Did you know Old Town Alexandria is the 3rd oldest historic district in the United States? If you have never been here, come and enjoy this wonderful location. Old Town is on the banks of the Potomac River, very close to Washington DC. Founded on 1749 by Scottish merchants, Old Town has everything from an entertaining nightlife to a vast selection of boutiques and art galleries.
When you get there, take the King Street Trolley, it’s free and you will enjoy a charming ride through the historic district. It runs seven days a week from 11:30am to 10pm. Part of the Old Town magic is walking along the pebbled streets, don’t miss the chance to take a tour on your own or a guided one. A couple great tours are the Alexandria Colonial Tours and Alexandria’s Footsteps to the Past tours.
If you are looking to explore the cultural heritage of Alexandria, the city offers over 10 historical museums, most of which are located in historical buildings that are architectural jewels. One of the places you must visit is Tavern Museum, which consists in two buildings, a tavern and a hotel. The museum is named after John Gadsby who ran both buildings from 1796 to 1808. It’s famous because it was frequently visited by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams and even George Washington. Nowadays, aside from being a museum, it’s also a restaurant where you will be able to taste dishes and culinary creations inspired by the colonial times.
Another place that’s a must see in Alexandria is The Lyceum. Its name actually comes from a group of gentlemen that joined in the library for lectures, experiments or simply to read. In time, the building itself came to be known as the Lyceum. Here you will find exhibits that display objects and artifacts of historical significance and programs for children to learn about American history.
The Torpedo Art Center, a post WWI munitions factory, attracts thousands of visitors every year and with good reason. It highlights everything Alexandria is about, it has 82 artist studios, 6 galleries, 2 workshops and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. You will be able to see various artists during their creative process and you will even have the opportunity to purchase art pieces and crafts.
At night, the historic district has a wide variety of restaurants, locally owned and chef owned restaurants. You can go for casual options like pubs and outdoor cafes to more elegant spaces. If you are a romantic at heart, a great option is a dinner cruise along the Potomac River that showcases a fantastic view of some of the nation’s monuments. Many of the restaurants in the city also offer mouth-watering brunches so at night or during the day, there’s a place to go in Old Town.
If you are an outdoor type of person, Old Town Alexandria will not disappoint you, there are a number of biking and hiking trails that offer you great views of the Potomac River and take you to famous locations and Civil War sites. One of these famous locations is Mount Vernon once the home of George Washington, reachable by boat from Old Town. Mount Vernon is open 7 days a week and there you will be able to explore not just the Mansion but also the farm, galleries, shops and restaurants.