Living Like a Local in Alexandria’s West End

As Alexandria’s fastest-growing neighborhood, the West End is full of surprises. Whether you’re looking for authentic ethnic cuisine, the best country line-dancing in Northern Virginia or a piece of Civil War history, you’ll find it and other hidden gems in this diverse Alexandria neighborhood.

 

Port City Brewing Company

Port City Brewing CompanyImage credit: Sarah Hauser for VTC

Locals pause for a pint at the first brewery to open in Alexandria since Prohibition, where you can get a behind-the-scenes peek at craft beer production in a public tour. For brew-loving athletes, there’s Joggers and Lagers, a weekly fun run that begins and ends at the brewery. If you’re hungry, don’t worry: pair your beer with bites from the local food trucks outside!

 

Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site

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Immerse yourself in the everyday lives of Civil War soldiers and civilians at Fort Ward, the best-preserved Union fort built to protect Washington, D.C., during the Civil War. With a trail and a playground, the park also makes a great spot for running, walking and picnicking.

 

London Curry House 

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You don’t have to leave Alexandria to get a taste of traditional Indian food! Try the basmati rice with spicy goat or what the Washington Post calls “tender and zippy” butter chicken at this 2014 addition to the West End’s vibrant ethnic food spread.

 

West End Farmers Market

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Visit Ben Brenmark Park on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May through November to check out stalls overflowing with local produce fresh from the farm. What better way to start your day than with Fair Trade coffee, fresh-squeezed orange juice and lemonade, baked goods and artisanal cheeses (and of course people-watching)?

 

Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company 

Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling CompanyImage credit: Sarah Hauser for VTC

With barbeque pulled chicken, baby back ribs from local farmers and fresh fish from the Chesapeake Bay, Rocklands will have you reaching for the roll of paper towels on your table (or do it the old-fashioned way—there’s a reason they say it’s “finger-licking good”!).

 

Winkler Botanical Preserve 

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Truly a hidden gem, Winkler Preserve is the West End’s secret sanctuary—and it’s free! Take a hike through the woods and marvel at the waterfall and hobbit house tucked away in this green oasis.

 

Dunya Banquet Hall

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Dunya Banquet Hall has been a fixture in the West End since 1989, serving traditional Afghan cuisine like tender lamb ribs, chicken kabobs and fried eggplant—all perfected by the Abassi family.

 

Tempo Restaurant 

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For date night in the West End, look no further than Tempo, with its elegant take on northern Italian and French cuisine tucked away inside a rehabilitated Texaco station. Pro tip: don’t skip dessert!

 

Nick’s Nightclub

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Line dancing, live bands, and nightly karaoke—for country music fans, Nick’s is the place to be. After you work up an appetite on the dance floor, chow down on a roadhouse burger and finish it off with some Peachberry Pie (yum!).

 

Café Pizzaiolo

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This kid-friendly spot draws locals with its patio and Neapolitan and New York style pizza. Oh, did I mention there’s also gelato? Now that’s amore!

 

Find more great spots in the West End here.

Header image by Sarah Hauser for VTC.