Introducing the city

£1.00 | $1.27

GBP | USD

Gasoline £0.45 | $0.57

One-way ticket £1.37 | $1.75

Beer £3.93 | $5.00

Main Course £13.75 | $17.50

About Alexandria

Nestled on the cusp of Virginia a mere five miles from Washington D.C , Alexandria is a quaint, colonial city that was once home to America's first president George Washington. Today it is known for its traditional 18th-19th century architecture, thriving arts and cultural scene and busy boutiques.

If you want a trip that is packed with history and culture then visit Alexandria. With some of the most important dates in U.S history taking place in this city including iconic moments from the American Civil War and the early twentieth century racial equality movement, history-lovers will never be short of interesting museums to visit.

The arts scene in Alexandria is also worth perusing, with annual festivals such as the King's Street Art Festival giving over 200 artists the chance to sell their work. Not only that, music plays a big role in Alexandria with the Birchmere music hall hosting popular country, folk and rock acts and an abundance of cool jazz clubs offering a more laid-back vibe.

Alexandria is a city by the Potomac river so outdoor living is another key part of life, with boat tours and bike rides being a great way to see the city.

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Weather

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When should you visit?

Alexandria is a beautiful city to visit at all times of the year with warm summers offering great outdoor opportunities and cosy winters turning the city into a charming winter wonderland.

Temperatures in the summer reach highs of almost 30 degrees Celsius which is perfect for a warm vacation. July tends to the hottest month.

Winter temperatures can drop to a fiercely-cold five degrees Celsius, so be prepared with plenty of warm clothes and thermals if you plan on visiting between November and February.

Visit in the autumn for that picture-perfect 'Fall' postcard - thick blankets of crisp orange and red leaves, cool evenings and steamy coffee shops. A lot of Alexandria's festivals happen in Autumn including the annual film festival, arts festival and Mount Vernon Fall wine festival.

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Travioor top tips

Waterfront
Free trolley
History

Insider Info

  • Visit the waterfront down by the Potomac River for a relaxing stroll followed by an afternoon drink watching street performers. Hop on board a river cruise to discover the neighbouring areas of Mount Vernon and National Harbour.
  • Make use of the free King Street trolley. It runs between King Street and Old Town Metrorail station allowing you easy access to a number of shops, restaurants and bars.
  • Alexandria has a rich history that can be explored via its many museums. Be sure to visit Mount Vernon, the home of America's first president George Washington.

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Food and drink

Main Course £13.75 | $17.50

3-Course Meal £54.99 | $70.00

Cappuccino £3.25 | $4.14

Beer £3.93 | $5.00

The Scene

Like many U.S cities, Alexandria hosts its very own restaurant week featuring fixed-price menus giving you the opportunity to sample some of the cities best restaurants at a discounted price. Held at various times throughout the year, with participating restaurants in Old Town, Del Ray and West End, this ten-day event is also your chance to explore the area through your very own food and drink trail.

Old Town is the place for great food and drink with a collection of independent restaurants giving this area of town its characteristic charm. Try Bilbo Baggins if you like craft beers, Hank's Oyster Bar if you're a seafood fanatic and Restaurant Eve if you want to flash-the-cash on a fancy date.

If you're big on brunch try Del Ray Cafe for croissants, omelettes and buttermilk pancakes made from natural, organic ingredients.

Alexandria even boasts 'Presidential hotspots' with the Obama family visiting restaurants such as Vermilion and sweet-treat favourite Dairy Godmother. If it's good enough for the President of the United States then it's good enough for us.

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History

Alexandria’s Story

Located along the Potomac river, Alexandria is often used as base by tourists who wish to visit Washington D.C but it has a story of its own that isn't a million miles away from that of its presidential neighbour. Once home to president George Washington and part of the original Washington D.C., this city has an important history to tell.

Alexandria played a key part in the Revolutionary War with British troops invading the area in 1812. It suffered even further in the American Civil War when Union armies invaded the city soon after it was granted permission to rejoin the Commonwealth. These armies took control of Alexandria in the years that followed, using it as a base to attack and defeat the Confederate South.

By the end of the war, Alexandria had to rebuild the entire city making use of its shipping ports to work with large manufacturers. Its proximity to Washington D.C. meant an increase in population with federal workers, who were working in the capital, moving into the area.

Alexandria has also played an important role in challenging racial segregation with local African-American lawyer Samuel Wilbert Tucker staging a sit-in at an all-white library in 1939. He also went on to lead the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NACCP), campaigning for equal rights and arguing important civil rights cases in Virginia.

Nowadays, Alexandria celebrates its rich history through a number of museums including the Alexandria Black History Museum.

Language

English

English is the first language of Alexandria. It also has a small Hispanic population so expect to hear some Spanish too.

Virginia is known for its thick, southern drawl. Whilst this is more apparent in southern Virginia you should still listen out for it in the north.

Listen out for phrases such as:

  • Crick - a small stream you can jump across. Not to be confused with 'creek'
  • Sluggin' it - to be lazy, taking your time to do something. 'Don't be a slug'
  • Jabble - to get things mixed up. You go to get your keys out of your bag but can't find them because they're all 'jabbled' up.

Need to know

+1 703 Dialling code
911 Emergency services

Get The Low-Down

  • Washington D.C. is only half an hour by car but you should take the Metrorail if you want to avoid huge queues and annoying traffic jams.
  • Buy a Smartrip card. A credit-card style ticket which can be prepaid and topped up before you travel. It can be used on the main transportation systems in and around Alexandria including on the Metrorail and DASH buses.

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for the USA here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. Old Town

Alexandria's Old Town is a must-do. With historic buildings, independent retailers and unusual art galleries it has something for everyone. It's great for quirky gifts too.

2. Bike trail

Hire a bike and brave the 18-mile trail between Washington D.C. and Mount Vernon if you want to appreciate every inch of Alexandria and its neighbouring cities.

3. Torpedo Factory

Stroll through the six galleries of the iconic arts centre and finish your visit with a coffee at their in-house café, Bread & Chocolate. Watch out for news on special events.

4. Ghost Tour

Learn about the history of Alexandria, including its ghostly residents, on a 'Footsteps to the Past Ghost Tour' run by the local visitor centre.

5. Gadsby's Tavern

Visit the restaurant that has played host to a number of important Alexandrian figures since the 1700s. Explore its museum to find out more about the history of the city.


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