Sip Virginia-made cider, explore African American heritage sites and embark on a waterpark adventure in Alexandria’s Carlyle and Eisenhower Valley, located in the southwestern part of the city. A contemporary counterpart to historic Old Town and home to the National Science Foundation, Carlyle and Eisenhower celebrate the spirit of science and innovation, from the National Inventors Hall of Fame inside the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to 3D-printing, metal machining and more at The Garden at Building Momentum. We’ve rounded up our can’t-miss Carlyle and Eisenhower stops so you can spend a day exploring.
Say “Cheers!” at Lost Boy Cider
Lost Boy Cider is a buzzing epicenter of the Carlyle neighborhood from its Hooffs Run Drive home base. Northern Virginia’s first urban cidery boasts tasting flights of flavors such as the raspberry-infused Wingman, IPA-inspired Hazy Hopped and their signature Comeback Kid. The dry ciders contain virtually no residual sugar post-fermentation, with no sweeteners added. Pair your drink with a snack from the food truck of the day and unwind with family or friends in the laid-back tasting room.
Learn About Alexandria’s African American History
Continue your visit to Carlyle and Eisenhower by exploring some of the area’s African American history landmarks. Look for the Edmonson Sisters sculpture at 1701 Duke Street, a gorgeous tribute to sisters Mary and Emily Edmonson, who were born into slavery and attempted escape at the ages of 15 and 13, respectively. The sisters were captured and held in bondage at the Bruin’s “Negro Jail” in Alexandria until their father purchased their freedom with help from abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher, whom the sisters later partnered with in anti-slavery activism.
Nearby, you’ll find the African American Heritage Park on Holland Lane near Duke Street and Eisenhower Avenue. The park winds through woodsy area lined with beautiful artwork including a bronze memorial by Jerome Meadows titled, “Truths that Rise from the Roots – Remembered,” as well as informative panels. The park sits on the site of one of the oldest independent African American burial grounds. Learn more about the park and the Edmonson Sisters on the self-guided “Courageous Journey” driving tour.
Let Loose at Cameron Run Regional Park
Families and groups looking for outdoor activities in Alexandria won’t want to miss Cameron Run Regional Park on Eisenhower Avenue. It’s filled with endless fun including the Great Waves Waterpark, batting cages, miniature golf, picnic areas and more spread out over 26 acres of outdoor adventure. During the winter, the park transforms into Ice & Lights, a wonderland where you can glide across the ice, snap a photo in the 100’-long photo tunnel, walk through a dazzling Christmas tree and warm up in a toasted igloo.
Be Inspired at the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum
Visit the free National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum inside the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, hailed by USA Today as one of 10 “great places to be inspired by innovation.” The small exhibit includes a one-of-a-kind side-by-side 1965 and 2015 Mustangs. Visitors can get behind the wheel of both then explore interactive displays and see how patents fuel the evolution of technology with some of the most essential and quirky inventions from past to present.
Get Creative at The Garden at Building Momentum
Roll up your sleeves and contribute to Carlyle and Eisenhower’s spirit of science and innovation. From welding to 3D-printing to drones, technology is at your fingertips at The Garden at Building Momentum, a veteran-owned science and engineering consulting group offering teambuilding, coworking and events at their Eisenhower home base.
Toast with Friends at Local Drinks Spots
After being inspired by all the innovation, explore the libation situation around Carlyle and Eisenhower. At Whiskey & Oyster, you’ll find a whiskey conveyor belt full of selections to pair with fresh oysters, crab cakes and more. Dine and sip in style amidst nautical-inspired art fixtures, including a seven-foot metal mermaid sculpture created by Chris Erney, a Torpedo Factory Art Center artist. Head over to Tequila & Taco for happy hour and customize a margarita with one of their namesake liqueurs, available fresh-squeezed or frozen. Snack on ceviche, tacos ranging from brisket to mahi mahi to cauliflower & kale, and yuca fries with lime aioli. Trademark Drink and Eat at the Westin is a must-try in Carlyle, inspired by the innovation from the nearby U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Plus, family-owned and operated Pasara Thai serves flavorful dishes such as their popular drunken noodles and roasted duck curry.
Try an Off-the-Beaten-Path Restaurant
Satisfy your appetite with all kinds of cuisines in Carlyle and Eisenhower. Start with comfort fare at Sweet Fire Donna’s, a neighborhood favorite for its casual atmosphere and friendly service, with North Carolina vinegar sauce so scrumptious that Carolinian visitors have been known to take a bottle home. On Eisenhower Avenue across from AMC Hoffman Center 22, Ted’s Montana Grill takes its inspiration from the pioneering spirit of the American West, with award-winning beef and bison burgers on its sustainable, locally-sourced menu. Also on Eisenhower, Foster’s Grille is a casual neighborhood hangout spot to gather friends and family for extra-thick shakes and their signature “charburgers.”
For a hearty trip to Central Asia, visit Rus Uz – Alexandria off Eisenhower, where former Uzbekistan Embassy Chef Bakhtiyor Rakhmatullaev developed the menu at the original Ballston location. Try the crave-worthy manti, described in Washingtonian as “palm-sized dumplings…stuffed with peppery lamb and buried under drifts of sour cream.” Meanwhile, Laporta’s Restaurant has been a jazz hotspot and brunch destination for decades.
Experience Pop-Up Events
For outdoor spots to stroll and pop-up events throughout the year, wander through Carlyle’s Dulany Gardens and John Carlyle Square. Enjoy activities such as the Alexandria Old Town Art Festival, the Taste of Carlyle and a holiday market. Discover the latest happenings by following The Carlyle Council.
Header Image Credit: Matt Smith for Visit Alexandria