Charming, quiet and architecturally interesting, the town is a rich source of Americana, but also bustles with boutique shopping, a lively arts scene, and dozens of restaurants (there's a burgeoning culinary community).
With numerous options for accommodations and easy access to Ronald Reagan International Airport and the area Metro, make Alexandria an ideal base for exploring the region. We stayed at the Westin Alexandria (400 Courthouse Square · Alexandria, Virginia 22314-5700, 703.253.8600) and were not disappointed.
A free trolley runs from the King Street Metro Station to the historic waterfront and the Potomac Riverboat company operates a water taxi between Alexandria and the National Harbor (as well as Monuments, Mount Vernon, and Pirate cruises).
Old Town Alexandria was founded in 1749 - fifty years before Washington, DC - on land bought by Scotsman John Alexander for the princely sum of 6,000 pounds of tobacco and cask.
Although he lived in Mount Vernon, eight miles away, George Washington considered Alexandria his hometown, kept a second house in the town, sold produce in the town markets and socialized in the local inns and taverns. Gadsby's Tavern is much the same today as it was in the days when Washington and wife, Martha, made merry in the tavern.
There are loads of free activities and attractions to choose from in Olde Town Alexandria. Find information and discounts at the Alexandria Visitors Center at Ramsay House (221 King Street, 703.746.3301)
A 75-minute historic walking tour takes you on a time-traveling adventure, walking the streets as Washington and his fellow patriots did. Check out the Alexandria Archaeology Museum (105 N. Union Street) to explore the community's past and get a real feel for an archaeological find with the Museum's Discovery Kits.
Hungry for more? Try the DC Metro Food Tours (1.800.979.3370), a three-hour guided grazing tour of mini-meals from beloved local restaurants.