Stretch Your Purse Strings in Virginia Beach’s Unique Shopping DistrictsBy Jodi Thornton O’Connell
Start your shopping tour in Virginia Beach’s Town Center. (Photo: Andar Sawyers)
It’s hard to describe Virginia Beach, Virginia in just a word or two. That’s because the city’s culture runs the gamut from laid-back beach to trendy art scene—and for every style, there’s a shopping district.
A walk through the city’s shopping meccas—Town Center, The Shops at Hilltop, and Virginia Beach Farmer’s Market—is more than just a chance to spend, it’s an opportunity to experience the true depth of Virginia Beach.
Design to evoke an American main street of yesteryear, but with modern touches, Town Center plays host to both old favorites and unique boutique, plus restaurants and entertainment.
Outfit your vacation with from a dozen shops and boutiques that line the strip. Retail therapy wearing on you? Take a break with a rejuvenating spa treatment from Sumatra Salon & Spa, or sip wine while you learn to paint your own masterpiece during a class at Muse Paintbar.
Plan your visit to coincide with one of the numerous public events at the center’s Fountain Plaza. In the summer months, Ynot Wednesdays at the Sandler Center plaza feature live music and a farmer’s market selling colorful produce.
Celebrate warm weather in early June at the Big Spring Jam, where you can enjoy big band and jazz music performances from area students. Update your autumn wardrobe at September’s Fall Fashion Show—featuring fashions from local retailers.
Don’t worry about getting footsore while exploring—hop on a rickshaw or drop off your car at one of Town Center’s three valet stands. Pro Tip: You can pick up your car from any of the stands using a color-coded ticket that lets your valet quickly locate and retrieve your car. So feel free to wander.
The Shops at Hilltop
Pick up a unique memento of your time in Virginia Beach at The Shops at Hilltop. With 120 stores and restaurants ranging from boutique to specialty, all tucked into the residential Hilltop neighborhood, this area is highly walkable—a shopper’s dream. At night, young professionals flock to the area for its wide array of dining options and nightclubs.
For a souvenir or special gift for someone at home, try the Creative Wedge Artisan Market. Buy locally crafted souvenirs ranging from jewelry to baskets, and gourmet goodies such as jams and syrups. Or pick up one-of-a-kind handmade fashion items (think: handbags made from old records and bracelets crafted from antique hotel room key fobs).
While many of the goods are local, the main emphasis is on handcrafted goods, and store owners curate their selection from across the country.
Virginia Beach Farmer’s Market
The red and white farm-style buildings of the Virginia Beach Farmer’s Market form a circle within a square, almost like an old-fashioned quilt, which makes it easy to do your shopping without dropping.
For more than 25 years, this venue has not only sold the traditional market goods, but also provided educational programs—like milking a model Holstein cow—that let kids get hands-on. Adults can get a closer look with a two-hour Taste of the Market tour, which visits market vendors and includes samples from Gilly’s Creamery, Season’s Best Bakery and The Country Butcher.
For a deeper dive into Virginia agriculture, take the Farm to Table tour, where you’ll learn about the area’s farming history as you sample tastes of the local bounty. For example, local Lynnhaven oysters were served aboard the Titanic!
Of course, if you prefer to wander, you’ll discover unique handcrafted clothing and furniture, old-fashioned candy and home-baked goodies to take back to your hotel and enjoy later. Snap up handmade souvenirs like jewelry, stationery and soaps at shops like Kahiau Crafts or Lisa’s Tinker Treasures.
This article was published through a partnership with Visit the USA, inspiring travelers to explore America’s boundless possibilities.