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Top 10 Things to Do and See in Alexandria, Virginia

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Alexandria, VA is a quaint historic town in Northern Virginia with a wide variety of attractions and things to do. The following guide provides tips on activities for the whole family highlighting the top historic sites, restaurants, outdoor recreation ideas, special events and more.

More Things to Do in Northern Virginia: Top 10 Northern Virginia Attractions, Top 10 Things to Do in Arlington, 10 Things to Do in Fairfax, Top 12 Things to Near Reston

1. Visit the Torpedo Factory Art Center

© Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
The three-story art center is one of the most popular attractions in Alexandria, VA. Visitors can watch artists at work and purchase unique gifts and decorative items from dozens of working studios and galleries. The Art League School offers a wide range of art classes for children and adults. Visitors enjoy special programs and exhibits at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. The Torpedo Factory is located along the docks of the Potomac River on the lively waterfront that also includes a marina, shops, public parks, restaurants and residences.

2. Tour the George Washington Masonic Memorial

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The Memorial, located in Alexandria, Virginia, is a reminder of George Washington's Masonic fraternity on faith in the principles of civil and religious liberty. Take a free tour and see the magnificent 17-ft. bronze statue of George Washington and an outstanding collection of artifacts.

3. Take a Sightseeing Tour

© Ben Fink
A variety of tours of Alexandria are available including cruises on the Potomac River, horse drawn carriage rides, ghost tours, and historic walking tours. Explore and learn about historic sites such as Gadsby's Tavern Museum, the Boyhood Home of Robert E. Lee, Lee Fendall House, Christ Church and more.

4. Dine at a Fine Restaurant

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Alexandria, Virginia has a wide range of great restaurants from casual eateries to elegant fine dining establishments.

5. Bike the Mount Vernon Trail

Photo © Rachel Cooper. licensed to About.com, Inc.
The scenic bike trail starts at Roosevelt Island in Washington, DC and runs along the Potomac River to George Washington's Estate at Mount Vernon. The trail passes through Old Town Alexandria, Ronald Reagan National Airport, the George Washington Memorial Parkway, Sailing Marinas and Fort Hunt Park. The section that passes through Old Town Alexandria follows public roads with a lot of traffic (which does yield to bike riders) though it may not be suitable for young children.

6. Attend a Festival or Special Event

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Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Alexandria hosts a lot of wonderful events throughout the year including parades, art and music festivals, holiday events and much more. See a calendar of the largest and most popular seasonal events.

7. Shop Til You Drop

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Old Town Alexandria is a great destination for a day of sightseeing, dining and shopping. The historic town has a variety of unique shops ranging from antiques to art galleries to jewelry stores to souvenir shops.

8. Visit the Fort Ward Museum and Historic Park

© Fort Ward Museum and Historic Park
The 41.4 acre historic park, located on the west end of Old Town Alexandria, was used as a union fort from 1861-1865 to defend Washington, DC during the Civil War. Walk the grounds and you'll see cannons, underground bombproofs which sheltered 500 men, and reconstructed quarters of the high-ranking soldiers. There is museum and a park with interpretive programs and recreation facilities.

9. Attend a Concert at Birchmere Music Hall

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The 500-seat dinner-theater style Music Hall offers a variety of musical performances of folk, jazz, rock, gospel or alternative music. It's a terrific concert venue with a good view from every seat in the house.

10. Enjoy Outdoor Recreation

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The City of Alexandria has numerous parks and recreational facilities providing opportunities to enjoy hiking, picnicking, swimming, bicycling or boating.

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