In a city as patriotic as Alexandria (we’ve been known to house an American president or two), choosing how to celebrate July 4th can be a tough task. Although Alexandria does not have fireworks on July 4th, we do on July 9th when we celebrate Alexandria’s and USA’s birthday during one big waterfront party. We’ve also picked out some great all-American activities to help make the most of Independence Day in Alexandria.
1. Eat Like a President
Image credit: Dairy Godmother Facebook Page
What better way to kick off your Independence Day festivities than with the basic ingredients of the American Dream? Eat like a president this July 4th weekend and stop by President Obama-approved Union Street Public House for steaks, seafood and draft beer—nothing says summer like a cold pint of Port City Brewing Company’s award-winning Optimal Wit. Groups will love the recently renovated The Majestic, where the First Family celebrated Michelle’s mother’s birthday, or you can opt for date night at Vermilion for deceptively simple American fare. It’s hard to imagine a restaurant with more history than Gadsby’s Tavern Restaurant, one of George Washington’s favorite spots, and host to the first five U.S. presidents. For a sweet finish, pick up handmade chilly treats from Dairy Godmother, another Obama family-approved stop.
2. Park-side Picnics
Image credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria
Everyone knows no Fourth of July is complete without a picnic. And Alexandria’s waterfront parks make prime picnic spots for no-fuss patriotic parties. Picnic 101: Fill your basket with goodies from Society Fair or pick up a delectable cheese selection from Cheesetique. Top it off with desserts from sweets shops like Bluprint Chocolatiers. Find sunny, serene spots at Founders Park along the waterfront or beside the lighthouse at Jones Point. Enjoy!
3. Outdoor Fun
Image Credit: flickr user Isaac Wedin
The Fourth of July is all about getting outside under that summer sun, and Alexandria has no shortage of outdoor activities. Hit the waterfront at Daingerfield Island, where you can rent kayaks, canoes, sailboats, stand-up paddleboards and even hydro-bikes (it’s OK, I had to Google it too) from the Washington Sailing Marina. Get in the spirit of the Summer Olympics and test your volleyball skills at Founders Park, hit the Mount Vernon Trail for scenic running and biking, or shoot hoops at the basketball courts at Jones Point Park.
4. An American Celebration at George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Image via George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Daytime fireworks? Yes, that’s legal and yes, they’re awesome. At George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, celebrate our nation’s birth on July 4th with a fireworks display over the Potomac, military reenactments, free birthday cake for all and a visit from our founding father himself. Plus the National Concert Band will serenade guests with its “Red, White and Blue” concert. (This is one party you better book in advance.)
5. Alexandria/USA Birthday Celebration on July 9
Image credit: Victor Wolansky Photography
Don’t miss our big patriotic party on the weekend AFTER July 4th! Alexandria turns 267 this year (yep, that’s 27 years older than the United States) and on July 9 we’re celebrating with a huge birthday bash along the Potomac waterfront at Oronoco Bay Park. Live music, food vendors, birthday cake and a dazzling fireworks display over the river are all on the agenda. So grab your lawn chair and join me in saying ALX, you’re looking pretty good for 267!
For more things to do this summer in Alexandria, click here, or stop by the Alexandria Visitor Center at 221 King St.
Header image credit: C. Davidson for VTC