Best Things to do in Alexandria, Virginia

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If you’re looking for the best things to do in Alexandria, Virginia you have come to the right place. From where to eat and where to stay in Alexandria to the best attractions, historic landmarks and hidden gems I am sharing with you my favorite things to do in Alexandria.

Kings Sreet Alexandria Virginia
Kings Sreet Alexandria Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia, a city brimming with history, charm, and so many interesting and fun things to do. Nestled along the scenic Potomac River and just minutes away from the bustling streets of Washington, D.C., Alexandria delightfully blends old-world charm and modern-day excitement.

Old Town Alexandria Virginia

With its cobblestone streets, historic architecture, and vibrant neighborhoods, this picturesque destination immerses you in it’s rich heritage and diverse cultural offerings. From strolling through the quaint streets of Old Town, home to charming boutiques and great restaurants, to embarking on waterfront adventures and delving into the stories of America’s founding fathers, Alexandria has something for everyone. 

Historic Alexandria Virginia
Old Town, Alexandria Virginia

Having visited Alexandria since I was a kid during our trips to Washington D.C. to visit family, I’ve always loved spending time there. Whether it was wandering around its historic streets or enjoying its waterfront, Alexandria holds a special place in my heart. Now, as an adult, I still find Alexandria to be a fantastic place to visit, whether you’re there for a weekend or just a day. So if you’re planning a trip to the D.C. area, don’t forget to check out Alexandria—you won’t be disappointed!

Alexandria Virginia waterfront
Alexandria Virginia waterfront

Best Things To Do In Alexandria

Here are a few fantastic activities you can enjoy in Alexandria, Virginia. From exploring historical sites to indulging in delicious cuisine, there’s so many things to love in this beautiful historic city.

Old Town Alexandria Virginia
Old Town Alexandria Virginia

Take a Self Guided Walking Tour of Old Town 

  • Experience the colonial charm of Captain’s Row on Prince Street’s 100 block, where historic homes from the late 1700s transport you to another era.
Captain Row Alexandria Virginia
Captain Row Alexandria Virginia
  • Check out the Spite House, known as the skinniest historic house in America, the Hollensbury Spite House was built in 1830 to deter loiterers from the nearby alley—it’s just seven feet wide!
Spite House in Alexandria
The Spite House in Alexandria
  • Take a leisurely stroll down the iconic King Street mile, lined with over 200 independent shops and restaurants housed in stunning 18th and 19th-century architecture.
Kings Sreet Alexandria Virginia
Kings Sreet inAlexandria Virginia
  • Immerse yourself in Black history experiences around the city, from self-guided walking tours to vibrant public artwork, kiosks, and markers. Don’t miss landmarks like the Freedom House Museum and the Alexandria Black History Museum.
  • Discover the rich history of Market Square, home to Alexandria’s City Hall and a centuries-old weekly farmers market, along with lively holiday tree lighting and year-round festivities.
Market Square in Alexandria
Market Square in Alexandria
  • Step back in time at Carlyle House, a Georgian Palladian manor built in 1753 by Scottish merchant and city co-founder John Carlyle.
The Carlyle House in Alexandria
The Carlyle House 
  • Marvel at the waterfront’s newest art installation, “Interstellar Influencer,” created by the acclaimed artist and architect duo Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang of STUDIOKCA.
  • Explore the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, one of the nation’s oldest pharmacies, with over 15,000 original medical products still intact, including intriguing ingredients like “dragon’s blood.
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum in Alexandria Virginia
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

Stop by Old Town Farmers’ Market 

The Old Town Farmers’ Market is such a special place! Did you know it’s the oldest farmers’ market in the country, held continuously at the same site? Even George Washington sent his produce from Mount Vernon to be sold here! Today, the market is a wonderful way for both locals and visitors to Alexandria to connect with the past while being part of a local and national tradition.

During the peak season you’ll find over 70 vendors offering all sorts of goodies. From fresh fruits and veggies to hot prepared foods, meats, cheeses, and even handmade crafts and jewelry, there’s something for everyone here. It’s a great way to support local farmers and artisans while enjoying some of the best produce and products around.

Get Your Art Fix at the Torpedo Factory

The Torpedo Factory Art Center is such a gem! It’s amazing to see how this historic site, once a munitions plant during World War II, has transformed into a vibrant space for creativity and expression. With 72 artist studios and 10 galleries, there’s so much to explore here. Stepping inside, you can feel the energy buzzing as you wander through the diverse collection of artworks in various mediums.

Torpedo Factory Art Center
Torpedo Factory Art Center

Whether you’re into paintings, sculptures, or photography, there’s something for everyone at the Torpedo Factory. I loved how it celebrates both established artists and emerging talents, creating a real sense of community and appreciation for the arts.

Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria
Torpedo Factory Art Center

But what truly made my visit special was being able to chat with the artists themselves. It was fascinating to hear about their inspiration and creative process firsthand. Spending time in their studios gave me a deeper understanding of the art and made the experience so much more meaningful. You could easily spend the whole day here, soaking in all the creativity and talent on display.

I specially enjoyed talking with the following Hispanic artists at the Torpedo Factory:

  • Pedro Ledesma III, influenced by his diverse heritage and global travels, captures the essence of wide-open spaces and tight-knit communities through his photography. His work, which reflects his deep love for culture and family, explores visual storytelling with a unique blend of curiosity and passion.
Pedro Ledesma III gallery at Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria
Pedro Ledesma III gallery at Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria
  • Alexis Gomez, known for his innovative approach to art, creates captivating augmented reality sculptures and virtual reality experiences. Inspired by his surroundings and fueled by a desire for artistic innovation, Gomez’s artwork pushes boundaries and challenges traditional artistic norms.

Visit the Chirilagua Neighborhood for a Taste of Latinx Culture

Visiting the Chirilagua (Arlandria) neighborhood in Alexandria, VA,  felt like stepping into a vibrant tapestry of Central American culture. From the moment I arrived, I was surrounded by a whirlwind of colors, flavors, and sounds that reflected the rich heritage of the community. Affectionately known as Chirilagua, this neighborhood pulsates with the rhythms of Salvadoran and Central American culture, welcoming visitors with open arms.

Tenants United Mural in Arlandria
Tenants United Mural. Photo by Misha Enriquez

Exploring the Chirilagua (Arlandria) neighborhood in Alexandria, VA, felt like stepping into a vibrant tapestry of Central American culture. From the moment I arrived, I was surrounded by a whirlwind of colors, flavors, and sounds that reflected the rich heritage of the community. Affectionately known as Chirilagua, this neighborhood pulsates with the rhythms of Salvadoran and Central American culture, welcoming visitors with open arms.

One highlight of my visit was immersing myself in Chirilagua’s diverse culinary scene. Each dish I tried was a delightful journey through tradition and heritage, from the mouthwatering pupusas at El Pulgarcito to the flavorful Peruvian ceviche at Huascarán. As I wandered the streets, I couldn’t resist stopping at fruit stalls offering fresh produce and exotic fruits like mango with chamoy or fresh nances.

Where to eat in Arlandria neighborhood, El Pulgarcito restaurant

Beyond its amazing and authentic food, Chirilagua is also home to vibrant murals and community spaces that celebrate the resilience and spirit of its residents. Whether you’re admiring the colorful artwork of Tenants and Workers United, catching a concert at the Birchmeer or simply soaking in the lively ambiance of Mount Vernon Avenue, a visit to Chirilagua promises an authentic and immersive experience that captures the essence of Central American culture.

Embark on a Monument Sightseeing Tour from Alexandria to Georgetown

Hop aboard City Cruises for an incredible monument sightseeing tour from Alexandria to Georgetown, and get ready for a journey you won’t soon forget! As we cruise along the Potomac River, I was treated to breathtaking views of the Tidal Basin blossoms and iconic landmarks of Washington D.C. The narrated tour provided fascinating insights into the history and significance of each stop, from the majestic Thomas Jefferson Memorial to the grandeur of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. With my camera in hand, I captured the awe-inspiring silhouette of the Washington Monument against the city skyline, creating lasting memories of this unforgettable experience.

Washington Monument from Monument Sightseeing Tour from Alexandria to Georgetown
Washington Memorial Washington Monument from Monument Sightseeing Tour from Alexandria to Georgetown

What I loved most about this tour was the opportunity to explore the rich history and beauty of the nation’s capital from a unique perspective. The informative commentary from the guides added depth to the journey, offering insights into the stories behind each landmark and their role in shaping American history. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking to relax and enjoy stunning views, this monument sightseeing tour has something for everyone. It’s a perfect way to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of Washington D.C. while cruising along the scenic Potomac River.

Washington Harbor in Georgetown from the Sightseeing Tour from Alexandria to Georgetown
Washington Harbor in Georgetown from the Sightseeing Tour from Alexandria to Georgetown

Where to Eat in Alexandria, Virginia

Wondering where to eat in Alexandria, Virginia? Look no further! Alexandria offers a vibrant food scene with options to satisfy every craving. Whether you’re in the mood for authentic Thai dishes, tantalizing tapas, or mouthwatering steaks, this historic city has something special waiting for you.

As a food enthusiast and self proclaimed foodie, I’ve enjoyed exploring Alexandria’s culinary landscape and discovering some hidden gem restaurants along the way. Whether you’re a local looking for new dining spots or a visitor looking for the best restaurants in Alexandria, I’m here to share my top picks for the best places to eat in Alexandria. 

Sisters Thai

Sisters Thai is a charming restaurant that serves up authentic Thai flavors in a fun and lively atmosphere. It’s the perfect spot for a casual lunch with friends or a romantic dinner date. Some of my go-to dishes here include the delicious steamed dumplings, fresh garden rolls, and the mouthwatering crispy duck curry. And don’t forget to save room for dessert – the Magnolia dessert bar is a must-try and is sure to impress both your taste buds and your Instagram followers.

Where to eat in Alexandria: Sisters Thai
Sisters Thai


BARCA was one of my favorite dining experience for me in Alexandria. Not only did I get to indulge in the most delicious tapas, but I also got to enjoy breathtaking waterfront views while dining. The variety of Spanish dishes offered at BARCA is impressive, from classic favorites like patatas bravas to unique creations like the butternut squash skordalia dip (so good). Whether you’re dining with friends or on a romantic date, Barca offers an unforgettable culinary experience.

Where to eat in Alexandria: Barca waterfront restaurant
BARCA waterfront restaurant

The Study at Morrison House

For a romantic evening out, The Study at Morrison House is the perfect choice. With its intimate setting and creative cocktails, it’s ideal for a special date night. The menu features a delightful array of mouthwatering dishes, including kalbi ssam short rib lettuce wraps and sweet plantain empanadas and a duck magnet that was amazing. And of course, I couldn’t resist trying one of their seasonal cherry blossom-inspired cocktails, which added a unique and memorable touch to my dining experience. I really enjoyed how their dishes where a creative fusion of Central American and hispanic flavors.

Best restaurants in Alexandria Virginia: The Study at Morrison House
The Study at Morrison House

Oak Steakhouse

If you’re a steak lover, Oak Steakhouse is the place to be. This top destination offers an upscale dining experience perfect for a special occasion or celebratory dinner. I absolutely loved their beet salad with creamy burrata, their ribeye steak was so soft and cooked to perfection, and the luxurious smoked gouda mac and cheese was the perfect side. And don’t forget to save room for dessert, especially the warm apple and cherry cobbler which was amazing.

Best restaurants in Alexandria Virginia: Oak Steakhouse
Oak Steakhouse

Black Wall Hitch

For a delightful brunch experience, head to Black Wall Hitch. This is  one of the best brunch buffets in Alexandria, complete with coastal-inspired decor, waterfront views, and live jazz music. From the fresh seafood like all-you-can-eat peel and eat shrimp, the carving station delights, the made-to-order omelets, and the decadent desserts this is a brunch experience I will not forget. With its lively atmosphere, waterfront views, and live jazz music, it was the perfect way to kick off my day in Alexandria.

Black Wall Hitch restaurant, Alexandria waterfront
Black Wall Hitch restaurant, Alexandria waterfront

Where to Stay in Alexandria

Hotel AKA Alexandria is a fantastic option if you’re looking for the best hotel in Alexandria. Designed by renowned Italian architect and Hotel AKA Alexandria proved to be the perfect accommodation during my stay in Alexandria. Designed by the talented Piero Lissoni, this stylish hotel has already made waves in the U.S. hotel scene, earning the prestigious Interior Design Magazine 2023 Best of Year Award. Stepping into AKA Alexandria felt like entering a world where modern elegance meets artistic charm, all nestled in the historic setting of Old Town Alexandria. The lobby and public spaces exuded a contemporary vibe, with eye-catching features like the floating staircase and curated artworks. Not to mention, the lounge bar area, adorned with the whimsical Mamacloud lamp by Frank Gehry, added a touch of playfulness to the ambiance.

AKA Hotel Alexandria
AKA Hotel Alexandria. Mamacloud by Frank Gehry.

As I settled into my room at AKA Alexandria, I was impressed by the meticulous attention to detail. The spacious and comfortable accommodations, furnished with mid-century style and calming colors, provided a serene retreat. With its proximity to Washington D.C. and the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, AKA Alexandria serves as the perfect base for exploring the bustling capital city. Whether you’re in Alexandria for business or leisure, AKA Alexandria offers a seamless blend of style, comfort, and convenience for an unparalleled experience.

AKA Hotel Alexandria
AKA Hotel Alexandria, lobby.

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

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