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Winding through the Neon District with a new summer tour

Once a month the Norfolk Tour Company takes the public on an adventure through parking lots and back alleys exploring everything the neighborhood has to offer.

NORFOLK, Va. — From Sidewalks to Rooftops, to fences and walls there is no shortage of spots for public art in the Neon District.

“I think this area is for those who have wanderlust in their heart, those that want to just go somewhere and discover something new. This is the place to go,” said tour guide Josh Weinstein.

Once a month Weinstein takes the public on an adventure through parking lots and back alleys exploring every nook and cranny the neighborhood has to offer.

“Somewhere you wouldn’t consider a very artistic place is all of a sudden turned into a street gallery,” said Weinstein.

The Norfolk native has been giving tours for the past six years, but this summer he decided to quit his day job and do it full time creating the Norfolk Tour Company.

“I enjoy the research and the theater and the standup comedy that comes with giving a tour,” said Weinstein. “I turned a hobby into a business.”

In the Neon District, you never know what you are going to find around the next corner.

“A lot of public art, in general, is meant to be temporary so any art you see in the Neon District you should take a picture of it because we can’t guarantee it will be there in a year or two or three or four,” said Weinstein.

The tours are absolutely free, sponsored by the Downtown Norfolk Council. Each one includes a unique glimpse inside a different Neon District business or organization.

On Friday all 51 participants got a back-stage peak of the Harrison Opera House.

“One thing that we highlight that we really put together to enrich the experience are the businesses in the Neon,” said Weinstein.

As for the men and women breathing it all in, they say you gain a whole new appreciation for a place we all see but not necessarily know.

“It’s great to get into the history and understand the culture around these areas,” said Clay Dress.

“We thought this tour would be a good opportunity to actually get some context for the buildings,” said Tina Prihoda.

“I drive by the murals all the time, and I thought I would just take some time to find out more about them,” said Kelly Kemper.

For more information on future tours, click here.