Don your plaid and get ready to say “cheers!” for Alexandria’s biggest holiday weekend, this Friday, December 6, through Sunday, December 8, 2019. The weekend is anchored by two epic time-honored parades: The Campagna Center’s 49th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade, which honors the city’s Scottish heritage, and the 20th Anniversary Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, featuring dozens of vessels twinkling on the Potomac River. From festive events and winter wonderlands to drinks by the fire and seasonal shopping minus the hustle and bustle, here’s how to celebrate Alexandria’s most festive weekend of the year.

Friday, December 6

Raise a Glass and Stroll Past Holiday Décor

Image Credit: Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

The Campagna Center’s Taste of Scotland Scotch Tasting

When: 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Friday, December 6, 2019
Where: The Atrium Building: 277 South Washington Street

Toast the weekend with a whisky tasting to remember. Sample Scotches straight from distilleries from the land of lochs, as well as ale, beer, wine and food. Proceeds from the event benefit The Campagna Center’s programs, serving over 2,000 children and families daily in Alexandria. More Info

Del Ray Artisans’ 24th Annual Fine Art and Fine Craft Holiday Market

When: 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, December 6, 2019; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, December 6-8, 2019
Del Ray Artisans: 2407 Mount Vernon Avenue

Take a stroll past festive holiday murals on Del Ray’s windows before stopping by Del Ray Artisans, the artsy neighborhood’s creative hub. Peruse the holiday market to find one-of-a-kind gifts crafted by local arts, from pottery to photography to jewelry and more. More Info

Make a Day of It:

‘Tis the season to duck into one of Alexandria’s warm and welcoming chef-driven restaurants. Dine hearthside or in the lavish atrium of Columbia Firehouse, get cozy near Bavarian-inspired Village Brauhaus’s two fireplaces, or indulge anywhere that you can dine beside a crackling fireplace. Then, take an impromptu Instagram tour past Market Square’s towering holiday tree, glowing storefronts and the city’s other photogenic holiday hotspots.

Saturday, December 7

See the Scottish Christmas Walk and Sparkling Boat Parade of Lights

Image Credit: Matt Chenet for Visit Alexandria

The Campagna Center’s 49th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade

When: 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 7, 2019
Where: Parade begins at the corner of St. Asaph and Wolfe Streets

The parade on Saturday at 11 a.m. floods Old Town with Scottish-style merry-making and salutes Alexandria’s Scottish heritage with bagpipers, Scottie dogs and more. See the beginning of the parade on S. Fairfax Street or stake out a spot in front of the multi-colored homes on Queen Street. Just don’t miss the grand finale massed band performance on King Street at Market Square. Explore more of Alexandria’s Scottish heritage during the Soldier’s Christmas free open house at Carlyle House, the 18th-century home of Scottish-born city founder John Carlyle. More Info

The Campagna Center’s Holiday Homes Tour

When: 12:30 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 7, 2019
Where: Various locations throughout Old Town Alexandria

The Campagna Center continues their jam-packed weekend with a Holiday Homes Tour, where you can peek inside some of Old Town’s finest and most festive abodes. Enjoy holiday décor arranged by acclaimed interior designers and local florists. More Info

Winter Wonderland at the Alexandrian and Jackson 20

When: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily
The Alexandrian Old Town Alexandria, Autograph Collection: 410 King Street

New this year, step off King Street and into The Alexandrian hotel’s inner courtyard, decked out with heat lamps, warm blankets, pop-up shops, holiday décor and more. Re-fuel with small bites from Jackson 20 and specialty holiday cocktails. A portion of all proceeds benefit Children’s National Hospital. More Info

Image Credit: Evan Michio for Visit Alexandria

20th Anniversary Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

When: 2 to 8 p.m.; parade begins at 5:30 p.m.
Old Town Waterfront: 1 King Street

As night falls, see Old Town Alexandria’s historic waterfront shine dozens of brightly lit boats cruise along one mile of the Potomac River shoreline, with parade viewing areas stretching from just north of King Street and ending near the Wilson Bridge. Dockside festivities at Waterfront Park include a pop-up beer garden from Port City Brewing Company and holiday music and giveaways from 97.1 WASH-FM. Take part in hands-on holiday activities from locally owned boutiques Penny PostAR Workshop Alexandria and Old Town Books. Enjoy polpette (Italian meatballs) from Pizzeria Paradiso and a hot chocolate bar from Dolci Gelati. On the Alexandria City Marina, Riverside Taco Company presents a Parade Day Patio Party with hot cider and bottomless bites included in admission. At 3:30 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive by fireboat at the Alexandria City Marina for photos at the annual Torpedo Factory Art Center Holiday FestivalMore Info

Make a Day of It:

In between festivities, gather your group for lunch off the beaten path in Old Town North. Savor French cuisine at Bastille, hearty mixian noodles at Yunnan by Potomac or charcuterie at Café 44, where you can linger for a Boat Parade viewing party. Later, take a stroll under King Street’s canopy of twinkling lights to toast the season at a buzzing gathering spot like Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub, Chadwicks and Daniel O’Connell’s, one of the most picturesque holiday spots in the heart of lower King Street.

Sunday, December 8

Experience Christmas Through the Centuries

Image Credit: Kristian Summerer for Visit Alexandria

Christmas at Mount Vernon

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from November 21, 2019 to December 31, 2019
Where: George Washington’s Mount Vernon: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway

Holiday programs and tours fill each day with delight at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Visitors of all ages can tour the Mansion, watch 18th-century demonstrations and hear stories of Christmases past from costumed characters. Meet Aladdin the camel and commemorate your holiday visit with a photo at the selfie station as you start a new tradition of visiting Mount Vernon during the Christmas season. More Info

‘A Christmas Carol’ at the Little Theatre of Alexandria

When: 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday, December 8, 2019
Where: The Little Theatre of Alexandria: 600 Wolfe Street

What better way to complete a day of exploring a real-life Dickens village than to get re-acquainted with Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the rest at the Little Theatre of Alexandria’s beloved annual staging of “A Christmas Carol,” running from December 6 to 22, 2019. For more merry-making performances, check out the Alexandria Singers’ Friday and Saturday “Celebrate!” holiday pops concerts on Friday, December 6 and Saturday, December 7. More Info

Holidays on the Avenue in Del Ray

When: 6 p.m. on Sunday, December 8, 2019
Where: Pat Miller Neighborhood Square: Mount Vernon Avenue and E. Oxford Avenue

At Holidays on the Avenue, see Del Ray’s annual holiday tree and menorah lighting, featuring a special appearance by Santa Claus, who will lead carols and sit for photos with children. See the streetscape illuminated by thousands of luminarias and storefront windows hand-painted for the holidays. More Info

Make a Day of It:

Between events, spend a relaxing afternoon rambling through the D.C. region’s largest collection of independent boutiques and prepare to be delighted as you discover one-of-a-kind gifts on and around King Street, from sustainable fashion to sparkling barware and more.

Experience Alexandria’s seasonal spirit beyond this weekend with all of the city’s holiday happenings.

Header Image Credit: Kristian Summerer, Matt Chenet and Evan Michio for Visit Alexandria

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