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Discovering Alexandria: A City Tour of Rich History and Culture

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Discovering Alexandria: A City Tour of Rich History and Culture 1

The Birthplace of Alexandria

In the heart of Virginia, Alexandria is a city steeped deep in history, dating back to 1749. Named after its original founder, John Alexander, the city was designed to be a port for the export of tobacco. Today, Alexandria’s Old Town is a reflection of the city’s unique colonial past and offers visitors a glimpse into history. Cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and brick-lined sidewalks transport visitors back to a time when things were simpler, and a tight-knit community was the norm.

The Must-See Attractions

A visit to Alexandria is incomplete without seeing some of the city’s top attractions. There’s so much to see and do in Alexandria, but some of the most popular spots include:

  • George Washington’s Mount Vernon: A presidential mansion that served as the home of America’s first president, George Washington. The estate is fully restored and takes visitors back to Washington’s time. The museum collection also boasts several artifacts that belonged to Washington himself.
  • The Torpedo Factory Art Center: Located in the heart of Old Town, The Torpedo Factory Art Center houses more than 165 artists’ studios, six galleries, and two workshops. The center also has a gift shop where visitors can purchase unique, one-of-a-kind pieces of art.
  • The Athenaeum: An art gallery that’s housed in an imposing Greek-Revival building that was used as a bank in the early 1800s. It may be small in size, but it has an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and other artworks made by artists from Virginia.
  • The Carlyle House: This 1753 mansion was built by one of Alexandria’s founders, John Carlyle, and served as a hospital for Union soldiers during the Civil War. Guided tours take visitors through the house, grounds, and gardens, and showcase the restored architecture and stained-glass windows of the mansion.
  • Food and Drink

    Alexandria’s diverse culture is well-represented in its culinary scene, which offers a variety of dining options for everyone. Here are a few popular places to eat and drink:

  • The Fish Market Restaurant: This seafood-and-steakhouse restaurant has been a city landmark since 1976. It’s still renowned for its fresh seafood and offers patrons an exquisite waterfront view. Don’t forget to try a famous “Fish Market Rum Punch.”
  • Vermilion: Thanks to Chef Thomas Cardarelli’s expertise, this hotspot has become one of Alexandria’s favorite local restaurants. Philosophy and passion come together in Vermilion’s kitchen, blending locally sourced ingredients with a worldly perspective. In addition to the excellent meals, the ambiance is chic with a vintage feel.
  • Bread & Water Company: A bakery and a cafe that are one of Old Town’s most popular spots. The bakery is known for freshly baked bread and pastries— there’s a line that stretches out the door most mornings. The cafe offers your choice of a variety of sandwiches or salads, worth the wait.
  • Port City Brewing Company: Located in an industrial park just outside of Old Town, Port City Brewing Company is a favorite of locals and beer lovers. Launched in 2011, the brewing company offers both tours and tastings, and visitors enjoy a spectacular assortment of ales and lagers in the taproom.
  • A Walk Down Memory Lane

    Alexandria’s Old Town is the ideal place to take a leisurely walk and take in the sights and sounds of a small community. Here are a few areas to consider on your stroll:

  • Market Square: Alexandria’s marketplace since 1753, is the oldest operating marketplace in the country. The square recently underwent renovations, and now, it’s a beautiful, park-like area that hosts community events like the Farmers’ Market and concerts on the green. The city’s Christmas tree lighting occurs here every year.
  • The Waterfront: Alexandria’s waterfront is a vibrant hub of activity. Sailboats and yachts in the marina, people out for a stroll or bike ride on the Mount Vernon Trail, and families enjoying a picnic or a meal in one of the many restaurants line the Potomac. Water taxis are available seasonally, and Old Town’s charms can also be seen from a Potomac Riverboat.
  • Carlyle House: Stroll around the historic mansion and gardens to see how the Carlyle family lived in the mid-1700s. The imposing stone mansion is part of the Carlyle House Complex and Museum and is open for tours.
  • Christ Church: Established in 1773, the Christ Church is Alexandria’s most historic church. Some of Alexandria’s most well-known citizens are buried in the church’s yard. Visitors are welcome to attend a Sunday service to experience the warmth of a community church.
  • The journey to Alexandria is like taking a step back in time. Its colonial feel, vibrant community, and storied past make it a must-visit place in Virginia. No matter what your interests are, you’ll find plenty of things to see, taste, and experience in Alexandria. Continue expanding your knowledge on the subject by exploring this meticulously chosen external site., discover new perspectives and additional information to enhance your knowledge of the subject.

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