Saturday, December 2, 2023

Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
Sponsored by Amazon

Part of Alexandria’s Biggest Holiday Weekend

December 2, 2023
Parade starts at 5:30 p.m.
Dockside festivities 1 to 8 p.m.
Old Town Alexandria Waterfront

Old Town Alexandria’s historic waterfront will shine for the 23rd Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights sponsored by Amazon as dozens of brightly lit boats cruise along one mile of the Potomac River shoreline. Enjoy dockside festivities in Waterfront Park including a pop-up beer garden from Port City Brewing Company, food, activities and more.

The parade is produced by Visit Alexandria in collaboration with the City of Alexandria, City Cruises – Alexandria and the Old Dominion Boat Club. Amazon is proud to sponsor the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights and partner on such a beloved community event.


Map of Boat Parade Viewing Areas

Parade Day Status

Both parades will take place rain or shine. Stay tuned for day-of announcements here. To sign up for text alerts, text “ALXEVENTS” to 888777.

Your Guide to Holiday Parade Day in Alexandria 2023

Programming Overview

This year’s Boat Parade includes annual festivities at Waterfront Park along with the return of Canal Center festivities to the Old Town North waterfront.

Make a day of it—or a weekend! The Boat Parade is part of Alexandria’s Biggest Holiday Weekend and is the same day as the 52nd Annual Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade which starts at 11 a.m. Arrive early to enjoy both parades and enjoy local restaurants and shopping.

  • 1 to 8 p.m.: Hands-on activities and food and beverage options at Waterfront Park (1 King Street) (Activities end at 5:30 p.m.)
  • 2 to 6 p.m.: Holiday Festival at Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N Union St)
  • 3 to 9 p.m.: Canal Center Holiday Art Mart on the Old Town North waterfront (11 Canal Center Plaza)
  • 3:30 p.m.: Santa arrives by fireboat at the Alexandria City Marina
  • 5:30 p.m.: Parade begins at the Alexandria City Marina and cruises southward (0 Cameron St.)

Dockside Festivities at Waterfront Park (1 to 8 p.m.)

Head to Waterfront Park at the foot of King Street for festivities from 1 to 8 p.m. including a pop-up beer garden, food and beverage vendors and family-friendly activities. Holiday music from 97.1 WASH-FM will deliver a festive atmosphere all day, and their street team will round out the Waterfront Park experience with giveaways from 3 to 5 p.m.

Pop-up Beer Garden from Port City Brewing Company

Enjoy a pop-up beer garden from Alexandria’s award-winning Port City Brewing Company along with hard cider from Alexandria’s Lost Boy Cider.

Dockside Food Vendors

Sip hot chocolate from Dolci Gelati and enjoy food options such as American comfort food from Mason Social and empanadas from Tequila & Taco. New this year, grab pizza by the slice from Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana and cookies and snacks from Together We Bake.

Mason Social

Tequila & Taco

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

Dolci Gelati

Together We Bake

Dockside Activities

From 1 to 5:30 p.m. enjoy hands-on activities from independently owned Alexandria businesses. Get creative with ornament and watercolor holiday cardmaking, write postcards to Santa,craft holiday ornaments and more.

Penny Post

Join Penny Post during festivities at Waterfront Park with a Letters to Santa postcard station. Penny Post is a paper goods store offering witty and sophisticated greeting cards, notebooks, wrapping paper and more.

AR Workshop

Join AR Workshop Alexandria with a holiday ornament craft activity. AR Workshop is a boutique DIY workshop that offers hands-on classes for creating unique and charming custom home decor.

Shop Made in Virginia

Join Shop Made in VA to create your own colorful round ornament and watercolor your own holiday greeting card designed by local maker Me & Mary. Shop Made in Virginia is dedicated to showcasing the talents of VA-based designers, artists, and makers.

Pippin Toy Co.

Create children’s holiday bracelets with Pippin Toy Co.! Pippin Toy Co. is a shop created especially for kids, full of toys, books, experiments, games, stuffed animals, candy, and a whole lot of imagination.

Sustainable Gifts: ALX Dog Walk and Ten Thousand Villages

ALX Dog Walk‘s sustainable/plastic-free holiday booth will feature products from Ten Thousand Villages, free giveaways and much more.

Canal Center Holiday Art Mart (3 to 9 p.m.)

Canal Center festivities return to the Old Town North waterfront from 3 to 9 p.m. Peruse the holiday bazaar of arts, crafts, vintage goods and more, while enjoying food and drink from Chalkboard Wings & BBQ, Scuttlebutt Bakery, Port City Brewing Company and other local food vendors. Pop into The Gallery at Canal Center to see the current art exhibition, and enjoy live music from 3 to 8 p.m. from the Yellow Door Concert Series featuring holiday jazz favorites.

Parade Details

Parade Start Time and Duration: The parade route stretches for one mile along Old Town Alexandria’s waterfront. The Old Town North Waterfront offers the first glimpse of boats before they cruise to the Alexandria City Marina/ Waterfront Park and continue south to end at Ford’s Landing Park near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The parade begins at 5:30 p.m. and its duration can vary from 30 minutes to one hour.

*Please note that the above times are subject to change based on cruising speeds, river conditions and total participants.

Parade Viewing Areas: The parade stretches for one mile along Old Town Alexandria’s waterfront. Please note there is limited visibility within the Alexandria City Marina (0 Cameron St.) while the following parks offer a more comfortable, less crowded viewing experience. Visitors can also watch the parade on the water with City Cruises – Alexandria’s Holiday Boat Parade of Lights tour.

Map of Boat Parade Viewing Areas

Getting Here & Around

Based on anticipated attendance, the use of public transportation and alternative modes of transportation are highly encouraged. See the list below to consider your options and plan your trip.

Metro: The parade is accessible via Metrorail (blue and yellow lines) from the King Street station.

King Street Trolley: The free King Street Trolley will run a modified route from the King Street Metro to the Lyceum (201 S. Washington St) and back, every 15 minutes from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Parking: If driving, please note parking garages closest to the waterfront fill up in advance of the event, and street closures near the waterfront are often in effect based on the high volume of traffic. Find a map of garages on the City of Alexandria’s parking page.

The following garage in Old Town North will offer $5 parking from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

  • 44 Canal Center, courtesy of Canal Center Plaza

Road Closures: In order to safely produce the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade, road closures, reserved parking and no parking zones will be in effect on Saturday, December 2. See a full list of closures here.

Capital Bikeshare: There are several dock stations within Old Town and in Old Town North near the Mount Vernon Trail and Oronoco Bay Park. For more information, please visit

Dockless Mobility:  There are various dockless mobility devices throughout Old Town including e-scooters and e-bikes. Please note there is no riding on sidewalks per City code or along the expanded King Street pedestrian zone from the 200 block of King Street to the waterfront. When possible, please park in a scooter corral or bike rack so as not to block the sidewalk.

Water Taxi: Enjoy the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights from the Potomac River with CityCruises by Hornblower. Find more information here.

DASH Bus: The DASH bus is free. DASH buses run as early as 6 a.m. and as late as midnight on both Friday and Saturday.

Taxi: The following companies currently operate within the City of Alexandria:

2022 Winning Boats

Many thanks to the more than 50 boats who put on a spectacular show for the 22nd Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights sponsored by Amazon on Saturday, December 3, 2022.

Best In Show

Dark Star, Captain Doug Savage, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Best Powerboat

Beer Hunter, Captain Chris Johnson, “Land Before Time”

Best Sailboat

Tuesday, Captain Joe Landa, “From Odessa with Love”

Thinking Outside the Christmas Box

Miss Behavin, Captain Kirt Barbee, “Have a Chesapeake Bay Crabby Christmas”

Most Holiday Cheer

Titan Rowing (Alexandria City High School), Captain Patrick Marquardt, “Holiday”

Best Spirit of America

Luthien, Captain John Newton, “Boy Scouting and Christmas”

Most Spirited Crew

Magical Knots, Captain Brian Dollinger, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

Best Theme

Nauti Office, Captains Chelsie Bain, Greg Noble, Liz Cannon and Alex Kandalaft, “A Christmas Story”

Hardiest Soul

American Girl, Captain John Gaydos, “Potomac Sleigh Ride”

Best Movie or TV Theme

Moovin, Captain Tom Cordell, “Mario Bros”

Best Try

Consuelo, Captain David Robbins, “Bah, Hum BUG”

The Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights sponsored by Amazon is produced by


With special thanks to First Watch Strategies

and our media partner WASH-FM


AMAZON and the AMAZON logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

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