Just minutes from Washington, D.C., Alexandria, Virginia, flourishes in the spring, as residents and visitors alike wander the walkable streets, scenic trails and historic sites. While the city buzzes with springtime energy, dive into the countless cherry blossom festivities, new tour offerings, wellness activities and more. Below, find our top 12 reasons to visit Alexandria this spring.
1. Cherry Blossom Experiences
Check out our cherry blossom guide for hassle-free access to the blooms in D.C., plus experiences and hotel packages in Old Town Alexandria. Voyage to the Yoshino cherries on Potomac Riverboat Company’s water taxis and river cruises, or hop on a Pedego Electric Bike for a guided cherry blossom ride.
Tour the blossoms in Old Town and learn about local history with Discover Alexandria, and take part in events like the Old Town Boutique District’s Cherry Blossom Shop & Sip and the Cherry Blossom Celebration at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Find special menu offerings, including pink-hued Cherry Blossom gelato at Dolci Gelati, or treat your palate to the Alexandria Tastes of Spring Cherry Blossom Food Crawl.
2. New Spring Tours
New to Old Town, Pedego Electric Bikes is rolling out a bevy of tours in time for the warming weather. Riders of wide-ranging ages and abilities can zip through Old Town, George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the National Mall and major monuments. Or, take the Old Town at Night tour that includes a ride over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge to catch prime views of the glittering lights in Old Town, Washington, D.C. and National Harbor.
After working up an appetite, hop off your Pedego and embark on Carpe DC’s Boutique Old Town Food Tour. Sample five of Alexandria’s top food spots, plus an alcohol tasting.
Manumission Tour Company expertly navigates visitors through the city’s rich, complex African American history. This spring, take the newly minted Duke Street Black History Tour to learn the stories surrounding Shiloh Baptist Church, the Bruin Slave Jail site, African American Heritage Park and more landmarks along the Old Town corridor.
3. “Cheers” to Spring Events
Come spring, Alexandria brims with opportunities to toast the season. Head to George Washington’s Mount Vernon for their most popular event of the year, the Spring Wine Festival & Sunset Tour. At this three-day event happening May 17 to May 19, 2019, guests sample Virginia wines, mingle with George and Martha Washington, take an evening tour of the mansion and cellar, and relax on the east lawn as they take in panoramic views of the Potomac River.
At the Torpedo Factory Art Center, sip and view The Art League sommelier’s curated art-wine pairings at Art on the Vine on March 22, 2019. If you prefer cocktails, don’t miss the chance to sample competitors’ creations as they vie for the best cocktail, appetizer and artwork combination at Art on the Rocks on May 3, 2019.
For fans of basketball, malty brews and competitive spiritedness, Port City Brewing Co. has the perfect event—Malt Madness. On April 6, 2019, teams compete in outdoor contests such as a Cornhole Tournament and a Giant Yard Pong Tournament, while partaking in brews such as the signature Ideaal Tripel.
4. New Eateries and Beer Gardens
This spring, Alexandria will welcome an influx of beer gardens, letting diners unwind al fresco. Named after the patron saint of beer, Augie’s Mussel House on the Patio will open this fall 2019 on King Street following a successful 2018 pop-up. With beers from around the world, diners can enjoy a pint paired with buttery mussels, salt and vinegar fries and more under twinkling lights on their expansive patio.
The menu at Hops N Shine, a new beer garden in North Del Ray, includes more than 50 beers on tap plus moonshine and a decadent food menu featuring chef-designed, loaded grilled cheese. Also in Del Ray, The Garden is poised to open this spring, fostering a playful ambience, featuring colorful murals, outdoor games and a canine-friendly vibe.
Spring calls for all things fresh, including creative takes on tacos. Carnitas, cauliflower, octopus, and more top the blue corn tortillas at Urbano 116, while Chop Shop Taco will cook up hearty creations from a renovated auto shop at Madison Collective in the Parker Grey area of Old Town
For more new restaurants to explore, check out our comprehensive guide.
5. Historic Homes and Gardens Tours
Peek inside historic homes this spring at several special events. On April 27, 2019, at the 86th Annual Old Town Alexandria Historic Homes & Garden Tour, visitors will weave between five of Old Town Alexandria’s finest historic townhouses and secluded gardens. Lush terraces, colonial facades and more await landscape design and garden buffs.
Equipped with springtime inspiration, head to George Washington’s Mount Vernon for its annual Historic Plant and Garden Sale where you can browse their selection of tools, gifts, and decorations, plus historic trees, shrubs and plants, as well as a wide variety of annuals, perennials, heirloom tomatoes and herbs—each carefully nurtured in the Mount Vernon greenhouses. Beginning in April, the estate will also present the Gardens & Groves Tour, explaining the intentionality behind George Washington’s landscape architecture, a blend of beauty and functionality.
6. Architecture Week
From art deco to Federal and from Georgian to Greek Revival, Alexandria’s architecture scene boasts an embarrassment of riches. To celebrate this abundance, the American Institute of Architecture presents its annual AIA Northern Virginia Architecture Week from April 20 to April 28, 2019. The jam-packed week will include the always popular walking tour of Old Town, focusing on historic churches this year, an exhibit of award-winning buildings at the Torpedo Factory Art Center and family activities, including a Scrap City and scavenger hunt through Old Town.
7. Spring Arts Events
Arts events abound this spring, and it all starts with the arrival of Mirror Mirror, a new site-specific sound-responsive temporary public art installation in the new Waterfront Park from SOFTlab, a New York-based design studio led by artist and architect Michael Szivos.
Nearby, the Torpedo Factory Art Center will host a number of after-hour events, including its “Late Shift” series, which take place the second Friday of every month from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. On March 29, 2019, start or add to your art collection at the always popular March150 Art Party. The event features the chance to purchase artwork for just $100 while enjoying food and drinks from local restaurants, live art demos, and interactive performances.
For art in action, visit The Little Theatre of Alexandria. Their searing theological comedy, “The Savannah Disputation,” will be on stage April 27 to May 18, 2019. On April 7, 2019, celebrate the end of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra’s season with spring-themed musical selections at “Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3” performed at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.
8. Boutique Events and Spring Shopping
As storefronts bloom with new offerings and warm days invite sidewalk strolling, experience Alexandria’s myriad boutiques and shopping events. On April 13, 2019, the Old Town Boutique District will host its Easter Egg Hunt, with raffles and family fun as kids search for the eggs hidden within each boutique. Their Cherry Blossom Shop & Sip event, on April 14, 2019, includes brunch with pink cocktails and the perusal of blossom-inspired products.
From clothing boutiques to bookstores, find more reasons to shop this spring.
9. Baseball and Soccer Boat
For an unforgettable—and traffic-free—commute to a Washington Nationals or D.C. United spring home game, set sail with Potomac Riverboat Company’s Baseball Boat & Soccer Boat beginning March 3, 2019. Departing from the Alexandria City Marina in Old Town, the 40-minute cruise offers fans the chance to relax with a cold one or snack before the ship docks at Diamond Teague Park, steps away from the stadiums. Don’t worry if the game goes late, as the boat departs 20 minutes after the last pitch for Nationals games and 30 minutes after D.C. United games end.
10. Time Travel through History
In addition to Manumission Tour Company’s debut of the Duke Street Black History route, Alexandria historical sites promise to engage, challenge and entertain this spring. Alexandria’s History Museum at The Lyceum presents “Becoming American: A Documentary Film Series on the Immigration Experience,” a six-documentary series spanning March through May that will uncover historical and contemporary immigration experiences, with a scholar-moderated discussion following each screening.
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum offers another way to connect with the past with its “Hamilton’s BFFs & Frenemies” tour every Saturday in April. Inspired by the blockbuster musical, learn about Washington, Lafayette, Jefferson, Madison and Burr, all of whom visited Gadsby’s Tavern.
The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum offers its “Geek Tour: Behind the Scenes,” series on April 1, April 7, May 5 and May 26, 2019. The in-depth, expert-led tour includes exclusive access to the apothecary’s basement and third floor. For a deeper dive, take the Harry Potter-inspired tour, “A Magical Apothecary,” tour on April 14, 2019, or the “Outlandish Tour” on May 19, 2019, which contextualizes the herbal medicines in Diana Gabaldon’s novels and the STARZ series.
11. Wellness Activities
Stretch your legs out from winter hibernation at the 35th Annual Parkway Classic on April 28, 2019. Choose from a 10-mile route, 5K or Kid’s Dash. The 10K starts at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, coursing along the peaceful Potomac and through Old Town’s historic streets.
Ease into the weekend at the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s “Factory Flow” yoga series, held this spring on April 6 and May 4, 2019. This unique experience melds yoga instruction with insight from sound artists and dance instructors.
Yogis can also check out Carlyle House’s Yoga on the Magnolia Terrace sessions on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings beginning in May. The gentle Vinyasa Flow Yoga will unwind body and mind in a beautiful, historic setting.
Sugar House Day Spa and Salon will celebrate 20 years in Old Town from March 25 to March 30, 2019, offering discounts and daily Instagram giveaways in appreciation of its loyal customers.
12. Outdoor Dining
Spring signals the start of outdoor dining season. Grab a table under one of Vola’s Dockside Grill’s signature red umbrellas and enjoy waterfront views with a refreshing cocktail and delicious seafood. On April 6, 2019, visit Vola’s for unlimited fresh oysters in all their shucked, fried, broiled and stewed glory during Vola’s Spring OysterFest.
Alexandria is chock-full of restaurants offering outdoor dining. Take your pick, from restaurants with stunning views of the Potomac to ones with lush patio gardens. Or, if you prefer people watching, grab a table curbside on King Street.
Still restless with spring fever? Explore even more things to do this spring in Alexandria.
Header Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria