Alexandria, Virginia is the perfect destination for a romantic weekend or an educational family trip. Smarter Travel named Alexandria one if its top 10 hot spots for 2017 because of its gorgeous historic district, scenic waterfront, and distinct museums. The Old Town area was home to George Washington, and the city bustles with restaurants, boutiques, and attractions. Here are some of the best attractions to experience the history and beauty of Alexandria.
Torpedo Factory Art Center
The Torpedo Factory Art Center building was once an ammunition plant, but in 1974 it was converted into a workplace and educational center for Alexandria’s art community. The space houses 82 artist studios, two workshop spaces, and seven galleries. The Art League School regularly offers classes here and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum is located in the building as well. Visitors can engage with painters, sculptors, printers, glassworkers, and other artists while watching them work. You can also buy unique souvenirs and linger over coffee.
Next to the Torpedo Factory Art Center you’ll found Alexandria’s Old Town, which stretches to the Potomac River. The cobblestone streets and red brick sidewalks invite visitors to wander and imagine the town as it was during the days when Virginia was a colony and George Washington lived here. You can visit Washington’s Masonic Memorial, the beautiful colonial Carlyle House, or the Black History Museum to connect more deeply with American heritage. The town is brimming with sidewalk cafés, shops, and restaurants and hosts special events and year-round festivals.
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum
History buffs will thoroughly enjoy this glimpse into the history of American medicine. The pharmacy, which was known as an apothecary back in Washington’s time, looks much like it did in the early 1800s. You’ll learn about herbal remedies, marvel at historic medical equipment, and see books of formulas and recipes for early American medications.
Gadsby’s Tavern and City Hotel
If you want to understand early colonial life, visit Gadsby’s Tavern where people would have gathered to relax, build community, and transact business. Gadsby’s was visited by Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe as well as George Washington and other Alexandria-area dignitaries. The tavern is now a museum that showcases the customs, fashions, and food of the colonial period.
Cameron Run Regional Park
If you’re bringing kids to Alexandria, you might want to look for a hotel near Cameron Run Park so they can unwind and blow off steam in between museums and historic attractions. This friendly local park offers kid favorites like miniature golf, batting cages, a water park, and space to run and enjoy the green spaces.
George Washington’s gardens now serve as the headquarters for the American Horticultural Society, and as inspiration for home gardeners in the Alexandria area. The farm boasts themed flower gardens, orchards, and a pond, and is a popular space for picnics, bird-watching, and wedding photos. Stop by the Estate House for rotating art exhibits while you’re visiting the Farm.
Alexandria is a popular destination for history buffs, as a weekend getaway or a day trip from Washington, D.C. You’ll enjoy the deep sense of American history and the varied attractions that this tourist hot spot has to offer.