15 Things to do in Alexandria This Weekend

Want to celebrate Alexandria’s biggest holiday weekend but don’t know where to start? Dinna fash yersel! (That’s Scottish for don’t worry.) We’ve rounded up our top picks to keep you covered all weekend long.

Friday, December 2

Campagna Center’s Taste of Scotland

December 2, 2016 starting at 6:30 p.m.
The Atrium Building 

Get into the Scottish “spirit” and book your ticket to the Campagna Center’s Taste of Scotland event, where you can sample varieties of Scotches and other Scottish spirits and lift a glass to our city’s founding fathers.

Saturday, December 3

Campagna Center’s Scottish Christmas Walk Parade

img_7156v2-3_scottish_walk_bagpipes_credit_matt_chenet_for_visit_alexandria_720x480_72_rgb-1Image Credit: M. Chenet for Visit Alexandria

December 3, 2016 starting at 11:00 a.m.
Old Town Alexandria

The Campagna Center’s Scottish Christmas Walk Parade is the can’t-miss event of the weekend—maybe even the year—in Alexandria. More than 20,000 parade-goers enjoy the event annually, with bellowing bagpipes leading over one hundred marching dancers, reenactment groups, Scottie dogs, dignitaries, classic cars, Santa Claus, and much more. The Campagna Center will also host the Heather and Greens Sales again on Saturday, as well as the Holiday Home Tours. Have fun at Scottish Walk and feel good doing it—proceeds from all events benefit the Campagna Center’s core programs that help children and families in the local area. 

Campagna Center’s Holiday Home Tours

December 3, 2016 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Various locations in Old Town Alexandria

Explore Alexandria’s history and take advantage of this rare opportunity to stroll through some of Old Town’s most splendid homes decked out for the holidays by acclaimed interior designers and local florists.  Click here to see a list of all the homes on tour this year.

Scottish Walk Parade Open House at Carlyle House

carlyle_house_3_credit_c_davidson_for_visit_alexandria_720x481_72_rgbImage Credit: C. Davidson for Visit Alexandria

December 3, 2016 from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Carlyle House

Step back in time to see Carlyle House decorated for the holidays in the style of the 18th century. John Carlyle, one of Alexandria’s town founders, was a British merchant of Scottish descent. Come into the museum to warm up after the Scottish Walk Parade and learn more about 18th century Alexandria!

Random Acts of Holiday Cheer

img_8059v2-3_shop_small_credit_matt_chenet_for_visit_alexandria_720x480_72_rgb-1Image Credit: M. Chenet for Visit Alexandria

December 3, 2016 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Throughout Old Town Alexandria

Random Acts of Holiday Cheer are happening every Saturday through Christmas Eve, delighting shoppers with surprise giveaways from the Elf Prize Patrol, pop-up musical performances through the Alexandria Arts Alliance, and hands-on activities at the Mobile Art Lab. Keep an eye out for the Elf Prize Patrol while you shop and stroll on King Street.

Alexandria Archaeology Ornament Decorating Workshop

December 3, 2016 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Alexandria Archaeology Museum

Decorate take-home paper ornaments using shapes, colors, and patterns from the city’s finest 18th- and 19th-century excavated artifacts. It’s fun, it’s free, and it’s for the entire family.

Holiday Festival at the Torpedo Factory Art Center

first_night_tfac_credit_c_mouledoux_for_visit_alexandria_720x540_72_rgbImage Credit: C. Mouledoux for Visit Alexandria

December 3, 2016 from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Torpedo Factory Art Center

Shop small this holiday season, and have fun doing it! Before and after the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, stop by the Torpedo Factory for their Holiday Festival and give the gift of art this year. The afternoon will also feature a children’s scavenger hunt, live music with the Alexandria Choral Society and Braddock Brass, and a visit from Santa.

Mount Vernon by Candlelight

mount-vernon-by-candlelight-2Image Credit: George Washington’s Mount Vernon

December 3, 2016 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate

This holiday season, experience Mount Vernon in the soft glow of candlelight during candlelit character-guided tours of the first and second floors of the mansion, including 18th-century dancing and fireside caroling. Guests will hear about the Washingtons’ holiday cooking and see a reproduction of Martha’s Great Cake. “Mrs. Washington” and Aladdin the Christmas camel will also be on-site. Can’t make it this weekend? The special tours will contine on December 3, 10, 11 and 18. 

16th Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

boat_parade_698_credit_r_kennedy_for_visit_alexandria_720x500_72_rgb-1Image Credit: R. Kennedy for Visit Alexandria

December 3, 2016 at 5:30 p.m.
Alexandria’s waterfront at the foot of Cameron Street near the Torpedo Factory Art Center

At sundown, after the Scottish Christmas Walk parade, Alexandria’s harbor lights up as dozens of illuminated boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront, led by Alexandria’s fireboat The Vigilant and Washington, DC’s fireboat John Glenn. DC media personality Tommy McFly of 94.7 Fresh FM will be the parade announcer, with the 94.7 Fresh FM Street Team providing music, games and prizes from 5-7 p.m. sponsored by Blackwall Hitch. The patio at Blackwall Hitch will be tented and will serve as the perfect location to watch the parade and enjoy their selection of warmer cocktails.

Holiday on the Avenue in Del Ray

del-ray-holiday-weekend-treeImage Credit: Visit Del Ray Facebook Page

December 3, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.
Del Ray Farmers Market at Mount Vernon Avenue and E. Oxford Avenue

Discover your holiday spirit with a visit to Del Ray for the annual holiday tree lighting and a special appearance by Santa Claus, who will lead carols and sit for photos with children. While you’re there, check out 12 Christmas Trees along Mt. Vernon Avenue—each one decorated by a local non-profit or business. The public can vote on their favorite one between Dec. 5 and Christmas day.

Throughout the weekend

Campagna Center’s Heather and Greens Sale

December 2-3, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Campagna Center

You know what they say: Put a wreath on it! But seriously, there’s no better way to catch the holiday spirit than with fresh heather bundles, wreaths, or garlands in your home or office. Get yours at the Campagna Center’s Heather and Greens Sale.

The Art League Holiday Ceramics Sale

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-2-18-17-pm-2Image Credit: The Art League, artist Yvette Jacobs 

December 2, 2016 from noon to 9:00 p.m.
December 3, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
December 4, 2016 from noon to 5:00 p.m.
The Art League

Purchase one-of-a-kind ceramic vessels and sculptures created by Art League students and ceramics associates! Artwork fits all tastes & budgets.


Del Ray Artisans Holiday Market

del_ray_artisans_credit_m_enriquez_for_visit_alexandria_1_720x480_72_rgbImage Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

December 2 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
December 3 and 4 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Del Ray Artisans

Shop small at the Del Ray Artisans’ Annual Holiday Market and find unique handmade fine arts and crafts from local artists, including pottery/ceramics, photography, jewelry, fiber, paper crafts and glass. Artists donate a percentage of their sales back to Del Ray Artisans to help support future exhibits and programs.


The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s “A Christmas Carol”

christmas-carol-weekend-ltaImage Credit: LTA Facebook Page

December 2 at 8:00 p.m.
December 3 at 3:00 and 6:00 p.m.
December 4 at 3:00 and 6:00 p.m.

The Little Theatre of Alexandria

The Little Theatre of Alexandria rings in the holiday season with a return of the classic by Charles Dickens. Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly Victorian humbug, travels with ghostly guides through Christmas past, present, and future to find the true meaning of the holidays. Complete with special effects, Victorian carols, and Tiny Tim, “A Christmas Carol” is a must for the entire family.


Alexandria Holiday Market

December 3 and 4, 2016 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
John Carlyle Square 

The highly anticipated Alexandria Holiday Market is modeled in similar fashion to Europe’s festive Christmas markets, which are popular in countries across the pond like Germany and France. The Alexandria Holiday Market will encourage shoppers to “shop outside the box” and come outdoors to the festival to find unique art and craft items and enjoy sweets and mulled wine. This family-friendly market will also feature live music and special activities for kids, including  Santa.

To everyone coming out for Alexandria’s biggest weekend, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. Don’t forget to use #ExtraordinaryALX on all your photos from the weekend. For more information on holidays in Alexandria, click here.

Header Image by R. Kennedy for Visit Alexandria