Confused about which part of Alexandria, Virginia, to call home during your trip? This diverse city has lots to offer, and where you stay will depend on the type of traveler you are, what kind of hotel you’re looking for, and what you want to do while you’re there. The following is a breakdown of three of the most popular areas in Alexandria for visitors, so you can choose the best part of town and start planning your trip.
Old Town is one of Alexandria’s biggest tourist draws. Set on the Potomac waterfront, it attracts visitors looking for history, shopping, dining, and culture. The Old Town Boutique District is known for being on the cutting edge of fashion and style. President Obama and other D.C. bigwigs frequent the area’s restaurants. The vibrant art scene, anchored by the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s 82 artist studios, brings a constant flow of new energy to this historic district.
You’ll also find some of the city’s most popular attractions nearby, including The Lyceum–which houses Alexandria’s history museum–the Alexandria Black History Museum, and Carlyle House, former home to city co-founder John Carlyle. There are plenty of great hotels to choose from in Old Town, including the Embassy Suites Hotel Alexandria Old Town and the Crowne Plaza Old Town Alexandria.
The area’s namesake monument is about 20 minutes south of Old Town, along the Potomac on the south side of the Mount Vernon neighborhood. This stunning historical destination is worth devoting a day to, as you explore the fully restored mansion that was George and Martha Washington’s home, stroll the 6-acre gardens and quarter-mile forest trail, visit the estate’s farm and livestock, and pay your respects at Washington’s tomb and the Slave Memorial and Burial Ground.
Presidential history buffs might want to follow the Presidents Passport trail, which also includes James Madison’s Montpelier and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, both southeast of Mount Vernon and doable as a day trip.
Area hotels include the Hampton Inn & Suites Mt. Vernon/Belvoir-Alexandria South and the pet-friendly Quality Inn Mt. Vernon.
To the west of Old Town, along Alexandria’s southern border, lies this neighborhood that is as rich in innovation and technology as Old Town is in history. Get inspired at the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum, located within the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Admission is free, and exhibits include a portrait gallery detailing the patent system’s history, a theater featuring films about past inductees, and the inductee gallery, to which new names are added every year.
Carlyle and Eisenhower isn’t without its own history, which you’ll find in abundance at the Carlyle Club, where you can enjoy dining and entertainment in an art deco supper club reminiscent of the 1930s.
The area is also home to the King Street Metro Station, where you can hop a train to Washington D.C. for concerts, sporting events, and all that our nation’s capital has to offer.
If you’re visiting Alexandria, there’s no doubt you’ll find a cozy spot to stay and explore the area.
Rebecca Metz is an avid road tripper, hotel hopper, and sufferer of wanderlust. She has a soft spot for national parks and wine regions, and writes about her adventures either online or in a well-worn journal, preferably while relaxing in a beach chair.