The historic city of Alexandria, Virginia, on the western bank of the Potomac River, is also called old town. Alexandria is rich with colonial history and boasts a large concentration of theaters, boutiques, antique shops, and restaurants. There are so many attractions to visit and activities to do, so knowing in advance some tips when traveling to Alexandria can help. Once you’ve booked your hotel or motel room and you are ready to explore Alexandria, here are five tips for first-time travelers.
Visit the Visitors Center
Image via Flickr by Reading Tom
When you first arrive in Alexandria, you’ll want to stop by the historic Ramsey House, which is home to the visitors center. This house was once the home of Scottish native William Ramsey who was a founder of the city and a merchant. Not only will you have access to brochures and maps, but you’ll also be able to buy tickets to attractions like George Washington’s Mount Vernon, DC Metro Food Tours, and DC Old Town Trolley Tours. You can also browse the gift shop where you’ll find a variety of souvenirs.
Visit the Historic Apothecary
For a walk through history, visit the historic Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, which is almost in the same condition it was when the owners closed it in 1933. This museum has an immense collection of medical equipment, herbal botanicals, and hand blown glass. You’ll also see prescriptions, ledgers, and formula books that were written for famous people like Martha Washington. But before you leave, be sure to stop by the gift shop and pick up “This Is Poison” which are shot glasses and ballpoint pens in the shape of syringes.
Head to The Birchmere
If you enjoy country and bluegrass music, then you need to visit America’s legendary The Birchmere music hall. The Birchmere is internationally recognized and has launched the careers for many famous musicians like Lyle Lovett and Vince Gill. This hall provides an intimate setting where visitors can relax and enjoy the highest quality of music.
Enjoy Great Food
If you like eating great food, then you’ll want to taste what Alexandria restaurants have to offer. For breakfast, you can try Sugar Shack Donuts, which is rated as one of the best donut shops in America. At Sugar Shack Donuts you can choose from a variety of donuts like their pineapple serrano and cucumber melon. For dinner, visit the Vermillion located in old town Alexandria and rated 83 out of 100 for the very best restaurants. Also in old town is Brabo Tasting Room, which is a Belgian-inspired restaurant where you’ll enjoy signature dishes like artisanal cheese platters and charcuterie.
Go Shopping on King Street
With its large concentration of boutiques and antique shops, Alexandria is recognized as one of the top destinations for big box shopping and antique hunting. You can take a trolley down King Street, which is the main street for shopping and home to more than 30 independent shops.
Alexandria has a lot to offer visitors, but these are just a few tips to get you started.