Attractions / Things to Do

Guests coming to the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Alexandria Fort Belvoir can read about things to do in Fort Belvoir and start planning their vacation.

Shopping for the 2017 Holiday Season in Alexandria

As we enter the season for caroling and searching out the best Christmas light displays, the last-minute gift shoppers are doing just that: waiting until the last minute! For those of you who still need to finish finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones, we’ve listed some of our favorite shopping destinations in the Alexandria and DC area.

Tanger Outlets at the National Harbor

Located just across the Potomac river, Tanger Outlets is one of the best holiday shopping destinations around Alexandria with an array of clothing, houseware, and specialty stores to choose from. Great deals are popping up as the holidays quickly approach, including:

  • Movado Company Store: up to 75% off select items until December 25.
  • ASICS: buy one get one 50% off select footwear sale from now until December 20.
  • Tommy Hilfiger is also gearing up for the holidays with their Holiday Countdown sale that features 50% off select merchandise until December 10. Plus, expect even better bargains from December 8 to 17 during their 10 Days of Giving sale, where some items will be discounted up to 60% off.


Finding a hotel for holiday shopping in and around Alexandria

If you’re coming to the D.C. area from out of town and will be holiday shopping, be sure to pick a dependable and comfortable place to stay. At the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir you can enjoy a complimentary shuttle to the metro to get around, free WiFi in every room to keep you connected, and competitive rates on each night of your stay. Come see why so many travelers in the Alexandria region have chosen us to make their holiday shopping trips less stressful. For the best shopping value, check out our shopping package to receive a $50 gift card for each night of your stay!

The Giving Season: Thanksgiving 2017 in Alexandria

Thanksgiving falls on November 23 this year, bringing with it the crisp air that marks the holiday season. As we get ready for the hectic pace that the holidays bring, take time to enjoy the giving nature that Thanksgiving brings out of us.

Here are a few of our favorite events to attend in Alexandria and DC before or after you buckle down and munch on turkey, pumpkin pie, and stuffing.

Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C.

Opening on Friday, November 17, the Museum of the Bible is an eight-story tall, 430,000 square foot building that offers guests an immersive experience into the stories of the Bible. Only three blocks south of the nation’s Capitol, each of the museum’s floors will be dedicated to certain facilities, such as Floor 1 having space for temporary exhibits and two libraries and Floor 5 containing the performing arts theatre. It is expected to be a highly impactful experience like none other.

42nd Annual Turkey Trot in Alexandria

This 5-mile race takes place on Thanksgiving Day and begins at 9 AM sharp, with the starting and finish lines at George Washington Middle School. Bring your canine best friend (short leash required) or a stroller for your child if you wish to have a running companion. Online registration is $5 for children 12 and under, $15 for ages 13 to 21, and $20 for everyone who is 22 and older. The Turkey Trot will have thousands in attendance for friendly competition and will split the $2000 prize between male and female 1st, 2nd, and 3rd overall finishers and male and female 1st place masters.

Mount Vernon by Candlelight 2017

Visit Mount Vernon for a candlelit tour of the estate from 5 to 8 PM on November 24 and 25. Listen to stories and learn how holidays were celebrated in 18th century Virginia from a knowledgeable guide, who may be dressed as one of Washington’s family members or hired or enslaved workers. Tickets are $16 for ages 6 to 11 and $24 for everyone 12 and older. See the event page for more information and dates for the December candlelit tours.

Finding a Hotel in Alexandria and DC for Thanksgiving 2017

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir is an ideal home for your stay in Alexandria or DC for Thanksgiving. With close proximity to the District and Old Town Alexandria, a free shuttle to the metro, and amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi and a hot breakfast bar, the Holiday Inn will make this holiday a special one – and be sure to check out our Visa gift card special that gives you a free $50 gift card for each night you stay!

What’s Happening at the MGM National Harbor for the Rest of 2017?

It’s now been open for nearly nine months, and reports indicate that the MGM National Harbor is a smashing success so far. The Baltimore Sun reports that the MGM did over $50 million in revenue for the month of July, surpassing Maryland Live and the Baltimore Horseshoe as the leading casino in the state.

With gourmet restaurants, an exciting array of musicians and artists performing, and 125,000 square feet of gaming space, it’s no wonder that so many locals and visitors are flocking to the MGM. Here are a few of our favorite things going on through the rest of the year:


  • Military Tuesdays & Senior Wednesdays: Every Tuesday, active duty military members with a valid identification will get 20% off at several casino bars and restaurants. On Wednesdays, guests 55 and older will receive the same discount. Participating locations include National Market, Starbucks, Voltaggio Brothers Steak House, Fish, TAP, Ginger, Marcus, and more.
  • Summer Breeze Slots Tournament: Between August 25 and August 26, buy into this late summer tournament for $99 to get a crack at a $75,000 prize pool.
  • M Life Rewards: With M Life, frequent guests can earn rewards on almost everything they purchase at the casino, from gaming to meals to spa services. For a limited time, new members receive the chance at winning $10,000 in free play.

Upcoming 2017 Shows at MGM National Harbor

One of the casino’s biggest draws is the many huge acts that headline the theater, which has quickly become one of the D.C. area’s top entertainment venues.

Just a few significant upcoming performances include:

  • Tom Jones – the famous crooner with a string of hits over the years like “It’s Not Unusual”, and “What’s New Pussycat” comes to the MGM for a rocking weeknight show after Labor Day on September 12.
  • Cher – The iconic pop diva rose to prominence in the 60s singing with her husband in the duo Sonny & Cher. She later achieved hits on her own, including the smash single “Believe”. Cher will be at the MGM for a total of 6 dates: August 31 and September 2, 3, 7, 9, & 10.
  • Chris Rock – The legendary comedian stops by the MGM National Harbor for his Total Blackout Tour, one of the most highly-anticipated comedy events in years. Rock will be performing four nights in a row, from October 18 through 21.

Other attractions at MGM National Harbor

  • Pizzapalooza – On September 10 between 3 PM and 8 PM on Potomac Plaza, get a taste of Italy in the National Harbor as a top-flight lineup of chefs come together to show off their culinary abilities and share their passion for pizza and other Italian cuisine. The event will also include live music and yard games.
  • Happy Hours – Almost every restaurant and bar in the casino offers a happy hour special on food, drinks, or both. Ginger, Voltaggio Brothers Steak House, National Market, and Tap are just a few venues with daily discounts on tasty bites and relaxing drinks.
  • Retail – Fink’s Jeweler, an official Rolex retailer, is the latest retail brand to carve out space in MGM’s shopping district. Other stores include Ella Rue, SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker, and Stitched.

Finding a hotel for MGM National Harbor

Staying at the resort itself is an option, but rooms go quickly and are priced at a premium. If you want to enjoy all the great gaming, entertainment, and retail amenities available at the MGM National Harbor while staying at a comfortable hotel with some great amenities of its own, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir is your destination. Located just under 6 miles from the casino across the Potomac in Alexandria, the Holiday Inn Express also boasts a complimentary hot breakfast bar, free WiFi in every room, and a shuttle to the metro, perks that will ensure that even if your casino trip is unlucky, you’ll win big with your accommodations.

Hot Spots for Summer Shopping in Alexandria

The city of Alexandria is often portrayed as a hotbed of history, government activity, and culture. All those things are true, but one of the most overlooked characteristics of our city is its destination as a shopper’s paradise. Whether you’re looking for a hip outfit, a piece of memorabilia, or a new piece of furniture to tie together your living room, the shops in and around Alexandria have you covered. We’re running down some of our favorite places to shop in the area:

King Street Boutiques

In March of this year, the online publication Where called Old Town Alexandria “one of the best indie boutique scenes on the East Coast.” Our favorite stores in the King Street shopping district:

  • Pacers Running Store – Though its 1991 founding makes it relatively young in a town full of buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, Pacers is still a well-established name in northern Virginia athletics. From shoes to apparel to running memorabilia, it’s easy to get geared up for your next run at Pacers.
  • Hooray for Books! – An independent bookstore focusing on children’s selections, Hooray for Books! also hosts regular events and works with teachers to get them the right books for their students.
  • The Lucky Knot – This classic American-style clothing store features dresses that can be worn for all occasions, from casual hangouts to formal dinners. Don’t forget to grab an accessory while you shop!


Tanger Outlets at the National Harbor

Just across the Potomac River from Alexandria is one of the most prominent shopping destinations in the area. The Tanger Outlets boast dozens of jewelry, apparel, and home furnishings stores, as well as specialty outlets for fragrances and chocolates. All your favorite brands like Michael Kors, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Swarovski, Coach, and Nautica can be found at the outlets, as well as local shops you may not have previously heard of. Check out the store directory for a full listing.

Cady’s Alley

This 120,000-square-foot mixed-use development in the historic Georgetown District in D.C. is known as much for its breathtaking design as its wonderful shops. With lofted ceilings, exposed brick, and walls made of glass and steel, you’ll enjoy being in Cady’s Alley as much as you’ll enjoy shopping there. It’s no wonder the project earned an AIA Honor Award for Urban Design back in 2005. Today Cady’s Alley features local jewelry, furniture and apparel stores.

Need a hotel for shopping in Alexandria or D.C.?

If you’re planning on visiting Alexandria or Washington, D.C. this summer or fall – for shopping or any other reason – you need a superior hotel. With a complimentary shuttle to the metro, easy access to D.C. and Old Town, and a friendly, welcoming staff, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir is the ideal destination for you. For the best shopping value, check out our shopping package to receive a $50 gift card for each night of your stay!

Mount Vernon: 3 Top Attractions for Summer 2017

Mount Vernon was originally constructed in 1735 by Augustine, George Washington’s father. Since then, it has been one of the most historic and famous estates in all of Virginia. Today, it draws visitors from all over the country who are interested in learning about our nation’s first president, his family, and what life was like in 18th century colonial America.

Whether you’re a DC local looking to make a trip down to Mount Vernon, or the estate is on your list of places to visit this year, there are some awesome events coming up over the next few months at the historic Washington family home. We’ve selected our three favorites and outlined them below:

Colonials Kids & Camp Washington

It’s critical for future generations to learn about what happened before their time, which is why Mount Vernon offers two different youth programs. Colonial Kids is their offering for rising third and fourth graders, while Camp Washington is for rising fifth and sixth graders.

Kids who participate in the program will learn not just about George Washington and his family’s legacy, but also the Piscataway Indians who lived here before the estate was built. Interactive activities include making ice cream, gardening, spinning, surveying, and other fun things kids will enjoy.

There are upcoming sessions this summer for both Camp Washington and Colonial Kids – check out the Mount Vernon Summer Camp website for more information and to register your child.

Mount Vernon Celebrates Purple Heart Day

On August 7 from 10:30 AM to 12 PM, Mount Vernon will celebrate the oldest military award still given out to active members. The ceremony will take place on the East Lawn and will include a statement from General Washington himself, as well as previous Medal of Honor recipient Captain Florent Groberg. Visit the event’s website for more information.

Sightseeing Cruise of the Potomac

If you want to see Mount Vernon from a different angle – literally – there’s no better way than a relaxing sightseeing cruise along the Potomac River. On this 45-minute narrated trip you’ll learn about the history of the river and how it contributed to local commerce, particularly the businesses owned by George Washington. Keep an eye out for eagles and ospreys – many of these large birds nest along the river banks.

Choosing a hotel near Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon and the D.C. area have some wonderful historical attractions – but taking in hundreds of years of colonial history can be tiring. You need to choose a hotel that’s comfortable, accessible, and affordable enough to allow you to focus on your trip – that’s where the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir comes in. Our hotel is located just 15 minutes away from Mount Vernon and includes a complimentary hot breakfast bar, free shuttle to the metro, and WiFi access throughout the hotel.

To make your visit less complicated, we’re now offering a Mount Vernon Package, which includes two tickets to the estate and at least two nights at our hotel. Come see why guests to Mount Vernon and other parts of D.C. have consistently chosen the Holiday Inn Express & Suites name for both value and comfort.

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