Portsmouth, an independent city of the Hampton Roads area, was founded as a town in 1752, on 65 acres of land on the shores of the Elizabeth River. Founded in 1752 and modeled after British Portsmouth, this 29-square-mile town just off the Chesapeake Bay reflects its roots with streets named London, Glasgow, and Queen. The town’s first intersection, at Court and High streets―chosen because of its proximity to a church, a market, a jail, and a courthouse―still remains the town’s center. Though its history spans three centuries, Portsmouth has entered the 21st century with a plan to improve its infrastructure, revitalize its waterfront, and revive Olde Towne.

Portsmouth’s “center” holds the largest collection of antique homes between Alexandria, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina, plus a bundle of early 20th-century buildings that either have been restored or are in the process of being renovated.

Portsmouth’s “edges” include some 80 square miles of waterfront property along its many channels. Neighborhoods occupy much of the waterfront property, while retail developments such as the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel and Conference Center and a new $13 million, 6,500-seat performing arts center enjoy prime riverside spots.

Directly opposite Norfolk, the city of Portsmouth also has miles of waterfront land on the Elizabeth River as part of the harbor of Hampton Roads. There is a ferry boat that takes riders back and forth across the water between Downtown Norfolk and Olde Towne Portsmouth. Locals consider Norfolk and Portsmouth to be sister cities, only Portsmouth has the small-town feel and a closer-knit community.

Portsmouth also draws company from outside the community to the Children’s Museum of Virginia, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, the Courthouse Galleries, and the Portsmouth Lightship Museum.

The town has a little bit of everything, and you don’t have to be obsessed with architecture or history to enjoy it. You might just want to have a quiet place to raise your family, or a house on the water, or a community with which you can become involved.  One visit to Portsmouth and you’ll be hooked. Amble along the famous Seawall. Stroll through three centuries of historic neighborhoods.  Go antiquing. Take in some art. Stand inside a giant soap bubble at the largest children’s museum in the state.  And enjoy a nibble at some of the most delightful restaurants in the region.   Come home to Portsmouth.

City of Portsmouth Website Portsmouth Public Schools Portsmouth Police Department

Registered Sex Offenders in Portsmouth

Map of Portsmouth, Virginia