16 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 1

Campagna Center’s Taste of Scotland

December 2, 2016, Patron Hour starting at 6:30 p.m., General Admission at 8 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 2

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 2, 2017 starting at 11 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 2, 2017 from 12:30 to 4 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. Find a list of this year’s participating homes here.

Scottish Walk Parade Open House at The Apothecary

Image Credit: K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria

December 2, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

Tour the historic Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum and learn about this family run business and the products they sold to the residents of Alexandria between 1792 and 1933. Don’t miss the Apothecary’s museum shop, which is filled with fun, creative, and unique holiday gifts for everyone on your list!

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 2, 2017 from noon to 4 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! The Soldier’s Christmas program will feature re-enactors from the First Virginia Regiment and visitors will learn about colonial life in Alexandria during the holidays at the time of the American Revolution. On the front lawn, take part in festive activities including live music, demonstrations of military drill, fife and drum, gaming, and cooking.

Alexandria Archaeology Ornament Decorating Workshop

December 2, 2017 from 1 to 4 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 2, 2017 from 2 to 6 p.m., Torpedo Factory open until 9 p.m.
Torpedo Factory Art Center

Before and after the 18th Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, parade-goers are invited to step in to the Torpedo Factory Art Center which will be open until 9 p.m. with its annual Holiday Festival from 2 to 6 p.m. Shop for handmade artful gifts while exploring open studios and meeting artists. Kids can also scout for art with a building-wide scavenger hunt before and after taking photos with Santa. Special performances at the art center include appearances by the Alexandria Choral Society Pro Coro and the Silver 5 Brass Quintet.

18th 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 2, 2017 at 5:30 p.m.; Festivities at the marina from 2 to 9 p.m.
Alexandria’s waterfront at the foot of Cameron Street near the Torpedo Factory Art Center

At sundown on the day of Alexandria’s Scottish Christmas Walk Parade, experience one of the region’s most beloved holiday traditions with the 18th Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. Alexandria’s harbor shines as dozens of brightly lit boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront. Boats will be decked to impress a panel of judges who will award prizes in eleven categories, including Best in Show, Thinking Outside the Christmas Box, and Hardiest Souls. The parade begins at 5:30 p.m. and D.C. media personality Tommy McFly of 94.7 Fresh FM will serve as the parade announcer. The Fresh FM Street Team presents music, games and prizes on the dock from 5 to 7 p.m. while new paper goods boutique Penny Post presents a postcard pop-up from 4 to 7 p.m. Santa Claus will arrive by fireboat at the Alexandria City Marina before the parade at 3 p.m. and will walk to the Torpedo Factory Art Center where he will meet with children until 6 p.m. The Torpedo Factory’s annual Holiday Festival is taking place from 2 to 6 p.m. and the art center is staying open until 9 p.m.

on the Avenue in Del Ray

Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

December 2, 2017 at 6 p.m.
Del Ray Farmers Market at Mount Vernon Avenue and E. Oxford Avenue

Kick off the holidays with a visit to Del Ray for the annual holiday tree lighting, featuring a special appearance by Santa Claus who will lead carols and sit for photos with children. Continue the celebration and start your holiday shopping with a stroll down Mount Vernon Avenue, which will be illuminated by thousands of luminaries. Pick your favorite in the neighborhood business association’s annual Christmas tree decorating contest.

Sunday, December 3

Old Town TubaChristmas

December 3, 2017 from 3 to 4 p.m.
Market Square

Be a part of the 1st Annual Old Town TubaChristmas! A tradition since 1974, the 44th holiday celebration of our noble instrument comes to Alexandria for the first time, bringing ‘deeper’ meaning to the glorious songs of Christmas. Registration is at 12 p.m., rehearsal at 1 p.m., and the concert is at 3 p.m. The concert is open to the public, and a good time is guaranteed for all!

Throughout the weekend

Campagna Center’s Heather and Greens Sale

December 1-2, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 5 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.

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 1, 2017 from 6 to 9 p.m.
December 2 and 3, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 6 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.

Alexandria Holiday Market

December 1, 2 and 3, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 7 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.

Mount Vernon by Candlelight

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

December 1, 2017 from 5 to 8 p.m.
SOLD OUT: December 2, 2017 from 5 to 8 p.m.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate

This holiday season, experience Mount Vernon in the soft glow of candlelight! Come join the estate for candlelit character-guided tours of the first and second floors of the mansion, 18th-century dancing and fireside caroling. Guests will hear about the Washingtons’ holiday cooking and see a reproduction of Martha’s Great Cake. Visit the Slave Quarters, the Blacksmith Shop, and the Greenhouse and participate in 18th-century dancing. Aladdin the Christmas camel will also be on site. Can’t make it this weekend? The special tours will continue on December 8, 9, and 17.

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

Image Credit: LTA Facebook Page

December 1, 2017 at 8 p.m.
December 2, 2017 at 3 and 6 p.m.
December 4, 2017 at 3 and 6 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.

“Christmas at the Old Bull & Bush” at MetroStage

Image Credit: MetroStage

December 1, 2017 at 8 p.m.
December 2, 2017 at 3 and 8 p.m.
December 4, 2017 at 3 and 7 p.m.


Christmas 1912. The Old Bull and Bush Public House, Hampstead, London, is alive with British music hall songs and Christmas carols. Come and enjoy a pint or two, eat mince pies and sausage rolls, laugh at corny jokes and funny sketches, toe-tap to tuneful melodies and join in the sing-a-longs. The show was a staple at the Old Vat Room at Arena Stage for years, and this season MetroStage welcomes Florrie Forde, the most famous music hall star of the era, and her troupe of British performers as we celebrate the holidays with family and friends.



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