Norfolk is considered the cultural, financial, historic, and urban center of the Hampton Roads region in Virginia. Norfolk is home to both the Norfolk Naval Base and the corporate headquarters of the Norfolk Southern Railway.
Norfolk is home to a wide variety of neighborhoods, and Rentals.com includes listings in most of them so just about anyone can find a place they would like to live. In addition to bayfront resort homes and beaches, Norfolk has an extensive array of riverfront houses for rent.
Norfolk is home to one private university, three public universities, and a community college campus in downtown. With ten locations around the city, The Norfolk Public Library offers computer classes, book reviews, tax forms, and online book clubs.
The New York Times considers the Chrysler Museum of Art to be the finest in the state. The museum's collection includes American neoclassical marble sculptures. Norfolk is also the home of several performing arts companies. Many annual festivals and parades are hosted in Town Pointe Park. Harborfest is held on the first weekend of June and celebrates Norfolk's connection to the water. Norfolk is known for its public art program "Mermaids on Parade", which places mermaid statues around the city.
Norfolk's efforts to revive the downtown area have attracted notice and praise from urban planning and economic development circles throughout the nation. At the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Norfolk's protected waterways serve as major centers of import and export. Naval Station Norfolk takes advantage of the sheltered bay, serving as the headquarters of the Atlantic Fleet.
The second most important industry after the military is the cargo ports. There are three major port facilities for container and break-bulk cargo. Most major shipping companies have a presence in the area. Major companies have their headquarters in Norfolk, including Landmark Communications, Norfolk Southern, Dominion Enterprises, FHC Health System, BlackHawk Products Group, and Portfolio Recovery Associates.
Norfolk has a strong healthcare system. Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Sentara Leigh Hospital, Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center, and Lake Taylor Hospital serve the area. Eastern Virginia Medical School specializes in dermatology, diabetes, and obstetrics. Operation Smile, a nonprofit organization that repairs facial deformities in underprivileged children around the world, is based in Norfolk.