This spring in Alexandria, VA, be enchanted by fluffy cherry blossoms and themed treats along centuries-old streetscapes and wander the waterfront for new dining, art and history experiences. Mask up to stroll through the city’s eye-catching architectural gems during Architecture Month and celebrate Historic Garden Week in Virginia with a new self-guided tour and more. Keep reading for top spring events and things to do in Alexandria.
Face coverings are required in all indoor public spaces and outdoors whenever six feet of physical distance cannot be maintained. Learn more about Alexandria’s commitment to health and safety.
Cherish Cherry Blossom Season
This cherry blossom season, savor food and drink specials like cherry blossom hard cider from Lost Boy Cider throughout the month of March, cherry, jalapeño and prosciutto flatbreads from Café 44 and cherry blossom gelato from Dolci Gelati. Mask up and meander amid the flowering blossoms, or take a guided tour with Discover Alexandria Tours or a food tour with the National Cherry Blossom Festival Flavor Pass. Kiddos can celebrate the season with a special cherry blossom workshop from Kidcreate Studios, while adults can find shopping deals from Old Town Shop and Vintage Mirage.
Dine al Fresco
Welcome the warmer weather with al fresco dining at beloved outdoor patios, as well as brand new eateries like Ada’s on the River, a new venture from Alexandria Restaurant Partners (ARP) inspired by 19th-century female mathematics pioneer Ada Lovelace. Executive Chef Randall J. Matthews’ menu centers around meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes cooked to perfection in the wood-burning oven. Look for BARCA Pier and Wine Bar, ARP’s second waterfront destination, opening later this spring. Meanwhile, make a reservation with members of your pod for King & Rye’s inviting new cocktail garden, debuting April 21, 2021.
See New Waterfront Public Art
Groundswell, the 2021 temporary public art installation from Brooklyn-based artist Mark Reigelman, will be on display at Waterfront Park in late March to November 2021 as the third installation in the city’s annual Site See public art series. Groundswell brings an element of play to Alexandria’s changing shoreline with an immersive ecosystem of 102 raw wood pilings topped with etched blue mirrors that shimmer like water. The installation was inspired by Alexandria’s history in the 18th and 19th centuries when drastic measures were taken to extend the city’s shoreline, with new land built upon intentionally sunk wooden ships and thousands of timber pilings that crept further into the Potomac River.
Catch last year’s installation, Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies, by Olalekan Jeyifous, at its new temporary home in Parker-Gray, a neighborhood rich in Black history, at 1609 Cameron Street.
Explore Alexandria’s Architectural Gems
Alexandria is filled with beautifully preserved architecture and dream homes. Throughout April, peek behind the scenes with primarily virtual events from AIA Northern Virginia Architecture Month, including lectures on architecture and design and creative building activities for children and families. Or, embark on a self-guided Old Town architectural stroll past pretty-in-pink Athenaeum, Greek Palladian-style Carlyle House and more. Find more of Alexandria’s standout architectural spots to explore here.
Stroll Through Springtime Gardens
Bask in springtime gardens around the city. This year’s Old Town Alexandria Historic Homes & Garden Tour will be in a self-guided format, taking you along Old Town’s tree-lined streets on April 17, 2021, as part of Historic Garden Week in Virginia. You can also stroll the gardens at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the historic Carlyle House. Fancy tea time? On April 22, tune into Carlyle House’s “Historic Gardens at Historic Sites” virtual lecture from Dean Norton, director of Horticulture at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, complete with a tea box to enjoy at home filled with treats from The Spice & Tea Exchange and Firehook Bakery. Meanwhile, The Rectory on Princess Street’s “secret garden” is the perfect setting for a springtime portrait session when the tulip magnolia trees bloom in mid-March.
Get Out on The Water
Feel the breeze off the Potomac with an outing on the river. Potomac Riverboat by Hornblower’s Water Taxi season begins on March 19, 2021, with service from Alexandria to The Wharf (perfect for cherry blossom viewing from the water), Georgetown and National Harbor. Tall ship Providence, a reproduction of the first ship authorized to serve in the Continental Navy and John Paul Jones’ first American command, will reopen for cruises this spring, with family-friendly options, beer-tasting cruises and more. With Washington Sailing Marina, enjoy a breathtaking view of downtown D.C. while sailing, kayaking or enjoying a stand-up paddleboard around the iconic Daingerfield Island. Meanwhile, Belle Haven Marina offers canoes, kayaks and more to explore Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve.
Take a Walking Tour Outdoors
Grab a mask to get outside for a guided or solo walking tour. Explore Alexandria’s rich Black history with a cultural heritage tour from Manumission Tour Company and the new waterfront African American Heritage Trail and StoryMap. Sip your way through the city on a Nightly Spirits tour, learn the city’s spooky secrets on a Ghost & Graveyard Tour or delve deeper into the city’s Civil War history with DC Military Tours. Forge your own path with one of Alexandria’s Great Walks, from a self-guided architectural stroll to an Old Town art photo walk and more.
Savor These Special Events
Spice up the season with flavorful events throughout Alexandria. Make a reservation for Captain Gregory’s outdoor cherry blossom celebration on March 26, 2021, to enjoy a mobile highball cart, themed décor and more, or celebrate the Japanese blossoms at home with takeout from their “Winter in Tokyo” menu. Savor the expanding dining scene in Old Town North with Taste of Old Town North, a two-month stroll through the neighborhood from April 21 to June 21, offering a passport for discounts at participating restaurants. From April 30 to May 9, Old Town Business Association will host Cocktail Week with craft cocktails to-go, virtual happenings and outdoor events.
Enjoy Seasonal Shopping
As storefronts bloom with new offerings, experience Alexandria’s many boutiques and shopping events. From March 19 to 28, 2021, the Powered by Women Festival spotlights Alexandria’s female entrepreneurs with virtual workshops, classes and product offerings from boutiques—not to mention themed menus at eateries. Support 10 participating businesses and get a stamp in your passport that earns you a free tote bag filled with goodies. Visit the Del Ray Vintage & Flea Market the second Saturday of every month, beginning in April, to find treasures from local vendors. Shop local online with Alexandria Maker’s Market’s “March of Makers” throughout the month of March. Find curbside pickup, delivery, FaceTime appointments and more throughout the largest collection of independent boutiques in the D.C. region.
Check Out Alexandria’s Arts Events
On March 27, 2021, join artists and art lovers online for the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s virtual “March150” art party and sale. Tune into the art center’s “Late Shift: Cherry Blossom Jubilee” program on April 9, and view an in-person cherry blossom exhibition from March 31 to May 2. The Art League’s “Line by Line” exhibit, in which all of the artwork is a visual response or interpretation of a work of poetry, is on display from March 10 to April 3. Take a detour to Del Ray Artisans for spring exhibits including “Unfinished/Finished” (April 2 to May 1) and “The Art of Nature” (May 7 to 29).
Find more ways to savor springtime in Alexandria here.
Header Image Credits, left to right: Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria; Instagram user @scenefrommyrun; Chris Cruz for Visit Alexandria