Top Things to Do This Summer in Alexandria


This milestone summer, celebrating Alexandria, VA‘s 275th anniversary, experience festivals galore, waterfront wanderings, pub crawl escapades and much more. Keep reading for all you need to know.

1. Don’t Miss the Portside in Old Town Summer Festival


Kick off summer with the return of the Portside in Old Town Summer Festival on June 21 and 22, 2024, on the Alexandria waterfront. Festivities commence on Friday, June 21, with an evening of jazz performances and readings by Alexandria poets as part of the ALX Jazz Fest @ Portside. On Saturday, June 22, the fun continues with an eclectic musical lineup—think Latin jazz, soulful blues, and alt-country—alongside local food offerings, hands-on art and history activities and more. On both Friday and Saturday, enjoy craft beer from award-winning Port City Brewing Company including their limited edition original hoppy India Pale Ale called ALX275, brewed with 275 lbs. of hops, to celebrate Alexandria’s 275th anniversary. Make it a weekend in Alexandria with discounted rates at five festival partner hotels.

2. Celebrate Alexandria’s 275th Birthday


Experience Alexandria’s milestone 275th birthday with activities through September 2024. On July 13, marvel at a fireworks show over the Potomac during a special edition of the Alexandria and USA Birthday celebration, featuring live music and Port City’s ALX275 brew. Enjoy special programming and activities at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, Canal Center plaza and Waterfront Park among ten vantage points for fireworks viewing. Find more ways to make this milestone summer one for the books.

3. Experience More Summer Festivals

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


Get outside with more sun-soaked festivals this summer in addition to the Portside in Old Town Summer Festival. During the al fresco 15th Annual Taste of Del Ray on June 2, sample bites from top Del Ray restaurants and cast a vote for your favorite. On June 8, experience the Summer Huzzah at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Play lawn games, have your fortune told, take a scenic horse-drawn wagon ride, and see how ice cream was made in George Washington’s day. Then, head to John Carlyle Square to enjoy outdoor entertainment, shopping and more during Beats, Bites and Brews on July 27. On August 24, 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.

4. 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, “Interstellar Influencer (Make an Impact),” inspired by an asteroid which struck near Alexandria some 35 million years ago and formed the Chesapeake Bay watershed. 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 checking out “The Buried Ships of Robinson Landing,” a new temporary exhibit at the Robinson Landing gallery space featuring scale models of the three ships excavated there in 2018.

5. Get Out on the Water


Find ways to explore the Potomac River this summer.  City Cruises Alexandria‘s water taxis connect you to regional destinations including Georgetown, The Wharf and National Harbor, while monument cruises kick off on Memorial Day weekend. For a more active adventure, try kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding around Daingerfield Island with a rental from Washington Sailing Marina. Plus, you can travel back in time with a weekend sail aboard tall ship Providence, a reproduction of the first ship commissioned to the Continental Navy. Don’t miss dockside tours at the Senator John Warner Maritime Heritage Center to meet Captain John Paul Jones and get a taste of what life was like aboard an 18th-century sloop.

6. Get in the Summer Spirit with Special Bar Crawls

Sip your way (safely) through the city with seasonal pub crawls this summer. On June 22, celebrate Pride Month with the 7th Annual Official Pride Bar Crawl, starting at Alexandria Bier Garden. 20% of the event proceeds will be donated to Safe Space NOVA. Port City fans can savor the 11th Annual Old Town Pub Crawl on July 20 across eight participating restaurants near the Old Town waterfront. Visit Del Ray on August 17 for the annual Bands and Brews Summer Bar Crawl featuring live music, food and drink specials at 15+ restaurants, trolley transportation and more.

7. Treat Yourself to Frozen Flavors


Beat the heat this summer at one of Alexandria’s iconic ice cream shops. 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.

8. Shop for New Statement Pieces


Experience the D.C. region’s Shop Small Headquarters this summer along Old Town’s strollable streets. Discover new boutiques throughout the city, and explore Alexandria’s AAPI-owned shopping scene by perusing global art pieces at Kyo Gallery, browsing sophisticated treasures from Madame Coco Emporium and more. On June 8, 2024, head to Waterfront Park for Volunteer Alexandria’s Old Town Arts & Crafts Fair featuring 80+ local and regional vendors.

Discover more ways to dive into summer in Alexandria.

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