Take a stroll along Alexandria’s King Street Mile to discover surprising connections to star-studded and beloved movies and TV shows. Start at tall ship Providence to learn about the vessel’s Pirates of the Caribbean connection and end at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, where A-listers including Leonardo DiCaprio, Natalie Portman, Nicolas Cage and more have filmed. Keep reading to get started on your cinematic adventure.
1. Discover tall ship Providence’s Pirate Connections
1 Cameron St.
Head to the waterfront to see Providence, a celebrity tall ship with film credits including “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.” Providence is a reproduction of the first ship authorized to serve in the Continental Navy and John Paul Jones’ first American command. Come aboard to tour the ship, meet a historic figure and get a taste of what life was like aboard an 18th-century sloop.
2. Snap a Photo Outside a Celebrity Hair Salon
210 S. Union St.
Monte Durham has dished out advice and dolled up brides as fashion director on TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta” since 2010. But did you know this Atlanta reality show star is an Alexandria resident? After putting down roots in Alexandria some 25 years ago, Monte opened Salon Monte on the waterfront in September 2020. Head a few blocks off King Street to nap a pic outside the salon, or don a mask and duck inside for a treatment or to grab Monte’s namesake product line.
3. Take in the View from an Ominous Scene from “No Way Out”
101 Quay Street
Walk a couple more blocks north along N. Union St. to Founders Park, the setting of a dangerous rendezvous in the 1986 Kevin Costner-helmed thriller “No Way Out.” Will Patton’s character arrives at 101 Quay Street to meet Susan (Sean Young), affording us a glimpse of Founders Park in the background.
4. Visit the Mansion House Hospital from PBS’ “Mercy Street”
121 N. Fairfax Street
The national PBS series “Mercy Street,” the network’s showcase drama series following the conclusion of “Downton Abbey,” was inspired by real events of Union-occupied Civil War Alexandria, revealing the realities of Civil War medicine, changing roles for women and the breakthrough experience of enslaved African Americans claiming their freedom. Head up King Street to visit the grounds of Carlyle House, the location of the Mansion House Hospital. A century after city trustee John Carlyle had the house built, James Green (played by Gary Cole) bought the “Mansion House,” which was appropriated by Federal troops for use as a Union hospital during the Civil War.
5. Spot the “Broadcast News” Booth Outside 219 Restaurant
219 King Street
“Broadcast News,” released in 1987, is a clever satire of American television news centered on a love triangle between a news producer, anchor and reporter. The film stars Holly Hunter, William Hurt, Joan Cusack and Albert Brooks. In a scene between Holly Hunter and Albert Brooks’ characters, a particularly important plot point is revealed outside 219 Restaurant on King Street.
6. Find the “Hollow Man” Bench on the Alexandria Visitor Center Porch
221 King Street
If you stop to sit a spell on the porch outside the Alexandria Visitor Center, you’ll notice that one of the benches is a gift from the cast and crew of Columbia Pictures’ “Hollow Man.” This 2000 Kevin Bacon-helmed sci-fi thriller was a box office hit and a critical flop. One creepy scene involving a swimming pool was shot at 311 South St. Asaph Street in a large townhouse with wrought iron on top of the entrance. Kevin Bacon has returned to Alexandria several times since to perform at The Birchmere alongside his brother Michael as The Bacon Brothers.
7. Learn More About the Real-Life “Loving” Story
Corner of King and N. Pitt Street
In the understated and moving 2016 film “Loving,” Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton depict Mildred and Richard Loving, the Virginia plaintiffs of the 1967 Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision which legalized interracial marriage throughout the United States. At the corner of King and N. Pitt Street in Old Town, find a brand-new mini kiosk commemorating the decision, positioned near the former 110 N. Royal Street office of the Lovings’ lawyers.
8. Climb the Celebrity-Trod Steps of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial
101 Callahan Drive
For your final film foray, head up the remainder of the King Street mile to the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. With its striking silhouette, sweeping views of Old Town and Carlyle and Egyptian-inspired architecture, it’s no surprise that the memorial has seen its fair share of famous faces filming over the years. Clint Eastwood’s Leonardo DiCaprio-led biopic of the F.B.I.’s most notorious director shot several scenes at the monument in 2011. Look closely and you’ll notice that the Masonic Memorial looks slightly different—that’s because the filmmakers used CGI to chop off the tower! In 2007’s “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” the hall where Nicolas Cage’s character delivers a lecture in the movie’s opening scene is actually the memorial’s interior auditorium. Most recently, the 2016 biographical film “Jackie,” starring Natalie Portman as the titular widow, shot scenes at the monument.
Learn about more celebrity connections to the city here.
Header Image Credits, left to right: Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria; Warner Bros./DC Entertainment; Erik Heinila for PBS/Visit Alexandria