The 5 Best Neighborhoods in Virginia Beach

Moving to Virginia Beach means becoming neighbors with the other 450,000 people who call this city home. The largest city in Virginia by a margin of 200,000, you can imagine there are plenty of neighborhoods and areas to choose from.

You can also imagine that trying to choose just a few to focus on can be overwhelming, so here are five neighborhoods that really stand out from the crowd – the very large crowd.

1. Pungo

Perfect for: Families who want a little more space

Pungo, in the southeast corner of Virginia Beach, is made up of 8,000 acres of farmland. This area has seen a lot of growth and development in the past decade, but there are still spots to stretch out.

If you crave the country life, Pungo has a lot to offer. Farm stands are on nearly every corner, not surprising since Pungo is home to the annual Strawberry Festival. An area locals jokingly refer to as “downtown Pungo” contains the acclaimed brunch spot The Bee & The Biscuit, as well as some real down-home style BBQ take out at 412q. A local family favorite, Pungo Pizza & Ice Cream, offers great pie and a small arcade for the kids.

While Pungo is definitely a reprieve from city life, it is also extremely convenient to the Red Mill, Strawbridge and Damn Neck/Oceana areas where there are plenty of shops, restaurants, movie theaters and more. Another upside: it’s just minutes from Sandbridge with its miles of wide sandy beaches dappled with impressive beach houses and punctuated with the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge – one of the best places in the city to go for a bike or a hike in nearly untouched nature.

2. Kempsville

Perfect for: Anyone looking for a truly suburban lifestyle

Full of affordable neighborhoods, plenty of suburban conveniences and good schools, Kempsville is a popular area for families or anyone looking for a lifestyle where you know your neighbors and the grocery store is right around the corner.

In addition to internal convenience, Kempsville is also close to the I-264 interchange, which is a big deal in an area where surface streets are often more perilous during rush hour than the interstate.

Kempsville is also home to several favorite local dining options like Frankie’s Place for Ribs, the original Ynot Pizza and the fanciest Chinese food you’ve ever had served on silver platters while a live pianist plays at Imperial Palace.

3. Hilltop

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Perfect for: Millennials and retirees

It’s not a coincidence that millennials and retirees often flock to the same places. The difference they have in age is made up by the similarities in lifestyle: no kids at home, disposable income, and time to go out, go shopping or hit the beach. For these groups of people, Hilltop can’t be beat.

Centered around the Laskin Road corridor that makes a beeline straight to the Oceanfront, Hilltop is a compact area that holds perhaps more than it ought to given its small footprint. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods sit diagonally across from each other, with shopping centers on either side – La Promenade and the Shops at Hilltop – both stocked with upscale stores like Williams Sonoma, Jos. A. Bank, Athleta, David Nygaard, and The Fresh Market, among many, many others.

For food lovers, wine lovers, beer lovers – Hilltop is the place to be. Bottlecraft Beer Shop & Tasting Room offer brews you can’t find anywhere else. Tinto Wine & Cheese pours extremely small batch wines from vineyards the owner has actually visited and in some cases, knows the winemakers on a first-name basis. As for restaurants – there are far too many to name here, but rest assured they are all truly worth getting out and trying, and there is a little bit of something for everyone.

If you’re looking to take some gourmet home with you, Savor the Olive, Taste, The Creative Wedge, and the incredibly understated, but amazingly well stocked and knowledgeable Village Butcher offer you anything you’d want to make a quick meal, impress a party or bake the best roast you’ve ever had.

Housing in this area can be pricey, due to a supply versus demand situation, but there are affordable apartment and condo options that place you equally close to shopping and the beach in an incomparable area.

4. North End

Perfect for: Beach lovers with a bigger budget

The North End of Virginia Beach refers to the area of Atlantic Avenue north of 38th Street to the bottom of Shore Drive. This narrow slice of the city is an area where many people can only dream of living. Every home is just a short walk to the beach, if not directly on the dunes and styles range from older, well maintained cottages to modern mansions. Residents of the Bay Colony area of the North End, on the west side of Atlantic Avenue, have deep water access to the Linkhorn Bay. Several homeowners take full advantage of this by keeping their yachts at their docks right behind their homes.

The beaches along the North End can’t be beat. Dotted, even in the summer, with small groups of mostly locals, it’s a stark contrast to the crowded sands just a few blocks south in the resort area of Virginia Beach. At the very top of the North End is First Landing State Park where the Colonists first landed in 1607. Virginia’s most-visited state park, First Landing (formerly, and currently by some locals, called Seashore State Park) has 20 miles of trails for biking, running or walking and a mile and a half of beach frontage along the Chesapeake Bay. So even if you can’t afford to live at the North End, this public park lets you enjoy the beauty and serenity without the mortgage payment.

5. Little Neck

Perfect for: Millennials and young families

Little Neck encompasses several other neighborhoods including Pembroke, Thalia and Kings Grant. The thing they all have in common is their central, convenient location within the city. Virginia Beach Boulevard runs directly through this area offering an alternative to I-264 that can get you just about anywhere else in Virginia Beach or Norfolk, where it ends. Additionally, there are plenty of access points to the interstate.

Little Neck centers around a commercial area once referred to as Pembroke and more recently rebranded as Town Center. This area is home to the tallest building in the state of Virginia – the Westin Tower. Radiating out from the Westin are several other large office complexes with retail at street level including West Elm, Anthropologie, Lululemon, and several local boutiques. The compact Town Center also includes a surprising amount of restaurants, from the upscale steakhouse, Ruth’s Chris, to the sophisticated wine bar, Sonoma, to national favorites like The Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang’s. Across Virginia Beach Boulevard from Town Center is Pembroke Mall which includes a Nordstrom Rack, J. Crew Mercantile, Target and plenty more.

This area is also very convenient to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. Thanks to the military influence, this neighborhood can accommodate most budgets. Older, mature homes with larger yards on tree-lined streets can be found along with newer, more compact neighborhoods, apartment complex and townhomes. For folks who want to be closer to the action, and have a more “city life” atmosphere without any maintenance, the Cosmopolitan offers upscale apartments smack dab in the middle of Town Center.

As you can see, there are many diverse neighborhood options within the 400 square miles that is Virginia Beach. This list of 20 Thing You Need to Know Before Moving to Virginia Beach might just help you make the tough decision about where to put down your roots.

Rachel Burns