2015 Holiday Events in Alexandria, Virginia October 30, 2015
CONTACT: Claire Mouledoux at CMouledoux@VisitAlexVA.com or 703-652-5367
 
 

2015 Holiday Events in Alexandria, Virginia

 

 Top 10 Christmas Town Transports Visitors to a Simpler Time
with Old Fashioned Holiday Traditions

Alexandria, VA— Just minutes from Washington, DC, visitors can feel transported by an old fashioned sense of holiday wonder on Old Town Alexandria, Virginia’s brick-lined streets and historic waterfront, with festive events, twinkle-lit trees and shopping at local boutiques. Alexandria is famous for its holiday traditions and events, including the Campagna Center’s 45th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend, featuring a parade with dozens of Scottish clans in tartan, the 16th Annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights on the Potomac River, and the 21st annual First Night Alexandria, a spectacular New Year’s celebration with over 100 performances and a fireworks finale. Independent boutiques kick off the shopping season with one-of-a-kind Black Friday and Small Business Saturday events, where windows lit with holiday decorations sparkle with special gifts for loved ones. For parades, candlelight tours, festive performances and more, check out the listings below. Named a Top 10 Christmas Town by HGTV, Alexandria offers an authentic holiday experience – the way it was meant to be.

Go to www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com/holidays for holiday events, dining ideas, hotel packages and more

TOP EVENTS:

December 4-6, 2015
45th Annual Campagna Center Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend & Parade
Old Town Alexandria, VA 22314
703-549-0111
Free for parade, holiday marketplace and heather & green sales; $110-290/Taste of Scotland; $35/Designer Tour of Homes; $20-$35/Deck the Halls with Santa
 
Don’t miss Old Town Alexandria’s most spectacular holiday weekend. In 1749, the City of Alexandria was officially established by three Scottish merchants and named after its original founder, John Alexander, also of Scottish descent. Today, the city continues celebrating its heritage with a weekend of festivities. The iconic Scottish Christmas Walk Parade takes place on Saturday, December 5, at 11 a.m., when dozens of Scottish clans dressed in colorful tartans will parade through the streets of Old Town, joined by pipe and drum bands from around the region, as well as terriers and hounds. More weekend events include a Taste of Scotland (12/4), Heather and Greens sale (12/4 and 12/5), Holiday Marketplace (12/5), the Campagna Center’s Holiday Designer Tour of Homes (12/5), and Deck the Halls with Santa (12/6).
The Campagna Center partners with Mazda North America, the Government of Scotland, the St. Andrews Society, and the City of Alexandria to host the annual parade. Consistently ranked by the Southeast Tourism Society as one of the top 20 events in the South, this event has grown from a small informal parade to an entire weekend filled with events and festivities. #SCWW15
 
 
December 5, 2015
16th Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
5:30 p.m.
Alexandria's waterfront at the foot of Cameron Street near the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-3301
Admission: Free
 
At sundown on the day of the Scottish Christmas Walk parade, Alexandria's harbor lights up as dozens of illuminated boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront, led by Alexandria's fireboat The Vigilant and Washington, DC's fireboat John Glenn. DC media personality Tommy McFly of 94.7 Fresh FM will be the parade announcer.  At the marina before and after the parade, stop in to the “Holiday Festival: Take a Walk in the Woods” at the Torpedo Factory Art Center between 4 and 9 p.m. to enjoy musical performances plus gift shopping in open artist studios. Santa will visit the Torpedo Factory until 7 p.m.
 
 
December 31, 2015
21st Annual First Night Alexandria
Afternoon activities: 
2-5 p.m. including Seventh Annual Fun Hunt
Performances: 7 p.m.-midnight; Venues throughout Old Town Alexandria, VA 22314 and one at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Ave. 22305
Midnight Fireworks: Potomac River at the foot of King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-3299
$20/before December 14, $30/after, children 12 and under, active military and volunteers are free!
www.firstnightalexandria.org; #ALXFirstNight

This annual New Year's Eve bash takes over Old Town Alexandria with more than 175 performances at 29 indoor venues, with live music, dancing, children's face painting and games. The afternoon’s Seventh Annual Fun Hunt is accompanied by all-new activities for families and pets. There’s an old fashioned carnival at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center in Del Ray. First Night’s fireworks finale returns with a spectacular display over the Potomac River at midnight.
 

MORE HOLIDAY EVENTS:

 

November 25 - December 27, 2015
"A Broadway Christmas Carol" at MetroStage
Wednesday-Thursday, 8 p.m.; Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sunday, 3 & 7 p.m.
MetroStage, 1201 N. Royal Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-548-9044
$50
 
Created by Kathy Feininger and directed by Michael Sharp, this MetroStage holiday tradition is a delicious cross between the classic Dickens’ tale and uproarious song parodies of 33 Broadway show tune favorites by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim and many more.
                                                                                                                                        
 
November 27, 2015
City of Alexandria Tree Lighting Ceremony
6-8 p.m.
Market Square in front of City Hall, 301 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-3301
Free
 
At this official kickoff to the holiday season, the mayor and Santa Claus will light the city tree in Market Square, accompanied by live entertainment, a visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and more.
 
 
November 27, 2015
Black Friday Alexandria Sale and Festivities
6 a.m. and all day
Boutiques in Alexandria, VA
703-746-3301
 
“Shop Small” on Black Friday in the region’s biggest destination for independent boutiques - Alexandria, Virginia. More than 50 local boutiques will open early, offering once-a-year deals. The city is offering free parking at parking meters and the Free King Street Trolley will begin operating at 6 a.m. Participating stores will open at 6 a.m., offering initial discounts of up to 30% off. At 8 a.m., the discounts drop to 20% off and 10% off starting at 10 a.m. Stay for the annual City of Alexandria Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. on Market Square.
 
 
November 28, 2015
Small Business Saturday in Alexandria
Boutiques in Alexandria, VA
703-746-3301
 
Head to the DC region’s “Shop Small” headquarters for Small Business Saturday. More than 30 independent Alexandria boutiques will offer special promotions, such as merchandise discounts, gifts with purchase, complimentary services, treats, and/or festive activities.
 
 
November 27-December 20, 2015
Mount Vernon by Candlelight
Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 27-28, Dec. 4-5, 5-8 p.m.;  Sunday, Dec. 20, 5-8 p.m.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA 22309
703-780-2000
$22/adult, $15/child 11 and under
 
Join “Mrs. Washington” as she hosts an enchanting evening of candlelight tours, fireside caroling and festive treats. Timed tickets are $22 for adults and $15 for children 11 and under. Tickets available October 27th at 10 a.m. at the Ford Orientation Center or at MountVernon.org.
 
 
November 27, 2015-January 6, 2015
Christmas at Mount Vernon
Daily, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA 22309
703-780-2000
$18/adult ($17 online), $8/child, 5 and under free
 
Holiday visitors will enjoy themed decorations, chocolate‐making demonstrations and 18th‐century dancing, plus a rare opportunity to tour the third floor of the Mansion. In 1787, George Washington paid 18 shillings to bring a camel to Mount Vernon for the enjoyment of his guests. Today, visitors can meet Aladdin the camel on the grounds.
 
 
December 4-19, 2015
The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s “A Christmas Carol”
Thursday-Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday 3 & 6 p.m.
The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-683-0496
$15
 
The family-favorite classic by Charles Dickens, equipped with special effects, Victorian carols and Tiny Tim returns to the Little Theatre of Alexandria. The story follows Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly Victorian humbug, who travels with ghostly guides through Christmas past, present and future to find the true meaning of the holidays.
 
 
December 4–20, 2015
Del Ray Artisans 20th Annual Holiday Market
December 4-6, December 11-13 and December 18-20
Fridays, 6 - 9 pm, Saturdays, 11 am - 6 pm, Sundays, 11 am - 6 pm
Del Ray Artisans, 2704 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301
Free to browse
 
Del Ray’s annual Holiday Market offers unique handmade fine arts and crafts from local artists (including pottery/ceramics, photography, jewelry, fiber, paper crafts and glass). All artists donate a percentage of their sales back to Del Ray Artisans to help support future programs.  Different artists each weekend!​

 
December 4–6, 2015
The Art League presents Artfête
Open House and Holiday Party: Friday, 6-9 p.m.
Holiday Ceramics Sale: Friday, noon-9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday, noon-5 p.m.
Holiday Jewelry Sale: Friday, noon-9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Art League’s Madison Annex, 305 Madison Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Free
 
The Art League helps kick off the holiday season with an annual art celebration and open house featuring exhibits, live music, artist demonstrations, and refreshments, as well as a weekend-long ceramics and jewelry sale of handmade wares by Art League students and associates.
 
 
December 4-23, 2015
Alexandria’s Holiday Market
Friday-Sunday, December 4-6, 11-13, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday-Wednesday, December 18-23, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Wednesday, December 24, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
John Carlyle Square, 300 John Carlyle Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Free
 
While shopping for unique art and craft items for loved ones, at this unique holiday market, visitors can enjoy live entertainment, traditional European food and sweets, wine and beer. Also present will be a children’s corner featuring kids’ activities that help little ones learn more about European traditions and culture.
 
 
December 5, 2015
A Soldiers’ Christmas at Carlyle House
1 - 4 p.m. 
Carlyle House, 121 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-549-2997
Free Admission; Suggested Donation $1
carlylehouse.org

The “Soldiers’ Christmas” event will feature re-enactors from the First Virginia Regiment, who will highlight colonial life in Alexandria during the holidays at the time of the American Revolution. Some of the activities visitors will see include demonstrations of military drill, fife and drum music, gaming, cooking, and more. The Regimental surgeon will be discussing Continental Army medicine and demonstrating 18th-century surgical instruments in the museum. There will be activities and colonial games for children. The program takes place immediately following the annual Scottish Walk parade in Old Town Alexandria.   
 
 
December 5, 2015
Holiday Festival: Take a Walk in the Woods
4 – 9 p.m.
Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-838-4565
Free
 
Give the gift of art this year. The Torpedo Factory Art Center will transform into an enchanted winter forest this December. During the Holiday Festival, more than 140 artists will keep their studios open late for patrons to find special handmade gifts. Adding to the festive atmosphere, the Alexandria Choral Society and the Braddock Brass Quintet will perform seasonal favorites throughout the evening. Santa will visit and hold court on the 3rd floor until 7 pm. Stop in before and after the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights on the waterfront to buy one-of-a-kind presents for one-of-a-kind loved ones.
 
 
December 5, 2015
Holiday on the Avenue in Del Ray
6 p.m.
Del Ray Farmers Market at Mount Vernon Avenue and E. Oxford Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301
703-683-2570
Free
 
Discover your holiday spirit with a visit to Del Ray for the annual holiday tree lighting and a special appearance by Santa Claus, who will lead carols and sit for photos with children. The celebration continues with an evening stroll down Mount Vernon Avenue, which will be illuminated by thousands of candles called “luminarias.” In the true spirit of the holidays, the community will be collecting items such as canned goods, diapers and towels for the Carpenter’s Homeless Shelter. We also have 12 Christmas Trees along Mt. Vernon Avenue—each one decorated by a local non-profit or business. The public can vote on their favorite one between Dec. 5 and Christmas day. Winner receives $500!
 
 
December 12, 2015
Civil War Christmas in Camp at Fort Ward
Noon-4 p.m.
Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site, 4301 W. Braddock Road, Alexandria, VA 22304
703-746-4848
Suggested donation $2/adult, $1/child
 
Visitors meet a Civil War-era Santa at this family-fun holiday event exploring how Christmas was observed during the Civil War. The program features living-history interpreters, a Victorian Christmas tree, refreshments, readings of The Night Before Christmas and a patriotic Santa Claus inspired by a Thomas Nast illustration for Harper’s Weekly newspaper. Guided tours of the fort, weather permitting.
 
 
December 12-13, 2015
Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours
Saturday, 6-9 p.m., Sunday, 3-6 p.m.  Please allow 1.5 - 2 hours to tour all four sites.
Gadsby's Tavern Museum, 134 N. Royal Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Carlyle House, 121 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Lee-Fendall House, 614 Oronoco Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
The Lloyd House, 220 N. Washington Street, Alexandria, VA  22314
$25 for adults, $20 for active military and seniors (65 and older), and $5 for children (ages 6-17).
shop.alexandriava.gov or 703-746-4242 for tickets
 
Bring three centuries of Holiday Cheer to your celebrations this year! Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours, the city’s premier historic holiday event, blends history, food, and drink through special tastings, seasonal decorations, period music and tours highlighting festive traditions. Tour Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Carlyle House, The Lloyd House and Lee-Fendall House. Special seasonal libations may be purchased along the tour! Free shuttle service between sites is available.
 
 
December 13, 2015
Holiday Favorites with the Colonial Handbell Ringers
2 p.m. & 4 p.m.
The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-4994
Free (reservations required)
www.alexandriahistory.org

The Colonial English Handbell Ringers return with their annual concert at The Lyceum, featuring performers from across the Maryland/D.C./Virginia area clad in colonial attire, bringing a 5-octave set of nearly 80 handbells from the world-famous Whitechapel foundry in London.  Be our guest at their upcoming "Silver Bells" 25th Anniversary Celebration.  Our concert this year features several new exciting holiday pieces, music from around the world, a sing-a-long, classics and showstoppers you are sure to love!  We thank you for our 25 years of patronage and support.  Identical FREE performances at 2 PM and 4 PM, and seating capacity is limited, so reservations are required.  Donations gratefully accepted. 
 
 
December 18-19, 2015
Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon
5:30-9 p.m.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA 22309
703-780-2000
$30/adult, $20/youth
 
Mount Vernon will open its doors for an evening of holiday-themed fireworks and special programs. Before the fireworks show begins at 8:45 p.m., watch colonial artisans make chocolate, meet re-enactors from the First Virginia Regiment, enjoy cider by a bonfire, and learn 18th century dance moves from costumed guides. “General and Lady Washington” will be on hand to greet Mount Vernon’s holiday guests, who can learn more about the Washingtons’ Christmas traditions in a tour of the first and second floors of the mansion. Visitors can also look forward to performances by local choirs and musicians playing 18th century tunes, with the evening culminating in a sparkling fireworks display set to holiday music and overlooking the Potomac River. 
 
 
Go to www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com/holidays for events and more.
 
About Alexandria, Virginia: A Top Christmas Town
Just minutes from Washington, D.C., visitors can feel transported by an old fashioned sense of holiday wonder on Old Town Alexandria's centuries-old brick-lined streets, twinkling with holiday traditions and magical events. Bask in the warmth of time-honored festivities like the Campagna Center's 45th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend, featuring a parade of Scottish clans and Scottie dogs, as well as the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights on the Potomac River. Reminiscent of a simpler time, dozens of independent boutiques welcome you with greenery at their doorsteps, offering everything from chic fashions and home décor to classic toys and gifts for dogs. Duck into cozy cafés and chef-driven restaurants tucked into 18th-century buildings to warm up with loved ones and good cheer. Under a canopy of sparkling lights, a stroll on historic King Street is like being in a real-life Dickens Village, complete with European flair. Named a Top 10 Christmas Town by HGTV, Alexandria offers an authentic holiday experience – the way it was meant to be. For more information, go to www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com/holidays

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