Virginia Beach is an independent city located on the south-eastern coast of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. Although mostly suburban in character, it is the most populous city in Virginia and the 44th most populous city in the nation. Located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach is the largest city in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. This area, known as "America's First Region", also includes the independent cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, as well as other smaller cities, counties, and towns of Hampton Roads.
Virginia Beach is a resort city with miles of beaches and hundreds of hotels, motels, and restaurants along its oceanfront. Every year the city hosts the East Coast Surfing Championships as well as the North American Sand Soccer Championship, a beach soccer tournament. It is also home to several state parks, several long-protected beach areas, military bases, a number of large corporations, Virginia Wesleyan University and Regent University, the international headquarters and site of the television broadcast studios for Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Edgar Cayce's Association for Research and Enlightenment, and numerous historic sites. The city is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest pleasure beach in the world. It is located at the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, which was the world's longest bridge-tunnel complex when it opened.
Virginia Beach is composed of a variety of industries, including national and international corporate headquarters, advanced manufacturers, defence contractors and locally owned businesses. The city's location and business climate have made it a hub of international commerce, as nearly 200 foreign firms have established a presence, an office location or their North American headquarters in Hampton Roads. Twenty internationally based firms have their U.S. or North American headquarters in Virginia Beach, including companies like Stihl, Busch, IMS Gear, and Sanjo Corte Fino. Other major companies headquartered in Virginia Beach include Amerigroup, the Christian Broadcasting Network and Operation Blessing International. Other major employers include GEICO, VT and Navy Exchange Service Command. Virginia Beach was ranked at number 45 on Forbes list of best places for business and careers.
Tourism produces a large share of Virginia Beach's economy. With an estimated $857 million spent in tourism related industries, 14,900 jobs cater to 2.75 million visitors. City coffers benefit as visitors provide $73 million in revenue. Virginia Beach has a Convention Center which caters to large group meetings and events. Hotels not only line the oceanfront but also cluster around Virginia Beach Town Center and other parts of the city. Restaurants and entertainment industries also directly benefit from Virginia Beach's tourism.
Virginia Beach has a large agribusiness sector which produces $80 million for the city economy. One hundred-seventy-two farms exist in Virginia Beach, mostly below the greenline in the southern portion of the city. Farmers are able to sell their goods and products at the city's Farmer's Market.
Virginia Beach is home to several United States Military bases. These include the United States Navy's Naval Air Station Oceana and Training Support Center Hampton Roads, and the Joint Expeditionary Base East located at Cape Henry. NAB Little Creek is located mostly within the city of Virginia Beach. NAS Oceana is the largest employer in Virginia Beach. Both NAS Oceana and Training Support Center Hampton Roads are considered to be the largest of their respective kind in the world. Furthermore, located in nearby Norfolk is the central hub of the United States Navy's Atlantic Fleet, Norfolk Navy Base.
Virginia Beach is ranked #117 by the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (GUCR) which evaluates and ranks world cities in the context of economic competitiveness. Virginia Beach has a population of over 449,974 people. Virginia Beach also forms part of the wider Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metropolitan area which has a population of over 1,729,114 people. Virginia Beach is the #135 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 4.0623 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores per 100,000 city residents.