Wards Corner – Norfolk, VA

The Wards Corner neighborhood in the Hampton Roads area of Norfolk possesses a deep entrepreneurial spirit that is evidenced in its abundance of independently-owned businesses. The locals – many of which are military personnel – enjoy a quiet residential life in the heart of the city known for its historical feel and innovative disposition. This charming area near Interstate 564 provides you with communal-like housing in converted Victorian apartment homes, modern duplexes, and three-story dwellings.

Restaurants & Nightlife

Wards Corner hosts a sprinkling of casual eateries on Granby Street, the restaurant hub of the neighborhood. Guads At Granby provides you with super-fresh, table-side guacamole. This traditional Mexican eatery offers classic fare and a few noteworthy signature dishes, including grilled tuna tacos, seafood nachos, and steak and shrimp brochettes. When you need to nourish your spirit as much as you need to fuel your body, check out D'Egg Diner. This homey diner provides you with hearty, filling breakfasts and lunches. Try the Brisket Benedict, a refreshing spin on the classic breakfast item, or order the D'Ruben for lunch, a tantalizing blend of house-made corned beef, turkey, and slaw that gives this classic sandwich a sophisticated flavor. Soothe your sushi craving with a visit to Sai Gai Traditional Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar. The restaurant's extensive roll offerings include local favorites such as the Volcano roll and the Tornado roll. When in the mood for a piping hot dish, allow the highly skilled hibachi grill masters to provide you with an entertaining show that's topped only by the quality of the finished steak and lobster with fried rice and vegetables. Satisfy your need for craft beer at The Birch. The bar's charming atmosphere, wide variety of seasonal brews and surprising selection of grilled cheese sandwiches remain unparalleled in the area. When you want to dance the night away, head over to neighboring Ghent to the Tap House Grill. Featuring a festive open mic night and an impressive local band lineup, this low-key bar provides you with a nervous-energy outlet near your own front door.

History & Culture

Once entirely comprised of farmland, Wards Corner began to flourish as a Norfolk retail hub in 1910 when Alfred C. Ward erected the neighborhood's first general store. The store's success propelled Ward to begin selling Michelin tires. The clever tire salesperson that serviced the account put up banners outside of the store that read “Meet Mr. Ward at Ward's Corner.” Over the years, the name stuck in honor of his enterprising inclination. Wards Corner does not house any museums, however, venture over to nearby Lochhaven neighborhood to check out Hermitage Museum and Gardens. Housed within a 20th-century Arts and Crafts estate, this museum offers more than 40,000 objects that represent more than 5,000 years of history. While the neighborhood does not host any annual festivals, check out the Town Point Virginia Wine Festival during the fall at the expansive, 8-acre facility along the Elizabeth River in downtown Norfolk.

Transportation

Wards Corner's location to the north of U.S. Route 165 and to the south of Interstate 564 makes zipping in and out of town a virtually hassle-free experience. Because driving is the primary way to get around the neighborhood, most area businesses provide free parking. When you need a cab, call for one ahead of time. Unfortunately, the Uber rideshare program does not service Wards Corner, however, you can take the Hampton Roads Transit bus from the Granby Street stop when you don't want to drive. While walking or biking the entire Wards Corner neighborhood is not a feasible option, the bike lanes along Milbrook Road in the center of town provide you with a fun, safe way to savor the local flavor.

Cost

The cost of living in Wards Corner is comparable to the rest of the Hampton Roads area. One-bedroom rentals run you approximately $726 a month, while grabbing a beer at a local bar puts you back about $5. Expect to save a bit at the pump due to the area's gas prices generally falling about 6 percent below the national average. If you don't have a vehicle, keep cash on hand to take the bus to the center of town for about $1.75.

Shopping

Although Ward's Corner does not house clothing and accessory stores, you'll find everything you need to fill up your closet and your home throughout the neighboring areas. The MacArthur Center on Monticello Avenue in downtown Norfolk houses all of the major high-end national brands, including Fossil, G by GUESS and Pottery Barn. Head to Ghent to browse the local artist collections at Kitsch on Shirley Avenue. Featuring a vast assortment of handmade items at every price point imaginable, you're destined to leave with something you'll treasure for years to come. On your way home to Wards Corner, stop in at Farm Fresh on East Little Creek Road to do your grocery shopping for the week. In addition to pantry and fridge staples, this grocery store also houses a large alcoholic beverage section and a fresh salad bar. Save your weekly produce shopping for Saturday morning at the Five Points Community Farm Market on Church Street. After you load up on seasonal fruits and veggies, head over to the on-site cafe for a local, sustainable sit-down meal or to-go item.

Parks

Wards Corner does not house any parks, however, you can soak up the sunshine at The Plot, an urban recreation space in the Downtown Arts District at the corner of Olney Road and Granby Street. This unique facility houses a life-sized chess game, a performing arts area and reclaimed shipping containers that serve as decorative accent pieces as well as vertical gardens. When you're looking for a more exercise-centric park, head over to Lafayette Park to hike or bike along the trails, take your dog to the off-leash park, or hit some balls at the baseball field, basketball court or tennis courts. Although the park does not host yearly events, it does offer picnic shelters that you can reserve for long, leisurely days with your family and friends.
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