"Alexandria, once part of Washington, now almost DC" Top 5 Page for this destination Alexandria by Ewingjr98
Alexandria Travel Guide: 463 reviews and 1,534 photos
This page covers not just the most historic and famous areas of Old Town Alexandria, but also some of the outlying areas across in the Northern Virginia/Metropolitan Washington, DC area such as Arlington, Falls Church, and Manassas. If you are looking for things to do in the city of Washington, DC, I have a separate page, so feel free to check there for more ideas.
Old Town Alexandria is one of the most historic and quaint neighborhoods in the Washington DC area. It is famous for is historic buildings as well as high-end boutiques, fine restaurants, antique shops, theaters, and bars. Alexandria has about 140,000 residents, many of whom are associated with the federal government.
Old Town was originally laid out in 1749. Market Square was once a major slave market, and is now known as the oldest continually operated market in the US. King Street is the heart of Old Town's business district and is serviced by a trolley that runs between the water and the Metro station 17 blocks away. The waterfront area features Founders Park as well as several other green spaces all interconnected by the Waterfront Walk.
In 1791 the Federal City, now known as Washington DC was laid out along the banks of the Potomac, half in Maryland and half in Virginia, including Alexandria. The new city/territory was officially recognized in 1801, but in 1846 congress authorized retrocession of Alexandria back to Virginia, mainly because the local citizens feared the city would soon outlaw slavery. Sure enough, Washington DC outlawed slave trading in the city in 1850, the Confederacy broke off in 1861, and soon the Union re-occupied Alexandria, again ending the slave trade.
Best touristy things to do in the Washington DC area: visit the numerous monuments and memorials on the mall, see the dozens of museums of the Smithsonian Institution, maybe shop in Georgetown, see the famous government buildings like the White House and Capitol, and maybe check out a few other historic sites like Ford's Theater. Many visitors will also want to see some of the nearby areas like Arlington National Cemetery, Old Town Alexandria, and Mount Vernon.
My favorite not-so-touristy things to do in Washington DC: shop at Eastern Market and the Maine Avenue Fish Market, wander the historic streets and parks of Capitol Hill, eat in Chinatown or Barracks Row, go out for the nightlife at Adams Morgan, enjoy an afternoon at Rock Creek Park, hike or bike the C&O Canal, check out the view from the Old Post Office Tower, visit the Shakespeare Theater, and see some of the non-touristy monuments like the National Law Enforcement Monument and the Navy Memorial.
Columbia Firehouse is a great, new restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, originally a fire station, the bottom two floors... more travel advice
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