For anyone that lives in the Washington, D.C. area, walking along the streets of Old Town Alexandria in Virginia for an afternoon or evening is a popular family outing. Families that want to visit Washington, D.C. as a family travel destination can similarly enjoy the many things to do in Alexandria, VA with kids in a city that has a rich sense of history, activities, shopping and more located just across the river from the nation’s capitol.
VISITING OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA
Consider starting your visit to Old Town Alexandria at the Visitors Center, located on King Street in the middle of Old Town, where you can buy tickets, schedule a tour or get advice from the staff. The museums and Alexandria Waterfront are only a short walk away.
You can easily tour Alexandria on foot, but consider this other option as well. Families can get a unique perspective of Alexandria by bike which is not only fun for kids, but also a great way to be active together. Bike and Roll is a full service rental shop at the bottom of King Street offering rentals for individuals, families. You can opt to chart your own course or take the Historic Old Town Bike Tour or Mount Vernon by Bike and Boat tour.
OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA WATERFRONT
Situated on the water, Alexandria lends itself to activities that revolve around boat tours. There are boats like a Pirate cruise that entertain children of all ages as they learn about Alexandria’s history as an important seaport or more traditional sightseeing cruises like the Alexandria Seaport Cruise or Washington Monuments Cruise.
Walking the Potomac River Waterfront in the late afternoon or evening is another popular family activity with artists and musicians that entertain. There is even the free King Street Trolley that makes it easy to explore the historic King Street from the waterfront to the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.
Be sure to make a stop at the Torpedo Factory, located right on the Alexandria waterfront. It’s the largest collection of working artists in the U.S. You’ll be able to see several artists under one roof at work, and you can ask questions or purchase their original creations. Admission is free, and yes, the Torpedo Factory Art Center once was an actual torpedo factory!
EXPERIENCE HISTORY IN ALEXANDRIA
Another reason that Alexandria is a great family destination is that is offers a diverse assortment of historical sites, tours, and experiences for the entire family. There are places like Mount Vernon where visitors can spend a day or half-day exploring how President George Washington lived. There are also smaller but still engaging museums like the Alexandria Archaeology Museum, and Gadsby’s Tavern.
One of my favorites is the entertaining and educational Ghost and Graveyard tour where 18th century costumed guides will share folklore and legends about Alexandria and its past. Or, tour the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, a pharmacy that opened before the Civil War and operated into the 1900s. Kids will enjoy hearing about the ailments of some famous customers like Martha Washington, as well as learning how many of potions in the Harry Potter series are actually based on real ingredients.
Insider’s Tip: Consider purchasing the Key to the City booklet at the Visitors Center for $15 which includes admission to eight historic sites, including several mentioned above, plus plus special discounts at museum stores and 40% off admission to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. There is also a Civil War edition of the pass that includes a free guided mobile phone tour with commentary for over 15 locations in Alexandria relating to the Civil War.
Although families usually make Washington, D.C. their destination for family travel, staying at Hilton Alexandria Old Town or Hilton Alexandria Mark Center gives you easy access to all the popular Washington, D.C. sites as well as the ability to take advantage of the many things to do in Alexandria, VA with kids.
This article was originally published by Hilton Mom Voyage.