8 New Things to Do in Alexandria This Fall

Looking for a new experience this fall? Alexandria, VA, just minutes from D.C., has your craving covered. Enjoy a cruise aboard the tall ship Providence or set out for the new cat café or coming-soon dog bar. Contemplate new outdoor artwork like the ”Come Together” mural in Old Town. Mask up and visit just-opened independent businesses including the D.C. area’s first zero-waste sustainable grocer plus the national eco-conscious brand Patagonia, coming to King Street in September. Twelve new restaurants will tempt you with takeout or outdoor seating. Don your face mask and discover what’s new in Alexandria.

Cruise on tall ship Providence

Image Credit: Ryan Smith for Tall Ship Providence Foundation

Experience a celebrity tall ship that appeared in the international blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean. Alexandria’s newest waterfront attraction, Providence is a full-scale reproduction of one of the most renowned ships in the Continental Navy, helmed by Captain John Paul Jones in 1776. Book a private dockside tour or lounge on a public weekend cruise, complete with historical interpretation. Learn more here.

Visit a Cat Café or a Dog Bar

The great dogs versus cats debate may still rage, but there’s no need to choose with two new ways to celebrate our four-legged friends in Alexandria:

Image Credit: Kristin Cowan and Adam Patterson

Mount Purrnon Cat Café + Wine Bar: Open since August 2020 in Old Town, the cat café lets visitors mingle with adoptable cats—and even take one home—then savor coffee and pre-packaged sandwiches, salads and snacks in a separate dining area. The café features Alexandria-specific historical touches and hosts trivia nights, tea parties and more. Masks are required for entry.

Barkhaus: Set to open on October 17, 2020, near Potomac Yard, Barkhaus is designed as part dog park, part restaurant and bar. Humans can dine in designated leashed areas, while dogs can frolic in indoor and outdoor (fenced) off-leash zones while their owners sip and unwind.

Get a Celebrity Hair Refresh at Salon Monte

Image Credit: Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Monte Durham has dished out advice and dolled up brides as fashion director on TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta since 2010. After putting down roots in Alexandria some 25 years ago, Monte is ready to treat your roots with a waterfront salon set to open in Old Town in September. Learn more about the salon here, from a celebrity makeup artist to a potential reality show in the works. Not ready to visit in person? Order the five-step product line for a hair refresh at home.

Contemplate Old Town’s New “Come Together” Mural and More Fresh Artwork

In July 2020, two T.C. Williams High School art students, Shelby Bavin and Caroline Mitchell, painted a stunning new mural on the side of Rubini Jewelers at 632 N. Washington in Old Town. In support of the surging Black Lives Matter movement, Shelby explains, “We used our voices the best way we know how: with art!” Caroline adds, “The mural stands as a symbol of unification in our community, which is incredibly important in times of uncertainty.” A twist on Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam,” the Black and White hands meet, surrounded by indigo-hued flowers, as a symbol of solidarity.

Check out the latest murals around town, starting with a new painting on the Arlandria Tenants and Workers United building north of Del Ray, completed by a youth team along with artist Maspaz. Additional highlights include Chad Brady’s outdoor illustration at The Garden in Del Ray and Cindy Wallace’s ALX Wishing Wall outside 529 Kids Consign. Lastly, don’t miss the temporary installation Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies by Olalekan Jeyifous on display at Waterfront Park until November 2020.

Embark on a Self-Guided Black History Driving Tour

Image Credits: Photographer unknown; Washington Tribune, August 26, 1939. Courtesy of the Alexandria Black History Museum (left); Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria (right)

Use our eight-site driving tour, new this fall, to start exploring the African American history that shaped Alexandria and the United States, from D.C.’s onetime southern cornerstone laid by Benjamin Banneker to the site of one of the nation’s earliest sit-ins and more. Check out our Google Map, grab a face covering and start exploring.

Stay in or Dine out to Taste New Restaurants

Whether you want to savor the fall weather by dining al fresco or grab takeout to pack a picnic, find new flavors at Alexandria’s latest restaurant openings:

Image Credits, left to right: Instagram accounts of Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats, Café du Soleil and Hank & Mitzi’s Italian Kitchen

Breakfast and Coffee Spots

Café du Soleil: Open since spring 2020, Café du Soleil is a delightful French-infused oasis at 215 S. Union St., serving up coffee, crêpes, croissants and more.

Chewish Deli: Fans of the former Genuine Water Bagels will be cheered to find the NY-style water bagels, local coffee and sandwiches at Chewish Deli at 807 Pendleton St., beginning late summer 2020.

Silver Diner: In August 2020, the city’s first Silver Diner openedat 4630 King St. in the new West Alex Development. The popular regional franchise is known for its crowd-pleasing menu, old-school aesthetic and forward-thinking menu featuring everything from hearty, locally-sourced salads to juicy burgers and more.

Dining Destinations

Choong Man Chicken: For spicy Korean-style hot chicken, visit the West End’s Choong Man Chicken at 4686 King St., which specializes in tikkudak (fried and charcoal-baked birds).

Elizabeth’s Counter: Open since early spring 2020 at 804 N. Henry St., Elizabeth’s Counter sources plant-based and sustainable ingredients for scrumptious fare that vegans, vegetarians and non-vegans can enjoy.

Hank & Mitzi’s Italian Kitchen: This new twist on Hank’s Pasta Bar in Old Town North opened at 600 Montgomery St. in July 2020. Named after acclaimed restaurateur Jaime Leeds’ parents, her latest venture offers new and old delights and an outdoor patio for al fresco dining and imbibing.

Hinata Sushi Bar & Grill: More sushi rolls onto the up-and-coming Old Town North dining scene. Open since September 2020, Hinata is offering takeout and delivery from its 909 N St. Asaph St. locale.

IndoChen: In August 2020, Chef Ram Thapa transitioned London Curry House in the West End to his new concept, IndoChen, at 4906 Brenman Park Dr. The menu celebrates Indo-Chinese cuisine, described by Chef Thapa as “Chinese dishes adapted using Indian flavors and spices.”

King & Rye: A new concept at The Alexandrian hotel at 480 King St., King & Rye offers seasonal Southern American cuisine made from scratch with the highest-quality regional ingredients, alongside the finest selection of whiskeys and bourbons. Come for brunch to sample cast iron cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting!

Piece Out Del Ray: From the restaurant team that brought you St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub and Café Pizzaiolo, Piece Out avoids the great American pizza debate by slinging both foldable New York-style slices and deep-dish Detroit pies for pickup at its 2419 Mount Vernon Ave. storefront.

Thai Signature: Find Thai street food at Thai Signature, new to 722 King St. since summer 2020. The chef’s menu reflects his Thai countryside upbringing with dishes like E-Saan Chicken, a grilled marinated chicken dish plated with papaya salad, sticky rice, spicy tamarind and sweet chili sauces.

Sweet Treats

Del Ray Boccato: Del Ray’s delicious new dessert hub will open in late summer 2020 at 2400 Mount Vernon Ave., selling sweet treats like gelato scoops and pastries alongside savory options like empanadas. For the time being, the shop is offering curbside pickup and carryout only.

Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats: Old Town’s newest sweet spot is Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats, a 1950s-inspired soda fountain serving Wisconsin-style frozen custard and nostalgic treats like the Apple Cider Donutwich. Starting with a soft opening in late 2020, Goodies will call the historic Ice House on Commerce St. its permanent home after serving sweets from “Gigi” the vintage van during onsite summer pop-ups.

Shop Small (and Sustainably)

Image Credits: Instagram account of Mason & Greens

The Company of Books: Located on 1712 Mount Vernon Ave. in Del Ray, The Company of Books has received thousands of donated books from neighborhood readers to sell at its non-profit outpost, open since August 2020.

Mason & Greens: Mason & Greens, the D.C. area’s first zero-waste grocery and sustainable dry goods store, landed in Old Town in spring 2020. Mask up and visit its light and airy 913 King St. home to pick up everything from eco-friendly conditioner and cleaning supplies to fresh produce and kombucha on draft.

Mint Collective: Consignment fans made Mint Condition a go-to boutique in Old Town. Now the concept has expanded next door with retail at Mint Collective, offering all-new accessories, beauty products and items from the owners’ favorite designers.

Old Town Sock Co.: Open since spring 2020, Old Town Sock Co. is a new go-to for stocking stuffers and subtle personality statements. Choose from more than 1,500 fun and affordable pairs for men, women, kids and babies.

Find Big-Name Brands on Historic Streetscapes

Patagonia: King Street will welcome Patagonia, the beloved eco-conscious outdoor clothing brand, into the former Old Town Theater locale at 815 ½ King St. in November 2020.

Fatface: The British lifestyle clothing and accessories retailer opened in summer 2020 at 128 King St.

Header Image Credits, left to right: Instagram account of @alexandriaartscommission; Ryan Smith for the Tall Ship Providence Foundation; Instagram account of @elizabethscounter.

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