Stay in Old Town Alexandria for Restaurants, Shopping and More
If you’re looking for hotels that offer convenient access to Washington, D.C. as well as a nice amount of charm, consider historic Alexandria, Virginia. Located just two Metro stops from Reagan National Airport, Old Town Alexandria is a convenient place to stay when visiting the Nation’s Capital.
Founded in 1749, Old Town Alexandria is a protected historic district with loads of historic landmarks, as well as quaint, walkable streets lined with shops, art galleries, restaurants, cafes and bars. Hilton Alexandria Old Town is just steps away from the D.C. Metro and is an economical choice compared to hotels located closer to central D.C.
After a day of seeing the sights in the capital, we were happy to return to one of the Old Town restaurants to enjoy a less crowded, less touristy dinner. Here’s what we loved about our stay in Old Town Alexandria:
An Array of shopping options
Old Town Alexandria shopping includes both national chains (Banana Republic, Chico’s, Ross, The Gap) and quaint and quirky shops (Comic Book Store, Potomac Beads, The Hour Shop) scattered along the main drag. My kids had to be pulled out of the comic book store and were in awe of the selection at the bead store on our walk down to the water front. At the water’s edge, the old Torpedo Factory has been converted into a beautiful art gallery filled with local artists’ studios.
Easy, Economical Transportation
If you’re headed to the Capital, the D.C. Metro can take you from Alexandria to the National Mall in approximately 20 minutes. The city metro is clean and easy to navigate. Our kids had fun figuring out which train we should take to arrive at the day’s destination.
If you want to stay local, exploring Old Town doesn’t require anything but your walking shoes. King Street, the main drag in Old Town, is lined with shops, cafes and restaurants all the way from the far end near Hilton Alexandria Old Town to the waterfront, which makes for a nice one-mile walk. But when little legs get tired, there is a FREE city trolley that runs along King Street, stopping every 15 minutes until late evening.
Old Town Alexandria Restaurants: Plenty of kid-friendly choices
The concierge told me there are approximately 200 restaurants in Old Town Alexandria — so there is definitely something for everyone’s taste and budget. Historic Gadsby’s Tavern is probably the most well known as it was a frequent stop for George Washington, who enjoyed dining and dancing there back in the day. It’s open for lunch and dinner, and there is a small museum next door, if you prefer to sight-see.
We also visited Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Located near the riverfront, which served lots of interesting flavors that both kids and adults can appreciate, like Coffee Butterfinger. YUM! For dinner, my daughter chose Bilbo Baggins based solely on its name, and it turned out to be a great family place with spacious rooms and a kid-friendly menu.
Whether or not your travels include children, Old Town Alexandria is its own destination that is convenient to the Nation’s Capital attractions. Its historic feel and proximity to mass transit make it an easy, less crowded place from which to base your next trip to Washington, D.C. With all the shops, restaurants, spas and art galleries, I hope to plan a kids-free weekend in Old Town Alexandria with my girlfriends!
- Find more to do in Alexandria such as spending the day at Mount Vernon.
- Read about other family vacations to Washington, D.C.
- See all of our vacation photos from Washington, D.C.
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Erin is a native Floridian who has resided in Atlanta since 1995. Her husband Mike and she have two funny, smart, active girls and two cats.