Things to do in Alexandria

About Alexandria

Must-see attractions in Alexandria include the iconic Old Town, with its well-preserved historic buildings and cobblestone streets, and George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate, offering a deep dive into the life and times of America's first president. Don’t miss the Torpedo Factory Art Center for a dose of culture and creativity.
Families with children will find delight in visiting the Alexandria Zoological Park, the interactive Mount Vernon estate, and the numerous parks where kids can play and explore in nature, such as Ben Brenman Park with its playground and picnic areas.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy walking or biking along the scenic Mount Vernon Trail, sailing on the Potomac River, and wildlife observation in Huntley Meadows Park, offering a chance to reconnect with nature amidst the city's history.
Indoor activities in Alexandria boast visits to the interactive and historically rich museums like The Alexandria Black History Museum, perusing the unique collections at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, and enjoying performing arts at the Little Theatre of Alexandria.
The best Alexandria tours include narrated walking tours of historic Old Town, ghost tours for a mix of history and mystery, and riverboat cruises along the Potomac. These experiences offer rich context to the city's notable sights.
Popular museums in Alexandria feature the storied Alexandria Black History Museum, the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum for those who love innovation, and the enthralling Alexandria Archaeology Museum for history enthusiasts.
For rainy days, uncover Alexandria's indoor secrets with tours of its various museums, such as the Gadsby's Tavern Museum, the Alexandria Black History Museum, or enjoy a tasting tour at Port City Brewing Company for some local brew insights.
Short tours in Alexandria that last 1 hour or less include the informative guided tours at Carlyle House, the brief and insightful tours of Christ Church, and quick excursions like the Alexandria's Footsteps to the Past walking tours, perfect for those on a time crunch.

Best Things to Do in Alexandria

Discover the charm of a historic city with our immersive audio guide, detailing an array of attractions and activities.

Alexandria: Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site

What is it?
A well-preserved Civil War fort turned museum, offering a glimpse into 19th-century military life.
Why you should go?
Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site represents a significant chapter in Alexandria's Civil War history. It stands today as a monument to those who served, providing visitors a chance to explore original fortification remains, wartime artifacts, and reconstructed areas. Educational programs and living history events bring the era to life, making it one of the most immersive Alexandria excursions for history buffs and families alike. A walk through the lush grounds surrounding the fort offers a reflective step back in time.

Alexandria: Alexandria Zoological Park

What is it?
A family-friendly destination featuring an array of animals from around the world.
Why you should go?
The Alexandria Zoological Park is a haven for animal lovers, showcasing over 500 animals and fostering an appreciation for wildlife conservation. Engaging exhibits, like the African Savanna and Louisiana Habitat, present an educational journey for visitors of all ages. One of the fun things to do in Alexandria, it offers children hands-on learning experiences and the chance to witness exotic animals up close. Picnic areas and playgrounds make the zoo perfect for a full-day outing.

Alexandria: Port City Brewing Company

What is it?
An award-winning craft brewery with tours and tastings, showcasing Alexandria's brewing traditions.
Why you should go?
Port City Brewing Company is a key player in Virginia’s craft beer movement. Brewery tours here offer an insight into the brewing process, complemented by a taste of the diverse beer selection in the comfortable taproom. For those considering the best Alexandria activities for adults, a visit to this brewery is a chance to savor local flavors and unwind with friends. Regular events, such as trivia and live music, add to the draw of this community hotspot.

Alexandria: National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum

What is it?
A museum celebrating the creativity and ingenuity of inventors across history.
Why you should go?
The National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum is an inspiring attraction, located on the campus of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It's among the best things to do in Alexandria for those curious about innovation and the stories behind America's greatest inventors. Interactive exhibits feature patented inventions that changed the world, offering an informative and thought-provoking experience. Aspiring inventors and science enthusiasts will find the museum's content particularly fascinating.

Alexandria: Old Town Farmers' Market

What is it?
America’s oldest continuously operating farmers' market set in historic Market Square.
Why you should go?
Old Town Farmers' Market is a cornerstone of Alexandria's community life, offering locally sourced produce, artisanal crafts, and gourmet foods. A stroll through the bustling stalls is not only a shopper's delight but also one of the best Alexandria activities for encountering the vibrant local culture. It's a place where visitors can engage with farmers, bakers, and makers, enriching their culinary experience and taking a piece of Alexandria's local flavor home. Seasonal events add extra charm to this historic marketplace.
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Alexandria: The Lyceum

What is it?
Alexandria's history museum, showcasing local heritage through artifacts and exhibitions.
Why you should go?
The Lyceum serves as a vital repository of the city's past, presenting a curated collection that spans centuries of Alexandria's story. For those wondering what to do in Alexandria, this museum offers rich educational programs and engaging exhibitions. It's a space where history enthusiasts can explore the city's legacy, from its founding through its significant role in American history. As you traverse from one display to another, you'll gain a deeper appreciation for the evolution of this vibrant community.

Alexandria: Huntley Meadows Park

What is it?
A tranquil nature reserve offering wildlife observation, trails, and wetland habitats.
Why you should go?
For outdoor explorers and wildlife aficionados, Huntley Meadows Park represents a serene natural escape. With its well-maintained trails and boardwalks, it provides an opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in local flora and fauna. Venturing into this park is among the best things to do in Alexandria for those seeking a peaceful retreat. The variety of habitats ensures a rich experience, where guests can enjoy birdwatching, photography, or simply the chance to reconnect with nature.

Alexandria: Alexandria Black History Museum

What is it?
An institution dedicated to preserving and sharing the experiences of African Americans in Alexandria.
Why you should go?
The Alexandria Black History Museum is more than just a collection of artifacts; it's a space of learning and reflection. For those seeking to grasp the city's cultural fabric, visits here are among the fundamental Alexandria activities to partake in. Through multimedia presentations, personal narratives, and historical documentation, the museum tells a story often left untold, offering visitors the chance to understand the struggles, accomplishments, and resilience of Alexandria's Black community.Alexandria: Del Ray Artisans Gallery
What is it?
A local community art space showcasing contemporary pieces by up-and-coming artists.
Why you should go?
Del Ray Artisans Gallery, nestled in the heart of the Del Ray neighborhood, provides an inviting venue for experiencing cutting-edge art. For those compiling a list of fun things to do in Alexandria, an afternoon spent here is a must. The gallery not only exhibits a diverse range of artworks but also hosts workshops and events, fostering a creative environment where visitors can engage with the local art scene and even uncover the work of the next great artist.

Alexandria: Jones Point Park

What is it?
A scenic park located beneath the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, featuring historical landmarks and recreational activities.
Why you should go?
Jones Point Park is one of the hidden gems among Alexandria's parks. With its lighthouse, river views, and basketball courts, there's something for everyone. It's an ideal locale for those seeking Alexandria excursions with a blend of history and outdoor excitement. Visitors can learn about the park's significant role in shipbuilding and navigation while enjoying a relaxing day filled with picnics, fishing, or simply appreciating the panoramic riverside sights.

Alexandria: Torpedo Factory Art Center

What is it?
An art center located in a former munitions plant offering a host of galleries and studios.
Why you should go?
This converted factory is now a creative space where visitors can watch artists at work in their studios and even purchase unique pieces. Engaging in Alexandria activities here provides an eclectic mix of visual arts. With over 80 artists working in a wide array assemblage, the center offers an inspiring experience that showcases the vibrant art scene in Alexandria. Workshops and classes are available for those looking to delve deeper into the world of art.

Alexandria: Alexandria’s Riverfront

What is it?
A picturesque waterfront with sweeping views of the Potomac River.
Why you should go?
One of the best things to do in Alexandria is to take a leisurely stroll along the scenic riverfront. With panoramic views of the Potomac and an array of dining and shopping options, this is a perfect spot for fun things to do in Alexandria. The area perfectly encapsulates the blend of historical charm and modern leisure that Alexandria offers its visitors. Water taxis to nearby attractions make the riverfront a launchpad for further exploration.

Alexandria: George Washington Masonic National Memorial

What is it?
A museum and cultural site paying homage to America's first president and noted Freemason.
Why you should go?
Standing tall above Alexandria, the George Washington Masonic National Memorial is a neoclassical monument providing an insight into the nation's history and Masonic heritage. Visitors here can climb the tower for unmatched views over Alexandria, delve into the interactive exhibits and admire the craftsmanship of the memorial itself. The site is a testament to the city's deep historical roots and is considered a top thing to see in Alexandria.

Alexandria: Carlyle House Historic Park

What is it?
A grand 18th-century Georgian mansion nestled in a serene park setting.
Why you should go?
Visiting Carlyle House Historic Park is like stepping back into the colonial era. Set against a peaceful garden backdrop, this restored mansion reveals stories of Alexandria's past residents. It's among the places to visit in Alexandria that offer a unique glimpse into the social and political life of the early days of America. The serene gardens provide a quaint retreat from city life, perfect for indulgence in the quieter side of Alexandria excursions.

Alexandria: The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

What is it?
A remarkably preserved 19th-century apothecary shop.
Why you should go?
This museum offers a time capsule experience showcasing medicines and supplies dating from the 1700s to the 1900s. As one ventures through its interior, each room reveals more about the medical practices of the past, making it one of the more unique Alexandria tours. Whether browsing the herbal botanicals or exploring the pharmaceutical tools, this intriguing site provides an educational experience and is undoubtedly among the best Alexandria tours for history buffs.

TOP-5 tours in Alexandria for first time visitors

  • Stroll through the quaint streets of Old Town, delving into colonial history and waterfront views, a quintessential what to see in Alexandria experience.
  • Explore the historic Christ Church, where George Washington once worshiped, an essential part of any Alexandria tours itinerary.
  • Uncover the secrets of the Gadsby's Tavern Museum, where the past meets the present in a rich tapestry of Alexandria activities.
  • Visit the picturesque Mount Vernon, a tribute to American heritage and a highlight among places to visit in Alexandria.
  • Wander among the hallowed grounds of the Arlington National Cemetery, a sobering yet significant experience among things to do in Alexandria.

Fun things to do in Alexandria with kids

From discovering the wonders of wildlife to delving into engaging historical experiences, Alexandria is brimming with attractions perfect for the little explorers. The Alexandria Zoological Park captivates young minds with its exotic residents from around the globe, fostering a love for nature and conservation. It's a place for educational discovery and up-close animal encounters that will leave lasting impressions on kids of all ages. For a blend of play and learning, the Mt. Vernon hands-on history center for children offers families the opportunity to interact with history through colonial games and crafts. History becomes tangible and thrilling, allowing children to live a day in the life of 18th-century kids. Lastly, the city's numerous community parks, like Ben Brenman Park with its playgrounds and open spaces, offer a getaway where families can picnic, play, and enjoy outdoor activities while taking a break from the more structured learning environment of museums and zoos. These top attractions deliver fun-filled and enriching experiences, ensuring that every family visit to Alexandria is memorable.

Things to do in Alexandria with family

Embark on a family adventure in Alexandria where history blends with fun activities for all ages. Plunge into American history with a visit to Mount Vernon, the beloved home of George Washington. Walk the grounds, explore the interactive museum, and participate in hands-on activities that bring the 18th century to life. Next, chart a course towards the Alexandria Seaport Foundation where families engage in building wooden boats while absorbing tales of maritime heritage, offering an educational and unique bonding experience. The waterfront also provides a picturesque backdrop for a leisurely family stroll. Finally, wind down at Carlyle House Historic Park, a green haven in the heart of the city. Discover its historical significance, enjoy its peaceful gardens, and let kids play to their heart's content. These family-friendly attractions are just a snapshot of Alexandria excursions that balance enjoyment with insightful learning.

Free things to do in Alexandria

Alexandria charms visitors with attractions that are rich in heritage and accessible without a ticket. One of the most delightful free things to do in Alexandria is wandering the historic streets of Old Town. Stroll amidst colonial architecture, visit market squares, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere. For art lovers, the Torpedo Factory Art Center is a treasure trove of creativity you can explore at no cost. Immerse yourself in the artistic process as you witness artists working in their studios and peruse the galleries. History enthusiasts will appreciate the African American Heritage Park, a site that doubles as a piece of art and a historical tribute with informative plaques and sculptures. It's a serene spot to reflect on the past and enjoy a moment of solace amidst the urban landscape. Each of these locales is an opportunity to experience the culture of Alexandria without spending a dime.

Cheap things to do in Alexandria

Alexandria offers a bounty of budget-friendly activities that promise enjoyment without breaking the bank. Step back in time at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, a fascinating establishment with a small entrance fee that allows visitors to explore an authentically preserved 19th-century pharmacy boasting a treasure of medical history. Continue your cost-effective exploration by heading to Jones Point Park. Nestled under the iconic Woodrow Wilson Bridge, the park offers scenic views, historic lighthouse remains, and ample space for picnicking—all for free. Lastly, embrace Alexandria's natural beauty with a visit to Huntley Meadows Park, where affordable guided walks introduce families to diverse habitats home to birds, beavers, and other wildlife. These three attractions highlight that experiencing the best of Alexandria doesn’t have to come with a hefty price, ensuring visitors can discover the city’s charms economically.

Things to do in Alexandria for couples

Alexandria, with its historic charm and waterfront allure, offers endless romantic pursuits for couples. Begin with a leisurely walk along the cobblestone streets of Old Town, lined with boutique shops and cozy cafes, perfect for a shared afternoon of discovery and relaxation. For a scenic retreat, take a cruise on the Potomac River where you can savor striking views of the city skyline and historic landmarks, an idyllic backdrop for any date. Finally, indulge in the intimate ambiance of the lively wine bars and bistros that dot the area; some offer wine-tasting events which provide a sophisticated and engaging experience for you and your loved one. Each of these attractions presents a unique opportunity for connection, making Alexandria a favored destination for couples seeking both romance and adventure.

Things to do in Alexandria at night

As the sun sets, Alexandria's evening charm emerges, offering a variety of nighttime activities. Immerse yourselves in the spirited atmosphere of a live performance at the Little Theatre of Alexandria, where local talents shine in an array of plays and musicals. For an evening steeped in ghostly lore, embark on a lantern-led ghost tour through Old Town; hear tales of the city's haunted history and visit notorious sites that make for an eerie yet entertaining outing. Couples and friends alike may also indulge in Alexandria's culinary scene by exploring the waterfront restaurants or rooftop bars that offer not only delectable dining options but also captivating views of the Potomac River under the stars. These nighttime attractions in Alexandria ensure that every evening out is filled with memorable moments and local flavors.