Bigger and better

The city hopes to lure upscale crowds

Virginia Beach

May 19, 2006

A favorite destination for vacationing families, Virginia Beach is hoping to lure more upscale travelers.

A new luxury Hilton hotel and specialty retail shops were recently added to the typical mid-level mix of hotels and motels.

A new $200 million convention center opened last year, and there's talk of developing a new entertainment district.

Even the beach itself has grown. Operation Big Beach widened the beach to an average of 300 yards from the boardwalk to the water's edge three years ago.

Where to stay

Virginia Beach's resort strip is increasingly dominated by large chain hotels on the beachfront, but there remain a number of family-owned independent motels just off the water. To find out more, visit

At 21 stories, Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront (3001 Atlantic Ave., 757-213-3001), is Virginia Beach's tallest hotel. Opened in March 2005, it's also among the newest and most luxurious hotels along the waterfront.

Built in 1927, the Cavalier Hotel (4201 Atlantic Ave., 757-425-8555, is a sprawling complex that includes indoor and outdoor Olympic-size pools, five restaurants, a health club and the only private beachfront in Virginia.

Renovated in 2004, Tropicana Resort Hotel (1719 Atlantic Ave., 757-425-5511, has rooms overlooking the ocean and a tropical-themed pool.


Beach Bully BBQ (601 19th St., 757-422-4222, beachbully .com) offers authentic North Carolina barbecue that's tough to beat. Sandwiches are $5-$8; a whole rack of ribs with two sides is $16.

At Bubba's Crab House (3323 Shore Drive, 757-481-3513) you can savor the sunsets and the steady stream of pleasure boats and working watercraft that cruise by this casual waterside restaurant. Entrees: $14-$22.

Black Angus Restaurant (706 Atlantic Ave., 757-428-7700, specializes in steak. Entrees: $19-$27.

One Fish, Two Fish (2105 W. Great Neck Road, 757-496-4350, is among the more refined and elegant beach-area dining experiences. The food centers on upscale seafood dishes. Entrees: $17.50-$31.50.


Lynnhaven Mall (701 Lynnhaven Parkway, 757-340-9340, is just a few miles southwest of the main resort strip and is the city's main shopping mall with 180 stores.

Pink Fish Boutique (217 Laskin Road, 757-425-0048) boasts a long line of designers, including Frankie B., Hype and Loop NYC.


Peabody's (209 21st St., 757-422-6212, peabodysvirginia has laid claim to the "biggest dance floor in Virginia Beach" for years.

Hot Tuna Seafood Grill (2817 Shore Drive, 757-481-2888, presents local acoustic bands every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Croc's 19th Street Bistro (620 19th St., 757-428-5444, crocsres is a popular spot to "dine early and dance late."

At Sweet Caroline's Comedy Club (1910 Atlantic Ave., 757-333-6175) karaoke is king on most nights.

The Block at 21st Street (Atlantic Avenue at 21st Street) has become the nightclub district through an informal designation.

The Abyss (1065 19th St., 757-671-8100) caters to a young crowd with its huge dance floor and a dazzling light show.


Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center (717 General Booth Blvd., 757-425-3474, is Virginia's largest aquarium.

At First Landing State Park (2500 Shore Drive, 757-412-2300) you can stroll the very spot where about 100 English settlers first landed before pressing farther up the James River to found Jamestown, Va.

Motor World (700 S. Birdneck Road, 757-422-6419, has something for every age and fear level, with go-carts, miniature golf, paintball and something new called the Skycoaster (130 feet tall, 70 mph, according to the Web site).

At Ocean Breeze Waterpark (849 General Booth Blvd., 757-422-4444, www.ocean if there's a way to slide down it, splash in it or plunge through it, these guys have it.



Latin Fest -- 24th Street Park / 757-425-3111. 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. June 9 and 4 p.m.-10 p.m. June 10. Arts, crafts, food and concerts by local and national Latin artists. Free.

Viva Elvis and the Legends of Rock and Roll -- 17th Street Park and the boardwalk; 24th Street and the boardwalk / 757-425-3111. 7 p.m.-10 p.m. June 22, 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m. June 23 and 9 a.m.-12:30 a.m. June 24. Karaoke, a recliner race, boardwalk parade look-alike contest and plenty of Elvis tribute artists. Free.


Stars and Stripes Explosion -- On the beach at 20th Street, 17th Street, 24th Street and 31st Street. / 757-425-3111. July 4. Fireworks and a performance by the Virginia Beach Orchestra and Virginia Beach Chorale at 20th Street. Free.

Chalk the Walk Artsplosion -- 24th Street and the boardwalk / 757-425-3111. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. July 22. Enter for free and draw your masterpiece on the Virginia Beach boardwalk. Best ones win prizes. There will also be food and vendors.


Soul Music Beachfest -- 24th Street Park / 757-425-3111. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Aug. 25-26. Watch a wide range of soul entertainers, eat soul food and browse ethnic arts and crafts. Free.

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