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Where the Locals Hang

Pictured above: The Rudee Inlet Marina

Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2023, Virginia Beach boasts many incredible features and accolades. Along with its gorgeous coastal setting, fun attractions and mild, comfortable temperatures, the City offers residents highly rated public schools and safe neighborhoods. In fact, in 2023 Virginia Beach was ranked as the second safest large city in the United States by Forbes. It is no wonder why Virginia Beach residents and visitors love this city so much.

One of the best ways to get acquainted with Virginia Beach, and really any city, is to observe what the local residents do. By seeing what the locals like, a visitor can get an authentic gage on what’s really spectacular about a town and experience these opportunities themselves. Since visitors typically have limited time, this is a great strategy for them to quickly hone in on some of the “best” a city has to offer.

The Rudee Inlet Marina, a short distance from the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, is where you will find local residents hanging out. Here you will discover docks with fishing and sports boats as well as some of the locals’ favorite restaurants, including Rockafeller’s Restaurant and Rudee’s Restaurant & Cabana Bar, both of which have been serving its guests fresh coastal cuisine—from fish and oysters to crab and shrimp—for several decades and are still thriving. Along with delicious food, these restaurants have outdoor seating and excellent views of the lively marina.

Enjoying brunch at the beach is also popular with locals. Also on Rudee Inlet, family-friendly Big Sam’s Inlet Café & Raw Bar is a cozy establishment that offers waterfront dining and serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner. Open since 1996, Big Sam’s clientele is a melting pot of fishermen, surfers and other locals as well as out-of-town visitors. Mary’s Kitchen in the ViBe Creative District, just six blocks from the oceanfront, is also a go-to for locals. For more than 60 years, Mary’s Kitchen has been serving up breakfast and lunch, offering friendly service and reasonable prices.

Known to locals as Chic’s Beach, Chesapeake Bay Beach is a short distance north of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, where local residents enjoy spending time at the beach. While this community doesn’t host large events like those at the oceanfront, Chic’s Beach definitely has its own special luster. With less crowds and minimal waves, this relaxing, low key beach on the Chesapeake Bay is perfect for swimming and paddling. This area also has amazing restaurants, particularly casual waterside restaurants with menus full of fresh seafood selections, as well as a vibrant nightlife. Croatan Beach, south of the oceanfront, is another beach that has smaller crowds and is a favorite with locals, especially surfers.

Local wine and craft beer, and certainly coastal cocktails, are beloved by Coastal Virginians. The Orange Crush is a staple cocktail in the resort city, appearing on menus throughout Virginia Beach, and certainly at Waterman’s Surfside Grille as well as Chix on the Beach and The Shack on 8th. The drink includes fresh-squeezed orange juice, triple sec, Sprite and crushed ice. In its honor, the popular cocktail even has its own race in Virginia Beach called the Crush N’ Run, which is held annually at the oceanfront and helps support local charities. Sign up and join the race festivities on April 13, 2024 for the 8th annual beach 5K.

And last, but not least, locals love listening to live music. Throughout the resort city, residents and visitors have numerous opportunities to catch a music concert or theatrical show. As Virginia Beach’s premier performing arts theater, The Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, with seating available for up to just over 1,300 attendees, has an impressive event lineup year-round with some of the world’s most renowned performers. Some other places that you will catch locals enjoying live entertainment include Elevation 27, a music venue in Virginia Beach’s Hilltop section that showcases regional, national and international performers. Lunasea, on 22nd Street at the oceanfront, is another popular venue, where locals enjoy watching musicians play at this unique restaurant and bar, which has an ultra-festive outdoor space including sand, decks and games.

  • Local Beaches in Virginia Beach
  • Local Virginia Beach Restaurants
  • Virginia Beach Music Venues
  • What Virginia Beach Locals Like
  • Where to Find Virginia Beach Locals
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