History meets modern day in the City of Alexandria
The city has so much more to offer its residents and visitors than just its historical significance to the nation.
Happening this week, Feb. 17-23
FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS
Armed Forces Community Covenant Ceremony
Monday, noon-1 p.m.
Honor and support our nation’s veterans and active military members at Market Square this President’s Day. This family-friendly event gives local residents the opportunity to sign the community covenant document, formally pronouncing support in our armed forces. // Market Square: 301 King St., Alexandria; free
Youth Watercolor Lettering Workshop
Monday, 2-4 p.m.
Those ages 10 through 17 have the day off from school this Monday, so why not give them something fun to do? Young students are welcome at this Watercolor Lettering Workshop, designed for preteens and teens with an interest in crafting, painting and handwriting. // AR Workshop Alexandria: 1212 King St., Alexandria; $55
PARKS & REC
Adult Workshop: Leather Jewelry
Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.
Talented artist Lesley Harris will lead NoVA residents in a leather jewelry-making workshop this week. When the one-and-a-half-hour session is complete, you’ll walk away with a beautiful new pair of earrings. // Durant Art Center: 1605 Cameron St., Alexandria; $35 for members, $40 for nonmembers
An Evening with Drew and Ellie Holcomb: The You & Me Tour
Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
Husband and wife duo Drew and Ellie Holcomb are making their way to The Birchmere all the way from Nashville to perform funky, up-beat tunes for one night only. As the couple is no longer in a band together anymore, this is a special experience you won’t want to miss. // The Birchmere: 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; $45
Bad Romance Book Club
Friday, 7-8 p.m.
In celebration of Black History Month, the staff of Old Town Books is hosting a reading of famed-author Beverly Jenkins’ two novels, Rebel and Captured. Both tales are romantic, daring and sure to keep you interested all night long. // Old Town Books: 104 S. Union St., Alexandria; $13.55
FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS
Alexandria’s Roaring 2020 Big Band Winter Bash
Saturday, 4 p.m.
Come out for a celebration of all things music this Saturday, as it’s time for Alexandria’s annual winter bash. This year, families will delight in the hour-long concert, consisting of tunes by Elton John, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and so much more. Plus, the Alexandria Citizens Swing Band will perform as well. // Del Ray United Methodist Church: 100 E. Windsor Ave., Alexandria; free
Improv Comedy Show: The Auxiliary
Saturday, 8 p.m.
Laugh out loud at this unique comedy performance taking place at The Lyceum this weekend. This week’s show is completely unscripted, so get ready for an unexpected affair led by local comedians. // The Lyceum: 201 S. Washington St., Alexandria; $10 donation suggested
FOOD & DRINKS
Beer Tasting with Cheese & Charcuterie at Port City Brewing
Sunday, 1-4 p.m.
Unwind Sunday afternoon with fresh brews and delicious cheese. Cheestique Del Ray is partnering with Port City to bring you this special event, where you’ll taste specifically paired beer and cheese, receive tours of the brewery and learn about what it takes to create flavorful brews. // Port City Brewing Company: 3950 Wheeler Ave., Alexandria; $50
Hank’s keeps the vibe casual and the plates unfussy while serving well-cared-for cuts of fish, a killer roast chicken and a deep bench of oysters from waters near and far.
The Hank’s brand continues with this casual restaurant of beautiful pasta in unfamiliar shapes and always delicious sauces.
Restaurateur Mike “Mango” Anderson has been owning restaurants in the greater Alexandria area for years and this low-key burger place (next door to his other places: Pork Barrel BBQ and the adults-only Sushi Bar) offers a slew of combinations and milkshakes, of course.
Sebastien Tavel is the chef and owner of La Fromagerie, taking it from a wine and cheese shop opened in 2009 to what he calls a “wine bar with a French accent” two years later.
This intimate restaurant in Old Town serves a set menu with multiple courses in kappo-style dining. The seasonally changing dishes include scallop cakes with lotus root, sashimi and lobster ramen.
What started as a farm-to-table (there’s a garden on the property) Modern American restaurant from the Irish-born (and James Beard award-winning) chef Cathal Armstrong is now delving into Asian cuisine and its family-style, multi-course menu mixing Filipino with Indian and other dishes of the Pacific is one of the best ideas for dinner in Old Town.
Rocklands founder John Snedden originally fell for beef ribs while eating his way across the Lone Star State. When it came time to stoke his own barbecue venture, Snedden carved out room for the lusty treat.
With biscuit sandwiches all day (get the one with fried chicken and pimento cheese of course) it opens for a couple nights a week for dinner serving interesting and affordable dishes with worldly inclinations.
This sophisticated dining room with window-seats for watching the strollers along King Street is interesting upscale food and kitchen-driven cocktails.
Connect with local archaeologists in this public laboratory and explore artifacts (some over 10,000 years old) by visiting exhibits, experiencing hands-on activities or participating in a self-guided tour.
Old Town’s Ghosts and Graveyards tour is sure to spook even the bravest tourist. Visit Alexandria’s most notorious spots as a guide clad in 18th-century attire tells tales of vengeful spirits and mysteries of the past.
Body surfing, speed slides and a wave pool are all the rage at this water wonderland, as are mini golf, batting cages and the Shark Shack.
What better way to ride through Old Town Alexandria than on the endearing and free King Street Trolley? Visit your favorite shops, historic sites and restaurants with a touch of charm.
Alexandria’s Mobile Art Lab brings creative opportunities to the masses with its art truck, unleashing new public art projects around the city. Follow them on Twitter to stay up to date on where they’re headed next.
Tucked into the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the National Inventors Hall of Fame features American technological artifacts—such as a Ford Mustang that is a mix of the 1965 and 2015 models—and celebrates the achievements of more than 500 inventors, all with free admission.
If you’re looking for laser tag, there is no experience as immersive as this one. You’ll strap on a vest and disappear into an arena with a multilevel landscape covered in misty fog.
Yes, this museum focuses on the herbal botanicals and medical equipment used in the late 1700s and 1800s, but what will really get the kids, and you, magically interested is the museum’s focus on Harry Potter through the character’s birthday celebrations and tours.
This museum displays local and regional history and also houses the Watson Reading Room. Rotating exhibits concentrate on the history of slavery as well as how African-Americans helped shape communities in both the past and present.
Having just celebrated 50 years in the business, there is no doubt that The Birchmere is an established name. The acts that come through spotlight the traditions of the industry and have included Don McLean, David Crosby, Ray Charles, The Smithereens and more.
Gadsby’s Tavern has been around since 1785 with notable patrons including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and the Marquis de Lafayette. The museum is only open to scheduled tours, but special events, teas and family days are held throughout the year.
Rarely do you find a location that has enough notoriety to make it into a Dan Brown book and doubles as a popular sledding spot for children. The Memorial, rising 333 feet high in a neoclassical tiered pyramid atop Shooter’s Hill, was built in 1922 to commemorate George Washington’s membership to the Masonic Lodge in Fredericksburg.
Originally founded as a small play-reading group in 1934, the Little Theatre of Alexandria bought a former blacksmith’s shop five years later and has been performing full productions ever since—over 300 in total. Now located on Wolfe Street in Old Town, LTA is the oldest award-winning theater in the Washington metro area and boasts an ambitious eight-show season.
Head to the Lyceum to learn all about the rich history of the city. Special programs, performances and lectures are offered throughout the year. The Lyceum Museum shop contains maps, books, cards and mementos of Alexandria’s history.
Known for its intimate environment, this is a 130-seat theater that focuses on a range of contemporary plays and musicals from its plethora of outstanding directors and cast members.
What used to be, literally, an old torpedo factory is the centerpiece of NoVA’s art scene. In 1974 the refurbished factory opened as an art center, and today it houses more than 150 artists. Stop in and see them at work on a daily basis, or take in one of the many exhibits happening year-round.
Take your dog on a cruise, have dinner aboard Nina’s Dandy, or take a water taxi to nearby National Harbor. Alexandria’s harbor offers several options for enjoying the Potomac River.
Exploring Alexandria’s waterfront by bike is a great way to enjoy the sites while getting a solid workout. If you’re bike-less, you can pick one up at one of more than 30 Bikeshare stations around the city for a fee.
Not far from Old Town Alexandria and in view of both passing aircraft and watercraft, Dangerfield Island is a waterfront park that offers a tranquil setting amid a variety of wildlife. Though it’s not technically an island, it is bordered mostly by water and was Alexandria’s first permanent settlement.
What You Can Do:
- Water fountains
- Picnic tables
Take a midday stroll, enjoy a picnic or revel in a summer concert at Fort Hunt, on land which once belonged to George Washington and is rich with military history.
What You Can Do:
- Paved trails
- Softball field
- Sunday night concerts (June-August)
- Picnic areas
Hike or bike along this 18-mile paved trail, which runs along local historical sites such as Mount Vernon Estate, Theodore Roosevelt Island and the Arlington National Cemetery. The trail also goes through Old Town Alexandria, where you can take a break to eat or shop.
What You Can Do:
- Metro accessible
- Water fountains
- Picnic tables
Potomac Yard Park
This relatively young park near the Potomac Yard housing development features two playgrounds geared for both tots and older children, with a spray ground and picnic tables at the park center.
What You Can Do:
- Picnic tables
- Outdoor stage
- Sports fields
- Basketball, tennis and volleyball courts
- Walking and cycling trails
River Farm Gardens is the ideal setting for the American Horticultural Society, with its opulent gardens and views of the Potomac River. It’s also a popular place for visitors looking for an outdoor escape and for weddings.
What You Can Do:
- Garden shop
- Canopied patio
- Weddings, birthday parties, memorials, meetings and reunions
Old Town, the Metro-D.C. area’s largest preserved colonial neighborhood, is best known for its historic sites and centuries-old structures, but it’s also home to half a dozen interconnected riverfront parks paralleling the Mount Vernon Trail on the west and the Potomac River on the east.
College students who have recently relocated to the area will fall in love with 3 Sisters. With most items under $100, the store is jam-packed with of-the-moment items in bright colors and prints. If you are a fan of Forever 21 or H&M, this local fave deserves a visit.
Old Town Alexandria’s Acme Mid-Century + Modern purveys modern and vintage artifacts, furniture, accessories, sculpture and art.
Old Town’s only locally owned beauty boutique carries over 50 beauty and skincare brands that range from niche to well-known. From Tocca fragrances and Lipstick Queen lip colors to skincare from Kiehl’s and Mario Badescu, this is a great place to stock up on quality personal care items.
This boutique is a one-stop shop for trendy footwear, accessories and a few apparel options located right in the heart of King Street. Step into selections from Loeffler Randall, Matt Bernson and L.K. Bennett, or try on their collection of Loren Hope baubles.
Stepping into this store is like walking into a beach house decorated by your chicest friend. Inspired by the neutral color palette of a “coconut by the sea,” this boutique on the waterfront offers home goods and apparel in various shades of white, tan and turquoise.
Current is the best place to score consigned designer pieces from Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg and more at incredibly reasonable prices. The boutique also sells a curated collection of new clothing at the front of the store. Consignors can also use a credit toward purchasing items within the boutique.
Specializing in daytime to eveningwear, Duchess M offers cocktail dresses, work and weekend clothing from brands such as Nanette Lepore, Milly and more. While you may be familiar with the brands, you are still guaranteed to find something unexpected and exciting.
Always wanted to knit or crochet? Fibre Space has what you need. It carries a large selection of colorful yarns, hosts craft workshops and engages in public art projects around the city.
The store has an eclectic mix of finds such as upholstered furniture, custom dining tables, consoles, coffee tables, ceramics, artwork, textiles and vintage pieces.
In search of elevated everyday clothing? This boutique has been offering quality casual and weekend items since 1999. With everything from soft sweaters and flirty tops to denim, jumpsuits and dresses, there is a piece for any personal style at an affordable price point.
Also from the owners of 3 Sisters, Lucky Knot is preppy paradise for men and women of all ages. Customers can find T-shirts from Simply Southern, home goods in Lilly Pulitzer prints, apparel from Southern Tide and Sail to Sable and shoes from Jack Rogers.
Luxury brands can be astronomically expensive, but no one can deny the quality. Mint Condition gives you the chance to shop items from brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton at a price point that won’t break the bank.
The Old Town store carries 10 featured designers and offers services such as repair, ring sizing, appraisals stone matching and more.
This boutique makes sure to appeal to any price point by combining two store concepts under one roof. The Periwinkle section of the store consists of higher end items from AG Jeans, Bailey 44, Sanctuary, Shoshanna and more. The Pink Armoire section consists of items under $100 that range from preppy to trendy.
Known for carrying a small selection of U.S.-based independent jewelry designers, She’s Unique is the best place to pick up everyday jewelry. With a focus on minimalism and the ability to wear pieces together as a collection, the store is like an Instagram feed brought to life.
At one of the neighborhood’s oldest fashion boutiques, you can browse a curated collection of shoes from well-known brands like Stuart Weitzman and Vince and smaller lines like AGL and Freda Salvador. Although accessories are also offered, the location recently opened a sister store, The Hive, specializing in luxury clothing.
Customized, figure-flattering fit is the focus here. TSALT offers an in-house line designed by owner Tamara Saltonstall that can be altered free of charge. If one-of-a-kind is what you’re after, custom pieces can be created in the studio upstairs by appointment. Complementary apparel and accessory lines are also available.
- First Night Alexandria (December/January)
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade (March)
- Historic Garden Tour of Alexandria (April)
- Memorial Day Jazz Festival (May)
- An American Celebration at Mount Vernon (July)
- USA & Alexandria Birthday Celebration (July)
- Alexandria Sidewalk Sale (August)
- Alexandria King Street Arts Festival (September)
- Art on the Avenue (October)
- Alexandria Film Festival (November)
- City of Alexandria Holiday Tree Lighting (November)
- Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend (December)
- Holiday Boat Parade of Lights (December)
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