This Alexandria Old Town Waterfront located on the Potomac River. Just minutes away from the monuments that define our nation’s capital. Located in the historic downtown of Alexandria, Virginia. Founded in 1749 by Scottish merchants.
The city is intertwined with the people and events that marked landmark events in our nation’s history. From colonial times to the 20th century.
George Washington first explored the city as a teenager. Before starting his military and political career. also live here. At Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, we can discuss current affairs with other celebrities of the era.
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Alexandria Old Town has a deeper connection to American history. It’s more complicated than being George Washington’s adoptive home. Mount Vernon, 8 miles south of Alexandria Old Town. This place now easily accessible via bike paths, tree-lined avenues or water taxis.
Before the Civil War, Alexandria was one of the largest slave trading ports in the United States. The contribution of enslaved men, women and children to our collective prosperity. In addition, the generational struggle after slavery ended is an important part of this city’s history and our nation’s history.
These dark chapters of our history are illuminated by the personal stories of Black Alexandrians who overcame adversity to advance the cause of social justice through the civil rights movement from colonial times to the present day.
Discover the places and people that have made Alexandria Old Town a central part of America’s history. This place can take you along the beautiful tree-lined street along the river bank. Surrounded by architectural gems that are nearly 275 years old.
Many stories are not confined to dusty bookshelves, but live in the buildings, sights, sounds and tastes of Alexandria. Here are our suggestions on how to incorporate Alexandria’s rich history into your stay.
The Alexander Hotel is located on the corner of Pitt Street and King Street in the heart of the Alexandria Old Town. Alexandria was named after the Scotsman, John Alexander, who owned most of the land that became Alexandria.
The Alexander Hotel, also named after Alexander, embodies the spirit of the surrounding community with its cobblestone streets and well-preserved historic buildings. The hotel “aspires to emulate history in every aspect of the guest experience, while adding contemporary flair with a smart, contemporary attitude.”
The Hotel Indigo is located on the Potomac River on what used to be a busy trading wharf. This modern hotel is designed in the style of warehouses.
And shipping offices that are located in this part of the Alexandria Old Town. With a beautiful courtyard, and luxurious contemporary furnishings.
This is an ideal location at 220 South Union St., this charming hotel allows you to stay in the city’s only waterfront hotel. The surrounding neighborhood blends Alexandria’s iconic charm with the vibrant restaurants and boutiques the city is known for today.
When visiting Alexandria, it’s hard not to be captivated by its downtown. The bustling and historic Alexandria Old Town is a state-designated Historic District on the scenic Potomac River, where Alexandria’s rich past is full of energy and the excitement of contemporary modernity colliding together.
The best way to experience Alexandria Old Town is to visit its most famous boulevard. The quaint brick, century-old King Street, is also known as one of “America’s Great Streets.”
Walking this historic street on foot is one of the best ways to customize your Alexandria Old Town tour, and the King Street trolley adds a touch of classic charm to any nearby stop. The waterfront location of the Old Town also makes it a starting point for sightseeing cruises to explore the area.
This scenic Potomac cruise is associated with the area’s maritime and colonial history. This is one of Alexandria Old Town most historic attractions. The Old Town Alexandria also where history and culture meet. With many interesting and informative attractions to explore the more artistic side of the city.
Such as the Torpedo Factory Arts Center. Which is housed in an early 20th-century torpedo and ammunition factory. Architecture buffs will also reveal in Alexandria Old Town historic buildings. Such as the Grudge House, dubbed “America’s Thinnest Historic Building.”
The historic Alexandria Old Town also has its quirky side. With attractions such as the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum. Where visitors can unleash their inner Harry Potter.
This can be feel by discovering real ingredients used in the 19th century at one of the city’s oldest continuously operating stores. And modern architectural marvels such as Tidal Lock Park. Home to the former Alexander Canal locks – don’t forget to visit the Promenade Classique Sculpture Garden!
The city’s historic downtown and waterfront are also home to some of the city’s most vibrant restaurants – from historic gems to waterfront wonders. Stylish, modern updates to classic dishes, and creative comfort fare.
Dining on the waterfront has never been better at places like Vola Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge. Named after legendary Alexander and civil rights activist Vola Lawson. This fresh and exciting place combines a retro-chic vibe with the city’s iconic historic side.
Union Street Public House is a renovated 18th-century warehouse reminiscent of the finest taverns of the colonial era. It has a classical history but is undeniably modern, with its hospitable hospitality and relaxed yet contemporary menu. The local charm of Virtue Feed & Grain meets a historic oasis.
There are many ways to explore Alexandria’s rich history. Whether it’s sightseeing along the informative walking trails or exploring the city’s landmarks. Or going back to one of the historic colonial sites.
Walk along the newly established African American Heritage Trail. A self-guided tour that showcases the people, places, and historically black communities of Alexandria from its founding to the 20th century.
The trail winds north from the base of King St. in Seaside Park and follows the Potomac River through Founder’s Park, Oronoco Bay Park, and Tide Lock Park before ending at Cross Canal on Montgomery St.
The trail consists of 11 stations and takes about 45 minutes to walk at a leisurely pace. This link provides a detailed, mobile-friendly route with a guide to stops. The new Südschleife will start later this summer, with another 20 stops.
Exploring Alexandria’s most famous black history isn’t limited to walking tours. Visitors can also explore the area by car. This Eight Scenery Drive is a great way to explore the importance of the African American experience and how it shapes cities and countries.
An informative tour of Alexander’s memory, covering iconic landmarks of black history, from the first cornerstones laid by Benjamin Banneker to places inherent in the civil rights movement.
Harambee Books and Artwork on Princes Street in Alexandria Old Town is an independent bookstore focused on the African experience in America. Their dedicated staff can help guide you through rare and hard-to-find small media and independently published works.
Their curated titles, with a focus on African culture from ancient times to the present, social justice, a sense of community, and expanding children’s choice, along with unique artwork, work together to create an extraordinary and insightful shopping experience.
After exploring historical treasures, a visit to one of the black-owned restaurants. Located in the area is a great way to end the day. Hen Quarter offers some of the best classic Southern food in a fun setting in all of Virginia.
Casual and cool, Haute Dogs & Fries Franks offers baseball style with a variety of original, fresh toppings made with local ingredients – the perfect place to sample local delicacies.
Finally, head to Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats for a delicious meal themed on a nostalgic 1950s soda fountain.
As the adoption site of George Washington. Alexandria is home to more than 140 sites associated with its most famous residents. Including sites with significant ties to colonial history. From museums to historic homes and everything in between, the city is full of historic sites that are an integral part of America and the city itself.
As America’s most visited property and home to George Washington’s former home. Mount Vernon is the perfect place to truly appreciate the extent of the first president’s impact on American history.
Just 8 miles south of Alexandria Old Town. Mount Vernon is a fun day trip where visitors can explore colonial life through the lens of one of its greatest early contributors. Explore the museum in this area. Tour the preserved grounds and gardens, and enjoy all the immersive educational experiences this historic destination has to offer.
While Mount Vernon is undoubtedly a must-see on any visit to Alexandria. The city’s downtown area is home to numerous cultural and historical sites. That are as important to the city as it is to the country’s early colonial past.
In fact, the former home of one of the founders of Alexandria, John Carlisle. He is one such example – steeped in local history and colonial legends. Carlyle House is also a great example of Georgian architecture, with large manicured gardens.
Next to this 18th-century gem. There are several other attractions to explore that highlight the city’s architectural and historical importance. Including the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.
Murray Dick Fawcett House and Captain’s Row. Arguably one of the most beautiful cobblestone neighborhoods in town.
While Gadsby’s Tavern is no longer a gathering place or meeting place for famous colonial dignitaries. This is still an amazing, historic place to grab a bite and get a taste of colonial Alexandria.
Gadsby’s Tavern has been serving food since 1770. Also this is a great way to follow in the footsteps of the Founding Fathers with an elegant meal at one of the colonial restaurants. Captain Gregory’s is another great place to combine a historic atmosphere with an eclectic menu and trendy vibe.
An ode to the past of the famous port city of Alexandria, Captain Gregory’s Restaurant is now a trendy speakeasy, where guests can concoct cocktails and donuts, all behind a secret sliding door.
Alexandria, Virginia stands at the crossroads of American history. Whose time-traveling past began in the colonial era and has continued to evolve over the centuries.
Making significant contributions to black history and culture. From the Civil War to the vibrant civil rights movement.
But Alexandria Old Town offers more than just history, it’s also a hip. Modern place that features diverse dining options and walkable neighborhoods. That aren’t overshadowed by historical footage, but are illuminated.
Usually, in Spring 2022, the Freedom House Museum at 1315 Duke Street will reopen to the public. With three striking new exhibits on Alexandria’s black history and the experience of black Americans.
The interior renovation and reopening follow the Alexandria Old Town acquisition of the National Historic Landmark in 2020. The museum is located on what was once the largest domestic slave trading company in the United States. Where thousands of men, women and children were enslaved and imprisoned before being taken to slave markets in the South.
Designed by Washington-based Howard & Revis Design. Their past clients include the Smithsonian Institution and the National Civil Rights Museum.
The new first-floor exhibit tells the story of Alexander’s role in the domestic slave trade in the United States. The main exhibit gives voice to a life controlled by slavery, cruelty, and oppression. The purpose restores an often overlooked black presence in American history.
On the second floor, the focal point is the Virginia Museum of History and Culture’s traveling exhibit “Resolve: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality,” which includes 30 profiles, more than 100 striking objects, and multimedia interpretive content.
Supplemental exhibits to this exhibit reveal the African-American history of Alexandria from the 18th century to the present. The third-floor exhibit features Before the Spirit was Sweeped: Sherry Z. Sanabria’s Paintings of African American Historic Sites. Donated to the city of Alexandria by the late artist’s family, the paintings represent African American sites in the United States.