attractions to visit, like Newport News Park

Newport News is a charming coastal city in the southeast of Virginia, close to Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Fun things to do in Newport News, Virginia, include visiting numerous parks, meeting animals at the SPCA Barnyard, and looking around museums, such as the Mariners' Museum and Park.

If you're looking for more laid-back things to do, you'll also discover numerous coffee shops, restaurants, and breweries to check out. Want to learn more about all the exciting things to do in this Virginia city? Read on for 30 Newport News activity suggestions!

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30 Fun Things to Do in Newport News, VA

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Newport News, VA, Things to Do

Riverview Farm Park has a fun playground and scenic trails

Take your kids to the playground at Riverview Farm Park

Riverview Farm Park features a fantastic fantasy farm playground that young children will love. The park also has lots of green space for kids to run around and some trails. Many picnic areas are also on-site, and there's a soccer field. If wanting to spend some time in the fresh air with family, doing so at Riverview Farm Park is a great idea!

Shop at Patrick Henry Mall

Patrick Henry Mall has stores for everyone and is the ideal place to go if the weather isn't great. Shops at the mall include those selling clothing, footwear, jewelry, and home goods.

You can find all the most well-known chains here, along with some more unique boutiques. After shopping, you can refuel with snacks from popular mall eateries, like Cinnabon and Auntie Anne's Pretzels.

🏨 Stay in close proximity to the Patrick Henry Mall

Virginia Living Museum is home to animals native to the area, like raccoons

Spot native animals at Virginia Living Museum

If you're wondering what to do in Newport News, VA, with kids, take them to the Virginia Living Museum to see some animals native to the area. Creatures to see include otters, American alligators, and red wolves.

This attraction also has a planetarium, trails through wetlands, and even a dinosaur trail that features replicas of dinosaurs, including Brachiosaurus and T-rex.

🏨 Accommodation nearby the Virginia Living Museum

Visit the Newsome House Museum & Cultural Center

Going to the Newsome House Museum & Cultural Center is one of the Newport News things to do that you can't miss out on. Constructed in 1898 in a Queen Anne style, Newsome House belonged to Joseph Thomas Newsome, one of the first post-Civil War African-American lawyers in the area.

At the house museum, you can tour the property and learn more about Newsome and life for African Americans in Virginia after the Civil War.

Going to Newport News Park is one of many fun things to do in Newport News, Virginia

Enjoy the amenities at Newport News Park

For those wanting to spend some time in the fresh air, planning a trip to Newport News Park is a must! The attraction is one of the largest municipal parks east of the Mississippi and the biggest municipal park managed by the Newport News Department of Parks.

The park features an array of amenities, including hiking and biking trails, an 18-hole championship disc golf course, waterways for boating and canoeing, and many picnic areas. You can also camp at the park if you want to spend the night surrounded by nature.

Tour the James A. Fields House

Another notable house museum to visit in Newport News is the James A. Fields House. This home was constructed in 1897 in an Italianate style and was owned by prominent African-American lawyer and politician James Apostle Fields.

Tours are offered by appointment on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. During a tour, you can explore the house, which Fields also used as a law office, and learn more about James A. Fields' life and career.

You can choose from various pieces of pottery to paint at Starving Artist Studio

Paint pottery at Starving Artist Studio

Arts and crafts lovers of all ages can create a beautifully painted pottery piece at Starving Artist Studio. You can choose numerous pottery pieces to paint, including mugs, vases, plates, and sculptures. Alternatively, you can create an amazing glass fusion artwork during your visit.

🏨 Stay nearby the Starving Artist Studio

Watch a performance at the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center

Lovers of the arts will definitely want to check out the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center. The venue hosts a range of shows, including concerts and dance performances. Visitors can also see classic movies, and open mic nights are hosted frequently. In addition, the attraction features art galleries showcasing works from local and national artists.

The Mariners' Museum covers US and global maritime history

Learn about maritime history at The Mariners' Museum and Park

Another of the unique attractions in Newport News, VA, is The Mariner's Museum and Park. Known as America's National Maritime Museum, the museum features the USS Monitor Center and exhibits about global maritime history.

Things to learn about during a visit include US naval history and significant maritime events. You can also see ship models and artifacts, and there are activities for kids, like a scavenger hunt and games, such as a giant battleship.

Say hi to the animals at the Peninsula SPCA and Barnyard

The Peninsula SPCA is one of Newport News' animal shelters, making it the ideal place to go if you're looking to add a companion animal to your family. However, this location isn't just a shelter; they also have a barnyard where you can meet cute animals, including goats, chickens, and alpacas. Entry is very affordable, and all proceeds go to helping the shelter's rescue efforts.

Virginia War Museum has exhibits on US military history from the 18th century onward

Look around the Virginia War Museum

One of the most interesting attractions in Newport News, Virginia, is the Virginia War Museum. Founded in 1923, the museum covers American military history from 1755 to today. Visitors can learn about the US presence in wars like WWI and WWII and see artifacts, from uniforms and tanks to weaponry and propaganda posters.

Notable historical artifacts to see include Harry Truman's World War I helmet, a section of the Berlin Wall, and a wall from the Dachau Concentration Camp, the first concentration camp constructed by Nazis during WWII.

Huntington Park has many attractions, like a beautiful rose garden

Hang out at Huntington Park

Another excellent park in Newport News is Huntington Park. The centrally located park has lots of green space, plus a children's playground and a scenic lake with a beach and beachside eatery.

You can also find great sports facilities within the park, like baseball fields and the Huntington Park Tennis Center. Another popular feature to visit is the beautiful rose garden, and the fascinating Virginia War Museum is situated within the grounds.

Catch a show at Ferguson Center for the Arts

Located at Christopher Newport University, Ferguson Center for the Arts is a theater and concert hall that hosts many outstanding performances. At the venue, you can see the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, ballets, musicals, and so much more. No matter when you want to attend, you'll find a performance that interests you!

Your dog can run around and make new friends at Fido Field!

Let your pup play at Fido Field Dog Park

Dog owners looking for a place to let their pup play should check out Fido Field Dog Park. The park sits on the James River and has special areas for small and big dogs. There are also lots of benches for you to sit on and chat with other pup parents while your dogs play.

Purchase local produce at Dean & Don's Farm Market

Operating since 1967, Dean & Don's Farm Market is a great place to get some local produce. The farm shop sells an array of fresh fruits and vegetables, including a wide variety of apples, tomatoes, zucchini, and yams. Other food items on offer include freshly made jams and homemade bread.

You can also buy flowering plants, vegetable plants, and hanging baskets at the on-site garden center. During the holidays, Dean & Don's Farm Market sells Christmas trees as well!

Indulge Bakery and Bistro serves delicious sweet treats like cookies and truffles

Treat yourself at Indulge Bakery & Bistro

Individuals with a sweet tooth will want to plan a trip to Indulge Bakery & Bistro! At the bakery, you can buy treats like croissants, various types of cookies, and jelly donuts. Handcrafted chocolate truffles are also available in flavors like espresso, hazelnut, and bourbon.

In addition, the bakery has a restaurant serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch. Dishes to enjoy include sandwiches, biscuits and gravy, and bagels with lox.

Relax with a drink at Canvas Coffee

Hanging out at a coffee shop is one of the more laid-back things to do in Newport News, and Canvas Coffee is a great spot to check out. The stylish coffee shop features comfy seating, fantastic artwork by a local artist, and delicious drinks. Menu options include classic coffee drinks like cappuccino or caffe latte, unique flavored coffees, and yummy baked goods.

Historic Hilton Village has charming English-style boutiques and eateries

Wander around Historic Hilton Village

Constructed in the early 1900s, Hilton Village is modeled on English countryside villages and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1962. The charming village features many local shops selling items like clothing, jewelry, and antiques. As you explore, you'll also discover restaurants, bakeries, and candy shops, like a fudge store.

Sip local whiskey and bourbon at Ironclad Distillery

Ironclad Distillery is a cozy bar serving locally distilled bourbon and whiskey. During a visit, you can relax in the tasting room and sample a variety of spirits.

If you're interested in learning more about the distilling process, tours are also offered that will teach you some fun facts and information about the production process. Before leaving, pick up a bottle or two of your favorite whiskey or bourbon.

Tradition Brewing serves a range of craft beers, including unique brews

Grab a beer at Tradition Brewing

Tradition Brewing is one of the most popular Newport News breweries. At the taproom, you can taste various beers with a brew to suit all tastes.

Some options include a blood orange-flavored beer, honey brown ale, and black cherry lager. The brewery also hosts many cool events like live music sessions, bingo, and trivia nights. Locally owned food trucks are often on site too!

The City Center at Oyster Point has shops, restaurants, and waterfront paths

Go to the City Center at Oyster Point

The City Center at Oyster Point is a bustling area with shops, restaurants, and bars. Shopping options include clothing and accessory boutiques and home decor shops. After exploring the shops, you can stop for food and drinks at eateries like a Brazilian grill or sushi restaurant. There are also pretty waterfront paths to stroll along.

Get dessert at Melting Pot

Another of the Newport News, Virginia, things to do for those that enjoy indulging in dessert is going to The Melting Pot. This eatery specializes in fondue and offers bowls of warm melted chocolate to dip sweets in.

Chocolate fondus include plain milk, white, or dark chocolate, plus options like melted chocolate with peanuts or melted milk chocolate with caramel and candied pecans. Diners will get sweets like cake and fruit to dip. Savory dinner options are also available.

🏨 Stay in close proximity to the Melting Pot

Newport News Golf Club has courses that are ideal for beginners through pros

Play a round at Newport News Golf Club at Deer Run

Whether you're a golfing expert or a beginner, playing a round at Newport News Golf Club at Deer Run is a fun thing to do. The club has two 18-hole courses set in beautiful surroundings. As you play, you'll even see white-tailed deer! Lessons are also available here for those that want to improve their skills.

Second Street American Bistro serves contemporary dishes and craft cocktails

Dine at Second Street American Bistro

Not sure what to do in Newport News, Virginia, for dinner? Book a table at Second Street American Bistro! The trendy eatery offers indoor dining as well as al fresco dining on a beautiful patio.

Menu options include lemongrass mussels, flatbread pizzas, veggie burgers, and creative salads, like a Thai cashew salad. For dessert, you can choose from an extensive menu, with dishes like creme brulee, bread pudding, and tiramisu available.

You can accompany your meal with craft cocktails, beer, or wine. Brunch is also served on Sundays, with classic brunch dishes and cocktails on offer.

See the Newport News Victory Arch

The Newport News Victory Arch is one of the most famous landmarks in the city and is a must-visit attraction. It was first constructed in 1919 but was replaced with a renovated version in 1962.

In both cases, the arch was built to honor those who served in the United States armed forces. You can see the arch and snap some pictures in Victory Landing Park on the edge of downtown.

Kayaking at Deep Creek Marina Landing is a fun way to spend time outdoors

Kayak at Deep Creek Landing Marina

If you're an outdoor activity enthusiast, one of the activities in Newport News, VA, that you'll want to add to your to-do list is kayaking at Deep Creek Landing Marina. You can bring your own kayak, or kayak rentals are available at the marina for affordable prices. Once on the water, you can enjoy the views and even paddle out onto the James River.

Fun Things to Do Near Newport News, VA

A dirt road through grass and trees next to a sign that says "Battlefield Tour Road"
You can see historical sites, like battlefields, at Colonial National Historical Park

Go to Yorktown Battlefield at Colonial National Historical Park

Colonial National Historical Park is one of many fascinating attractions to visit near Newport News. Located in Yorktown, about 25 minutes from central Newport News, the site's most notable landmark is Yorktown Battlefield, which was used during the American Revolutionary War.

Visitors can take guided tours of the National Park and learn more about the battles fought here, life in the first English colonies, and early United States history in general.

Visitors to the U.S. Army Transportation Museum can see many military vehicles

View military vehicles at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum

Another fascinating niche museum close to Newport News is the U.S. Army Transportation Museum. You can reach the museum in Fort Eustis in around 20 minutes when driving from Newport News.

The museum showcases many forms of transport utilized past and present by the United States army. Vehicles to see include helicopters, tanks, and boats. You can also learn more about the uses of different transport methods in wars and other army operations.

The ocean next to a sandy beach and beachside apartment buildings and hotels
Virginia Beach is a fun getaway destination with many unique attractions

Plan a trip to Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a beautiful coastal destination located approximately an hour from Newport News, depending on traffic. There are an array of fun things to do in Virginia Beach, and it's an excellent location for a day or overnight trip.

During a visit, you can see Virginia landmarks, like Cape Henry Lighthouse, relax on the beach, and check out museums, such as the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. In addition, you'll discover an array of romantic things to do in Virginia Beach, making it the ideal place to plan a couples getaway from Newport News.

🏨 Places to stay close to Virginia Beach

A canon and old structure next to a sand path and grass, with the ocean to the side
Historic Jamestowne is an important historical site located near Newport News

Explore Historic Jamestowne

Historic Jamestowne is one of the most historically significant locations in the United States. This landmark is located approximately 35 minutes from Newport News and is a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

The site is where the first English Colony permanently settled in North America. It's believed colonists settled at this site in 1607. Visitors to the area can learn more about the site's rich history and see a range of archaeological artifacts.

In Conclusion

You'll discover an array of activities in Newport News, VA, to enjoy. Things to do range from hiking or kayaking in beautiful outdoor spaces to visiting unique museums and shopping at local markets. This charming Virginia town really has something for everyone!

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell FORMER WRITER Currently based in Canada, Alli has also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and traveled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. She loves finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever she goes.

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