If you’re wondering what things to do in Alexandria, VA, you’ve come to the right place. From historical attractions to outdoor fun, we’ve got it all. So read on for our top picks for a day (or weekend) out in Alexandria. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, we know you’ll find something you love in Alexandria!
Stroll to the King Street Mile, one of America’s “Great Streets.”
While in Old Town, there are endless options along and near King Street. This is a nationally designated historic district founded in 1749 and known to be one of the “Great Streets” of America.
King street features centuries-old architecture with brick-lined streets, cobblestone alleys and a canopy of twinkling lights during the holidays. Explore dozens of independently owned restaurants like the Cocktail Garden at King & Ryce, Turkish Coffee lady, Kismet Modern Indian and more. Also, enjoy a ride on the Free King Street Trolley.
Go on a Sightseeing Cruise or Water Taxi
Being a historic port city and a hub for city cruises, Alexandria is a launching point for sightseeing cruises and water taxis. The Old Town Waterfront stands out among the top sights and has been a busy seaport for centuries.
Set sail with water taxis and river cruises. There are many scenic commutes to choose from between Alexandria and the National Mall, Nationals Park, The Wharf, Georgetown, George Washington’s Mount Vernon and National Harbor.
The Waterfront is also the perfect place to take in picturesque views of the Potomac River as you enjoy al fresco drinks and meals while watching street performers and musicians.
Take a Tour of Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum
The apothecary shop, which was opened in 1792 by pharmacist Edward Stabler, ran as a family business until 1933. Some famous customers here have included George, Martha Washington, and Robert E. Lee. After the shop closed, it was turned into a museum.
You will see many original products and ingredients used by the family for over 140 years. These products include old medical equipment, journals, recipes, ledgers, hand-blown glass bottles, and herbal remedies. Additionally, you will learn about the real-life uses of the medicines.
Most Harry Potter fans love this place because some of the original ingredients used at the shop are found in the Harry Potter series, for example, mandrake root, valerian, dragon’s blood, and castor oil. The guided tour at the museum takes you around the selling floor as well as the storage floor of the shop.
Visit Alexandria Farmers’ Market
Alexandria Farmers’ Market is one of the oldest farmers’ markets in the country. George Washington sent his produce from Mt. Vernon to be sold at this market.
Over 70 vendors sell fresh products during the peak season, like meat, pasta, fruits, cheese, bread, pastries, plants, jewelry, vegetables, flowers, soap, and art.
There are many things to discover at this market, from buying souvenirs and food. There is free parking in the Market Square Parking Garage, and access is also available by the Old Town Trolley and DASH bus.
Head Over To The Former Torpedo Factory and See Art in Action
The factory was founded in 1974 in an old munitions plant and is home to the nation’s largest number of publicly accessible working artist studios under one roof.
Alexandria city manages the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Every year over a half million national and international visitors converge here and interact with more than 160 resident artists in 82 studios and seven galleries. You will have an opportunity to ask about their creative process and purchase original work for your collection.
Additionally, you will have a chance to visit three floors of studios for ceramics, glass, enamel, collage, fiber, jewelry, mixed media, painting, printmaking, photography, and sculpture.
Remember to visit the Target Gallery, the Torpedo Factory’s contemporary exhibition space. It has high-caliber national and international artists with various visual media on a rotating schedule. The Torpedo Factory Art Center also houses The Art League Gallery and School, the Alexandria Archaeology Museum, and Bread & Water Co.
Go and See the Tiny Spite House
The spite House is the Skinniest Historic House in America. The seven feet wide house was constructed in 1830 by John Hollensbury. The reason for the construction was that he was annoyed with the loiterers’ horse-drawn wagons in his alleyway and built the house to spite and prevent them from using the passage, thus getting the name of a spite house. The spite House is a must-stop for Instagrammers and photographers. Take a walk to this Old Town’s historic red brick sidewalks to get more photo-worthy rowhouses from centuries past.
Dine at Historic Eateries
There are many historic independent and chef-driven restaurants in a can’t-beat historic atmosphere in this Old Town. Though many are in centuries-old historic buildings, none beats Virtue Feeds and Grain. This eatery is an American tavern located in an 1800s feed house steps from the waterfront.
Virtue Feed & Grain has modern-rustic décor and an upbeat atmosphere. You will enjoy a meal on the patio, taking in the view of the Potomac from a second-level Porch room or relaxing with a cocktail in a Sofa Lounge. You can also host a memorable event in one of the many event spaces.
This historic building borders Wales Alley, and its structure is shrouded with coincidental signs that the project was meant to be: The former Alexandria Mayor and Irishman, John Fitzgerald, shared ownership of the alley where beer was sold as early as 1786. The place was later named after Andrew Wales, the brewery’s owner.
Alexandria is a vibrant and historic city with plenty to offer visitors. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing stroll or want to be more active, there’s something for everyone in Alexandria. Be sure to check out the King Street Mile, go on a Sightseeing Cruise or Water Taxi, take a tour of Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, visit Alexandria Farmers’ Market, and head over to the former Torpedo Factory and see Art in Action!