region of Virginia has roots as old as America, but it has only been an independent city since 1963.
Containing the governmental seat of the city, Great Bridge
sits in the South Central area of Chesapeake. The city jail, district court, city hall and other municipal buildings are clustered together on the bank of the Elizabeth River.
Situated between State Routes 17 and 168, just a mile south of I-64, Great Bridge offers an ideal location for a residential area. The neighborhood also includes the easily accessible campus of Tidewater Community College.
Schools in Great Bridge
School data provided by GreatSchools
Restaurants & Nightlife
Most of the local eateries in Great Bridge run along State Route 168, giving residents easy access to each location off of the major road. Connected to a Shell gas station sits the number one hidden gem of Great Bridge restaurants, Burrito Perdido. Locally owned and operated, Burrito Perdido features local meat and produce in its food, as well as many organic items.
Check out The Grill at Great Bridge, an award-winning restaurant that features local Smithfield pork and other meats prepared by the local butcher (along with award-winning made-from-scratch desserts created by the co-owner). A small restaurant only open for breakfast and lunch, The Grill features a small menu with large portions. With choices such as the authentic Philly cheesesteak served on Amoroso's rolls imported right from South Philly and seasonal offerings such as pumpkin spice or eggnog French toast, you won't miss the impersonal larger menu of chain restaurants.
Another locally owned restaurant, Ddeb's, boasts a menu that includes Gorgonzola garlic bread, Mediterranean salsa with mango, crab and artichoke melt, or a herb and honey roasted chicken. Although the restaurant is located right outside of three shopping centers, the constant appearances by the owner and chef to make sure everything tastes satisfactory proves this isn't your run-of-the-mill chain restaurant.
The area includes a number of bars that run along the same 168 strip. Kelly’s Dockside Tavern gives customers two different experiences in one building: enjoy a quiet, family-friendly dinner on one side, and then play pool with your buddies later on in the night on the other side. For a cheaper night out, hit up Big Woody’s Bar & Grill for half-off wing nights and live music on the weekends.
History & Culture
The name for Great Bridge comes from the Battle of Great Bridge during the Revolutionary War, which resulted in the final removal of the British government from Virginia. The Waterways Heritage Festival, which celebrates the history of the region, takes place annually in Great Bridge.
A hidden gem of Great Bridge, the Chesapeake Planetarium has been around for over 50 years. The planetarium offers free public events designed around different astronomical topics once a week, in addition to the normal school trips and activities.
Great Bridge lies on the southern side of Chesapeake, and State Route 165 runs through the northern half of the area. Route 165 is serviced by bus route 14 of the Hampton Roads Transit. Route 14 will take you from Tidewater Community College up to the shopping centers, which allows you to easily transfer to other lines that will take you all over the Hampton Roads area. The Hampton Roads Transit runs an extensive line that includes buses, light rail and a ferry.
If you want something other than public transit, check out the local cab companies, or even options such as Lyft and Uber, both of which serve the entire Hampton Roads area.
Because it's such a congested area, there are no bike lanes, but that doesn't stop the occasional brave soul from riding around with traffic. Some of the neighborhoods have partial sidewalks, but the community is based around driving, and the walkability score in Great Bridge is one of the worst in Chesapeake. Thankfully, the area caters well to drivers, as there are plenty of free public parking spots at all the stores, government buildings and parks.
The cost of living in Great Bridge is 8 percent higher than the whole city of Chesapeake, which is 6 percent higher than the state average. A one-bedroom
apartment will run you about $900 per month.
In Great Bridge, a domestic beer is only $3 before taxes. Commuters will also appreciate the cost of gas, which sits about 7 percent lower than the rest of the country. Public transit runs $1.75 for a one-way trip, or you can grab a one-day pass for $4 if you're making several stops.
While Great Bridge developed into a mostly residential area, there are a couple of unique and much-needed stores in the area. Be sure to stop by and see 3 Little Blackbirds; although it can be described as a consignment/gift store, it's actually like a bunch of Etsy shops in one space. Located inside a house where different people rent space to sell their creative and homemade items, 3 Little Blackbirds specializes in one-of-a-kind vintage, repurposed, handcrafted and antique items.
If you own a stringed instrument, you will want to stop by Angelico Violins. This store, which is owned by a member of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, has been selling and repairing stringed instruments of all kinds for 35 years.
When it comes to food, the primary grocery stores sit along the main roads of Cedar Road and Battlefield Boulevard, consisting of the regional chains such as Food Lion and Farm Fresh. From June through November, one of the two Chesapeake farmers' markets happens to be conveniently located in Great Bridge along the Elizabeth River canal.
While hanging out downtown in Great Bridge, give Bells Mill Park a go. Located right behind Chesapeake City Hall, it also has free parking available. To go along with the 2-mile running trail, the park also features elevated scenic lookouts that overlook the historic Elizabeth River. Located in a tidal marsh, Bells Mill can be the perfect spot to do a little birdwatching as well.
A few miles away, clustered behind some trees that provide shade and privacy, is a small playground at Cheshire Forest Park. This 3-acre park in the middle of the subdivisions offers a lot of grass to play on, a small lake and a pavilion, but visitors will have to rely on street parking.
Annual events such as the Easter Egg Hunt, Fourth of July Fireworks and free fall performance by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra all happen about 4 miles away at Chesapeake City Park, which also happens to be the closest dog park.