Celebrating Local Virginia

Presenting your choices for the state’s best restaurants, stores, and services.

Illustration by Chiara Vercesi

Best of Virginia 2020 Road map

Bringing the best from around the Commonwealth to you, Best of Virginia 2020 celebrates the best products, services, accommodations, things to do, and much more that Virginia has to offer.  

Welcome to Best of Virginia 2020, your guide to the best local businesses across the Commonwealth. 

The issue comes to you a bit later than usual this year, because it has been a very unusual year. Many of our winning businesses have been closed to the public or operating under extremely limited circumstances due to the pandemic, so we delayed publication in the interest of bringing you the most up to date information. As I write this in June, the state has entered Phase 2 of the Forward Virginia plan, welcoming customers back—albeit with some limitations. 

As we recover from the lockdown, we hope that Best of Virginia serves as a resource for readers and a boost for both the winners and their fellow local businesses. That’s our goal for the issue every year, but now more than ever, it’s important to choose hometown restaurants, stores, and services whenever possible.  

This was never going to be just another Best of Virginia, because we tweak, adjust, and update the program every year. For the annual poll in January, we used data from the 2019 issue to offer dropdown menus for the first time, in addition to the usual write-in option. You responded with enthusiasm, casting a record 55,000 ballots! And although the dropdowns made voting quicker and easier than ever, you recognized your favorites even if they weren’t on the menu—write-in candidates were among the winners in every region. 

In creating the issue, we grouped the categories by theme rather than by alphabetical order. To make navigation easier, we’ve included an index for each regional section; for the first time, you can find the exact page where, for example, the Best Gym in Southwest Virginia is highlighted. Of course the categories change slightly every year, to give all businesses a chance to compete. If you can’t find your favorite, send us a note and we’ll consider reinstating it for next year.

Rather than choose a theme for the stories that enliven the pages, we wrote about topics related to the winners. So, we asked Best Shoe Store winners about shoes and Best Sandwich Shop winners about sandwiches, and checked with the Best Entertainment & Events winners to see what’s on their calendars for the year. We had some fun and interesting conversations with the winners, and hope the information they shared is both useful and entertaining. Let us know what you think.

Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who voted, as well as the tourism officials and chambers of commerce around the state who publicized the poll in their regions. Congratulations to all of the winners, and thanks for chatting with us during an incredibly trying time. And, of course, thanks to all of you for supporting the magazine and all of Virginia’s local businesses. We’re stronger together!

June 11, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
July 9, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
August 13, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum