August 18, 20178 months ago

Ideas for Labor Day 2017 in Alexandria

Labor Day is a federal holiday to honor the advancements and accomplishments that have come about thanks to the U.S. labor movement. It also signifies the end of summer – public school students in Alexandria begin the school year the day after Labor Day.

Even though the season is coming to an end, there’s still plenty of fun shows, festivals and events to partake in, whether you prefer books, beer, or music.

17th Library of Congress National Book Festival

If you’re a bookworm, make sure to mark down September 2 in your calendar; the 17th annual National Book Festival sponsored by the Library of Congress will take over the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on this day.

Beginning at 9:30 AM (doors open at 8:30) over 100 different authors, poets, and illustrators will give presentations about various genres of literature and other related themes. The offerings include panel discussions, family-friendly activities like trivia sessions, interactive maze illustrations, a hunt for Waldo, and more.

Some of the biggest names attending this year’s festival include J.D. Vance, author of the popular memoir Hillbilly Elegy, Michael Lewis, who wrote The Big Short, and former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. A full schedule of events and appearances is available on the festival’s website.

National Symphony Orchestra: Labor Day Capitol Concert 2017

For a musical Labor Day celebration, head to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Sunday, September 3 to enjoy the NSO’s 2017 concert. This year, guitarist and songwriter Aoife O’Donovan sits in with the orchestra, led by conductor John Morris Russell. At this free concert the NSO will be playing hits penned by O’Donovan like “Red & White & Blue & Gold,” and “Magic Hour,” plus other traditional tunes by artists like Bob Dylan. The concert will last 90 minutes and begin at 8 PM. The gates open at 3 PM and there will be an open rehearsal at 3:30.

Alexandria Seaport Cruise

With summer coming to a close, it’s important to enjoy the outdoors while you still can. The Potomac Riverboat company offers exciting 40-minute cruises that will take you past historic landmarks of Old Town, Reagan Airport, the National Harbor, and more. Cruises leave from the Alexandria City Marina, located behind the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town. More information is available on Potomac Riverboat’s website.

Where to stay in Alexandria for Labor Day 2017?

Even if you’ve already got an idea of how you want to celebrate Labor Day in D.C. or Alexandria, it’s important that you arrange for proper accommodations. 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 long weekends less stressful in the D.C. region.

August 9, 20178 months ago

Highlights from Alexandria Restaurant Week 2017

It’s the best time of year to be a food lover in Alexandria! This year’s Restaurant Week features over 60 different local restaurants serving a $35 3-course dinner for one or two. Many establishments are also offering lunch specials at prices ranging from $10 to $20 per person. For full menus and details, check out the Alexandria Restaurant Week website.

Here are our top picks for this year’s Restaurant Week, which runs from August 18 through 27:

Redrocks Neapolitan Bistro

If you’re in the mood for pizza, Redrocks is the spot for you. This award-winning Old Town establishment includes Neapolitan-inspired pizzas, plus an extensive selection of beer and wine.

$15 lunch – includes one appetizer, entrée and drink per person. Appetizers include tomato basil and potato leek soup. Entrée options include a Cuban sub and 8” personal pizza.

$35 dinner for 2 – includes two appetizers, one entrée and a drink. Appetizers include bruschetta, and mixed green salad, with an entrée of either pepperoni, Neapolitan or Funghi pizza (11”).

King Street Blues

Comforting soul food is the name of the game at King Street Blues in the heart of Old Town. The popular establishment, which also has a location in Crystal City, serves southern staples like BBQ, country fried steak, and po’boys.

$35 dinner for 2 – includes choice of a jambalaya pasta with chicken, shrimp, and sausage, country fried chicken, boiled crabcakes, and a half rack of slow-smoked BBQ ribs. Cool key lime pie is served for dessert, with a glass of house wine or draft beer.

Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge

Vola’s is one of the top options in the city for waterfront dining. The restaurant features 87 outdoor seats on the water and a retro-cool décor with over 100 pictures of historical Alexandria.

$15 lunch – includes one entrée and appetizer per person. Appetizer options are crab dip or heirloom tomato salad; choose from a crispy fried chicken sandwich or pulled pork sandwich for entrée.

$35 3-course dinner – includes an appetizer, entrée and dessert for each person. Starters are the same as the lunch selection. Entrée options include shrimp and grits and blackened Mahi Mahi, while dessert is either a chocolate brownie or key lime pie.

Need a hotel in Alexandria for restaurant week?

If you’re planning on visiting for restaurant week – or any other upcoming occasion – it’s important to have your accommodations settled well in advance. At the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir, you’ll enjoy a free shuttle to the metro, easy access to Old Town and D.C., as well as great amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi and hot breakfast. We’re also offering a new Uber package that provides complimentary gift cards to help you get around. Come see why so many in the area choose the Holiday Inn Express for a dependable place to hang their hat in Alexandria.

July 28, 20178 months ago

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!

July 20, 20179 months ago

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.

July 12, 20179 months ago

Top 3 Events for Summer 2017 in D.C.

Independence Day has come and gone, but here in the district there is still plenty of summer left! Besides serving as the headquarters of the U.S. government, D.C. is known as a cultural hotbed of museums, exhibits, and festivals – many of which take place in the warmer months of the year.

Here are three upcoming events in the District that we are looking forward to:

Lotus and Water Lily Festival 2017

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens is the only national park dedicated to the art of growing aquatic plants. To celebrate this inspirational and educational activity, Kenilworth Park is hosting a free weeklong festival from July 15 through July 22 for locals of all ages who want to learn about and observe aquatic plants.

The excitement begins on July 15 with the Festival Kickoff, featuring an array of dazzling water lilies and lotus flowers, gardening workshops, lotus tea tastings, performances by traditional Latin, Asian, & African dancers, and so much more.

For a full schedule of the week’s events and other guidelines about the festival, visit its website.

2017 District of Comedy Festival

Looking for a laugh in D.C. this summer? Just head over to the Kennedy Center from July 20 through July 22 to visit the District of Comedy festival, a celebration that includes stand-up performances, workshops, musical ensembles, and interviews. Some of the most renowned comedians in the world will be participating and performing in the festival, including Michael Ian Black, Wyatt Cenac, Louie Anderson, and more.

Tickets for each event are sold separately; most events take place Friday the 21st and Saturday the 22nd. A full listing of events and performers is available on the festival’s event page.

2017 International Champions Cup at FedEx Field: FC Barcelona vs. Manchester United

Fans of football – European style – are in for a treat towards the end of this month as two of the biggest clubs in the world will clash at FedEx field. On Wednesday, July 26 at 7:30 PM, the International Champions Cup lands in D.C. as Lionel Messi and his FC Barcelona squad take on Paul Pogba and Manchester United.

Both teams are going through a transitional phase, as Manchester United looks to adjust to life without its longtime captain Wayne Rooney, while FC Barcelona attempts to bounce back from a disappointing quarterfinals exit in last season’s UEFA Champions League.

Picking a great summer hotel near D.C.

Whether you’re visiting the District for sports, culture, or entertainment (or all three!) you need the proper home base during your stay. With excellent on-site amenities like a free metro shuttle and breakfast, plus friendly staff and competitive rates, there’s no better place to stay for summer fun in D.C. than the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir and now when you book with our Uber Hotel Package, you’ll get a $10 Uber credit for each night you stay, to help you get around to all these exciting events in the region.

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