Nestled in Northern Virginia, Alexandria is a charming port city lined with indie shops, eateries, galleries, row houses, and cobblestone streets. This surprisingly diverse and liberal enclave is only a 15-minute drive or Metrorail ride from the nation’s capital, and offers a more relaxing and less expensive home base for a D.C. getaway. The Obamas love Alexandria, and after our weekend stay in this historic town so do we. Here’s what to do and see.
Where to explore
King Street in Old Town is Alexandria’s premier destination for dining and shopping. This walkable mile-long strip boasts more than 160 independent retailers and fast-fashion chains (H&M, Gap Outlet, LOFT) from the King Street-Old Town Metro stop to the Potomac River waterfront. Stroll at your leisure or hop on a free trolley.
Where to eat and drink
In Old Town, chow on creative comfort food (salads, burgers, fish tacos, pasta) and enjoy water views at Virtue Feed & Grain (106 S. Union Street). For a sweet treat, check out Nicecream (726 King Street), a new made-to-order ice cream shop that uses liquid nitrogen and locally-sourced ingredients. Owned by millennial college sweethearts Sandra Tran and Gil Welsford, Nicecream offers over 80 yummy rotating flavors, including pineapple upside down cake, wild blueberry, peachy keen, and the ever-popular vanilla bean. At suppertime, head to Hummingbird (220 S. Union Street), an upscale regional seafood eatery and cocktail bar with blue and white décor that gave us Hamptons vibes.