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Enjoy Gracious Hospitality in Downtown Hampton

March 09, 2012 | History

Downtown Hampton encompasses the site of the original 17th century seaport that served as a port-of-entry for commercial vessels from Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. Four centuries later, this lovely area is enhanced with cobblestone streets lined with red brick sidewalks, crepe myrtle trees and eclectic shops. It is dotted with restaurants and eateries presenting a wide variety of cuisine from enticing Creole, Tapas, Fusion and Japanese to gourmet sandwiches, seafood and a Southern tea room. Attractions, pubs, art galleries, shops, marinas and parks also fill this waterfront district with a blend of exciting things to do.

A visit to the Hampton Visitor Center begins your exploration of this 400-year old historic city with one foot planted firmly in the past and another poised to leap into the future. The Hampton Visitor Center staff provides friendly assistance and is point of purchase for the Sea to Stars Ticket, a combination attraction ticket priced at an exceptional value. Information specialists are also available at the Virginia Air & Space Center and Hampton Maritime Center.

Gracious hospitality is extended at downtown accommodations Crowne Plaza Hampton Marina Hotel, Magnolia House Inn Bed & Breakfast, and the Little England Inn Bed & Breakfast. All are comfortably located for exploring downtown on foot, perusing shops and visiting points of interest. Attractions such as the Virginia Air & Space Center, the restored Hampton Carousel, and the Miss Hampton II harbor tour lure visitors from far and wide. History buffs are intrigued by Hampton History Museum’s nine permanent galleries showing the 400 years of development of the city. After touring the museum’s galleries, exit onto Queen’s Way and visit one of Hampton’s most historically significant landmarks, St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Downtown Hampton is, in a word, eventful! Mill Point Park, Carousel Park and Queen’s Way are host to a variety of family-friendly events year-round. On Saturdays nights from April through October, Street Fest features the hottest local and national acts performing on an outdoor stage under the stars. Festivals such as the International Children’s Festival in April, Blackbeard Pirate Festival in June and Hampton Bay Days in September are just a few events that have received national acclaim.

There is convenient transportation between the sites in the Downtown and Coliseum Central districts. The BID Bus provides free transportation during spring and summer on Fridays and Saturdays from noon to midnight. During these seasons, the 27-passenger bus runs on an approximate 30-minute loop, picking up and delivering passengers at the Crowne Plaza Hampton Marina Hotel and at the intersection of King Street and Settlers Landing Road. The bus stops in Coliseum Central are located at Embassy Suites and Coliseum Drive in front of Barnes & Noble.

From downtown, guests are encouraged to stroll across the Booker T. Washington Bridge and visit the historic Hampton University campus. The world-class Hampton University Museum houses a collection of more than 11,000 artifacts and works of art. Pack a picnic of wine, cheese and freshly baked bread from La Bodega and bask in the sun’s rays aboard one of our charter boats. For the more adventurous type, book a fishing excursion aboard the Ocean Eagle, docked adjacent to the Hampton Maritime Center.

Downtown Hampton is a vibrant community with beautiful waterfront vistas, a working fishing fleet, private yachts and pedestrian friendly streets. Plus, Wireless Internet is accessible nearly everywhere! Visit for more information on historic downtown.