Portsmouth (pronounced "Port-smuth"), located directly opposite from Norfolk on the Elizabeth River, has an estimated population of 101,000. First settled by colonists who recognized its perfect shipping and vessel-building harbor, the city was officially established in 1752 and played an important role in the Civil War. Portsmouth is one of the Seven Cities of Hampton Roads. As one of the older cities, it has been undergoing urban revitalization. Being surrounding by water, the city has little room to grow, and a potential merge with Norfolk has been considered.
The city's economy is heavily reliant on the Norfolk Navy Shipyard. The Norfolk Navy Yard, as it is commonly referred to, is both a historic and active base that builds, repairs and remodels Navy ships of all kinds. A large portion of Portsmouth proper is controlled by the U.S. Navy. A new marine terminal for container ships will also strongly benefit the city's economy and has been the driving force behind many railroad and highway improvements in the area.
Famous buildings and attractions in the area include the Children's Museum of Virginia, the Naval Shipyard & Lightship Museum, Craney Island, the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, and the Harbor Center. With several miles of the city located on the Elizabeth River, Portsmouth parks and public areas give access to a wide range of water sports, as well as running, hiking, biking and picnic opportunities.