In 2015, Virginia Beach established the ViBe Creative District, just a few blocks from the shore, to serve as “an arts and cultural district and technology zone,” and crafty types have been flocking to the area ever since. The already colorful neighborhood, which hosts a monthly mural walk, plans to welcome a Wavegarden artificial surf park (a collaboration with city native Pharrell Williams) in the future, but here are six spots to visit now.
Virginia Beach Art Center
This nonprofit arts organization moved to the ViBe District in 2019, opening a gallery to connect local artists to the public. The space hosts monthly exhibitions and classes on watercolor, origami, and pottery. “We are just one member of this creative community,” says executive director Margaret Foltz. “The whole purpose of the ViBe District is really to be that creative outlet.”
Vy Do opened this shop in 2020, having outgrown the fulfillment center she’d set up in her parents’ house for her online store. “When we were ready to expand into a physical store, the obvious choice was the ViBe District,” says Do, who sells sundresses, purses, and jewelry. “It’s the cultural hub of Virginia Beach, and we love surrounding ourselves with other small, creative businesses.”
Julie Aubrey and Chris Johnson established this splatter-paint studio in 2021, giving visitors a hands-on way to interact with art—and all the gear they need to create a masterpiece of their own. “The art-centric atmosphere of the district seemed like the perfect place to open our splash-paint studio,” Aubrey says. “It has been very well received and supported by the ViBe community.”
In 2017, Joey and Jacklyn Launi started their business, named for the family dog, by peddling ice cream from a vintage-style bicycle cart. Two years later, they opened this storefront, where they scoop flavors such as Funfetti and bubblegum. The neighborhood, Joey says, “is this really cool expression of the culture of our area. It’s appealing to both tourists and locals, which is pretty unique.”
Vibrant Shore Brewing Company
Rhett Rebold founded his brewery in a former garage in 2019, after decades of homebrewing. “My wife, Leisa, and I are both art lovers and amateur artists and wanted to open in an art community,” he says. His beers include a blood orange IPA and a Vienna lager; enjoy them in the brewery’s large outdoor space, which often hosts food trucks and live bands.
The Pink Dinghy
A literal pink dinghy adorns the roof of this pastel-hued restaurant, which opened in 2020 and serves a Latin American menu complete with seasonal empanadas. Owner Stephanie Dietz, a Virginia Beach native, returned home to make her mark following a stint in New York. “It felt like a full-circle moment to be opening my first restaurant in my hometown,” she says.