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Top Things to Do This Fall in Alexandria


As the air starts to chill, autumn leaves create a scenic canopy above red brick sidewalks in Alexandria, Virginia. Art festivals add to the seasonal spirit as locals load up at farmers’ markets and fall festivities pop up in Old Town, Del Ray and beyond. Sip local cider, stroll King Street for seasonal finds and Halloween treats, explore historic homes and take advantage of the bounty of autumn activities below.

1. Art and Al Fresco Festivals

Pictured: Art on the Avenue; Image Credit: Will Niccolls

Take advantage of fall festival season with plenty of al fresco festivities. From September 30 to October 1, 2023, the 21st Annual Alexandria Art Festival will host juried artwork to peruse and purchase at John Carlyle Square. On October 7, the ever-popular 28th Annual Art on the Avenue celebrates the community’s creative spirit with an artistic bonanza of some 300+ vendors along Mount Vernon Avenue. On September 21 and October 19, stroll scenic streetscapes along a free self-guided tour during Old Town Art Nights. And from October 6-8, soak up Potomac River views while savoring vino during the most popular annual event at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour.

2. Events to Sip and Savor

Pictured: Lost Boy Cider

If apple season screams “cider” to you, head to Lost Boy Cider for no-sugar-added sips. Ever-popular Old Town Cocktail Week kicks off on September 8, 2023, with Art on the Rocks at Waterfront Park and plenty of workshops and special events through September 17. On September 21, the Taste of Old Town North invites you to explore the neighborhood with tastings from local favorites such as St. Elmo’s and Yunnan by Potomac Noodle House, plus live music. Seafood lovers can savor the 4th Annual Old Town Oyster Week. from October 14-21. Then, say “Prost!” during the Oktoberfest celebration at John Carlyle Square Park on October 21.

3. Historic Homes and Fall Foliage

Take advantage of cooler autumn days to snap photos of the bright-hued foliage fluttering around the city’s historic homes and brick-lined sidewalks. Use our fall foliage guide to inspire and inform your leaf-peeping, from sweetgums to sugar maples. Then, peek behind the façades of architectural gems at the TWIG’s 81st Annual Historic Alexandria Homes Tour on September 23, 2023, and embark on Carlyle House’s Discovering Alexandria Architecture Walking Tour on select Saturdays through November. Plus, find the most photogenic fall spots around town with our autumn-themed Instagram guide.

4. Spooky Celebrations and Activities

Pictured: Ghost & Graveyard Tour

From cobwebbed and cobblestoned Captain’s Row to year-round, lantern-led ghost tours, Alexandria’s historic charm contains its fair share of haunts. New this year, let the breeze off the river give you goosebumps during tall ship Providence’s family-friendly Halloween Howl and adults-only Ghost Ship Providence on October 28, 2023, both of which take place dockside at the new floating Senator John Warner Maritime Heritage Center.

Get spooked on a stroll with Alexandria Colonial ToursNightly Spirits or Alexandria Ghosts, or gather your gang for a spine-chilling challenge at Escape Room Live. and On October 28, bring the family and enjoy trick or treating in the various shops and restaurants at the Old Town Family Trick or Treat. That same day, grown-ups won’t want to miss the 3rd Annual Carlyle Halloween Stampede, featuring a bar crawl and costume contests. Then, break out your canine costumes for the 10th Annual Doggie Trick-or-Treat on October 29 and join the beloved Del Ray Halloween Parade along Mount Vernon Avenue.

5. Mount Vernon Fall Festivities

Image Credit: Maria Bryk for George Washington’s Mount Vernon

With its vast green landscape tinted red and gold, George Washington’s Mount Vernon makes the perfect backdrop for fall festivities. For an endorphin boost, sign up for the Patriot Run on September 10, 2o23. Take in the sights and sounds of early American life from September 16-17 at the Colonial Market & Fair, where 18th-century artisans sell traditional food and wares set to live music. From October 6-8, grown-ups can unwind on the east lawn overlooking the scenic Potomac River at Mount Vernon’s most popular event, the Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour. Gather again for the Fall Harvest Festival on October 21-22, with 18th-century activities and demonstrations at the Farm at Mount Vernon.

6. Riverside Revelry

Looking for ways to soak up Potomac views this fall? Meet Captain John Paul Jones and get a sense of what life was like on an 18th-century sloop during a dockside tour at tall ship Providence‘s new floating Senator John Warner Maritime Heritage Center, or book a sunset cruise. See above for special Halloween celebrations aboard the ship.

Enjoy the smell of autumn in the air as you dine outside at one of the city’s prime riverside eateries. Plus, check out the temporary public art installation until November and delve into the city’s rich Black history with the newly updated northern and southern routes of the African American Waterfront Heritage Trail.

7. Shopping Along the King Street Mile

Take advantage of the cooler weather with a stroll along Old Town’s King Street mile, the largest collection of independent boutiques in the D.C. region. Check out newly opened boutiques such as fashion and accessories outfitters Frances Valentine and period-positive Ms. Moxie’s Moon Shop.

Find more ways to enjoy fall in Alexandria here.


Header Image Credits, Left to Right: Evan Michio for Visit Alexandria, Sam Kittner for Visit Alexandria and Will Niccolls

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