Old Town Alexandria is an up and coming, historic area that boasts good food, drinks and gifts. Those staying in DC can take the short journey to this area and feel like they’re in a different world when they do. This artisanal area gives visitors so much to choose from and some of the best hidden gems in Virginia are located here.
The history of Alexandria goes all the way back to the 1600s, when the first colony was established in Virginia. These colonists primarily grew tobacco on the land, although this came with restrictions. The area quickly became over saturated by farmers who wished to grow their crops near the river and soon these plantations began to become more spread out. Captain Philip Alexander II established his plantation in 1704 where Duke Street is today.
Throughout the years, this town has been through many changes, but the heart of Old Town offers a nice change from city life. This trade town sat on the Potomac River for many years, which made it an ideal port for passing ships. This unfortunately contributed to the Raid on Alexandria, in which the British sailed up the river to launch an attack. Another recent change that the area has been through is the attempt to reduce the carbon footprint and launch more eco-friendly technologies.
This state is incredibly rich in history and Old Town aims to bring this old time charm into the modern day. Much of the original architecture of the area has been restored or rebuilt over time and these streets instantly transport visitors back through the years. The main street, King Street, boasts a mile-long gallery of shops and restaurants to visit and experience. The cobblestone streets and architecture are paramount to the feel of the area, which is what makes it such an enticing place to visit.
Some of the best cafes and bistros are on these streets and the air of casual dining during the day is replaced by a more refined atmosphere at night. There’s something for everyone here and even the pickiest of foodies will find more than enough to tempt their taste buds. There are all types of cuisine in these few blocks and there are even fusions of each that will create a unique dining experience.
Alongside these restaurants, there are also plenty of places for visitors to try some artisanal cocktails and craft beers. These pubs and bars vary in size, but most still have a small town feel with a metropolitan menu.
Antique collectors and boutique shoppers come to this town in their thousands because of the abundance of niche stores. Shoppers can find everything from a hundred year-old clock to the perfect gift for a relative on these streets.
You can see this lovely town as part of Gray Line DC’s new mid-day Mount Vernon tour, which debuts on Saturday, March 12th.