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Best Virginia Beach Shopping

AOL PICK from our Editors

Virginia Beach may not strike you as a noteworthy shopping destination, but there’s some cool stuff to assuage your consumerism out here—don’t forget, Hampton Roads is one of the most diverse communities in Virginia. There’s obviously plenty of beach wear and the like on the Boardwalk. More interesting are character-filled shops within the city of Virginia Beach and artsy offerings in nearby Norfolk. In the city of Virginia Beach, trendy Hilltop is the main upscale shopping area.

Selden Arcade

Neighborhood: Norfolk

The Selden is ground zero for the lively Norfolk art scene. Not a shop per se, this is an indoor arcade showcasing a nice selection of commercial galleries and the d’ART Center, a network of studios supporting 40 resident artists and their assembled paintings, sculpture, photography and general talent. Shopping in the Selden is a nice way of cutting through the middleman, seeing the creativity of Hampton Roads being, well, created, and a nice chance to bring something home that has a little more meaning and unique-ness than a I Heart VA Beach T-shirt.

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Selden Arcade  

Freedom Surf Shop

Neighborhood: Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach may not be Maui, but there’s a lively, dedicated surf scene here, and a lot of it revolves around Freedom. Besides selling quality boards, wetsuits, swim trunks and related gear from HippyTree, Patagonia, Insight, Rusty and O’Neill (among others), this a good place to congregate with fellow members of the tidal tribe, get a sense of where the best breaks are and, generally, get integrated into the local surfer community.

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Freedom Surf Shop  

Book Exchange Norfolk

Neighborhood: Norfolk

Sure, the Book Exchange doesn’t have the volume and prices of a Borders or Barnes & Noble, but it makes up for that in character. This is one of those mom and pop bookstores that makes you happy to read—titles stacked into leaning towers of literature, categorized into eclectic little sections that reveal the owner’s little eccentricities, plus loads of DVDs, CDs and VHS tapes. When we need a little beach reading in Hampton Roads, we like to come here, get lost in the stacks and walk out having helped support the local community.

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Book Exchange Norfolk  

Double Take Consignment

Neighborhood: Virginia Beach

Double Take wants you to look good via what they call ‘eco-chic,’ outfits that are recycled but never out of date and generally quite affordable. It’s the best vintage store around, the sort of place where women can find unexpected deals and fashion nirvana minus the blandness of big name brand shopping. Come in here with a flexible attitude and you’ll find frilly dresses, fun frocks, cute jeans and the perfect accessories to complete an outfit you can chill out on the beach with or wear on a night on the town.

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Double Take Consignment  
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