Unexpected Shopping Experiences in Alexandria, VA

Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, located just minutes from Washington, D.C. on the Potomac River waterfront, is one of the region’s top destinations for shopping, filled with locally-owned boutiques and national retailers. It’s also a haven for unexpected and hands-on shopping experiences in maker spaces and at specialty boutiques. We’ve rounded up our favorite shops in Old Town where you can do more than shop, with special happenings like workshops, tastings, fitness activities, readings and much more. Keep reading to see our favorites!

Maker Spaces

AR Workshop

Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

AR Workshop is an inspiring boutique workshop that not only offers classes but also sells retail items specially styled for Alexandria. DIY workshop classes include painted wood projects, canvas pillows, wall hangings, and more. It’s a fun activity for friends or small groups, and a great way to create your own unique gift with pro tips in a cozy workshop space. Stop in to see their style, or check their calendar for special events and classes.

Stitch Sew Shop

Image Credit: S. Stanton for Visit Alexandria

Stitch Sew Shop is a sanctuary for the modern maker, opened by self-taught sewing enthusiast Kalle Thompson to revive the lost art of sewing that so many previous generations celebrated. You can rent Bernina sewing machine stations by the hour, take regular classes or weekend-long mini-retreats with well-known “sew-lebrities” that include a cocktail party and two eight-hour long workshops. Whether you’ve never threaded a bobbin or are an advanced seamstress, Thompson has created a welcoming space for all experience levels that will keep you coming back for more. Want to start small but don’t know how? Try one of their DIY embroidery kits or iron-on patterns.

Fibre Space


Around the corner on King Street, fibre space is a vibrant and cozy yarn universe from friendly and passionate “fibre fiend” Danielle Romanetti. fibre space specializes in unique yarns and fibres from hand dyed, independent sources for knitting, crochet and spinning. Seriously, the yarn is so soft and colorful you’ll want to make your entire wardrobe out of it. You can stop by the space for classes, designer workshops, yarn tastings, movie nights and much more in their comfortable lounge. fibre space is for everyone, and the friendly staff is there to help you every “stitch” of the way in a welcoming environment that doesn’t feel intimidating.

Foodie Experiences

La Cuisine

Image Credit: La Cuisine

Calling all foodies! La Cuisine is a local favorite, independently-owned shop for cooking and kitchen items, and it also hosts regular events and tastings that make it a must-try whether you want to learn more about cooking or consider yourself a pro. Tastings include seasonal treats and essentials with special discounts, with special trainings and classes offered regularly like knife skills classes and more.

Sur La Table

Sur La Table is another fantastic spot to find everything you could possibly need for your kitchen and more. They also offer regular specialty cooking classes with themes like date night, girls night out, mastering the grill, ethnic recipes and more. Check out the calendar to learn more about upcoming classes and events at the Old Town Alexandria store.

Spice & Tea Exchange of Alexandria

Image Credit: Spice & Tea Exchange

The Spice & Tea Exchange is a wonderland of exotic, hand-selected spices, sugars, salts, seasonings, gourmet teas and accessories not available in your grocery store. It’s the perfect spot to pick up unique gifts for the chefs and tea-lovers in your life, and it’s also a great place to stop in for tastings and other events where you can sample products and learn more about cooking with different spices and more.

Olio Tasting Room

Olio Tasting Room makes olive oil and vinegars feel more like wine in their Old Town storefront, where you can stop in for tastings any day of the week. They also host special events where you can taste special locally-made products and meet the business owners who created them. The tastings go beyond olive oil and include specialty goods like hot sauce, Persian Torshi and more.


Fitness Fun

Pacers Running Store

Image Credit: M. Chenet for Visit Alexandria

Pacers serves as a community hub for the Alexandria’s running community, not only offering some of the best shoes and running apparel and accessories, but also hosting regular events and group runs. They host morning and evening social runs throughout the week in addition to their partnership with Port City Brewing Company’s Joggers and Lagers community runs and other events. Check their website for the most up-to-date details.

Marcela’s Yoga Boutique 

Marcela’s Yoga Boutique in South Old Town is a wonderful hub for anyone who loves yoga or being active, with gifts to nourish the mind, body and soul, as well as regular classes and workshops. In addition to various levels of yoga and Pilates classes, Marcela’s has regular special events that include things like movie night, special workshops and more.


Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Lululemon is a beloved retail shop for people looking for yoga and activewear. They also host free yoga in-store every Sunday morning at 10 a.m., right in the heart of Old Town, making it a fun and unique option for a weekend activity whether you’re visiting town or live in the area.

Specialty Happenings

The Hour Shop 

Image Credit: The Hour Shop 

The Hour attracts cocktail enthusiasts from around the country for its exquisite collections of vintage and new creative cocktail glassware curated by local owner Victoria Vergason. Regular in-store tasting events and activities include garden parties, holiday tastings, 20’s-inspired events and more at its historic building on King Street. Check out their events page or sign up for their mailing list to stay in the know about one-of-a-kind happenings.

Old Town Shop

Image Credit: The Old Town Shop Facebook Page

The Old Town Shop is a unique take on local gifts, offering custom gifts and Old Town Alexandria merchandise tailored to visitors and residents alike as well as book signings, tastings, artisan demonstrations, children’s events and community service days. It’s the only area shop to feature a variety of local curated artisan products that are offered at the Old Town Farmers Market in the section of the store called “Locals’ Alley.” The Old Town Shop features regular events that spotlight local vendors, writers, and artisans that strengthen the community. Check their Facebook page for more information or stop in their shop near the waterfront in Old Town to learn more. 

Hooray For Books 

Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Hooray for Books is a wonderful spot for families looking for things to do, with regular readings and author events happening weekly. This boutique is Alexandria’s only locally-owned, independent children’s bookstore and offers a wide selection of new and classic books, toys and gifts for children of all ages. It’s that local bookstore that makes kids want to curl up in a comfy corner and spend the afternoon reading. Check their calendar for details on book readings and opportunities to meet authors.

Ten Thousand Villages

Ten Thousand Villages in Alexandria is Northern Virginia’s oldest Fair Trade retailer, located right on King Street in the heart of Old Town and specializing in crafts and housewares handmade in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. They also host regular events that are great for families, including baby story and music time, hands-on craft workshops, seasonal events and more. Check their Facebook page for up-to-date events and information.

Expert Drones

Expert Drones is a nationally-acclaimed drone shop with just two retail locations in the country, and one right in the heart of Old Town. It’s more than a drone store, offering special trainings and other events where you can test-fly them yourself. You can work with them to learn how to fly your own personal drone, or even hire them to set up a drone obstacle course at your next big event.               


Shop Alexandria Tour

Discover Alexandria’s “Shop Alexandria” tour is a can’t-miss for anyone who loves shopping, offering a guided tour by request through some of Alexandria’s best kept shopping secrets. It’s a unique perspective on the city’s history where you can also explore some of the best shops in town and meet new friends. 


For more information on shopping in Old Town, check out our Ultimate King Street Shopping Guide.


Header Image Courtesy of AR Workshop Alexandria Facebook Page

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