Only eight miles from downtown Washington, DC, with easy access to I-395, the West End is Alexandria's largest and fastest-growing neighborhood. This colorful neighborhood is home to the city's acclaimed artisanal brewery Port City Brewing Co. The brewery, featured on CBS This Morning, offers tours and tastings open to the public. The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, Northern Virginia's only professional orchestra, is stationed here and led by Maestro Kim Allen Kluge, whose dramatic and powerful conducting style is hailed by The Washington Post. Civil War memories can be honored at the Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site, which can be paired with a tranquil visit to the Winkler Botanical Preserve to see 44 acres of plants and trees indigenous to the Potomac River valley.
West End Gems:
Port City Brewing Company: Port City Brewing Company is an artisanal brewery specializing in handmade, locally-crafted ales for the Washington, DC and Mid-Atlantic markets. Its tasting room is the culmination of group tours hosted by the brewery.
Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site: (Fort Ward Park): Fort Ward Park is the best preserved of the Union forts and batteries built to protect Washington, DC during the American Civil War. Not only a wonderful, pet friendly setting for walking, picnics, enjoying the playground and exploring history, Fort Ward is also celebrated for its period-costumed vignettes and weekly concerts at its impressive amphitheater.
Winkler Botanical Preserve: More than 44 acres of plants and trees indigenous to the Potomac River Valley have been curated by the Winkler Botanical Preserve, which is managed by a private, non-profit organization with a mission to provide free environmental education for the students of the Alexandria City Public Schools and is open daily for visitors. The preserve also offers popular nature camps in summer and during spring and winter breaks.
Cultural & Entertainment
Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center: (Schlesinger Center): With a theater, concert hall, art gallery and meeting rooms all under one roof, Northern Virginia Community College's Schlesinger Center also hosts the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and is renowned for its acoustics and range of entertainment.
Port City Playhouse: Port City Playhouse excels at producing top-quality, thought-provoking plays within a diverse community, that is either outside of the usual community theater repertoire or is of significant historical or emotional importance.
Cameron Run Regional Park and Great Waves Waterpark: Two sources of entertainment on 20 acres, enjoyed by children and adults: (1) Great Waves Waterpark (open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day) features massive pools, hair-raising waterslides, great food, cool souvenirs and fun-filled activities for kids and adults; and (2) Cameron Run Regional Park also features a deluxe miniature golf course, a nine-station batting cage, picnic shelters and a special events pavilion.
Restaurants and Nightlife
Tempo Restaurant: Nestled in the West End, Tempo is one of Alexandria's best-kept secrets. This elegant-yet welcoming-neighborhood restaurant is where the locals dine, whose menu displays a blend of northern Italian and French cuisine, featuring fresh seafood.
Clyde's Mark Center: Opened in 1998 in the West End of historic Alexandria, Clyde's at Mark Center is a vivid celebration of sporting life on the water. Located in the West End of Alexandria, Clyde's at Mark Center is open for lunch and dinner daily and Sunday brunch. Stroll by the koi pond at the entrance, and choose from a number of interesting and comfortable rooms.
Café Piazzialo: This café is a light family friendly restaurant with a patio where authentic Neapolitan and New York Style pizza, pasta and paninis reign supreme. Here, they combine natural, high quality local ingredients with imported Italian products to create a distinct style.
West End Farmers Market: Located at Ben Brenman Park, on Sundays at 9 a.m. - 1 p.m, May through November 20, this farmers market is favored by families with children and pets. The stalls offer an array of local, seasonal fruit and vegetables fresh from the farm - like kohlrabi, bok choy, garlic scapes, pea shoots, squash blossoms, Saturn peaches, Asian pears and okra. Visitors begin their day with a feast in the park, featuring fair trade coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice and lemonade, fresh baked goods and artisanal cheeses.