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Norfolk
  • $600   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $774   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $1373   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  southeast US)

78% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands require a car. 5
flooding, traffic
beaches 6
trash beaches, super slow traffic, old dominion university, stores here don't carry cash, kind of hood, failed attempt at creating a downtown, inexplicably nice library, major flood zone, seamen, and gentrified hipster land are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Norfolk roommate rundown:

Norfolk is in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. Hampton Roads isn't exactly roads. It's both a body of water and the residential areas surrounding it.

With the world's largest naval base, it's also obviously a Navy town. With over 60,000 on active duty on 75 ships and 100 aircraft, it'd have to be. In addition to our nation's defense, there's also a lot of private shipyards with ship building and ship repairing. Again, there'd pretty much have to be.

Water continues to be the biggest deal here, with Norfolk's long history as a hub for military transport. In addition to the waterways, the intersection of a few railway lines with the network of interstate highways makes this especially clever.

Ocean View is their relatively uncrowded beach community on Chesapeake Bay . . . except sometimes in summer when it often turns into a traffic nightmare. Unless you really love people watching, even people experiencing rush hour, you and your roommates will probably enjoy the beaches more when thousands of freshly arrived tourists aren't also. Virginia Beach is nearby and similar.

Norfolk's coastline along multiple bodies of water, with many miles of incredibly desirable riverfront property also attracts tourism in the form of cruises regularly departing from their modern cruise ship terminal.

And don't forget about the massive Port of Virginia.

Tourists are also attracted to the three historical communities of Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown, known as "America's Historic Triangle." National Park Service's Colonial Parkway connects all three. They attract a lot of history buffs and a lot of traffic.

And you and your roommates will need to keep an eye on the seasonal tourists and traffic yourselves, at least as much attention as it takes to avoid another historic traffic jam.

The rest of the Norfolk roommate lowdown:

  • Norfolk is the largest metro area in Virginia by population, about 230,000 - larger metro area is the "Tidewater" or "Newport News" with about 1.8 million
  • almost entirely surrounded by water, between the Chesapeake Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and the waterway known as Hampton Roads
  • mild winter, long humid warm summers, few severe storms due to surrounding waterways
  • cost of living is moderate, and less than most East Coast metros this size
  • the Port of Virginia is one of the best natural ports on the East Coast
  • shipbuilding, fishing, and other seaport-related businesses are dominant
  • home to Virginia Wesleyan College, Christopher Newport University, College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Hampton University, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University, and Regent University
  • Public transport includes buses (Hampton Roads Transit), passenger ferries, and light rail. You and your roommates would probably prefer any of those over a traffic jam.



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Norfolk's:

  • Virginia Zoo in Norfolk: More than 700 animals, over 150 species, including white-faced saki monkeys, whip scorpions, slender-tailed meerkats, southern screamers, and Malayan tapirs.
  • Chrysler Museum of Art: Once upon a time it was the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences, but it was renamed after automotive heir Walter P. Chrysler Jr. Fair though, because he donated his collection. The museum now holds over 30,000 works in 50 galleries spanning 5000 years of history. There's also a modern glass studio with free glass demonstrations. If you're into it, you and your roommates could take a class.
  • Nauticus: The National Maritime Center: Theaters, interactive exhibits, aquariums and the USS Wisconsin.
  • Norfolk Botanical Garden: Virginia's largest botanical garden. There are timed entry tickets, check in advance for availability, including the Butterfly House.
  • Norfolk City Hall: Built in 1847, it originally housed city offices. Then from 1918-1960, courtrooms. Then in 1961 the entire interior was gutted and remodeled into a tomb containing General Douglas MacArthur and his wife . . . along with a bunch of his other stuff like medals, swords, uniforms and flags. Also they renamed it MacArthur Memorial after that, understandably so. You and your roommates could watch a 27-minute movie about his life, then observe his famous corncob pipe.


Here's the city of Norfolk's official .gov for services for residents, including trash, utilities, neighborhoods, parking, parks, and libraries.





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.


5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.


7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.