Top Things to Do This Summer in Alexandria


Fill your summer in Alexandria, VA, with festivals galore, waterfront wanderings, ice cream escapades and much more. Keep reading for all you need to know.

1. Head to the Portside in Old Town Summer Festival Sponsored by Ting Internet


Kick off summer with the return of the Portside in Old Town Summer Festival sponsored by Ting Internet on June 16 and 17, 2023. This free festival features an array of live music, local craft beer from Port City Brewing Company and fun for the whole family on the Alexandria waterfront. Friday, the event features the ALX Jazz Fest presented by the City of Alexandria’s Office of the Arts, a division of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities, including readings by Alexandria poets. Saturday, the festival continues with an eclectic musical lineup—think flamenco, zydeco, indie soul and beyond—local food, hands-on art and history activities and more.

Make it a weekend in Alexandria! Find discounted rates at festival partner hotels valid Friday, June 16 through Monday, June 19. No minimum stay required.

2. Experience More Summer Festivals

Pictured: Around the World Cultural Food Festival; Image Credit: Ethan Yuan Photography


On June 3, 2023, wander for wares at Waterfront Park during Volunteer Alexandria’s Old Town Arts & Crafts Fair. On June 9 and 10, sip your pick of more than 30 craft beers from Virginia breweries during Mount Vernon Summerfest. Port City fans can savor the 10th Annual Old Town Pub Crawl on July 15. Then, head to John Carlyle Square to enjoy outdoor entertainment during Beats, Bites and Brews on July 29.

Visit Del Ray on August 19 for the annual Bands and Brews Summer Bar Crawl featuring live music, food and drink specials at 15+ restaurants, trolley transportation and more. On August 26, sample everything from a Laotian squid snack to Lebanese souvlaki while soaking up the sights and sounds of global performances alongside artisan booths at the Around the World Cultural Food Festival.

3. Explore the Evolving Waterfront


Alexandria’s waterfront is humming with dining destinations, art installations and plenty of places to relax by the river. See the latest temporary waterfront public art installation, “Two Boxes of Oranges and Admonia Jackson,” inspired by ships excavated from Alexandria’s waterfront  with an impactful tie-in to the city’s Black history. Enjoy the ample waterside greenspace by visiting one of the city’s eight riverside parks for a picnic, unwinding outside at a restaurant with river views, or wandering the new southern route of the African American Waterfront Heritage Trail, featuring nearly double the number of stops as the northern route.

4. Cruise on the Water


Feel the river breeze off the Potomac with City Cruises Alexandria. Water taxis connect you to regional destinations including Georgetown, The Wharf and National Harbor, while monument cruises kick off on Memorial Day weekend. Or, opt for D.C.’s only passenger pedal boat, the Potomac Paddle Club. Pedal as much or as little as you like—the vessel is assisted by a captain and motor if needed, allowing guests to enjoy monumental views on an intimate cruise at their own pace.

5. Treat Yourself to Frozen Flavors


Cool off in the city Forbes named the “Ice Cream Cone Capital of the U.S.Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream serves up scrumptious scoops in a retro setting just one block from the waterfront on King Street. In Old Town North, Sisters Thai’s resident confectionary, The Magnolia Dessert Bar, offers “bing bing” shaved ice in flavors ranging from to matcha green tea to durian. Savor the flavor of the day—and pick up a pupsicle for your four-legged friend—at Del Ray’s Dairy Godmother. Find more ways to satisfy your sweet tooth this summer here.

6. Celebrate The Fourth of July and Alexandria’s Birthday


Making plans for Independence Day? At George Washington’s Mount Vernon, enjoy Independence Fireworks the evenings of June 30 and July 1, 2023, and An American Celebration all day on July 4. Alexandria celebrates its 274th birthday and the USA’s 247th birthday on Saturday, July 8, with a performance by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and a grand finale fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. Putting on a picnic or a cookout? Satisfy your crew with barbeque from Myron Mixon’s Pitmaster Barbecue, Rocklands Barbecue & Grilling Company or Smoking Kow BBQ.

7. Dive into the Shopping and Gallery Scenes


Experience the D.C. region’s Shop Small Headquarters this summer as you support locally owned businesses. Discover new boutiques throughout the city, and explore Alexandria’s AAPI-owned shopping scene by perusing global art pieces at Kyo Gallery, browsing and crafting home goods from AR Workshop and more. Plus, don’t miss Art Nights in Old Town the third Thursday of each month, with each evening featuring an art gallery and/or cultural arts organization offering fine art and studio crafts. Pick up artwork to take home and come early to shop Old Town’s strollable streets.

Discover more ways to dive into summer in Alexandria.

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