What To Do In Alexandria, Virginia

Things to do in Alexandria

Alexandria is one of the oldest cities in America and because it is just outside Washington DC its history is deeply intertwined with the capital of the United States.

Old Town Alexandria

One reason to visit Alexandria is to see Old Town, a historic area full of cobblestone streets, shops, and many awesome restaurants. It is right outside Washington DC and easy to get to by using the Metro or riding a water taxi. The Potomac Riverboat Company drops off riders in the heart of Old Town on King Street, from there is it easy to walk to points of interest. It is also great to walk along the waterfront park right by the Potomac River and relax by the Old Town Waterfront after a meal.

The Torpedo Factory Art Center is a former World War II munitions factory that is now home to over 80 artist's studios. The various artists have their works on display such as paintings, ceramics, and jewelry.

Old Town Alexandria is also a destination for amazing food from pizza, French, and even Vietnamese. The area in general is multicultural so there are lots of ethnic restaurants in the district.

George Washington's Mount Vernon

Down the Potomac from historic Alexandria is Mount Vernon the plantation of George Washington. Now, visitors can walk through the house and grounds to learn more about George and Martha Washington.

Mount Vernon Trail

For those that want to take in some nature, there is the Mount Vernon Trail that goes from the Mount Vernon estate to Theodore Roosevelt Island. There are dedicated paths for walking, jogging, and biking that snakes through the nature park, marshes, and views of the Potomac River, the National Harbor, and Washington DC.

Colonial and Civil War connections

George Washington and Robert E Lee called Alexandria home at one point and many of the founding fathers frequented the town. The Episcopal Christ Church and Gadsbys Tavern Museum, a traditional American tavern, are places that are still around to teach people about 18th century Virginia. Fun fact, Thomas Jefferson slept at the tavern one night while waiting to know if he would become president of the United States.

Alexandria became a federal outpost and logistical supply center during the war. The Alexandria National Cemetery was established in 1862 as one of the first national cemeteries and by 1864 was almost full.

Alexandria Black History Museum

Alexandria was a slave trading post but at the same time, it had pockets where free African Americans lived. The Alexandria Black History Museum chronicles the lives of African Americans in Alexandria and their contributions to the city. The building itself is a historic site since it was the first library for African Americans built in the 1940s.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope Leighey House

One of the historic homes in the city is the Pope Leighey House. The home was designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the Usonian style. A kind of architecture that was developed for the middle class, with simple lines and lower cost to build.