Small is the New Black: Your Guide to Black Friday Shopping in Alexandria

Black Friday: for some people, it spells malls crawling with frantic shoppers fighting over mass-produced merchandise. Not so in Alexandria! If you like supporting small businesses, snagging one-of-a-kind deals and downing free donuts, the DC area’s “Shop Small” headquarters is the place to kick off your holiday shopping spree. Independently owned shops? Check! Local and handcrafted gifts? Check!  Loads of holiday cheer? We’ve got it! With the highest concentration of independent retail in the capital region, Alexandria is brimming with opportunities to shop local on Black Friday. Read on for our guide to Black Friday in Alexandria:


1. Make your Black Friday game plan

old-town-alexandria-black-friday-shopping-shoe-hivePhoto credit: James Cullum for Visit Alexandria

If you’re like me and your holiday shopping list is loooong, make things easy on yourself and make a Black Friday game plan. Over 50 independent boutiques in Old Town and Del Ray will be opening early on Black Friday, with many stores offering 30 percent discounts from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., 20 percent discounts from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., and 10 percent off the rest of the day. Shopping calls for strategy, people—so plan ahead by checking to see which deals your favorite stores are offering and at what time. Then you can grab gifts for your honey, your Mamaw or yourself (why not?) at top-notch prices without breaking a sweat.


2. Park your sleigh for free

old-town-alexandria-black-friday-shopping-window-displayImage credit: Rusty Kennedy for Visit Alexandria

You heard me right. On Black Friday, parking in Alexandria is free at all parking meters and City-owned garages and parking lots starting at 6 a.m. On top of that, the Free King Street Trolley will begin operating at 6 a.m. It’s like Santa has come early to Old Town!


3. Fuel up

OTBD Scavenger Hunt 2_resizedPhoto credit: James Cullum for Visit Alexandria

If you need a pick-me-up after your early start, grab a hot drink and breakfast on the 800 block of King Street, where shops are hosting a free coffee and donut bar on the city sidewalks (now you’re humming Silver Bells, aren’t you?). In addition, many Alexandria cafés and restaurants are opening early and offering Black Friday breakfast deals. After all, the only thing better than a full shopping bag is a full tummy.


4. Rock around the holiday tree

old-town-alexandria-black-friday-shopping-tree-lightingImage credit: Rusty Kennedy for Visit Alexandria

After you’ve nabbed all the best deals, stick around Old Town for the City of Alexandria’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. on Market Square. At this free event, the mayor and Santa Claus light the city tree, followed by community caroling. And while I can’t guarantee you’ll get to perform that “O Holy Night” solo you’ve been practicing, I can promise that you’ll feel the holiday spirit.


5. Shop Small Business Saturday

old-town-alexandria-black-friday-shopping-red-barnImage credit: James Cullum for Visit Alexandria

Can’t do it all in one day? No worries! More than 30 independent boutiques in Alexandria will offer special promotions, merchandise discounts, gifts with purchase, complimentary services, treats, and/or festive activities to shoppers on Small Business Saturday, November 29. Another reason to be jolly? For your “shop local” loyalty, you can receive a free Rebecca Minkoff designer “Shop Small” canvas tote bag. Just bring two receipts from local Alexandria shops to the Alexandria Visitors Center, 221 King Street (one bag per customer while supplies last). You can also win gift certificates and more in the Scottie Dog Prize Hunt, where stuffed Scottie dogs with special prizes are hidden throughout Alexandria.


To learn more about Black Friday shopping in Alexandria, click here.

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