Waterside Marketplace, also called Waterside Festival Marketplace, first opened in June of 1983. The two story structure, located right on the mouth of the Elizabeth River in downtown Norfolk, Virginia, was originally part of a plan to help revitalize the downtown area of the city, which had been in a decline ever since the end of World War II.
Waterside, located on Waterside Drive, was successful, but business began to decline in the mid-1990's prompting some changes. Many of the spots once occupied by retail shops were replaced by nightclubs. More restaurants were added as well. There are still some retail shops, but most of the revenue comes from patrons dining or visiting one of the nightclubs.
There are several nightclubs in Waterside Marketplace. They include BAR Norfolk, Club Mojo's (also known as Jillian's), Have a Nice Day Cafy and the Southern Star. Restaurants include Hooters, Outback Steakhouse and Joe's Crab Shack.
Because Waterside Marketplace is within walking distance to other popular Norfolk attractions, such as Nauticus and baseball's Tide's Harbor Park, it makes a great stopping place for lunch or dinner during a day spent sightseeing in Norfolk.
Waterside is also home to the Waterside Marina. Both day and evening cruises as well as ferries launch from this marina throughout the day. The Spirit of Norfolk offers both lunch and dinner cruises. Many times there will be a special performer on the cruise or a theme will be in place. The Carrie B Harbor Tours, which have been in operation since 1959, are often voted the best sightseeing cruise in Virginia.
Visitors to Harbor Park can hop on a ferry, operated by Norfolk's transportation department, and take a short trip across the river to Portsmouth where several more attractions, such as the Sports Hall of Fame and the Children's Museum are within easy walking distance from the dock.
There is plenty of parking at Waterside Marketplace. Two large parking garages are within walking distance and one is connected directly to waterside by a pedestrian bridge that crosses over Waterside Drive.
In addition to the shopping, sightseeing, dining and nightlife, Waterside Marketplace and Waterside Marina are also the homes for several events throughout the year. Each Saturday night, the Marketplace hosts "Saturday Night Party''. The event features a different entertainer each week. Waterside is a popular spot from which to watch July 4th fireworks and other large events, such as the Harborfest, featuring the tall ships, outdoor concerts, boat shows and ethnic festivals are held on the land adjacent to the Waterside Marketplace throughout the year.
Because Waterside is always growing and changing, it is a good idea to check for updated event and other information when planning a visit.