Chesapeake Travel Guide 2024

2024 Chesapeake Visitors Guide

Chesapeake is a young city in an old Virginia county. The city was formed in 1963 as the result of a consolidation between the formerly independent city of South Norfolk and Norfolk County. While the city is relatively new, the South Hamptons Road region and the Intracoastal Waterways have deep historical roots tracing back to the 1690s.

For most of its brief history, the city has been considered a rural, “bedroom community”. However, since the late 1980s to the early 1990s, Chesapeake has experienced tremendous growth attracting numerous and significant industries and businesses. In previous articles, The Wall Street Journal called Chesapeake “one of the nation’s top 10 boomtowns” and City & State magazine labeled it as one of “the top 50 up-and-coming cities in the country”.

The census of 2000 indicated that there were 199,184 people residing in the city. By 2004, the U.S. Census Bureau had put the population estimates at 214,725. The racial makeup of the city was 66.87% White, 28.53% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 1.84% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.70% from other races, and 1.62% from two or more races. 2.05% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $50,743, and the median income for a family was $56,302. The per capita income for the city was $20,949.

Chesapeake Attractions

At the Chesapeake Planetarium, explore the wonders of the universe at the first-of-its-kind planetarium built by a public school system in Virginia. The planetarium offers public programs free of charge on Thursday.

The Chesapeake Arboretum is a 48-acre “natural classroom” of trail systems meandering through a mature hardwood forest with many varieties of native plants and trees. The Arboretum has several theme gardens that include a fragrance and an antique rose garden.

Chesapeake Arboretum
Chesapeake Arboretum by Puddin Tain

Cuffeytown-Longridge is the site of the oldest continuous community of Free-Born Africans in Virginia which can trace its roots back to the 18th century. The community encompasses an area that contains many historic sites including the Gabriel Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

In 1931, Titus Bergey started his dairy farm. Today, you can still stop by and enjoy some homemade ice cream at this working dairy farm. It also offers fresh milk in glass bottles and butter produced on the farm for visitors to purchase. Horse-drawn carriage rides and special tours are also available by appointment.

Chesapeake Recreation

With ten lovely parks to explore and more than 30 miles of waterways, Chesapeake is an outdoor wonderland. If you want to explore the great outdoors and commune with nature, then you will enjoy the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge encompasses more than 107,000 acres of parkland, part of which spills into North Carolina. There is a variety of wildlife that lives in the park, including otters, raccoons, deer, black bears, and several different breeds of snake.

Fun Forest at Chesapeake City Park

Kids of all ages will enjoy the outdoor fun found at Fun Forest. Spread over three acres, Fun Forest is the ultimate children’s playground, imagination center, and family adventure area. The playground has an area for older children that features a dragon, a three-way underground telephone, a shaky bridge, a dolphin tunnel slide, and many more challenges. The science and learning area teaches mathematics and science while children have fun playing with mirrors, whisper dishes, and a planet walk. The toddler playground invites little ones to steer a plane or truck, swing, slide and more.

Fun Forest at Chesapeake City Park
Fun Forest at Chesapeake City Park by kellyv

Looking for a good game to watch? There are several professional teams located in the Hampton Roads Region Norfolk Admirals (American Hockey League Team), Norfolk Tides New York Mets (AAA Baseball Team), and Norfolk’s Harbor Park (Hampton Roads Mariners A-League Soccer)

Chesapeake Arts

Each spring, as part of the Virginia Arts Festival, the Virginia Wind Symphony performs an outdoor concert on the grounds of City Hall. The Symphony Under the Stars series is an annual end-of-August event featuring the Virginia Symphony. Throughout the month of August, a series of performances showcasing professional musical artists are held in the City Park for all to enjoy. In the summer, the Shakespeare Institute presents a free Shakespeare classic play during its Shakespeare in the Grove season.

Chesapeake Dining

From casual fare to fine dining, from intimate settings to seating overlooking the water, the choices are many! Alice Mays Soul Food Restaurant offers patrons authentic soul food. Diners at the Bamboo Hut Chinese Restaurant will enjoy a comprehensive Chinese dinner menu while Andrea’s Italian Restaurant tempts your taste buds with great Italian cooking. Diners enjoy delicious Mexican and Southwestern-inspired dishes and terrific drinks at the Wild Wing Cantina. Pargo’s offers an American-style, family-friendly eatery with live acoustic music on the weekends. House specialties include grilled pork chops, Southwestern queso dips, chips, and fried chicken salad. Chevy’s Oyster Bar has become known as a place where you can always come to eat, drink, and have a great time. This restaurant strives to deliver delicious food, exceptional service, and a casual friendly atmosphere.

Chesapeake Communities

Chesapeake neighborhoods include Albermarle Acres, Alta Bay Area, Alta Cove, Ash Hill Estates, Ballahack Road Area, Bayberry Woods, Bower’s Hill, Briarwood (Great Bridge), Bryant Farms, Buell, Campostella Square, Carriage House Estates, Cedar Pines, Cedarwood, Charlestowne Lakes South, Chesapeake Avenue, Chesapeake Colony Estates, Chesire Forest, Clark Farm Estates, Clearfield, Country Club Meadows, Crosswinds Area, Dail’s Landing, Deep Creek, Dock’s Landing Meadows, Emarld Greens, Etheridge Lakes, Etheridge Pointe, Etheridge Woods, Eva Gardens, Faith Village, Fentress, Glasser Landing, Great Bridge Gardens, Greenbrier Woods, Greenwood, Greenwood Estates, Greystone, Harbor Watch, Hickory, Hickory Station Estates, Hodges Ferry, Indian River Point, Ivystone, Jolliff Woods, Kemp Woods, Les Chateaux, Lilley Cove, Lochaven Estates, Mariners Pointe, Marsh Creek, Merrimac Landing, Miars Farm, Mill Creek Harbor, Mill Pond Forest, Millers Run On Old Mill, Mt. Pleasant, Norfolk Highlands, North Landing Farms, Olde Woodland Estates, Parkside, Plantation Lakes, Plantation Woods, Point Elizabeth, Saddle Ridge, Sawyers Mill, South Norfolk, Stonegate, Wallaceton, and Western Branch.

Chesapeake contains both large suburban commercial and residential areas in its northern areas and immense acreage of undeveloped forests and wetlands along its southern border. Additionally, it includes a significant portion of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

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