Whether you’re visiting for the first time or just want to do some exploring, there is no shortage of things to see and to do in Alexandria.
Start in Old Town, a brick-paved shopping and dining district that harks back to the city’s colonial past. Explore Gadsby’s Tavern Museum where founding fathers dined, and Carlyle House Historic Park, a restored Georgian mansion with a garden.
The Torpedo Factory Art Center
Located in Old Town Alexandria, the Torpedo Factory Art Center is one of the city’s most famous special event venues. The historic building, which once housed a U.S. Naval Torpedo Station, now is home to one of the country’s largest communities of working artists.
The three-story building features a variety of galleries and studios on different floors. The top floor is an archeology museum, and each of the three floors houses different types of arts studios that offer visitors a chance to observe artists in their craft.
This is a great place to visit with the kids, a date or just by yourself! You can meet the artists, learn about the history of the torpedo factory and see a variety of artwork.
The Historical Society
The Alexandria Historical Society is a great place to learn about the city's history. They've got a wide variety of events and programs, from lectures to house tours.
They also have a house plaque program that honors residents for their efforts to preserve their homes' historic significance. The plaques are a great souvenir of your visit to Alexandria.
Their website is a great resource, too. They have articles on a variety of subjects, from Alexandria's African-American history to George Floyd and the Civil War.
A local historian with a background in medicine, Davis says they're always looking for new ways to share the history of their community. They recently held an event to raise funds for their historic building, which was damaged in a storm.
Alexandria has a long and rich history, dating back to Alexander the Great. It has been a center of learning and home to some of the greatest scholars in the world.
The Torpedo Factory Maritime Museum
If you’re interested in Alexandria’s past, be sure to visit the Torpedo Factory Maritime Museum. It is located along the Potomac River and was once the site of a torpedo factory that produced submarine torpedoes during World War I.
In 1974, the former munitions plant was converted into an art center with 82 artists’ studios and six galleries. The building has become a landmark on the Potomac waterfront.
The center is also home to a museum and archaeological exhibits. In addition, there are workshops and art classes for both kids and adults.
There is also a special event for kids and families called Art Safari. This daylong activity involves dozens of artists guiding budding art enthusiasts in creative activities throughout the building.
The Torpedo Factory Maritime Museum is one of the top attractions in Old Town, and you should definitely check it out. The museum is open every day and offers a range of activities for visitors.
The Woodlawn and Pope-Leighey House
If you’re looking to get away from the crowds and experience a quieter side of Alexandria, consider visiting the Woodlawn and Pope-Leighey House. These historic homes, owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, are situated on a beautiful 126-acre estate of rolling hills overlooking the Potomac River in Alexandria.
- Both houses are a great example of two American styles of architecture in conversation with each other. They both were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, a revered American architect who specialized in designing affordable Usonian homes (single-story, small, and inexpensive residences) to encourage American middle-class citizens to live in their own personal spaces.
- In 1941, Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Pope-Leighey House in Falls Church, VA for a journalist named Loren Pope. The house was scheduled to be demolished due to the widening of I-66 so it was relocated to the Woodlawn property, which is now part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.