Alexandria Press Profile and Story Ideas

Named a Top Romantic City, a Top Dog Friendly City, and with a dramatic history featured on the PBS series MERCY STREET, Alexandria, Virginia, located just five miles from Washington, D.C., delights travelers from around the world. A nationally designated historic district founded in 1749, Old Town Alexandria is the Shop Small headquarters of the region with more than 200 independently owned boutiques and restaurants tucked in to 18th- and 19th-century architecture still intact from the city’s days as George Washington’s hometown. New restaurants ignite historic and off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods as the waterfront district emerges with new energy. At the heart of it all is bustling King Street, a walkable mile recognized as one of the “Great Streets” of America.

Accessible and Easy to Get Around

  • 3 airports, with Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport minutes away, plus Dulles and BWI international airports
  • Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express
  • 4 DC Metrorail stations – King St-Old Town one mile from the waterfront
  • Free King Street Trolley
  • Capital Bikeshare, bike rentals and Mount Vernon Trail
  • Water taxis and Potomac River cruises connecting to D.C., the National Mall and MGM National Harbor Casino

hotel indigo rendering

Waterfront Evolution

Within eyesight of Washington, D.C. on the Potomac River, Alexandria welcomes its first waterfront hotel, the highly anticipated Hotel Indigo Old Town Alexandria opening in spring 2017. Touches of Alexandria’s colonial past blend with contemporary design at the boutique hotel, nestled on a riverside site where a 300-year old ship was discovered and excavated during the hotel’s development. At the city’s marina, new restaurant Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge offers waterfront dining with an oyster bar, seafood classics and tiki-inspired cocktails. More recent expansions on Alexandria’s waterfront include new connections to D.C. via Potomac Riverboat Company’s water taxis and future plans to create a new public plaza at the foot of King Street.

portner brewhouse

Craft Beer Culture

Two sisters are launching a new reason to visit Alexandria, already a destination for craft beer lovers, with the opening of pre-Prohibition inspired Portner Brewhouse. Catherine and Margaret Portner are honoring their great-great grandfather’s legacy 100 years later by brewing up historic family recipes from Alexandria’s Robert Portner Brewing Co., the largest pre-Prohibition brewery in the South. Portner Brewhouse, which opens its doors in March 2017, also serves contemporary German-American cuisine and offers the public a chance to taste and rate home-brewed recipes in the Craft Beer Test Kitchen™.

Port City Brewing Co., which was named the Best Small Brewery in the U.S. in 2015 and put Alexandria on the map by being the first craft brewery in the D.C. region, will also expand in 2017.


The Dish on Dining

Alexandria’s booming dining scene is trending with classic comfort foods with creative culinary twists. Named Virginia’s top food truck by Southern Living in 2016 for its quirky and imaginative eggroll flavors, Meggrolls will open its first storefront in Old Town in 2017 with menu items such as Chicken Parm, Buffalo Wing, Four Cheese Mac and Chorizo Pablano. Also in Old Town, celebrity pitmaster Myron Mixon will open Myron Mixon’s Pitmaster Barbecue in January 2017, serving up authentic barbeque with creative sides and appetizers such as barbecued deviled eggs, peach barbecue beans and baby back mac and cheese. Nearby and new, Hen Quarter puts a creative twist on chicken and waffles by adding compressed watermelon, honey pearl butter and Tennessee bourbon maple syrup. In Del Ray, new restaurants Live Oak and Junction Bakery & Bistro serve up dishes like head-on shrimp and grits and short rib grilled cheese, respectively.

mercy street

Civil War History Featured on PBS’ MERCY STREET

As fans of the PBS Civil War-era drama MERCY STREET anticipate the show’s return for a second season on January 22, 2017, historic Alexandria, Virginia announces 40 new tours, exhibits and events inspired by the series. MERCY STREET is inspired by real events of Civil War Alexandria and is PBS’ first original American drama in a decade.  Fans are invited to visit the city’s historic sites to enjoy new exhibits and events inspired by the series, with several that focus on Civil War-era cultural customs including food, fashion and music. Uncover the real people behind the characters on the show, the realities of Civil War medicine, the changing roles for women, and the breakthrough experience of enslaved African-Americans claiming their freedom.
Press release about Alexandria experiences
Web page of Alexandria experiences

captain's row

Top Romantic City in the U.S.

Alexandria was named the “Most Romantic City in the U.S.” by in 2016. With its cobblestone streets, gorgeous views and world-class restaurants and entertainment, it’s no wonder Alexandria, Virginia, is known as one of the area’s most romantic cities and was named the “Best Place for a First Date” by Washingtonian magazine. Two popular date spots are Restaurant Eve and Vermilion in Old Town, where President Obama and the first lady celebrated their anniversary and Valentine’s Day, respectively.

canine cruise
A Top Dog-Friendly City

With 150,000 human residents and 40,000 dogs, and boasting pet-friendly hotels, attractions and boutiques, Animal Planet named Alexandria one of the most dog-friendly cities in the U.S. Four-legged favorites include the loved-by-locals All the Presidents Pups Walking Tour, Canine Cruises by Potomac Riverboat Co., the Dog Park boutique, VIP Pet Salon, which offers doggie massages given by a certified canine massage therapist and a selection of spa treatments, the Olde Towne School for Dogs, and Frolick Dogs, a canine gym.


D.C. Region’s Shop Small Headquarters

Nearly 80% of restaurants and retailers in Old Town and Del Ray are independently owned. Fashionistas flock to shops of the Old Town Boutique District for high-end shoes and unique clothing finds from the latest designers. The city is also a hub for interior designers, who come for the array of home décor shops and antiques galleries bursting with statement pieces. The Wall Street Journal praises, "The King Street area has some of the best stores and galleries in the [D.C.] region."

Top 5 Must- See Attractions

  • Stroll King Street or take the free King Street Trolley
  • Explore the waterfront for stunning views of the Potomac River and D.C. monuments
  • Discover George Washington’s Mount Vernon , just 8 miles south of Old Town
  • Visit the Torpedo Factory Art Center
  • Tour the museums on Market Square: Carlyle House Historic Park, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

Top Touring Activities

  • Mount Vernon by Bike and Boat
  • Potomac Riverboat Co.
  • Walking tours (including ghost tours)

Annual Signature Events

  • George Washington Birthday Parade
  • St. Patrick's Day Celebration & Parade
  • USA/Alexandria Birthday Celebration
  • King Street Art Festival
  • Halloween in Alexandria
  • Scottish Christmas Walk Parade
  • Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
  • First Night Alexandria (New Year's Eve bash with 100+ live performances)

Offbeat and Unexpected

  • Canine Cruises
  • Donut speakeasy
  • Spite House (tiniest historic house in U.S. at 7 feet wide)