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48 Hours in Old Town Alexandria

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Voted one of Travel + Leisure’s Best Cities in the U.S 2023 and one of The South’s Best Cities 2024 by Southern Living, Alexandria, Virginia, is a welcoming weekend escape on the Potomac River minutes from Washington, D.C. A nationally designated historic district founded in 1749, Old Town Alexandria hums with more than 200 independent restaurants and boutiques alongside intimate historic museums and new happenings at the waterfront. Hotels ranging from boutique-style to the best known brands await you. Plan a perfect weekend getaway with the ideas below. For more inspiration, see Top 18 Things to Do in Old Town.

Old Town Weekend Itinerary

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Join Tony & Sara from The Detour Duo as they show you an ideal way to spend 48 hours in Old Town Alexandria. From historic landmarks to modern waterfront restaurants, you won’t want to miss these iconic Alexandria destinations.

Friday

Stroll King Street

Stroll through the heart of Old Town along King Street. This walkable mile is lined with 200+ independent shops and restaurants set inside historic buildings. Start your day at Misha’s Coffee and then take the free King Street Trolley to local boutiques like American in Paris and Shop Made in VA.

Start Exploring

Explore Art & Architecture

Immerse yourself in the city’s centuries-spanning architecture or explore the art scene with vibrant murals and photo-ready public artwork. Visit Spite House, the skinniest historic house in America or pick your passion and take a self-guided themed walk to see more.

Soak It In

Dine in Historic Settings

Whether dining on Virtue Feed & Grain’s outdoor patio or in the upstairs Sofa Lounge, you’ll be surrounded by historic character in this former 1800s feed house. For a more modern take, try Vermilion, which sources local ingredients under an award-winning chef. And don’t forget to make a stop at Casa Rosada or one of Old Town’s many sweet spots for dessert.

Bon Appétit!

Saturday

Visit the Oldest Farmer’s Market

Head to the nation’s longest continually operating farmers’ markets in one site at the Old Town Farmers’ Market in the shadow of City Hall every Saturday morning. During peak season, you’ll find over 70 vendors offering fruits, vegetables, breads, cheeses, meats and more.

Start Shopping

Savor Brunch

Find a view of the waterfront at Jula’s on the Potomac, French flavors at Fontaine or have lunch at Kismet Modern Indian. Sip and savor brunch with a beverage at Sonoma Cellar or enjoy the Southern-infused menu at Hen Quarter and more.

Order Up

Carlyle House

Step Back in Time

Explore history where it happened at eight intimate historic site museums. Step back in time at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum and see original contents at a pharmacy dating back to 1792. Dive deep into Alexandria’s rich Black history and cultural experiences at the Freedom House Museum and Black History Museum. Or, see the history of colonial Virginia through the eyes of John Carlyle at the Carlyle House.

Discover History

Enjoy King Street Nightlife

See King Street aglow with lights as you make your way through Old Town’s nightlife. Find authentic Irish Fare at Daniel O’Connell’s or Murphy’s Irish Pub, enjoy French cheese, wine and cocktails at Josephine or scarf down some tacos at Urbano 116 or Don Taco. For those more musically inclined, you can sing your heart out with karaoke at Rock-It Grill or find more venues to listen to live music.

Explore Late-Night

Sunday

Snap Picturesque Photos

Start the day by snapping share-worthy photos of picturesque row houses on cobblestoned Captain’s Row, or catch a sunrise at Waterfront Park on a morning walk through the neighborhood and along the Potomac River waterfront.

Say Cheese

BARCA

Dine Al Fresco

Unwind at one of Old Town’s waterfront restaurants and take in Potomac River views. Vola’s Dockside Grill serves comforting seafood classics with on-the-dock seating made for people watching, BARCA Pier offers a stylish riverside escape or dine at Ada’s on the River, named after the 19th-century mathematician Ada Lovelace.

Dine Outdoors

Discover Local Artists

Stroll to the marina to explore the Torpedo Factory Art Center, a former munitions plant that is home to the largest collection of publicly accessible working artist studios in the U.S., including 82 studios, seven galleries and every medium imaginable.

Get Inspired

Couple on Water Taxi

Cruise the Potomac

Get out on the water and enjoy stunning views of Washington’s monuments and historic landmarks on a narrated boat cruise, or choose from among other boat tour offerings connecting Alexandria with attractions of the D.C. region.

Set Sail

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Mount Vernon

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