30 Best Places and Things To Do in Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia, is a historic city located just a few miles south of Washington, D.C. It offers a unique blend of colonial charm, cultural attractions, and vibrant waterfront views.

1. Old Town Alexandria

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Begin your exploration in Old Town, where cobblestone streets and 18th-century architecture transport you back in time. Stroll along King Street, lined with charming boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. Don’t miss the Torpedo Factory Art Center, a former munitions factory turned art space featuring works from local artists.

2. Alexandria Waterfront

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Enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride along the Alexandria waterfront. The scenic Potomac River backdrop offers breathtaking views, and you can find numerous parks and outdoor spaces to relax in. Take a boat tour or rent a kayak to explore the river further.

3. Gadsby’s Tavern Museum

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Step back into the 18th century at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. This historic establishment served as a center for social and political gatherings during the early days of the United States. Take a tour to learn about its fascinating history and enjoy a meal in the authentic Colonial-style restaurant.

4. Carlyle House Historic Park

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Discover the history of Alexandria at Carlyle House Historic Park. This Georgian-style mansion was once home to British merchant John Carlyle and is now a museum. Explore the beautifully restored interiors, stroll through the garden, and learn about the house’s role during the French and Indian War.

5. Torpedo Factory Art Center


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Housed in a converted naval munitions factory, the Torpedo Factory Art Center is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. It features three floors of artist studios, where you can watch artists at work and purchase unique pieces directly from them. The center also hosts rotating exhibitions and art events throughout the year.

6. Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

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Step into the world of 18th-century medicine at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum. This well-preserved pharmacy operated for over 140 years and supplied medicines to notable figures like George Washington and Robert E. Lee. Take a guided tour to see the original herbal botanicals, medical equipment, and documents.

7. Alexandria’s Christ Church

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Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, is a historic Episcopal church with deep roots in the local community. Christ Church was founded in 1773 and has a rich history that is closely tied to the early days of Alexandria. The church’s original building was completed in 1775 and was a place of worship for notable figures such as George Washington and Robert E. Lee. Christ Church played a significant role in the religious and social life of Alexandria during the colonial and early American periods. The church’s congregation included many prominent individuals who shaped the nation’s history. Visitors can explore the churchyard, which is the final resting place for notable figures, including members of George Washington’s family.

8. George Washington Masonic National Memorial

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The George Washington Masonic National Memorial is a majestic and iconic landmark located in Alexandria, Virginia. This memorial serves to honor the memory and legacy of George Washington, the first President of the United States and a prominent Freemason.

9. Tall Ship Providence

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The Tall Ship Providence is a magnificent sailing vessel that serves as a floating museum and educational attraction in Alexandria, Virginia. The Tall Ship Providence is a reproduction of a 1768 warship that was originally named Providence. It was built as a sloop for the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War. The replica ship was constructed based on historical records and maritime research to accurately recreate the vessel’s appearance and design.

10. River Farm


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River Farm is a beautiful and historic property located along the banks of the Potomac River in Alexandria, Virginia. It is owned and operated by the American Horticultural Society (AHS) and serves as a stunning garden, educational center, and event venue. River Farm has a rich history that dates back to the early 18th century. The property was originally part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate and was later owned by several prominent individuals. In 1973, it was bequeathed to the American Horticultural Society, which transformed it into the horticultural showcase it is today.

11. Freedom House Museum

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The Freedom House Museum is a powerful and poignant museum located in Alexandria, Virginia. It is housed in the historic building known as the “Old Slave Pen” and serves as a reminder of the horrors of the domestic slave trade in the United States. The museum is situated in a building that was once a holding pen for enslaved people who were being transported to the Deep South for sale. The building itself serves as a tangible reminder of the dark chapter in American history when Alexandria was a major center for the domestic slave trade.

12. Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site

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Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site is a captivating historical attraction located in Alexandria, Virginia. It preserves the remnants of Fort Ward, which was a crucial defensive fortification during the American Civil War. Fort Ward was constructed in 1861 as part of the Union Army’s defenses of Washington, D.C. during the Civil War. It served as a significant fortification in the extensive ring of defenses surrounding the nation’s capital. The fort played a vital role in protecting Washington from Confederate attacks and served as a headquarters, hospital, and barracks for Union troops.

13. Old Presbyterian Meeting House

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The Old Presbyterian Meeting House is a historic church located in Alexandria, Virginia. With roots dating back to the 18th century, it holds a significant place in the religious and cultural history of the area. The Old Presbyterian Meeting House was established in 1772, making it one of the oldest continuously active Presbyterian congregations in the United States. The current building, constructed in 1839, replaced an earlier structure that had been destroyed by fire. The church has played an important role in the community, both as a place of worship and as a gathering spot for social and cultural activities.

14. The Basilica of Saint Mary

Photo of the front door of the Basilica of St. Mary in Alexandria, Virginia

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The Basilica of Saint Mary, located in Alexandria, Virginia, is a historic Catholic church and a prominent landmark in the region. As the first Catholic parish established in Virginia, the Basilica holds great historical and architectural significance. The Basilica of Saint Mary traces its roots back to 1795 when it was founded as a mission church to serve the growing Catholic community in Alexandria. It was initially a small wooden structure, but as the community expanded, a larger church was built in 1810. Over the years, the church underwent several renovations and expansions to accommodate the growing congregation and to enhance its architectural beauty.

15. Alexandria Black History Museum

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The Alexandria Black History Museum is a significant cultural institution located in Alexandria, Virginia. It serves as a dedicated space to explore, preserve, and celebrate the rich African American heritage and history of the city. The Alexandria Black History Museum is housed in the Robert H. Robinson Library, a historic building that was once the segregated library for African Americans in Alexandria during the era of racial segregation.

16. Lee-Fendall House

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The Lee-Fendall House is a historic property located in Alexandria, Virginia. It served as the residence of several prominent families throughout its history and is now operated as a museum. The Lee-Fendall House was built in 1785 by Philip Richard Fendall, a prominent attorney and nephew of Philip Richard Fendall, Jr., who served as Governor of Maryland. The house was later purchased by the Lee family, including Robert E. Lee’s father, Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee. The Lees resided in the house from 1788 to 1793. The property has witnessed significant moments in American history, including the Civil War and the period of Reconstruction.

17. Jones Point Lighthouse

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Jones Point Lighthouse is a historic landmark located in Alexandria, Virginia, at the confluence of the Potomac River and Hunting Creek. The Jones Point Lighthouse was constructed in 1855 and served as a navigational aid for ships traveling along the Potomac River. It was part of a system of lighthouses and beacons that helped guide vessels to safe passage. The lighthouse played a crucial role in maritime navigation, especially for ships heading to the bustling port of Alexandria.

18. Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum

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The Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum is a significant cultural institution located in Alexandria, Virginia. Housed in the historic Lyceum building, it serves as a hub for preserving and sharing the history and heritage of Alexandria The Lyceum building itself holds historical significance. It was constructed in 1839 as Alexandria’s first public library and later served as a Civil War hospital, a private residence, and a historic site. The building’s rich history adds to the charm and character of the museum.

19. Grist Mill Park

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Grist Mill Park is a scenic recreational area located in Alexandria, Virginia. Situated along the banks of Holmes Run, the park offers a serene and natural setting for outdoor activities and relaxation. Grist Mill Park gets its name from the historic grist mill that once operated in the area. The mill, built in the early 18th century, was an essential part of the local community, providing a means to grind grains into flour. Although the original mill no longer stands, the park pays homage to its historical significance.

20. Athenaeum

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The Athenaeum is a historic building located in Alexandria, Virginia, known for its architectural beauty and cultural significance. Originally constructed in 1851 as the Bank of the Old Dominion, it now serves as a vibrant arts and cultural center. The Athenaeum is an impressive example of Greek Revival architecture. Designed by renowned architect Thomas U. Walter, who later played a major role in the design of the United States Capitol dome, the building features a grand façade with impressive columns, a triangular pediment, and elegant details. Its architectural style adds to the charm and allure of the structure.

21. Friendship Firehouse Museum

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The Friendship Firehouse Museum is a historic landmark and museum located in Alexandria, Virginia. It is housed in the original Friendship Fire Company firehouse, which was established in 1774. The Friendship Firehouse was one of the earliest fire companies in Alexandria, founded in 1774. The firehouse itself was constructed in 1855, and it served as the headquarters for the Friendship Fire Company until 1928. The company played a crucial role in fire suppression and protecting the community during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

22. Windmill Hill Park

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Windmill Hill Park is a picturesque waterfront park located in Alexandria, Virginia. Situated along the banks of the Potomac River, the park offers stunning views, recreational opportunities, and a peaceful atmosphere. The park derives its name from the historic windmill that once stood on the site. In the early 19th century, a wind-powered gristmill operated on Windmill Hill, grinding grain into flour for the local community. While the windmill is no longer present, the park commemorates its historical significance.

23. Alexandria Archaeology Museum

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The Alexandria Archaeology Museum is a fascinating cultural institution located in Alexandria, Virginia. It is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the archaeological heritage of the city, shedding light on its rich history and providing insights into the lives of its past inhabitants.

24. Alexandria Presbyterian Church

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The Alexandria Presbyterian Church is a historic place of worship located in Alexandria, Virginia. With a history dating back to the early 19th century, it has played a significant role in the spiritual and community life of the area. The Alexandria Presbyterian Church was established in 1818 and is one of the oldest Presbyterian congregations in Virginia. The church was formed by a group of local Presbyterians who desired a place of worship and spiritual fellowship. Over the years, the church has witnessed significant historical events and changes in the community.

25. Boyhood Home of Robert E. Lee

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The Boyhood Home of Robert E. Lee, also known as the Lee-Fendall House, is a historic property located in Alexandria, Virginia. It is a significant landmark associated with the early life of the renowned Confederate general, Robert E. Lee. Here’s some information about the Boyhood Home of Robert E. Lee: The Lee-Fendall House was constructed in 1785 and became the residence of the Lee family in 1789. The house served as the boyhood home of Robert E. Lee from 1812 to 1825 when he was between the ages of 5 and 18. The property remained in the Lee family until 1903 and later underwent restoration to preserve its historical significance.

26. St Paul Episcopal Church

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St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is a historic place of worship located in Alexandria, Virginia. Founded in 1809, the church has a rich history and continues to serve as an active congregation. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was established in 1809 as a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. The current church building, constructed in 1817, is an excellent example of Federal-style architecture and reflects the historical significance of the congregation. The church has witnessed many important events throughout Alexandria’s history, including the Civil War.

27. Dora Kelley Nature Park

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Dora Kelley Nature Park is a natural oasis located in Alexandria, Virginia. Situated on 50 acres of land, the park offers a tranquil escape from the urban environment and provides opportunities for outdoor recreation, wildlife observation, and environmental education. Dora Kelley Nature Park is characterized by its diverse natural landscapes, including forests, meadows, wetlands, and streams. The park’s varied habitats support a wide range of plant and animal species, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.

28. Chessie’s Big Backyard

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Chessie’s Big Backyard is a popular children’s playground located in Alexandria, Virginia. Designed with young children in mind, Chessie’s Big Backyard offers a safe and engaging outdoor space where kids can play, explore, and have fun. Chessie’s Big Backyard boasts a variety of play structures and features that cater to different age groups. The playground includes colorful slides, climbing structures, swings, and interactive play equipment. These features are designed to promote physical activity, coordination, and imaginative play.

29. Jones Point Park

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Jones Point Park is a scenic waterfront park located in Alexandria, Virginia, at the confluence of the Potomac River and Hunting Creek. Offering breathtaking views, historical significance, and recreational opportunities, Jones Point Park is a popular destination for both locals and visitors. Jones Point Park is steeped in history. It is home to the Jones Point Lighthouse, built in 1855 and one of the few remaining riverine lighthouses in the United States. The park was also a significant site during the Civil War, serving as a Union Army encampment and a defensive position.

30. Huntley Meadows Park

Entrance of the walking path at Huntley Meadows

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Huntley Meadows Park is a beautiful and expansive nature reserve located in Alexandria, Virginia. Covering over 1,500 acres, it is one of the largest and most diverse wetland areas in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. Huntley Meadows Park is renowned for its pristine wetland habitat, including marshes, swamps, and forested areas. It is home to a rich diversity of plant and animal species, making it a prime location for nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers, and photographers.

its rich history, picturesque waterfront, cultural attractions, and diverse range of activities, Alexandria, Virginia, offers a delightful experience for visitors. Whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply looking to explore a charming city, Alexandria has something to offer everyone.