Show your love for Alexandria, VA’s locally owned businesses as you celebrate spring. Dine outside at independent restaurants, update your wardrobe with local boutiques, pick up sweet treats at dessert destinations and more. These local businesses need your help to endure the ongoing pandemic. Your support helps to preserve our city’s local character while keeping staff employed and supporting an important sector of our economy. Keep reading for fun ways to take part.
1. Shop Small to Show Your Love
This spring, treat your loved ones to the perfect presents for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, graduations and more. Purchase a gift card for your go-to restaurants, give the gift of experiences—such as DIY to-go kits from AR Workshop and Kidcreate Studio—and get inspired at Alexandria’s fair trade and sustainable shopping destinations.
2. Dine Al Fresco
As the weather warms and open-air dining is more alluring than ever, Alexandria offers al fresco options galore in Old Town, Del Ray and beyond. Explore eateries with a waterfront “wow” factor, like brand-new BARCA Pier & Wine Bar, or casual beer gardens like The Garden Del Ray. Find the best of Alexandria’s outdoor dining here.
3. Support Asian American/Pacific Islander-Owned Businesses
One way to show your support for the #StopAsianHate movement is by getting to know Alexandria’s AAPI-owned business owners. Head to Nicecream on King Street, led by founder and “Chief Ice Cream Officer” Sandra Welsford, where you can watch ice cream be whipped up before your eyes when liquid frozen nitrogen is added to farm-fresh ingredients. Meanwhile, Hummingbird is the go-to spot for a riverside brunch complete with bellinis, a breakfast BLT, berry-strewn French toast and more from Meshelle Armstrong and James Beard nominated chef Cathal Armstrong. Pick up raved-about samosas and lamb shank rogan josh from Spice Kraft Indian Bistro by partners Anthony Sankar and Executive Chef Premnath Durairaj. Amateur and experienced art collectors alike will love exploring the the global curations at Kyo Gallery, helmed by Jason Longfellow.
4. Unwind with Meals-to-Go
Pick up takeout to savor at home or take to a waterfront park for a picnic. Sample plates from new restaurants like Sisters Thai and Magnolia Dessert Bar—don’t miss the decadent, decked-out honey toast for a sweet finish. Find flavors from Beirut to Berlin and from Athens to Addis Ababa in our round-up of internationally inspired dining.
5. Get a Wardrobe Refresh
Whether you’re updating your WFH look, grabbing new workout gear or picking up new spring styles, you can discover new favorites from the curated collections at Alexandria’s independently owned boutiques. Try recently opened Mint Collective, offering affordable clothing pieces, beauty products and more from the sister-in-law duo behind Mint Condition. Mask up to browse boutiques in person or shop online and arrange for delivery or curbside pickup.
6. Buy from Black-Owned Businesses
Whether you’re practicing self-care virtually with PIES Fitness Yoga Studio, enjoying an iced coffee from Cameron Café or perusing eco-friendly fashion from Threadleaf, you’ll find lots to love among dozens of Black-owned businesses in Alexandria. Shop European fashion trends at donna lewis, schedule a hairstyle refresh at Hazel O. Salon and start here to support more Black-owned businesses and find new go-to’s.
7. Enjoy a Sweet Pick-Me-Up
Make the most of sunny days by stopping by Alexandria’s top sweet spots. Visit Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats, a 1950s-inspired soda fountain serving Wisconsin-style frozen custard and nostalgic treats from the historic Ice House on Commerce Street, beginning May 2021. Grab bubble tea from Yagút St. to sip as you stroll Old Town North, or taste Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato’s Argentinian-style scoops, with flavors such as the wine-infused Malbec or the decadent Dulce de Leche.
8. Raise a Glass of Local Beer and Cider
Say “cheers!” with a locally crafted beer from award-winning Port City Brewing Company. Pick up beloved brews like Optimal Wit and Monumental IPA via curbside pickup or reserve a table under the twinkling lights at the West End headquarters. Then, get a taste of Northern Virginia’s first urban cidery, Lost Boy Cider, with cans of the cidery’s ever-rotating, experimental flavors available for curbside pickup or on-site sipping.
9. Get Outside and Explore
Eager for an endorphin boost? Explore the city on two wheels with rentals and tour routes from Unlimited Biking and Pedego Electric Bikes. Ramble along one of Alexandria’s Great Walks, from a self-guided architectural stroll to an Old Town art photo walk and more, or embark on a guided walking tour. To pursue your personal wellness goals, sign up for Get Fit Studio’s individual or group outdoor sessions, etc.
Header Images Credits: Sarah Marcella Creative for Visit Alexandria (left); Chris Cruz for Visit Alexandria (center and right)