Virginia Beach’s Artery to the Oceanfront
The Oceanfront is known as “the heart of Virginia Beach” to both locals and visitors. But what is the heart without the arteries that sustain it. In Virginia Beach, one of those arteries is Laskin Road. Laskin Road connects the city’s inland neighborhoods to the boardwalk and sandy beach. Travel from Hilltop, over the Laskin Road bridge and Linkhorn Bay, and you’ll enter the Artery District.
Often referred to as the “Gateway District” by the City of Virginia Beach, the Artery District is a new concept conceived by local chef and business owner, Jesse Wykle. Wykle logged almost two decades of fine-dining experience before opening his own fast-causal restaurant, Aloha Snacks.
On a beautiful summer’s day, Wykle noticed there wasn’t a lot of traffic passing by his business, located on Laskin Road just past the roundabout. He walked past the shops and restaurants near Pacific Avenue, going toward the King Neptune statue and saw the streets and boardwalk bustling with activity. That’s when Wykle realized that there was a void that needed to be filled. He wanted more people, both locals and visitors, to recognize the array of restaurants and stores situated just before the Oceanfront.
“I think we have something special,” Wykle said. “Once you get past the roundabout, that opens up another pocket of beautiful, unique shops.”
Wykle wanted to rebrand this area to become the Artery District. This district consists of locally owned businesses with a charm that is quintessential Virginia Beach.
“Restaurants, shops, gift shops—you’re going to get everything,” said Wykle. “From beer to music, we drip with culture.”
From a surf shop and organic grocery store to a clothing boutique and furniture shop, find all you need and even some gems you weren’t expecting at the shops within the Artery District.
- Find all of your surfing essentials at Freedom Surf Shop. Embracing the surf lifestyle, Freedom Surf Shop sells everything from boards to apparel.
- Purchase coastal-themed furniture, clothing and home décor at Lemon Cabana.
- Shop trendy beach apparel at Meg’s Swimwear.
- Peruse reclaimed wood creations at OL 2 NU.
- Discover collectible vinyl records at Vinyl Daze Records. Vinyl Daze also buys and sells new and used records and accessories.
You don’t just have to purchase one-of-a-kind items. Make them yourself! The Artery District offers several businesses that allow you to tap into your creative side.
- Dig into your creativity as you build your own terrarium at PlantBar.
- Bring to life a magical mermaid or majestic dolphin at Mermaid Factory.
Have Some Family Fun
The beach isn’t the only place for family fun. The Artery District has plenty of activities for all ages.
- Have dinner and a movie at Beach Cinema Ale House.
- Spend a day on the water along an eco-tour of Virginia Beach with Chesapean Outdoors.
- Aim for a strike on the bowling lanes of Pinboy’s at the Beach.
Satisfy Your Taste Buds
Just as unique as the shops in the Artery District, the restaurants also offer unique dining experiences. Send your taste buds on a journey or indulge in more classic fare.
- Indulge in Hawaiian-inspired cuisine at Aloha Snacks. Grab a drink from the rum bar and enjoy it on the outdoor patio.
- Enjoy classic diner fare and seafood at Beach Pub. Beach Pub was even featured on Food Network’s show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
- Savor fresh Italian fare at Bella Monte Restaurant & Enoteca.
- Enjoy a taste of Italy at La Bella Italia.
- Experience Irish food and entertainment at Murphy’s Irish Pub.
- Sip a craft beer in a renovated former post office at Smartmouth Brewing Co. Pilot House.
Wykle has future plans for collaborative events between the businesses within the Artery District. Overall, he wants people to get a taste of what this locally cultivated community has to offer.
“We want to represent Virginia Beach at its finest,” said Wykle. “Get to know the city, area and culture.”