After more than 260 years on the map, Alexandria has accumulated countless tall tales, housed legendary restaurants, and become an award-winning cultural hotspot, largely unmatched by cities across America. So how does one know where to begin? And once you've begun, where to go next? We know that time flies, so we've compiled a list of Alexandria essentials to ensure you don't miss the city's best activities:
1. Trace George Washington's Footsteps: Whether you venture to his longtime home, Mount Vernon; Gadsby's Tavern, the site of his first birthnight ball; the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, where he and his wife purchased medicine; or Christ Church, his local place of worship.
2. Take a Tour: By boat, bike or foot, explore Alexandria's history, restaurants and waterfront through one of many unique tours, like a late night ghost tour or Old Town Alexandria Food Tour.
3. Signature Sips: Indulge in a locally brewed pint of beer from Port City Brewing Company, a cocktail from celebrated mixologist Todd Thrasher at PX or an artisanal hot chocolate from Artfully Chocolate.
4. Alexandria History: Examine the city's colorful history at the Lyceum, see the home of Alexandria's founder, John Carlyle at the famed Carlyle House or uncover the history of the city's African-American residents at the Alexandria Black History Museum.
5. The Torpedo Factory Art Center: Visit three floors of studios and galleries, meet artists in their studios and see real torpedoes at a former World War II-era torpedo plant.
6. Stroll down King Street: Immerse yourself in the 18th- and early 19th-century architectural landscape of Old Town's historic main street, where nearly every building has a unique history, savory smells waft from corner bakeries and man's best friend is much at home.
7. Potomac Waterfront: Set sail on a sightseeing trip aboard a riverboat or take a leisurely walk and enjoy the gorgeous views of the DC monuments on the horizon.
8. Do Del Ray!: Meet Old Town's quirky counterpart, Del Ray, and mosey down Mt. Vernon Avenue for a day of boutique shopping, family fun and delectable eats.
9. Mount Vernon by Bike and Boat: Embark on a bike trip down the George Washington Memorial Parkway (otherwise known as the Mount Vernon Bike trail), spend the day at the first president's humble abode and catch a boat back to Alexandria on Potomac Riverboat Company's Mount Vernon by Bike and Boat tour.
10. Brilliant Boutiques: Discover a whole new side to the personal shopping experience with one of Alexandria's many independent boutiques, whose items range from gourmet cheese to sleepwear, home design to doggy treats.
11. Eat Good Food Group: Taste the epicurean experience crafted by the legendary partnership of chef Cathal Armstrong, his wife Meshelle and mixologist Todd Thrasher at Restaurant Eve, the Majestic, Eamonn's A Dublin Chipper, gourmet market Society Fair and the speakeasy-style bar, PX.