Great Walks in Alexandria

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Known for its walkable lifestyle, Alexandria is a city best experienced on foot. Get inspired with routes for your next amble along Old Town’s red brick sidewalks and beyond, from an architecture-themed excursion to a waterside stroll to the Old Town North Arts and Cultural District Walk and more. For each walk, check out our accompanying Google Map to plan your route—though you’ll be tempted (and welcome) to detour.

Self-Guided Architecture Stroll


Spend an afternoon strolling one square mile of historic streetscapes in Old Town Alexandria, a nationally designated historic district founded in 1749, and revel in the range of design styles, from Federal to Victorian:

  • Start at pretty-in-pink Athenaeum, built in the Greek Revival style and today an art gallery serving as home of the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association
  • Then, wind your way to Prince Street’s cobblestoned Captain’s Row.
  • Pass Greek Palladian-style Carlyle House on N. Fairfax St., home of Scottish city founder John Carlyle.
  • Discover colorful colonial homes on Queen Street, including its crown jewel—tiny, cobalt blue Spite House.
  • End by resting in the gardens at Christ Church, the 18th-century English country-style church on N. Washington Street.

Learn more about Alexandria’s architectural wonders here.

Old Town Art Photo Walk


Grab your camera and embark on an art-filled adventure through Old Town:

  • Start at Olalekan Jeyifous’ 1609 Cameron St. installation, Wrought, Knit, Labor, Legacies, which frames African American history and the city’s role in slavery to its industrial development from the 17th to 20th centuries.
  • Pop over to Prince St. to see fibre space’s pink and blue galactic girl mural, painted by Matt McCullen.
  • Head east toward the waterfront, flitting by the Butterfly Effect mural on Bloomers at S. Patrick St., by Tasha Wahl, with input from former Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker.
  • Stroll down historic King Street, then turn left on Lee Street and pose in front of South Block’s rainbow-hued mural by Meg Biram.
  • Head north for some sculptural surprises at Tide Lock Park, home to the “Promenade Classique,” a neoclassical sculpture among waterfalls and pools designed by French sculptors Anne and Patrick Poirier.
  • End at 632 N. Washington St. to see the “Come Together” mural by two local high school students, inspired by Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” to express solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

Waterfront Walk


Watch the tide ebb and flow against the rocks and see sailboats bobbing by as you catch a breeze along the Potomac River waterfront:

  • Start at Tide Lock Park, featuring a neoclassical sculpture set among waterfalls and pools.
  • Then, saunter southward through riverside retreats like Oronoco Bay and Founders Park, adjacent to the Alexandria City Marina.
  • Pass through Waterfront Park, which seamlessly connects lower King Street to the river and hosts the city’s rotating public art installations.
  • Then, head south and detour through Wilkes Street Tunnel as you wander through Shipyard and Windmill Hill Park.
  • End on a peaceful note at Jones Point Park, home of the last remaining riverside lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay area.

Jones Point Park, home of the last remaining riverside lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay area.

Duke Street Black History Trail

Edmonton Sisters statue, City of Alexandria. Photo by Evan Michio Cantwell

Old Town’s Duke Street corridor is rich with historical significance, embedded with hidden narratives and plenty of plaques for the eagle-eyed passerby:

  • Begin at the Edmonson Sisters sculpture (1701 Duke St.), a tribute to two teenage sisters who were born into slavery and attempted escape, later becoming vocal and visible abolitionists. The piece was sculpted by bronze work artist Erik Blome.
  • Steps away, find the Bruin Slave Jail, where the sisters were held, for a further reckoning of Alexandria’s role in the domestic slave trade.
  • The Freedom House Museum is what remains of a large complex dedicated to trafficking thousands of Black men, women, and children from 1828-1861. Newly reopened with three floors of exhibitions in May 2022, this museum seeks to reframe white supremacist history.
  • Take a detour onto Prince St. to see the plaque for L’Ouverture Hospital, which served Black soldiers and those escaping enslavement during the Civil War.
  • Stop by Alfred Street Baptist Church, Alexandria’s oldest African American congregation, founded in the early 19th century within its first Black neighborhood, called “The Bottoms.”
  • Then, visit Shiloh Baptist Church, one of the city’s oldest active churches. Drawing its name from a biblical term for “place of peace,” the church was formed as an oasis during the Civil War for the formerly enslaved.
  • End your journey at African American Heritage Park and linger by the bronze tree memorial titled “Truths that Rise from the Roots – Remembered,” created by Jerome Meadows and carved with the names of Black Alexandrians who shaped the city.

Del Ray Mural Stroll


Alexandria’s artsy Del Ray neighborhood pops with personality and color that sets it apart from the rest of the city. Meander by murals capturing aspects of Alexandrian’s history on this three-quarter-of-a-mile route:

  • Start at Mount Vernon Recreation Center, whose whimsical community mural was created during one of Del Ray’s Art on the Avenue festivals.
  • Take a picture beside Chad Brady’s “Greetings from Del Ray” mural on the side of 2417 Mount Vernon Ave.
  • Then, see how Brady conjured the old St. Asaph Racetrack on Cheesetique’s vintage “postcard” painting.
  • Check out artist Patrick Kerwin’s puppy portrait mural on the side of Stomping Ground at 2309 Mount Vernon Ave.
  • On that same block, see intertwining trees atop a bright blue background on Alex Cook’s “Dream Forest” mural facing E. Del Ray Ave.
  • Across the street, spot famous former Alexandrian Jim Morrison mugging on Brady’s St. Elmo Coffee Pub’s exterior.
  • Steps from the site of Del Ray’s Farmers’ Market, see a vibrant market scene painted on the side of Vélocity Bicycle Cooperative by Patrick Kerwin.
  • Catch the subtle floral garden mural on the house across from Evening Star Café, created by Chad Brady.
  • At 1909 Mount Vernon Ave., find Rives Wiley’s stunning sunset-inspired mural outside Del Ray Asian fusion spot Kaizen Tavern.
  • End beside the evocative, rustic rendering outside Junction Bakery & Bistro, painted by Torie Partridge and Cory Bernat.

Green Getaways


Plan an escape to roam through one of Alexandria’s wide-open greenspaces:

  • For a foray into the past, head to Fort Ward in the West End, constructed by the Union Army in 1861 to defend Washington, D.C., during the Civil War. The park welcomes visitors to take a run along its hilly paths or pack a picnic to enjoy in its 35 acres of greenspace.
  • Also in the West End, Ben Brenman Park offers a sprawling natural oasis. The 59.3 acres include a peaceful pond, amphitheater, sports fields, space for dogs to frolic and more.

Photos submitted by Alexandria visitors like you.

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