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17 in 2017: New (and nearly new) Things to do in Newport News

  • 1. Visit Historic Newport News homes at the peak of their spring splendor.

  • During Historic Garden Week in Virginia, tour six private homes and their surrounding gardens April 26 in the Cedar Grove neighborhood of Newport News. Seminars on beekeeping, butterfly gardens, cut flower gardening and flower arranging are included in the ticket price, as well as admission to The Mariners’ Museum and the Peninsula Fine Arts Center.

2. Eat Like a Local 

The fourth annual Newport News Restaurant Week is quickly approaching and that means it's time to get a game plan together. Getting in on the fun is easy! Just follow these six simple steps:

Step 1: Mark your calendar for Jan. 21through Feb. 4, 2017.

Step 2: View Restaurant Week menus here to decide which ones tickle your taste buds.

Step 3: Invite family, friends and co-workers to join you for lunch, dinner, or both!

Step 4: Remember to ask for the “Restaurant Week” menu, as most establishments will also offer their regular menu items.

Step 5: Enjoy your meal … and when paying your bill, please remember that tax and tips are not included.

  1. 3. Start a tradition

  2. Tradition Brewing Company, the city’s first craft brewery, has kicked off a monthly food truck event, dubbed “A Truckin’ Good Time.” The first event, held in January, featured four local food trucks and live musical entertainment. The brewery plans to continue hosting “A Truckin’ Good Time” – and give brewery tours – on the second Saturday of each month.

  1. 4. Check out the new exhibitions at The Mariners’ Museum in 2017

  2. Treasures of NOAA’s Ark – Opens March 3, 2017
    Speed & Innovation: How Technology Wins the America’s Cup – Opens May 25, 2017

  1. 5. Volunteer at the One City Marathon

  2. The Newport News One City Marathon Weekend, March 10-12, will be full of opportunities to get involved – even if you’re not a runner! Volunteers are needed before, during and after the event. Opportunities range from helping with parking and packet pickup to handing out medals. Help is also needed at first aid tents, water stations, and at the start and finish lines. To add to the fun, volunteers will be encouraged to cheer the runners on with music, signs of encouragement, and crazy costumes!

  1. 6. Sniff Out the Truth about Dogs 

    1. Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs,” the largest traveling exhibition ever created on the history of dogs, will be at the Virginia Living Museum through May 14. Enter a  “howling area,” test your nose against a dog's great sense of smell, and climb into an avalanche to see what it's like to be saved by a search-and-rescue dog.
  2. 7. Celebrate Ella Fitzgerald’s Centennial

  3. Ella Fitzgerald, also known as the First Lady of Song, was born in Newport News on April 25, 1917. Because she made such an impact on the world, Newport News will celebrate her life with a year-long celebration in her memory, which includes a four-day festival, April 19-22, at Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center.
  1. 8. Become a part of the Virginia Profiles of Honor project

  2. Profiles of Honor, a 36-foot long museum on wheels, will bring to life Virginia’s integral role in both World War I and World War II. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own World War I- and II-related photographs to be scanned for inclusion in the project when the mobile tour comes to City Center at Oyster Point April 21-22 and to the Victory Arch in downtown Newport News May 29 (Memorial Day).
  1. 9. Step Back in Time

  2. Steeped in military and shipbuilding history, Newport News is the perfect place to commemorate the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I. Don’t miss “America Mobilizes 1917” on June 17-18 at Endview Plantation to experience life as it would have been in an American Mobilization Camp in 1917-1918. Bring the kids and enroll them in a WWI Boot Camp!
  1. 10. Search for dinosaurs

  2. The Virginia Living Museum’s new Dinosaur Discovery Trail features 16 dinosaurs and includes a 30-foot space for kids to dig for a replica Allosaurus skeleton, which was cast from real remains!
  1. 11. Drive by the newest outdoor art in Newport News

  2. The Newport News Art & Sculpture brochure is one of the most popular offerings in the city, with at least 25,000 brochures distributed annually. With the addition of several new sculptures, this self-guided tour now features 34 sculptures.

  1. 12. Play Games

    1. Newport News is now home to three new indoor games – a great way to spend the day when the weather doesn’t cooperate with your plans to be outside! No need to break out the umbrella when you’re at BreakOut Games, TagTime Laser Tag (both located in DW Center at 14346 Warwick Blvd.) or at The Lock In in City Center at Oyster Point.
  2. 13. Toast the Coast

  3. We’ve rounded up the most popular “spirited spots” throughout Newport News and our neighboring cities – from New Kent County to the Virginia Beach oceanfront – and we’re calling it “Toast the Coast!” One thing’s for sure when visiting Coastal Virginia:  You will never go thirsty! Help others discover this beer, wine, and shine trail by sharing your photographs on social media by hash-tagging them with #ToasttheCoastTrail.

  1. 14. Learn more about the U.S. military mission in Iraq

  2. A newly expanded exhibit at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum highlights the changes, challenges, and hazards faced by Transportation Corps soldiers in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, transitioning from Desert Shield and Desert Storm through a chronology of 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  1. 15. And then learn more about the War on Terror

  2. The Virginia War Museum’s newest exhibit, called the “Global War on Terror,” features uniforms and equipment used by U.S. service members in Afghanistan and Iraq as a direct result of the attacks on 9/11. While there, try to guess the origin of a 3-foot piece of contorted metal, recovered from Ground Zero.  

  1. 16. Go Racing

  2. Speed Club Center is a new 50,000 square-foot indoor “playground” in Newport News for folks of all ages! It features European-style indoor go-carts that can reach speeds of up to 50 mph, a mini bowling alley, bumper cars, and arcade games. Located in the former Denbigh Village Shopping Center, Speed Club is at 14346 Warwick Blvd. is what is now called DW Center.
  • 17. Take a tour of Ironclad Distillery

  • In a nod to the Battle of the Hampton Roads, Ironclad Distillery – the city’s first bourbon micro-distillery – will soon open to the public in downtown Newport News. Although its tasting room won’t be open until later in 2017, you can schedule a behind-the-scenes tour of the establishment by sending an email to RSVP@ironcladdistillery.com.