March Events in Alexandria
Welcome to spring! The first day of the season officially starts on the 19th, but the days leading to the change are filled with celebratory activities. Throughout March, Alexandria plays host to traditional Irish celebrations, embraces women’s history, and prepares for the much anticipated arrival of the iconic pink and white cherry blossoms. Pick an event and welcome spring into Northern Virginia.
The beloved Alexandria tradition is set to start at 10:30 a.m. with the Fun Dog Show on Market Square, which benefits the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. Later at 12:30, the parade begins at King and Alfred Streets. Hosted by the Ballyshaners (Gaelic for “Old Towners”) in effort to preserve Alexandria’s Irish heritage, the parade presents more than 2,000 participants. Bands, animal rescue groups, pipe and drum bands, Shriners, and Irish dancers lead the festivities. Dress in green and get there early for the perfect viewing spot.
Hosted by the Chamber’s ALX’s Women’s Leadership Forum and presented by the LizLuke real estate team, the event was created to bring women and men together to foster career education, interactive discussions, and networking. A number of panelists will be on hand to lead the forum, provide feedback, and career growth advice.
Local Alexandria restaurants come together each March to host the annual Sips for Saints event at the Atrium Building. The celebration benefits the Alexandria Central Rotary Foundation with a fundraiser showcasing gourmet food and Irish spirits. The foundation focuses on improving the lives of adults and children with special needs.
With Huntley Meadows Park as the scenic backdrop, girls ages 5-17 have the opportunity to celebrate Women’s History Month by spending time learning about art, science, and history. They’ll investigate and research information gathered by well known scientists such as Maria Merian, Frances Hamerstrom, and Jane Goodall. Activities include sketching and surveying forest trails and wetlands.
Although it's too early to predict peak cherry blossom sightings, the ramp up to the official festival begins now. Although officially a D.C. festival, Alexandria plays host to a satellite event dedicated to the blossoms at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Attendees are invited to participate in hands-on activities, performances, and shop works of art displayed and sold throughout the building.
Quickly becoming a Fairfax County favorite, the Ides of Bark Dog Festival is hosted by Mount Vernon Supervisor Dan Storck and the Fairfax County Park Authority. Vendors, dog enthusiasts, and neighborhood supporters have made this event a fun afternoon to cavort with canines. Vendors provide freebies such as samples, coupons, free services, and dog care information. Look for dog celebrities Luna, Jamie, Stella, Gunner, and Bruce Jr., who are the Mount Vernon District Doggie Representatives.
February Events in Alexandria
If you haven’t noticed by now, George Washington is a big deal in Alexandria, especially in February! The country celebrates the 288th birthday of our founding father on February 17, and there are multiple birthday celebrations throughout the city, especially at his farm home, Mount Vernon. February is also the perfect time to take your sweetheart to a romantic dinner at the Mount Vernon Inn for a period inspired meal.
Many of the celebrations are free, so take advantage of what the area has to offer during this month of President’s Day.
Chocolate and February just go together, so it's an extra special treat to have on hand General Washington who will be storytelling and answering questions at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. In the audience, you’ll sip on hot chocolate and snack on chocolate treats.
Downtown Alexandria is home to the largest and oldest parade dedicated to celebrating our nation’s first president. Rear Admiral Robert Shumaker (Ret.) is 2020’s Grand Marshal, and he will lead the parade through the one-mile route. This year’s parade theme is “Selfless Service to Country.”
After the parade, walk to Gadsby’s Tavern Museum to speak with costumed guides and tour the facilities for free. Washington frequently dined at Gadsby’s Tavern, and his time spent there is well documented.
New this year, a discovery game was created to uncover facts about Alexandria and George Washington. The scavenger hunt will take about 1.5 hours and families are encouraged to play together. Prizes are awarded.
There’s no place like Mount Vernon to celebrate Washington’s Birthday. Admission is free for everyone, and there is a long line up of events to watch and take part in, including: presidential wreath laying at the tomb, marching drills and military demonstrations, storytelling, and pictures with Mr. Washington himself.
Because when a birthday reaches 288, one day of celebration is just not enough! Mount Vernon offers free admission again, but this time there’s birthday cake! Kids will have the opportunity to celebrate with card making and photos with George. Look for Martha, too!
The George Washington Masonic National Memorial hosts Freemasons and their friends and family to celebrate President Washington’s birth. The day-long festivities end with the formal gala which includes a reception, entertainment, and an extensive buffet.
Walk where the president walked, and see the places he frequented in Old Town. For 90 minutes, you’ll explore sites such as John Fitzgerald’s warehouse, Captain’s Row, Gentry Row, Ramsay House, Market Square, the Carlyle House, Wise’s Tavern, Duvall Tavern, Gadsby’s Tavern, and Washington’s townhouse.
January Events in Alexandria
Welcome to Alexandria in 2020!
If you’ve not taken advantage of some of the ongoing events in Alexandria, it's time to put a new adventure on your calendar. Stop procrastinating and saying, “We should really go to that one day” and make a new year’s resolution to try one of the dozens of events that are featured throughout the city.
As far as tourists are concerned, January is a lighter month for travelers, which means more access to special events and mainstay entertainment for those who live in the area. Try winter produce from a farmers’ market in Old Town or Del Ray, attend a concert at the historic Birchmere, or treat the family to a fun afternoon breaking out of one of the escape rooms in Alexandria.
Select Saturdays in January and February
If you never understood the call of Goat Yoga, maybe Bunny Meditation is more your style? It's a new year, so try it out— meditation is always on everyone’s resolution list. Lionheaded Bunnies visiting from Tripple Springs Farm will be wandering about during guided meditation.
Plus, after class, there’s cider to sample from Alexandria’s own Lost Boy Cider.
January 1 - September 30
You won’t want to miss this exhibit. Nineteen enslaved people are highlighted, documenting their stories and artifacts related to their work on Mount Vernon. Enslaved people at Mount Vernon were responsible for much of the household’s success and part of exhibit examines how the Washingtons managed their relationships with enslaved workers as they contemplated their opposition to slavery.
January 1 - December 13, 2021
Did you know that every one of our presidents has walked through the streets of historic Alexandria? This app-lead, tour guide free walking tour allows participants to follow the footsteps of our forefathers into popular green spaces, storied buildings, and museums. Christ Church, Market Square, and Waterfront Park are just a few of the stops.
January 1 - 26
For a unique twist on art and animals, visit the Gallery without Walls display housed at the VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital. Visitors will not only view one-of-a-kind art dedicated to man’s best friend (dog or cat!), you’ll have the opportunity to purchase any of the artwork showcased. As an added incentive to stop by, 20% of sold artwork proceeds will be split between VCA and the Wildlife Rescue League.
New this year! As part of the NOVA Parks 60th year celebration, the Winter Village at Cameron Run has all the activities that a genuine winter wonderland can offer. Ice skating, marshmallow roasting, igloo tours, and lighted scenery throughout the park makes for beautiful pictures at night. This an ideal time of year to get to know Cameron Run Regional Park, because in the summer the property returns to its true identity as a popular water park!
December Events in Alexandria
24th Annual Del Ray Artisans Fine Art & Fine Craft Holiday Market
First 3 Weekends in December: Fridays 6 - 9 pm, Saturdays and Sundays 11 am - 6 pm
Del Ray Artisans Gallery
2704 Mt. Vernon Ave.
The Del Ray Artisans Holiday Market hosts different artists each weekend, so be sure to check the schedule and choose what is near and dear to your heart. Fine arts and crafts will be on hand for purchase from local vendors. You’ll see pottery, ceramics, photography, jewelry, fiber, paper crafts, and glassworks. A unique facet to this market is the donation of a portion of each vendor’s sales to support Del Ray Artisans’ mission to promote art for the benefit of artists and the community.
Fort Belvoir’s Brunch with Santa
December 1 and 15
The Officer’s Club offers two days to meet with Santa and share Christmas wishes. Photo opportunities are available. Don’t forget your camera, and don’t delay; this event sells out quickly!
Parade December 7 at 11 am, route through Old Town
The much beloved Scottish Walk Weekend kicks off a month of fun and sometimes free activities in the city. Alexandria was founded by Scottish merchants; one is the port’s namesake, John Alexander. Scottish traditions have held strong for hundreds of years in the city.
The weekend includes a widely revered parade filled with clans dressed in tartans with bagpipes and drums. Did I mention Scottie dogs by the pack?
- Taste of Scotland Scotch Tasting, December 6, 6:30 pm - 10:00 pm
- Holiday Designer Tour of Homes, December 7,12:30 pm - 4 pm
2019 Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
Parade 5:30 pm, Dockside Festivities 2 - 8 pm
Stay in Old Town after the Scottish Christmas Walk, grab some dinner, and linger over the sight of the parade of boats as they cruise down the Potomac. This holiday tradition celebrates its 20th Anniversary and remains a favorite of those who call Alexandria home. Waterfront Park hosts a pop-up beer garden furnished by Port City Brewing, while local radio station 97.1 WASH FM adds holiday music to the festive ambiance. Other vendors on site include Penny Post, AR Workshop, Old Town Books, and Pizzeria Paradiso. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also make an appearance at the City Marina.
November Events in Alexandria
Welcome to the official start of the holiday season! November in Alexandria is full of events. From the last days of farmer’s markets to poignant Veterans Day remembrances, there’s plenty of chances to see Alexandria at its best. Try one of several Turkey Trots around town to see up close what Alexandria charm is all about.
Spending time in Alexandria for Thanksgiving? Make those dining plans ASAP! Reservations fill quickly.
Meet fellow oyster lovers dockside to enjoy all you can eat oysters with your paid ticket. Fresh, fried, or boiled--you choose. Shrimp and house made chips are also available.
Join friends of Dyke Marsh to get an intro into how to watch for birds on the shores of the Potomac. Experienced and new bird watchers are invited.
Sign up to take advantage of this unique yoga class located in the brewhouse. All levels of students are welcome. Stay to enjoy beer samples in the tasting room after class!
A bustling farmer’s market awaits shoppers in the Sherwood Hall library parking lot. You’ll find vendors selling fresh vegetables, fruits, eggs, baked goods, cut flowers, and more.
Where history and whiskey meet. Washington was a pioneer in distillery. Join modern professionals to taste and learn about some of Virginia’s best craft whiskey.
Who can resist dancing to music straight from the 1770s? Enjoy English country dancing and dining on festive fall desserts. Dance lessons are available the weeks leading up to the ball.
Don’t miss the last Sunday of the season to shop for one-of-a-kind treasures. This is a favorite in Del Ray, allowing community members to buy and sell among like minded residents.
To commemorate Veterans Day, free tours are available of the tavern museum.
More than 10 cideries are eager to show off their best blends. Join the crowd at the Lloyd House for merriment while sipping cider and tasting new dishes from a local food truck.
Holiday programs and tours will take visitors back to the time when the Washington family celebrated the holiday. You’ll probably even hear George and Martha telling stories about their family traditions.
October Events in Alexandria
We’ve made it! The summer is officially behind us and the season of festivals, fun, and everything pumpkin is upon us. This time of year, the days move fast! Plan your weekends carefully to maximize time for enjoying the cool weather.
While you’re in the festive mood, check out Visit Alexandria's Guide to Fall Leaf Peeping in Alexandria.
For 26 years, this Alexandria church has offered its lovely grounds to visitors who want to choose the perfect pumpkin. The proceeds of the sale go directly to fund church activities. Check out their schedule, as they’re offering pumpkin themed cooking classes through the month.
Alexandria’s Scottish heritage is on full display when the Highland Echoes Show comes to town during the fall. Scottish dancing, music, traditional songs, and all things Highland related are showcased, including iconic kilts and bagpipes.
An autumn day spent on the historic banks of the Potomac is a treat not everyone gets a chance to try. Kids will love the planned activities and maritime presentations and history. The whole family will dig the live music and plenty of access to renowned restaurants.
It's tradition to spend at least one amazing fall day at Mount Vernon. You can’t go wrong by choosing the wine fall festival, featuring Virginia wines.
Fall Harvest Family Days at Mount Vernon
Not into wine? Bring the family down to spend the day on the plantation. Kids can play games that Custis children played or jump in a horse drawn wagon ride. Mount Vernon is offering limited quantities of free sightseeing cruises during Family Days.
Who doesn’t love a parade? Especially when the participants are kids and pets in costumes! Del Ray residents have strong affection for this community event, offering awards for categories such as, Best Pet Costume, Best Decorated Business, Best Decorated Home, and Best Decorated Stroller.
September Events in Alexandria
Whether it’s apples or pumpkins, Hollin Farms has produce for everyone during the fall. In fact, the owners recommend checking their website before coming to see what is ripe for picking and the exact times of admission before heading out. On the weekends, the farm offers entrance to a corn maze for $1.00. Longtime Alexandria locals might recognize the farm’s connection to the popular Hollin Hall neighborhood in southern Alexandria.
Each weekend of the month, crowd favorite Great Country Farms hosts visitors at their Apple Gala & Fresh Cider Fest. On the farm, you’ll visit animals and a "dino" who likes to eat pumpkins, and take a tractor ride to pick apples straight out of the orchard.
September 14-15 is opening weekend, then daily Sept 21-Nov 5
Cox Farms Fall Festival
Don’t let the trek out to Cox Farms deter you; consider it part of the season to take in new scenery out near the farm. All the traditional events are waiting for families to enjoy: apple baked goods, hay rides, farm animals, and a scary corn maze are just a few of the activities available.
Mount Vernon never disappoints when hosting special events, and the Colonial Market Fair is no exception. In fact, it's one of its most popular! Each day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., guests can shop a 12-acre field dotted with colonial artisans selling food and handcrafted items. Musicians and historic interpreters, including George and Martha Washington, roam the market answering all kinds of questions about their lives on the plantation.
Serious artisans and crafters know the significance of this event, as it is ranked highly by Sunshine Artist Magazine. World class art is displayed by more than 200 artists not only from the U.S, but globally. One of a kind pieces from all modes of artwork will be on display for purchase. Shoppers will find paintings, sculpture, jewelry, photography, and much more.
New Neighbors Oktoberfest & Live Auction
The Campagna Center supports literacy in the community through its wildly popular Oktoberfest fundraiser. They’ve partnered with Port City Brewing to bring festival goers all the traditional German fare, brews, and Oompah Band music they can handle.
A local’s favorite, for sure! The location in Alexandria is hard to beat, but the ambiance is pure fall country goodness. Mounds of various colors and styles of pumpkins are available, not to mention fresh produce and baked goods. Just watch out for wagon traffic. There will be plenty of little ones dressed for family fall photos.
September 30 - October 31
If you missed the apple gala at Great Country farms or just want a second reason to taste donuts again, the Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival is a fine successor.
August Events in Alexandria
Bagpipe and Drum Concert
Did you know Alexandria’s lineage is straight out of Scotland? Yep, and Scottish enthusiasts head into Old Town a few times a year to proudly demonstrate their heritage. The City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums are playing a free concert in Waterfront Park at 8 p.m. Pack a snack and a seat to settle in for the concert and watch a performance by traditional Scottish dancers.
Calling all shoppers! Head to King Street in a hurry! There’s an entire weekend dedicated to end of the season bargain shoppers. Up and down King Street you’ll find sidewalk sales hosted by more than 50 vendors that will be hard to pass up. If your family doesn’t share your enthusiasm about shopping, let them take part in delights such as lemonade stands, a snow cone machine, giant Jenga, a bubble bar, sidewalk chalk art, and a mini make-and-take project. Vendors are also participating in raffles and giveaways.
One of the highlights of Alexandria is the abundance of world class food. Amazing plates will be on show for two weekends and 10 days during Restaurant Week. More than 70 restaurants representing quick food to international plates are preparing dishes. Special prices include a $35 three-course dinner for one or a $35 dinner for two. Lunch menus are available for $15 or $22 per person. Ladies and gents who brunch can enjoy menus for $15 or $22 per person. Check out the vendors and their availabilities on the restaurant week’s website.
2019 Irish Festival
Waterfront Park again plays host to the city’s European ancestry. This time, it's the Irish who represent. To preserve their heritage, the Ballyshaners are providing Irish entertainment, food, drinks, and crafts for purchase. Entrance is free from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the festival is a family-friendly event.
July Events in Alexandria
A full itinerary packs the day with colonial and modern events. Daytime fireworks, cannon fire, and large scale re-enactments are the big draws, but inside, specialized talks and exhibits provide shelter from hot or rainy weather. A special ceremony dedicated to honoring new American citizens is also scheduled.
Take a narrated round trip cruise and monument tour on the Potomac River. Admission to Mount Vernon is included. Food is available for additional fees.
Alexandria is turning 270 and American is having its 243rd birthday this year! Head to Oronoco Bay Park for a festive rendition of the 1812 Overture (including cannons!) and fireworks at 9:30. Food is available on site.
Families and pets are welcome to watch open air movies suitable for everyone to enjoy! Titles include: Peter Pan, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Smallfoot, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, and Incredibles 2--free!