Alexandria Virginia - wayre's destination guide

Alexandria, Virginia: Exploring the Historic Charm

Welcome to Alexandria, Virginia, a city that beautifully blends historic charm with modern elegance. Located just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, Alexandria is known for its well-preserved 18th- and 19th-century architecture, vibrant arts scene, and delightful waterfront. Let’s dive into the best experiences Alexandria has to offer.

Where to Stay

  • The Alexandrian, Autograph Collection: This boutique hotel offers a perfect blend of historic charm and modern comfort. Located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, The Alexandrian provides luxurious accommodations with easy access to the city's main attractions.
  • Hotel Indigo Old Town Alexandria: Situated along the waterfront, Hotel Indigo offers stunning views of the Potomac River. The hotel's contemporary design and comfortable rooms make it a great choice for travelers looking to enjoy both the historic and scenic aspects of Alexandria.
  • Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa: For a touch of luxury and relaxation, consider staying at the Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa. This upscale hotel features a full-service spa, elegant rooms, and a beautiful courtyard, providing a serene retreat in the midst of the city.


Must-See Places and Activities

Walking Along the Waterfront

One of the highlights of Alexandria is its picturesque waterfront. Stroll along the Alexandria harbor, where you can enjoy stunning views of the Potomac River. The waterfront promenade is lined with charming shops, restaurants, and parks, making it a perfect place for a leisurely walk or a romantic evening.

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Old Town Alexandria

Old Town Alexandria is a historic district filled with cobblestone streets, colonial-era buildings, and a vibrant atmosphere. Here are some must-see spots in Old Town:

  1. King Street: This street is the heart of Old Town, lined with over 200 independent restaurants, boutiques, and historic attractions. It’s a great place to shop, dine, and soak in the local culture.
  2. Carlyle House: Visit the Carlyle House Historic Park, an 18th-century mansion that offers a glimpse into Alexandria’s colonial past. Guided tours provide insights into the life of John Carlyle, one of Alexandria’s founding fathers.
  3. Gadsby’s Tavern Museum: Explore this historic tavern and museum, where George Washington and other prominent figures once dined. The museum offers guided tours and exhibits on the social and political life of 18th-century Alexandria.

Torpedo Factory Art Center

Located along the waterfront, the Torpedo Factory Art Center is a hub for the arts in Alexandria. This former munitions factory now houses artist studios, galleries, and workshops. Visitors can watch artists at work, buy unique pieces, and take part in art classes.

Mount Vernon Trail

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Mount Vernon Trail offers a scenic route for walking, running, or biking. The trail runs along the Potomac River, providing beautiful views and access to several parks and historic sites. It’s a great way to explore Alexandria’s natural beauty while getting some exercise.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

A short drive from Alexandria, George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate is a must-visit for history buffs. Explore the beautifully preserved mansion, gardens, and museum dedicated to the life and legacy of America’s first president. The estate also offers educational programs and special events throughout the year.


Hidden Gems

  • Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary MuseumStep back in time at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, a historic apothecary shop that operated from 1792 to 1933. The museum features original furnishings, medicinal herbs, and curiosities from the 19th century. It’s a fascinating look at the history of medicine and pharmacy in Alexandria.
  • Jones Point ParkJones Point Park is a tranquil waterfront park located at the southern tip of Alexandria. The park features walking trails, picnic areas, and the historic Jones Point Lighthouse. It’s a perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon by the river.
  • The Spite HouseThe Spite House, located on Queen Street, is one of Alexandria’s quirkiest landmarks. This narrow blue house, measuring just 7 feet wide, was built out of spite by John Hollensbury in 1830 to keep loiterers out of his alleyway. It’s a fun and unique photo opportunity.

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Local Foods and Restaurants

Café du Soleil

My go-to spot for savory crêpes! Café du Soleil is a charming French café located in the heart of Old Town. Known for its delicious pastries, organic and fair trade coffee, and cozy atmosphere, it’s a perfect spot for breakfast or a leisurely brunch. Try their crêpes and fresh-baked bread for an authentic taste of France in Alexandria.

Hank’s Oyster Bar

For seafood lovers, Hank’s Oyster Bar is a must-visit. This local favorite offers a relaxed atmosphere and a menu full of fresh seafood dishes. Enjoy their famous oysters, lobster rolls, and clam chowder while taking in the Old Town atmosphere. The outdoor patio is a great place to unwind with a cocktail and some of the best seafood in town.

Virtue Feed & Grain

Virtue Feed & Grain is a popular restaurant housed in a historic feed house. The rustic yet chic ambiance, along with a menu featuring American comfort food, makes it a great spot for lunch or dinner. Their farm-to-table approach ensures fresh and flavorful dishes, with highlights including the crab cakes and the smoked brisket.

Captain Gregory’s

For a unique dining experience, visit Captain Gregory’s, a hidden speakeasy located behind a donut shop. This intimate venue offers creative cocktails and small plates in a cozy, dimly lit setting. It’s perfect for a special night out or a unique date spot.

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Hidden Gem

Lavender Moon Cupcakery - This organic cupcake bakery makes small-batch, moist cupcakes in creative flavors like lemon lavender, buttermilk with Mexican chocolate pudding and orange blossom. Their flavors change daily and are absolutely amazing!


Alexandria, Virginia, is a captivating blend of historic charm and modern elegance, offering something for every traveler. With its unique attractions, vibrant arts scene, and hidden gems waiting to be discovered, this charming city just a stone's throw away from Washington, DC, is the perfect destination for a memorable trip.


Happy travels!


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