Highlights of Old Town Alexandria

In 1749, a 17-year-old George Washington helped survey 60 acres of land that would become the city of Alexandria. Many of the city’s buildings from the 18th and 19th century are still around today in Old Town, Alexandria’s historic downtown and contemporary focal point for culture and commerce.

No matter what your interests are, there’s something in Old Town for you – and with a free trolley along the main King Street thoroughfare, it’s easy to get around and explore what this vibrant district has to offer.

Shopping small

Alexandria is well known for its small boutiques and cafes. Some of the most popular stores are the Christmas Attic, Imagine Artwear, Bellacara, and Bishop Boutique. If you’re looking to support the local economy, there’s no better place to shop than Old Town Alexandria.

King Street

Old Town’s main avenue features some of the region’s most historic buildings, including the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, Alexandria Union Station, and the Freedom House Museum. During the holidays, you’ll see streetlights and storefronts decorated with beautiful lights and seasonal cheer.

Founders Park

This beautiful tract of greenery along the banks of the Potomac is a great place to walk your dog or take a relaxing stroll with a loved one. It offers great views of the river and close proximity to many of the area’s great restaurants.

From dining to shopping to natural views, Old Town has it all. The Holiday Inn Express Alexandria – Fort Belvoir, just a few minutes south of the area, offers great accommodations for visitors to Old Town. With competitive rates, a complimentary breakfast bar and a free shuttle to the metro, there’s no better place than the Holiday Inn for a fun trip to Alexandria’s most historic neighborhood.

2016 Holiday Events in Alexandria

Thanksgiving week means the holiday season is officially upon us. Whether you’re staying in the area for a personal or professional trip, there are some exciting things going on in Alexandria for the rest of 2016:

City of Alexandria’s Tree Lighting Ceremony

On Friday, November 25 at 6 PM, the city’s Christmas tree will be lit in an exciting celebration that also includes caroling and musical performances of classic holiday tunes. The city’s Mayor and St. Nick himself will also be making an appearance.

Alexandria’s 2016 Holiday Market

Each year, the city’s Carlyle District around John Carlyle Square becomes a festive outdoor market with live entertainment and holiday refreshments like hot cocoa and wine. Visitors can pick up sweets, crafts, ceramics, art supplies, jewelry and more. Check out the official Alexandria Holiday Market website for more information.

The 17th Annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

On December 3, beginning at 5:30 PM when the sun goes down, dozens of brightly-lit boats decorated with holiday cheer will cruise past Alexandria’s harbor on the Potomac. The boats will be evaluated by a panel of judges who will give out awards for categories like Best in Show, Thinking Outside the Christmas Box, and Hardiest Souls.

If you’ll be in Alexandria this holiday season, check out some of these and other fun events. And if you need a top quality hotel in Alexandria, plan to stay at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria, which features cozy accommodations, a complimentary metro shuttle to get around, and a tasty hot breakfast bar.

Holiday Shopping in DC for the 2016 Season

The holiday season is always a popular time for shopping deals. Many people are purchasing holiday gifts and getting ready for major celebrations, meaning retailers usually make their best discounts available. Here are a few popular local shopping destinations where you can get a great deal this winter:

Tanger Outlets at National Harbor

The Tanger Outlets in Oxon Hill, MD is one of the most popular locations around for apparel and other gifts. This year, the outlets are offering a “Moonlight Madness” sale – beginning on Thanksgiving at 6 PM, stores will stay open all night offering huge discounts on a variety of items. Many stores are offering individual discounts already. A few popular brands with stores at the outlets include Under Armour, J. Crew, Kay Jewelers and H&M.

Georgetown shopping

As one of the most upscale neighborhoods of the entire region, Georgetown is a popular area for chic boutiques and hip fashion. Some of the new stores in the area include Billy Reid, Cusp, and Calypso St. Barth. Also, beginning December 1 shoppers can check out the Georgetown Christmas tree, which will be lit up with dazzling, colorful lights.

Old Town Alexandria

Old Town is a charming and historic part of the city of Alexandria on the shores of the Potomac River. With a good mix of big box retailers and cool boutiques, Old Town is a great place to find a unique gift. Stores in Old Town include Williams Sonoma, The Christmas Attic, Dejan Studio Jewelry, Mint Condition, and more. Guests at the Holiday Inn will enjoy a free shuttle to Old Town.

If you are heading to the region to do some shopping and will need a place to stay, there’s no better spot than the Holiday Inn Express Alexandria – Fort Belvoir. With a free shuttle to the metro, package deals for the Tanger outlets, close proximity to D.C. and Maryland, and excellent amenties like a free breakfast bar, there’s no better place than the Holiday Inn to serve as the home base for a shopping trip in the District this winter.

October 31, 20161 month ago

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving 2016 in D.C.

Thanksgiving is a time when friends and family come together to celebrate the things they are grateful for. In the District, there are lots of exciting events and activities for people who want to recognize the holiday.

Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden

Beginning on November 24, the United States Botanic Garden will hold its annual Season’s Greenings exhibit. The year’s event celebrates the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Programming includes a display of exotic orchids and poinsettias, an indoor train display, and plant-based recreations of famous national monuments including the Gateway Arch, Mount Vernon, and the Statue of Liberty. Season’s Greening runs every day from 10 AM to 5 PM; admission is free.

Shopping at the Tanger Outlets

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is one of the most popular days of the year. At the Tanger Outlets of National Harbor, you can enjoy significant discounts at popular stores like Under Armour, Pandora, and Calvin Klein. There are also some great shopping deals available for those visiting a hotel near National Harbor.

Volunteering at Capital Area Food Bank

Thanksgiving isn’t just a time to celebrate – many people use the holiday to help the less fortunate. The Capital Area Food Bank is the largest food bank in the D.C. area working to stop people in the District from going hungry. At the D.C. warehouse, volunteers can work a 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM shift or 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM shift, Monday through Saturday. Check out the Capital Area Food Bank website for more info.

Thanksgiving is also a popular time for travel – and if you’re visiting D.C. for the holiday, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir is an ideal destination. With top-quality amenities, competitive rates, and a free shuttle to the metro, the Holiday Inn is the perfect place to stay in the area while you give thanks.

October 26, 20161 month ago

A People's Journey: The National Museum of African American History & Culture

The National Museum of African American History opened on September 24, 2016. The idea originated in the early 20th century, but official legislation approving the museum did not pass until 2003. The opening ceremony was attended by prominent members of the African-American community including President Obama, Stevie Wonder and congressman John Lewis.

The museum holds over 37,000 interesting and inspirational artifacts that provide powerful insight into the story of the African-American people.

What’s on at the African American History & Culture Museum

There are collections and exhibits on display from nearly every era of American history, including a bible owned by Nat Turner, a cane used by Frederick Douglass and a bucket that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used to soak his feet after marching from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. There are also original newspaper stories, videos, and documents from the beginnings of American slavery in the 18th century through to the music and literature of present-day America.

Getting tickets to the African American History & Culture Museum

Due to high demand, visitors must secure a ticket to the museum for admission. You can get an advance pass, which guarantees you access on a certain date, or you can line up outside the museum to receive a same day pass. Same day passes are distributed each day beginning at 9:15 AM on a first-come, first-serve basis. Currently, advance passes are sold out through March 2017 – check the museum’s website for more information about when they will be available again.

Finding a hotel near the African American History & Culture Museum

If you’re planning a trip to D.C. to visit the newest Smithsonian museum, the Holiday Inn Express Alexandria – Fort Belvoir is an ideal choice for accommodations. With easy access to D.C., a complimentary shuttle to the metro, and free hot breakfast, there’s no better place than the Holiday Inn to rest and relax after a long day in the District.

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