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Discover Alexandria’s Architecture

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Founded in 1749, Alexandria is an architecture lover’s dream destination with structures spanning several centuries and styles, from Georgian to Victorian to Mid-Century Modern. Stepping into Old Town, the city’s nationally designated historic district, is like visiting an outdoor architecture museum.

Discover gems like Spite House, the skinniest historic house in America at just 7 feet wide, and Pope-Leighey House, located 10 miles south of Old Town and the only Frank Lloyd Wright house open to the public in the D.C. region. Wander historic streets and discover more than 200 structures built before 1820. National Historic Landmarks abound, from Gadsby’s Tavern to Christ Church. Few other communities in America boast as many examples of Georgian and Federal period architecture. Keep reading for suggestions of places to see, neighborhoods to explore and architectural details to look for.

PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE

Alexandria is currently at a low COVID-19 community level. Wearing a mask is not required in most settings, but individuals are welcome to do so at any time; certain businesses may still require masks.

Top 6 Must-See Sites

Carlyle House

Mount Vernon

Woodlawn & Pope-Leighey House

The George Washington Masonic National Memorial

Christ Church

Murray-Dick-Fawcett House

Stroll a Cobblestone Street at Captain’s Row

Located at the 100 block of Prince St., this iconic street is one of two cobblestone blocks in Alexandria and was named after a successful overseas trader.

Decoding Historic Details

Touring Old Town? Look up, look closely and you’ll find hidden symbols that speak to Alexandria’s architectural history.

Hitching Post

Before airplanes, trains, cars and scooters there were horses, and hitching posts were the parking spaces of yore.

Star Anchors

Dotting many historic houses, these end pieces of wrought-iron bars support the gable walls of masonry structures.

Fire Marks

These symbols likely served as advertisements for insurance companies.

Weathervanes

Dating back to the Colonial period, look up and you may see ornamental weathervanes, such as the firefighter atop Friendship Firehouse Museum.

Visit Vibrant Queen Street

Wander the 400 block of Queen Street, a beloved stretch of charming and colorful clapboard Colonial homes.

See the Skinniest Historic House in America

Head to 523 Queen St. (a private residence) to see the skinniest historic house in America—just 7 feet wide—built in 1830 to keep loiterers out of the adjacent alley.

Discover More Historic Details

Gas Lanterns

As the sun sets in Old Town, you’ll begin to notice the many flickering lights, which was commonplace before electric lighting became widespread, adorning historic homes.

Door Knockers

Eagles, lions and even pineapples are all historic signifiers of wealth.

Mounting Block

Seen throughout Old Town, these stone steps made mounting and dismounting a horse or cart easier.

Historic Plaques

The Historic Alexandria Foundation awards these to homes over 100 years old.

Explore a Mid-Century Modern Enclave

Located just outside of Old Town, Hollin Hills is a modernist enclave comprised of more than 450 glass-enclosed minor masterpieces built from the late 1940s to the early 1970s by developer Robert Davenport and renowned architect Charles Goodman.

A Historic Stay

Accommodations abound in Alexandria, from boutique hotels to big name brands. For accommodations of architectural interest, check out these options:

George Washington’s Town House

The George of Old Town

Morrison House

It’s In the Details

Share your best photos of Alexandria’s architecture by using #visitALX.

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Old Town Alexandria

Experience the Waterfront

Historic Attractions and Museums

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