A Guide to Virginia Beach
Collected by Allison Murray, AFAR Contributor
Virginia Beach is a vibrant destination with hidden gems to discover. The endless beaches will lure you here but the dynamic dining, rich history, thriving arts and endless outdoors will keep you coming back.
626 W Olney Rd, Norfolk, VA 23507, USA
Press 626 is a great spot to unwind with a glass of wine and something to nibble on. A concise menu consisting of panini (giving the eatery its name), salads, and creative entrees, this is one of my favorite places to stop after work. Press 626 is...
745 Duke St, Norfolk, VA 23510, USA
I've always been fascinated by the delicate beauty of glass art sculpture. The Chrysler Museum Glass Studio offers free demos from Wednesdays to Sundays, allowing visitors a front row seat as master artists create beautiful glass pieces using...
Fort Story, Virginia Beach, VA, USA
Climb to the top of the old Cape Henry Lighthouse, the first lighthouse built by the US government, for a rejuvenating walk and great view of the Chesapeake Bay. (The new black and white lighthouse is currently in operation, while the old...
1624 Laskin Road Suite 727, Hilltop North Shopping Center, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, USA
Go for the hummus and you'll surely leave with some baklava. Azar's is a local restaurant specializing in Lebanese/Mediterranean cuisine and their fresh hummus is fantastic. There are several locations in the Virginia Beach area and two have an...
227 Mediterranean Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, USA
When you're ready to tear yourself away from the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, head a couple blocks inland to Mojito Cafe. This tiny jewelbox of a restaurant takes you to the Caribbean the moment you walk through the door. They serve authentic Puerto...
999 Waterside Dr, Norfolk, VA 23510, USA
Vintage kitchen is a committed farm-to-table restaurant. Cordon Bleu graduate Chef Philip Craig Thomason uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients to assemble varied lunch and dinner menus. The dinner entrees include a few American classics, updated...
371 Independence Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, USA
Don't let its strip mall location throw you off—Kanpai sushi is a great option for fresh sushi, often with an unusual, modern, or unexpected touch. It has a lively atmosphere (and a number of house cocktails), making this little restaurant a good...
328 Constitution Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, USA
Judy's is starting to become something of an institution in Virginia Beach Town Center because of the Xiao Long Bao—or soup dumplings—that are one of this little Szechuan gem's specialities. While you're there, try the onion pancakes as well (just...
310 Edwin Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, USA
Mt. Trashmore Park, so called because it occupies the same land as a former land fill, is a beautiful example of just what modern, ecologically-minded community projects can accomplish (not to mention a nice place to run around, fly a kite, or go...
184 Central Park Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, USA
Jones Art Gallery features masterful paintings and prints created by three generations of internationally acclaimed artists. Based in the Town Center of Virginia Beach, this family business has been creating artistic treasures for over 50 years.
261 Town Center Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, USA
This famous cupcake shop offers a variety of delectable flavors that change seasonally. Their cupcakes are baked fresh daily, with top notch ingredients, and a bit of love. Treat yourself (and kids) to a small, sweet treat that you won't regret....
3001 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, USA
The siren's song lures many visitors to Virginia Beach and King Neptune welcomes everyone to the Oceanfront. The three-mile-long boardwalk is popular with runners and those out for a leisurely stroll, while a separate bike path allows cyclists to...
164 Central Park Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, USA
While this chocolatier makes all kinds of goodies, a mug of Aztec hot chocolate spiced with cinnamon and chipotle pepper is a unique treat. Hard to find anywhere else, their creation is the perfect amount of sweet with some added spice. No matter...
1 Waterside Dr, Norfolk, VA 23510, USA
Located alongside the Nauticus Museum in downtown Norfolk, a tour of this ship gives you a taste of what life at sea was like. Fun anytime of year, it's a rare opportunity to hop aboard one of these vessels. The Norfolk/Virginia Beach area has a...
1905 Colonial Ave, Norfolk, VA 23517, USA
Located in the historic Ghent section of nearby Norfolk, Local Heroes carries a wide variety of classic comic books, graphic novels, and memorabilia. The shop will draw in anyone who likes to read—regardless of how you feel about comics. Hanging...
626 Hilltop West Shopping Center, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, USA
Baladi Cafe offers a large number of vegan and vegetarian dishes, with a menu featuring Mediterranean favorites like moussaka, kebabs, fattoush, baba ganooj, and falafel, betraying Chef Khaled Jebrail's family roots. The atmosphere is...
2500 Shore Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, USA
First Landing State Park is a great alternative to the crowds along the boardwalk. Located in northeastern Virginia Beach, where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, the park is close to the the heavily touristed oceanfront but feels...
336 Constitution Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, USA
While it may not be much to look at from the outside, never judge a book by its cover. Tida Thai, located in the Pembroke Mall, serves authentic, traditional Thai cuisine (including my personal favorite Thai curry, panang) that has built a loyal...
189 Central Park Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, USA
Sonoma Wine Bar & Bistro is a wine lover's wine bar. This restaurant features over 350 varieties of wine, with 70 available by the glass in a comfortably modern setting. The food is always top notch, as they offer a seasonally changing menu, as...
201 Market St, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, USA
If you want to lose yourself in a show, The Sandler Center is the place for you. Talented local arts organizations have needed a performance and rehearsal space for years—the answer came in the form of this dreamy, state-of-the-art cultural and...
1309 Raleigh Ave, Norfolk, VA 23507, USA
Smartmouth brewery is the newest addition to Virginia's craft beer scene, and is quickly drawing a local following. Offerings include their 3 flagship varieties: Murphy's Law Amber Ale, Alter Ego Saison, Rule G IPA, as well as a rotation of season...
1907 Colonial Ave, Norfolk, VA 23517, USA
Cafe Stella is the coffeehouse everyone wants in their neighborhood. Owners Mariusz and Stella serve a variety of European style coffee drinks made from beans roasted freshly in house. In addition to pastries and light breakfast/lunch fare,...
4540 Main St, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, USA
As you enter Zushi Bistro, the waterfall and sleek, modern decor prepare you for a zen sushi experience. Have a seat at the bar, order a sake and let the sushi chefs work their magic with some of the freshest seafood in Virginia Beach.
3640 Dam Neck Rd # 24, Virginia Beach, VA 23453, USA
If you're looking for fresh fruit, local vegetables, or other produce in Virginia Beach, look no further than the Virginia Garden Organic Grocery. They update their website with seasonally available local produce, and offer wheat and gluten-free...
3102 Holly Rd #514, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, USA
Not far from the Virginia Beach boardwalk, Terrapin Restaurant has long been a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Terrapin involves you in the whole experience of food, sourced locally and prepared in an open kitchen. Here you'll experience a...
1341 Princess Anne Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23457, USA
With over 60 aircraft from WWI and WWII on site, the tours give great insight into how these planes were built & restored, and what it takes to fly them. Many of the aircraft are in flying condition and can also be seen in air shows across the...
2248 Sunstates Ct #101, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, USA
Fire & Vine offers wood-fired cuisine and new-world wine in a cozy atmosphere. Sampling one of their wine flights is a great way to try several wines at a great value. Located in the Hilltop area, this restaurant is convenient to both the Town...
198 Bank St, Norfolk, VA 23510, USA
General MacArthur's final resting place is an unexpectedly vibrant location. The MacArthur Memorial Museum is a great tribute to his life, as well as a fascinating collection of artifacts from our nation's mid-20th century. It's a must for any...
200 Winston Salem Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, USA
Wildlife isn't the first thing that usually comes to mind when thinking of Virginia Beach, but get in a boat and head out to sea, and all of that changes. The Virginia Aquarium offers wildlife boat tours that leave from Rudee Inlet year round,...
6700 Azalea Garden Rd, Norfolk, VA 23518, USA
Looking for a little peace and quiet within the city? The Norfolk Botanical Garden is a great plance to meander for a few hours and lose yourself. With over 155 acres and changing seasonal gardens, there is always something new to see. The gardens...
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