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How to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in Alexandria

Discover how to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, occurring September 15 to October 15, 2023, in Alexandria, VA. Despite the simple name, Hispanic Heritage Month honors a vast array of cultures spanning Latin America and evolving in the United States, including rich indigenous heritages. Keep reading for special events to attend, businesses to support and ways to continue the celebration year-round.

Family-Friendly Festivals

Children and adults alike can revel in a recognition of Latino cultural experiences at Leonard “Chick” Armstrong Recreation Center with music, refreshments and displays during the Hispanic Heritage Celebration Dance on September 22, 2023. On September 30, enjoy a Hispanic Heritage Fiesta in Beatley Central Library’s beautiful Reading Garden, set to live music by Cantaré, who draws from the musical heritage of the Caribbean, Central and South America. Savor an entertaining blend of instrumental and vocal music in Spanish and Portuguese. On October 14, close out the month in style during the Hispanic Heritage Festival at William Ramsay Recreation Center.

Art and Film Fun

On September 16, 2023, roll up your sleeves to make Guatemalan creations known as “worry dolls,” or try your skills at a Diego Rivera-themed mural art puzzle during an Exploration of Hispanic Art at Patrick Henry Recreation Center. Then, settle in for a day filled with cinematic fun during the Hispanic Culture in Cinema on October 7, featuring screenings of “Encanto,” “Selena” and “Stand and Deliver.”  

Support Hispanic, Latina and Latino-owned Businesses

Here is a sample of some of our favorite spots to pick up pan dulce, sample Panamanian coffee, mix up your hairstyle and more.

Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato

Image Credit: Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Family owned and operated, Casa Rosada brings a taste of world-class Argentine gelato and sorbet to Alexandria. All of Casa Rosada’s treats are produced on-site with the highest quality natural ingredients, giving customers the most authentic Argentine dessert experience in the D.C.-metro area. Named after the iconic pink-colored presidential office in Buenos Aires, the Old Town operation serves popular and unique flavors such as stracciatella, mint granizado and sambayon, plus sugar-free flavors, vegan sorbet and gelato and dog-friendly treats.

Cualtzin Salon

Image Credit: Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Named after the Aztec word for “gorgeous,” Cualtzin Salon is an eco-friendly beauty destination on King Street owned by Lucia Stockmaster. Cualtzin Salon offers customized hair services showcasing the most creative and advanced techniques and providing outstanding customer service. Cualtzin Salon specializes in personalized color services and color transformation options including balayage, Ombre, fashion colors and highlights to enhance natural beauty or make a statement.

Veronica’s Bakery

Image Credit: Matt Smith for Visit Alexandria

Bustling Veronica’s Bakery specializes in Latin American pastries, desserts and cakes, as well as Salvadorian, Mexican and Honduran traditional cuisine. Choose from a wide selection of panes dulces like conchas, orejas and churros. In a savory mood? Try a Honduran baleada, a flour tortilla filled with refried beans, crema and crumbled queso duro, plus options for more fillings. Or, order a festive cake for your next party.

White Lily Shoppe

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Curate a toxin-free self-care routine by visiting White Lily Shoppe. Owner Bianca Del Cid, the daughter of Central American immigrants, started her shop as an Etsy store in 2019 before opening her first brick-and-mortar on S. St. Asaph Street in August 2023. Discover products such as bar soaps, bath bombs and more, made with effective natural ingredients that nourish and protect the skin without harming the environment. 

Plus, from September 30 to October 30, experience vibrancy and creativity as two local Latina brands collaborate for Hispanic Heritage Month with a pop-up at the Seedling Collective. Explore Lucuma owner Sofia Rocca’s Peruvian heritage through quality textiles and small batch designs while you indulge in self-care with White Lily Shoppe.

Via Volcán

Image Credit: Evan Michio for Visit Alexandria

Via Volcán features exquisite, single-origin coffee grown on owners Chris and Janina McCausland’s family farm on the slopes of the Barú Volcano in the province of Chiriquí, Panama. Arabica trees are carefully cultivated in ideal soil, altitude and micro-climate conditions to produce beans that are selectively harvested by hand, sun-dried and sent to the Northern Virginia micro-roastery for daily small batch roasting. Visit the Old Town shop to experience the distinct flavor profile for yourself.


Image Credit: Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Owners Paula and Celia Coleto named their restaurant Huascarán in honor of the highest summit in their native Peru. The sisters’ menu offers more than 70 items that are representative of Peruvian cuisine, from seafood-filled ceviche to flavorful lomo saltado and beyond.

Rodrigo “Don” Restrepo owns and operates Old Town Shoe & Luggage Repair, Old Town Mini Mart & Top Services in the heart of King Street, all with the customer-forward motto, “We do it all.” Visit Restrepo’s operations to browse high-quality, top-brand luggage and travel items, then grab a pick-me-up and free coffee at the Mini Mart next door.

El Pulgarcito

Image Credit: Matt Smith for Visit Alexandria

El Pulgarcito, “the little thumb,” refers to El Salvador’s tiny size in Central America. The evidence of its small but mighty spirit comes through in pupusas that pack a punch. The soft, circular griddle cakes are stuffed with and served alongside slaw and tomato salsa. El Pulgarcito also celebrates a wide breadth of Mexican platters like tacos de lengua. Pair your savory selection with a sweet and creamy horchata.

Explore Alexandria’s Arlandria/Chirilagua Neighborhood

Image Credit: Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Discover Alexandria’s diverse multicultural community north of Del Ray. Catch a concert from a favorite artist, enjoy Bolivian, Peruvian and Nepalese dining and admire powerful murals in Alexandria’s Arlandria neighborhood, also called Chirilagua after a region of El Salvador from which many of the neighborhood’s residents hail. In addition to Spanish, you may also hear Mam, a Mayan language native to Guatemala and Mexico. Dive deeper here.

Header Image Credits: Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria, left and center; Caroline Secrest for Visit Alexandria, right

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