Nestled against the Back River just one mile north of downtown Hampton, Willow Oaks
prides itself on its peaceful suburban atmosphere and tight-knit community. This family-focused neighborhood has become a top destination for those with children, encompassing top schools like Booker Elementary School and Kecoughtan High School. Rows of spacious yards host fresh new homes
built in accordance with strict by-laws made to protect housing value, and amenities like a lap pool, toddler pool, and 15 common landscaped areas provide plenty of outdoor recreation.
Schools in Willow Oaks
School data provided by GreatSchools
Restaurants & Nightlife
Take a drive down Mercury Boulevard or King Street to discover Willow Oaks' humble home-town dining scene with its abundance of local diners, smokehouses, and cafes. Simple cuisine dominates the neighborhood's restaurant collection, serving up high-quality dishes at prices that don't break the bank.
If you crave pulled pork and smoked beef brisket, head over to County Grill and Smokehouse, a local favorite for top-quality barbeque. Southern favorites like corn muffins and fresh-brewed ice tea make you feel like you're on a summer picnic, and the tender cuts remind diners why Virginia barbeque stands a step above the rest. During the winter, customers can choose seating by the indoor fireplace for a cozy dining experience.
Every neighborhood needs a good breakfast joint where residents feel at home, and for Willow Oaks that place is King Street Diner. Locals praise the friendly service and abundant portions of corned beef hash and home fries, and you can order your breakfast favorites any time of day.
For more exotic fare, stop by Langley Thai Cuisine to sample some of the best pad Thai this side of Hampton. Don't leave without trying the shrimp spring rolls and the spicy green chicken Thai curry. Vegetarian options abound with vegetable and tofu dishes, and any meat-based dish can be made with chewy fried tofu instead.
When the sun sets, Willow Oaks goes to sleep along with its residents, so you have to take a short drive to Coliseum Central for late-night drinks, live music and entertainment. Keep an eye out for concerts at the Hampton Coliseum, or stop by bars such as the Comfort Zone to grab a pint or get wild on the dance floor.
History & Culture
Willow Oaks originated as a family farm in the early 20th century, but it was not until 1965 that a team of developers purchased part of the land to create a residential community. The neighborhood continued to grow over the decades, forming a strong neighborhood association and naming most of its streets after Civil War battles.
For a taste of the local culture, check out the Hampton History Museum in downtown, and don't miss out on Willow Oaks events like the annual Neighborhood Night Out Walk, a Halloween party and summer cookouts. On a larger scale, the decades-old Gosport Arts Festival in nearby Hampton provides an annual showcase for artists and musicians from all over the nation.
Whether you're commuting to work or heading to a concert at the coliseum, hop on Mercury Boulevard for a quick drive to your destination. Enjoy plenty of free parking around the neighborhood, and feel free to call a local taxi service like Yellow Cab or an Uber driver for a quick ride to the airport.
The Hampton Roads Transit bus lines run along the major roads of Willow Oaks for a quick ride into downtown. While the he neighborhood has no bike lanes, its wide and quiet streets make for an easy ride without feeling unsafe. Traffic is low, but if you prefer to walk, keep in mind that the neighborhood's widespread layout makes for a long trek.
Willow Oaks residents enjoy a cost of living that falls a little below average for the Hampton metro area. Expect to pay around $820 a month for a basic one-bedroom
apartment. Taking the bus into downtown Hampton
costs around $1.75 for a one-way trip, and gas prices hover close to the national average. If you go out for a drink at one of the nearby bars, be ready to pay around $6 for a pint of your favorite brew.
Whether you want to buy a new outfit for a job interview or just run your weekly errands, Willow Oaks has you covered with a modern retail scene. The Willow Oaks Village Square Shopping Center stands as the neighborhood's retail heart with a gift store, neighborhood market, pharmacy and other necessities. A short drive away in Coliseum Central, shoppers can find more specialty stores and high-end shopping, but Willow Oaks maintains a well-rounded shopping district for all your day-to-day needs.
Take a walk to Lilac Lane Consignments to discover a treasure trove of gently used home decor, furniture and vintage jewelry. The palette of gentle pastels and white complements the store's collection of delicate china, etched glassware and rustic dressers, creating an atmosphere that reflects old-fashioned class. Lilac Lane's shifting inventory of repurposed furnishings ensures something for every shopper.
Comic buffs and sci-fi geeks head to Atomic Comics Emporium on W. Mercury Blvd. The selection of comics and games surpasses that of any store around. The staff has an uncanny amount of knowledge and can be very helpful in your purchases. Visit often as the inventory always changes.
Head to the Village Square to pick up your weekly groceries at Farm Fresh, or pick up some imported goods for a special dinner at Hampton Oriental Market. You can also stop by the Downtown Hampton Farmers Market for fresh fruits and vegetables from local growers.
When you want to kick back and enjoy the outdoors after a day of work, head over to one of the neighborhood's beautiful public parks. The active Willow Oaks recreational association hosts community programs like the Stingrays summer swim team, but you can also head to Gosnold's Hope Park for some unstructured relaxation. Shove off from the public boat ramp, watch a race on the BMX track or let your kids climb on the playgrounds. This park also has a groomed fitness
trail and workout equipment where locals come to jog or walk their canine companions.