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Top 10 Reasons to Visit Alexandria in 2024

Since its 1749 founding, the port city of Alexandria, VA, within eyesight of D.C., has played a major role in our nation’s story and reflected its progress toward inclusivity. This year, soak in Alexandria’s walkable vibe, vibrant waterfront and diverse neighborhoods as the city celebrates its 275th anniversary. Keep reading to get inspired by the top reasons to visit Alexandria this milestone year.

1. Celebrate Alexandria’s 275th Anniversary

Experience Alexandria’s milestone 275th birthday with activities spanning April to September, including historical exhibits, special events, a limited edition craft beer and more. On July 13, marvel at a fireworks show over the Potomac during a special edition of the City Birthday celebration, featuring live music, Port City’s ALX275 brew and an expanded viewing area.

2. Experience Interstellar Influencer (Make an Impact)

Witness creativity of cosmic proportions when you see Interstellar Influencer (Make an Impact), the sixth annual temporary public art installation at Waterfront Park, on display until November 2024 as part of the City of Alexandria’s Site See: New Views in Old Town series. Created by Brooklyn-based, award-winning artist/architect duo Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang of STUDIOKCA, the installation explores the impact of an asteroid that hit the earth 35 million years ago near what is now Alexandria. Interstellar Influencer uses metal, water and light to create a 1:1000 scale representation of the asteroid and the 85-kilometer wide, 1.5-kilometer-deep crater it left behind, shaping the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed.

3. Check Out New Spots Along the King Street Mile

Savor centuries-old architecture, explore dozens of independently owned restaurants and boutiques, or take a ride on the free King Street Trolley as you explore the King Street mile. Amidst more than 100 independently owned boutiques, pop into new shops such as Frances Valentine for fashionable finds, Pippin Toy Co. for something for the kiddos or American In Paris to see the new concept centered around globally curated apparel from independent designers, Plus, stop into newly opened eateries such as Casa Luna for subterranean speakeasy vibes with creative handcrafted cocktails or Capo Italian Deli for satisfying sandwiches and Italian plates.

4. Sip Port City Brewing Company’s ALX275 Original Craft Beer

In celebration of Alexandria’s 275th anniversary, Port City Brewing Company is concocting ALX275, an original craft beer brewed with 275 lbs. of hops. Beginning with a release party on May 9, this hoppy India Pale Ale will be available on draft through mid-September 2024 in the brewery Tasting Room and served at the Portside in Old Town Summer Festival on June 21 and 22, the City Birthday celebration on July 13, the Port City Old Town Pub Crawl on July 20 and more special events to be announced. Limited edition cans will be available at the Tasting Room and select outlets.

5. Make it a Summer to Remember

Mark your calendar for this summer’s can’t-miss events. Honor Juneteenth with special tours, concerts and more. Sample Port City’s limited edition ALX275 beer at the Portside in Old Town Summer Festival on June 21 and 22. Enjoy jazz performances and poetry readings on Friday evening as part of the ALX Jazz Fest @ Portside and, on Saturday, an eclectic musical lineup, local food, hands-on art and history activities.

Check Out the Buzz

2024 is the perfect time to experience Alexandria, recently named one of Travel + Leisure’Best Cities in the U.S. 2023 and one of The South’s Best Cities 2024 by Southern Living.

6. Experience New Exhibits and Dining at the Waterfront

Feel the breeze off the Potomac while you relax riverside. Dine al fresco at Alexandria’s waterfront restaurants, experiencing panoramic views at the newly expanded Jula’s on the Potomac, savoring fresh shucked oysters and crab cakes at Vola’s Dockside Grill or trying jamon croquetas and sangria at BARCA Pier & Wine Bar. Travel back in time with Alexandria Archaeology’s new temporary exhibit, “The Buried Ships of Robinson Landing,” at the Robinson Landing gallery space, featuring scale models of the three ships excavated there in 2018. Or take a dockside tour and sunset sail aboard tall ship Providence, a reproduction of the first ship commissioned to the Continental Navy.

7. Dive into Black History Anniversaries

Learn about Black changemakers who shaped the history of Alexandria and the United States. This summer, The Alexandria Black History Museum, celebrating its 40th anniversary, will unveil a Moss Kendrix exhibit honoring the marketing visionary who revolutionized how African Americans were depicted in the media in the mid-20th century. Nearby, visit Barrett Branch Library to honor the 85th anniversary of one of the nation’s first recorded sit-ins, which strove to integrate Alexandria’s libraries. Plus, see the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial in honor of the 10th anniversary of its christening, commemorating the free African Americans who fled to Union-occupied Alexandria during the Civil War.

8. Visit Alexandria’s Neighborhoods

Discover globe-spanning eats, eclectic live music and inspiring green spaces across Alexandria’s neighborhoods. Wander along Del Ray‘s Mount Vernon Avenue and try new restaurants including new fusion flavors at Zuki Moon and Hi/Fi Tex-Mex BBQ. In the West End, sample craft beer from Mieza BlenderyAslin Beer Company and the headquarters of  Port City Brewing Company as well as some of the best Ethiopian food in the region. Plus, don’t miss expansive green spaces like Ben Brenman Park and Fort Ward. In Arlandria, catch a concert from a favorite artist at The Birchmere, enjoy Salvadorian, Peruvian and Nepalese dining and admire powerful murals. Beginning in spring 2024, visit Carlyle to check out the opening of D.C.-based Atlas Brew Works, with a brewery and taproom running on sustainable energy.

9. See Art in Action During Torpedo Factory Art Center’s 50th Year

Located in a former World War II munitions plant and celebrating 50 years in 2024, the Torpedo Factory Art Center is home to the nation’s largest collection of publicly accessible working artist studios. Guests can visit 72 artists’ studios, featuring 25 new creatives awarded studios since 2022, showcasing wide-ranging media including painting, ceramics, photography and virtual reality, alongside the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. Plus, revel in the performing arts with a show at the Little Theatre of Alexandria, celebrating 90 years in 2024.

10. Be in Awe of 275+ Years of Architecture

Founded in 1749, Alexandria is an architecture lover’s dream destination with structures spanning centuries and styles, from Georgian to Victorian to Mid-Century Modern. Take a self-guided walking tour past outdoor architectural gems, including Spite House, the skinniest historic house in America at just seven feet wide, and Carlyle House, a stone mansion built during Alexandria’s earliest years in the Georgian Palladian style. Plus, revel in outdoor gardens at historic sites including Christ Church and the Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden, celebrating its 50th year as a museum.

Discover more essential Alexandria experiences during the city’s 275th birthday, from spine-chilling ghost tours to a centuries-old farmers market and more. Request a copy of the 2024-2025 Visitor Guide to get inspired today.

Header Image Credits, left to right: Mike Mielcarz for Visit Alexandria; Chris Cruz for Visit Alexandria; Christopher Chern. Torpedo Factory Art Center image courtesy of Anthony Nsofor.

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