2017 Holiday Events in Alexandria, Virginia November 2, 2017

CONTACTS:
Claire Mouledoux
CMouledoux@VisitAlexVA.com or 703-652-5367

Leah Spellman, APR
LSpellman@VisitAlexVA.com or 703-652-5363

 

2017 Holiday Events in Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria Transports Visitors to a Simpler Time Filled with Old Fashioned Holiday Traditions
 

Alexandria, VA— Just minutes from Washington, D.C., Old Town Alexandria, Virginia is filled with nostalgic wonder during the holiday season. Twinkle-lit trees shine above brick-lined streets and at the city’s historic waterfront as old fashioned holiday traditions fill the air with holiday cheer. Seasonal favorites include the Campagna Center’s 47th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend, featuring a parade with dozens of Scottish clans dressed in colorful tartans, the 18th Annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights on the Potomac River, and the 23rd annual First Night Alexandria, a spectacular New Year’s celebration with over 150 performances and a fireworks finale. Kick off the holiday shopping season in the D.C. region’s Shop Small headquarters with a bigger-than-ever Small Business Saturday, the first-ever Museum Store Sunday, plus an alternative Black Friday experience. For parades, candlelight tours, festive performances and more, check out the upcoming events below. Named one of America’s Top Holiday Towns by USA Today and a Top 10 Christmas Town by HGTV, strolling historic King Street is like being in a real-life Dickens Village, complete with European flair, cozy cafes and chef-driven restaurants to warm up in. 

For more holiday events and activities, visit www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com/holidays

Top Events:

47th Annual Campagna Center Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend & Parade
December 1-2, 2017
Admission: Free for parade and Heather and Green sales;  $110-$290 for Taste of Scotland; $40 for Designer Tour of Homes; $15 for Deck the Halls with Santa
Throughout Old Town Alexandria, VA 22314
703-549-0111
www.campagnacenter.org/scottishwalkweekend 

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 Campagna Center’s iconic Scottish Christmas Walk Parade takes place on Saturday, December 2, at 11 a.m., when dozens of Scottish clans dressed in colorful tartans 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 the Taste of Scotland scotch tasting (December 1), a holiday Heather and Greens sale, the Campagna Center’s Holiday Designer Tour of Homes (December 2), and Deck the Halls with Santa, a whimsical children’s event (December 9). The Campagna Center partners with Mazda North America, the Scottish Government, the St. Andrews Society, the City of Alexandria, and The Campagna Center’s 2017 Corporate Partner of the Year, Passport Auto Group, 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. #SCWW17

18th Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
December 2, 2017; Parade at 5:30 p.m. Festivities at the marina 2 to 9 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
www.visitalexandriava.com/boatparade 

At sundown on the day of Alexandria’s Scottish Christmas Walk Parade, experience one of the region’s most beloved holiday traditions with the 18th Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. Alexandria's harbor shines as dozens of brightly lit boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront. Boats will be decked to impress a panel of judges who will award prizes in eleven categories, including Best in Show, Thinking Outside the Christmas Box, and Hardiest Souls. The parade begins at 5:30 p.m. D.C. media personality Tommy McFly of 94.7 Fresh FM will serve as the parade announcer while the Fresh FM Street Team presents music, games and prizes on the dock from 5 to 7 p.m. Santa Claus will arrive by fireboat at the Alexandria City Marina before the parade at 3 p.m. and will walk to the Torpedo Factory Art Center where he will meet with children until 6 p.m. Parade-goers are invited to step in to the Torpedo Factory Art Center which will be open until 9 p.m. with its annual Holiday Festival from 2 to 6 p.m. Shop for handmade artful gifts while exploring open studios and meeting artists. Kids can also scout for art with a building-wide scavenger hunt before and after taking photos with Santa. Special performances at the art center include appearances by the Alexandria Choral Society Pro Coro and the Silver 5 Brass Quintet.

First Night Alexandria
December 31, 2017 from 2 p.m. to midnight
Admission: $15 October 1-31 (online only); $20 November 1-December 10; $30 December 11-31 
Afternoon activities: 2-5 p.m. including the Ninth 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 Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305
Midnight fireworks: Potomac River at the foot of King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-3299
www.firstnightalexandria.org 

This annual New Year’s Eve bash takes over Old Town Alexandria with more than 150 performances at 23 indoor venues, with live music, dancing, children’s face painting and games. The afternoon’s Ninth Annual Fun Hunt is accompanied by all-new activities for families and pets. There’s a venue at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center in Del Ray filled with fun activities for children 10 and younger. There is dancing in the street at the east end of King Street beginning at 10 p.m. First Night’s fireworks finale returns with a spectacular display over the Potomac River at midnight.

More Holiday Events:

116 King Holiday Pop-Up Boutique
October 26-December 31, 2017
116 King Street, Alexandria, VA
www.116king.com 

This holiday season, Alexandria welcomes 116 King Pop-Up Boutique back to King Street. The shop will feature emerging designers among 30 upscale fashion and lifestyle brands, including brands from California and Dallas, as well as additional brands with products ranging from women's apparel and jewelry to men's clothing, children's items and other gifts. The pop-up boutique will introduce Alexandria and the larger D.C. community to fresh and emerging designers such as Ceri Hoover, Onward Reserve, Brackish Bowties and Dudley Stephens. The shop will also be having an ongoing event schedule ranging from paint classes to barre classes.

“Christmas at the Old Bull & Bush” at MetroStage
November 17-December 24, 2017 at various times
Admission: $60
MetroStage, 1201 N. Royal Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-548-9044
www.metrostage.org 

Christmas 1912. The Old Bull and Bush Public House, Hampstead, London, is alive with British music hall songs and Christmas carols. Come and enjoy a pint or two, eat mince pies and sausage rolls, laugh at corny jokes and funny sketches, toe-tap to tuneful melodies and join in the sing-a-longs. The show was a staple at the Old Vat Room at Arena Stage for years, and this season MetroStage welcomes Florrie Forde, the most famous music hall star of the era, and her troupe of British performers as we celebrate the holidays with family and friends.

Friendship Firehouse Museum’s Kid’s Krafts Day
November 18, 2017, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Admission: $5 per child; $2 per adult
Friendship Firehouse Museum, 107 S. Alfred Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-4994
www.alexandriava.gov/friendshipfirehouse 

Come create and take home craft and ornament projects inspired by early firefighting history. They will be great gifts for the holidays, or any time of year! For ages 4-8 and their caregivers. Children and caregivers work on crafts and visit the historic firehouse together. Purchase tickets online at Alexandriava.gov/Shop

Black Friday Alexandria
November 24, 2017
Old Town Alexandria and Del Ray
VisitAlexandriaVA.com/BlackFriday 

Alexandria’s alternative Black Friday experience features more than 50 independent boutiques kicking off the holiday shopping season with one-of-a-kind deals on designer and coveted merchandise, including home décor, chic fashions, gourmet food, classic toys and gifts for dogs. Store offers vary, with special discounts throughout the day and 10 boutiques opening at 6 a.m., including Pacers Running, fibre space, The Shoe Hive and Hooray for Books! After the shopping is done, stay for the popular City of Alexandria Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. on historic Market Square. As the official kick-off to the holiday season in Alexandria, the ceremony includes live entertainment, a special visit from Santa Claus, and community caroling.

City of Alexandria Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 24, 2017, 6-9 p.m.
Admission: Free
Market Square, 301 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-4343
www.alexandriava.gov 

At this official kickoff to the holiday season, the city tree is lit on Market Square and a special program includes a welcome by the town crier, the mayor and other city officials, a visit by Santa and holiday performances from the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center.

Mount Vernon by Candlelight 
November 24-25 and December 1-2, 8-9 & 17, 5-8 p.m.
Admission: $24 for adults; $16 for youth
George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy, Mount Vernon, VA 22121
703-780-2000
www.mountvernon.org/candlelight 

This holiday season, experience Mount Vernon in the soft glow of candlelight! Come join the estate for candlelit character-guided tours of the first and second floors of the mansion, 18th-century dancing and fireside caroling. Guests will hear about the Washingtons’ holiday cooking and see a reproduction of Martha’s Great Cake. Visit the Slave Quarters, the Blacksmith Shop, and the Greenhouse and participate in 18th-century dancing. Aladdin the Christmas camel will also be on site.

Small Business Saturday in Alexandria
November 25, 2017
Old Town Alexandria and Del Ray
VisitalexandriaVA.com/SmallBusinessSaturday 

Small Business Saturday is bigger than ever in the D.C. region’s Shop Small headquarters, where more than 50 independently owned boutiques in Old Town Alexandria and Del Ray will offer special in-store activities. New this year, shoppers will be treated to free parking at parking meters, a Santa Stroll on King Street, a postcard pop-up from new paper goods boutique Penny Post, plus live music, shopping and activities at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Don’t miss surprise giveaways from the Elf Prize Patrol and holiday caroling from the Alexandria Singers. Join the Santa Stroll at 11 a.m. and follow the region’s most beloved Santa as he plays the bagpipes and spreads holiday cheer as he walks with families up King Street to Hooray for Books! where he will pose for photos from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. (reservation required for photos). Small Business Saturday in Alexandria is a partnership of Visit Alexandria, the City of Alexandria, the Alexandria Small Business Development Center, the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, the Old Town Boutique District and the Del Ray Business Association.

Saturday with Santa at Hooray for Books!
November 25, 2017, 12-3 p.m.
Admission: Advanced reservation required. Purchase a Hooray for Books! gift card in any denomination to be used to support Alexandria Domestic Violence Program’s Holiday Party
1555 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-548-4092
www.hooray4books.com 

Hooray for Books! and Visit Alexandria are pleased to present photos with the region’s most beloved Santa and Mrs. Claus on Small Business Saturday. Advance reservation required. Time slots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve a 5-minute slot for your child to meet with Santa, please buy a Hooray for Books! gift card, in any denomination, for staff to select books, toys, and games to donate to the Alexandria Domestic Violence Program’s Holiday Party. A photographer from local studio Tisara Photography has been invited to take pictures for you at this event.

Museum Store Sunday in Historic Alexandria
November 26, 2017
1 to 5 p.m.
Various locations
VisitAlexandriaVA.com/MuseumStoreSunday

Visit your favorite historic Alexandria museums for the first-ever Museum Store Sunday, the day after Small Business Saturday, for unique and historically inspired gifts with special offers, seasonal refreshments and more. Ten participating museum stores include George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, The Lyceum: Alexandria’s History Museum, Friendship Firehouse and the Alexandria Black History Museum. The museums of historic Alexandria are pleased to participate in this international campaign led by the Museum Store Association.

The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s “A Christmas Carol”
December 1-16, 2017, various times
Admission: $17
The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-683-0496
www.thelittletheatre.com 

The Little Theatre of Alexandria rings in the holiday season with a return of the classic by Charles Dickens. Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly Victorian humbug, travels with ghostly guides through Christmas past, present, and future to find the true meaning of the holidays. Complete with special effects, Victorian carols, and Tiny Tim, “A Christmas Carol” is a must for the entire family.

Del Ray Artisans’ 22nd Annual Holiday Market
December 1-3, December 8-10 and December 15-17; Fridays: 6-9 p.m., Saturdays & Sundays: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Admission: Free to browse
Del Ray Artisans, 2704 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301
703-838-4827
www.delrayartisans.org 

Del Ray Artisans’ Annual Holiday Market offers unique handmade fine arts and crafts from local artists, including pottery/ceramics, photography, jewelry, fiber, paper crafts and glass. Artists donate a percentage of their sales back to Del Ray Artisans to help support future exhibits and programs. Different artists will be featured each weekend!

Scottish Walk Parade Open House at The Apothecary
December 2, 2017, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: Free
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, 105 S. Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-3852
alexandriava.gov/apothecary 

Tour the historic Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum and learn about this family run business and the products they sold to the residents of Alexandria between 1792 and 1933. Don’t miss the Apothecary’s museum shop, which is filled with fun, creative, and unique holiday gifts for everyone on your list!

Scottish Walk Parade Open House at Carlyle House
December 2, 2017, 12-4 p.m.
Admission: Free ($1 suggested donation)
Carlyle House, 121 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-549-2997
www.carlylehouse.org 

Step back in time to see Carlyle House decorated for the holidays in the style of the 18th century. John Carlyle, one of Alexandria’s town founders, was a British merchant of Scottish descent. Come into the museum to warm up after the Scottish Walk Parade and learn more about 18th century Alexandria! The Soldier's Christmas program will feature re-enactors from the First Virginia Regiment and visitors will learn about colonial life in Alexandria during the holidays at the time of the American Revolution. On the front lawn, take part in festive activities including live music, demonstrations of military drill, fife and drum, gaming, and cooking. 

Alexandria Archaeology Ornament Decorating Workshop
December 2, 2017, 1-4 p.m.
Admission: Free; no pre-registration required
Alexandria Archaeology Museum, Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union Street #327, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-4399
www.alexandriaarchaeology.org 

Decorate take-home paper ornaments using shapes, colors, and patterns from the City’s finest 18th and 19th-century excavated artifacts. It’s fun, it’s free, and it’s for the entire family. No registration required.

Holiday on the Avenue in Del Ray
December 2, 2017, 6 p.m.
Admission: Free
Pat Miller Neighborhood Square at Mount Vernon Avenue and E. Oxford Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301
703-683-2570
www.visitdelray.com 

Kick off the holidays with a visit to Del Ray for the annual holiday tree lighting, featuring a special appearance by Santa Claus who will lead carols and sit for photos with children. Continue the celebration and start your holiday shopping with a stroll down Mount Vernon Avenue, which will be illuminated by thousands of luminarias. Pick your favorite in the neighborhood business association's annual Christmas tree decorating contest.

Shops of Del Ray’s Ladies’ Night Out
December 7, 2017, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Admission: Free
Throughout Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301
703-683-2570
www.visitdelray.com 

Join the Shops of Del Ray on Thursday, December 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to shop local and enjoy special promotions while sipping Virginia wine.

Alexandria Black History Museum’s How to Celebrate Kwanzaa Workshop
December 9, 2017, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Admission: $2
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-4356
alexandriava.gov/blackhistory 

Have you ever wanted to celebrate Kwanzaa, but are not sure how to begin? Join the staff of the Alexandria Black History Museum and Marilyn Patterson, CEO of Joyous Events, for an informative morning that includes the history of Kwanzaa, and hints on easy to make crafts, games, gifts, recipes and holiday decorating.

Civil War Christmas in Camp
December 9, 2017, 12-4 p.m.
Admission: $2 suggested donation per person; $5 per family
Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site, 4301 W. Braddock Road, Alexandria, VA 22304
703-746-4848
www.alexandriava.gov/fortward 

Get in the holiday spirit and learn how Christmas was observed during the Civil War. This popular family-oriented event features a patriotic Civil War Santa Claus, reenactors in winter camp settings, period decorations, fort tours, and kids’ activities. No registration required.

Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours
December 9, 2017, 4-9 p.m.
Admission: $25 adults; $20 seniors (65 years and older) and active military; $5 children (ages 6-17)
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
Lloyd House, 220 N. Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-4242
shop.alexandriava.gov  

Travel through centuries of local history as you learn more about Alexandria during the holiday season at Carlyle House, Gadsby's Tavern Museum and the Lee-Fendall House. Enjoy each site by candlelight, smell seasonal greenery, sip on drinks and taste period inspired food. Seasonal libations will be available for purchase. This year Lloyd House joins the tour, hosting members of Beth El Hebrew Congregation, the oldest Jewish congregation in Northern Virginia, as they share the traditions of Hanukkah.

Del Ray Candy Cane Bar Crawl
December 9, 2017, starting at 4 p.m.
Admission: Free
Throughout Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301
703-683-2570
www.visitdelray.com 

Take a break from the bustle of holiday preparations and enjoy specialty cocktails, beer, and food specials at select Del Ray restaurants during a neighborhood bar crawl to benefit local nonprofits.

Apothecary Museum Geek Tour Series
December 10, 2017, 12-1 p.m.
Admission: $15
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, 105 S. Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-3852
alexandriava.gov/apothecary 

Experience the magic of the holiday season by touring the Apothecary Museum the way Harry Potter would! The one hour potions themed tour will explore the real medicinal plants used as potions ingredients in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. You’ll even make your own potion! Adults and children ages 8 and older welcome.

Colonial Handbell Ringers Concert
December 10, 2017 at 2 & 4 p.m.
Admission: Free
201 S. Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-4994
www.colonialringers.com 

The Colonial English Handbell Ringers perform clad in colonial attire, bringing a 5-octave set of nearly 80 handbells from the world-famous Whitechapel foundry in London. The ringers will perform children’s classics, timeless holiday tunes, and original show-stoppers. Audience participation in the sing-a-long encouraged. 

Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon
December 15-16, 2017, 5:30-9 p.m.
Admission: $34 adult/$24 youth with mansion tour; $30 adult/$20 youth without mansion tour
George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy, Mount Vernon, VA 22121
703-780-2000
www.mountvernon.org/illuminations 

Join Mount Vernon for an evening of family-friendly fun and fireworks choreographed to holiday music, with fireworks beginning around 9 p.m. Take a stroll through the estate while being serenaded by local choirs, visit with re-enactors from the First Virginia Regiment, and learn 18th-century dance moves from costumed guides in the Greenhouse. George and Martha Washington will also be on site to greet Mount Vernon’s holiday guests. Watch as colonial artisans demonstrate the 18th-century process of creating chocolate. Keep toasty by warming up by a bonfire, visiting the blacksmith shop, or enjoying some hot chocolate or cider. Additional food will be available for purchase. Still haven’t found the perfect holiday gift? Take some time to complete any last-minute gift needs at the Shops at Mount Vernon, open late during Christmas Illuminations.

Sunday with Santa at Hooray for Books!
December 17, 2017, 12-3 p.m.
Admission: Advanced reservation required. Purchase a Hooray for Books! gift card in any denomination to be used to support Alexandria Domestic Violence Program’s Holiday Party
1555 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-548-4092
www.hooray4books.com 

Hooray for Books! and Visit Alexandria are pleased to present photos with the region’s most beloved Santa and Mrs. Claus. Advanced reservation required. Time slots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve a 5-minute slot for your child to meet with Santa, please buy a Hooray for Books! gift card, in any denomination, for staff to select books, toys, and games to donate to the Alexandria Domestic Violence Program’s Holiday Party. A photographer from local studio Tisara Photography has been invited to take pictures for you at this event.

Find more holiday events at www.visitalexandriava.com/holidays.

ABOUT ALEXANDRIA, VA
Within eyesight of Washington, D.C. on the Potomac River waterfront, Alexandria, Virginia is nationally recognized for its acclaimed, chef-driven restaurants, bustling boutiques and dynamic arts set against a backdrop of 18th- and 19th-century architecture still intact from its days as George Washington’s hometown. Old Town Alexandria hums with a cosmopolitan feel and a walkable lifestyle—a hidden gem tucked beneath the nation’s capital.

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