Captain's Row Couple

Great Walks in Alexandria

Known for its walkable lifestyle, Alexandria is a city best experienced on foot. Get inspired with routes for your next amble along Old Town’s red brick sidewalks and beyond, from an architecture-themed excursion to a waterside stroll to a Del Ray mural tour and more. For each walk, check out our accompanying Google Map to plan your route—though you’ll be tempted (and welcome) to detour.

Beginning on October 1, 2020, face coverings are required in public outdoor spaces whenever 6 feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Self-Guided Architecture Stroll

shadow
Historic Row Houses

Spend an afternoon strolling one square mile of historic streetscapes in Old Town Alexandria, a nationally designated historic district founded in 1749, and revel in the range of design styles, from Federal to Victorian:

  • Start at Alexandria’s own pastel-hued “Painted Ladies” on the 500 block of S. Fairfax Street.
  • See pretty-in-pink Athenaeum, built in the Greek Revival style and today an art gallery serving as home of the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association
  • Then, wind your way to Prince Street’s cobblestoned Captain’s Row.
  • Pass Greek Palladian-style Carlyle House on N. Fairfax St., home of Scottish city founder John Carlyle.
  • Discover colorful colonial homes on Queen Street, including its crown jewel—tiny, cobalt blue Spite House.
  • End by resting in the gardens at Christ Church, the 18th-century English country-style church on N. Washington Street.

Learn more about Alexandria’s architectural wonders here.


Old Town Art Photo Walk

shadow
Wrought Knit

Grab your camera and embark on an art-filled adventure through Old Town:

  • Start with the fibre space’s pink and blue galactic girl mural, painted by Matt McCullen.
  • Head east toward the waterfront, flitting by the Butterfly Effect mural on Bloomers at S. Patrick St., by Tasha Wahl, with input from Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker.
  • Stroll down historic King Street, then turn left on Lee Street and pose in front of South Block’s rainbow-hued mural by Meg Biram.
  • See Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Instagram-ready Beaded Curtain mural atop the loading dock’s ombre-orange, corrugated garage door, painted by Erin Elizabeth Curtis.
  • Soak up Waterfront Park’s public art installation by Olalekan Jeyifous, Wrought, Knit, Labor, Legacies, which frames African American history and the city’s role in slavery to its industrial development from the 17th to 20th centuries.
  • Head north for some sculptural surprises at Tide Lock Park, home to the "Promenade Classique," a neoclassical sculpture among waterfalls and pools designed by French sculptors Anne and Patrick Poirier.

Waterfront Walk

shadow
Oronoco

Watch the tide ebb and flow against the rocks and see sailboats bobbing by as you catch a breeze along the Potomac River waterfront:

  • Start at Tide Lock Park, featuring a neoclassical sculpture set among waterfalls and pools.
  • Then, saunter southward through riverside retreats like Oronoco Bay and Founders Park, adjacent to the Alexandria City Marina.
  • Pass through Waterfront Park, which seamlessly connects lower King Street to the river and hosts the city’s rotating public art installations.
  • Then, head south and detour through Wilkes Street Tunnel as you wander through Shipyard and Windmill Hill Park.
  • End on a peaceful note at Jones Point Park, home of the last remaining riverside lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay area.

Duke Street Black History Trail

shadow
Edmonson Sisters

Old Town’s Duke Street corridor is rich with historical significance, embedded with hidden narratives and plenty of plaques for the eagle-eyed passerby:

  • Begin at the Edmonson Sisters sculpture, a tribute to two teenage sisters who were born into slavery and attempted escape, later becoming vocal and visible abolitionists. The piece was sculpted by bronze work artist Erik Blome.
  • Steps away, find the Bruin Slave Jail, where the sisters were held, for a further reckoning of Alexandria’s role in the domestic slave trade.
  • See Freedom House Museum, once the headquarters for one of the nation’s largest internal slave trading firms and now a site sharing the stories of those who passed through it.
  • Take a detour onto Prince St. to see the plaque for L’Ouverture Hospital, which served Black soldiers and those escaping enslavement during the Civil War.
  • Stop by Alfred Street Baptist Church, Alexandria’s oldest African American congregation, founded in the early 19th century within its first Black neighborhood, called “The Bottoms.”
  • Then, visit Shiloh Baptist Church, one of the city’s oldest active churches. Drawing its name from a biblical term for “place of peace,” the church was formed as an oasis during the Civil War for the formerly enslaved.
  • End your journey at African American Heritage Park and linger by the bronze tree memorial titled “Truths that Rise from the Roots – Remembered,” created by Jerome Meadows and carved with the names of Black Alexandrians who shaped the city.


Del Ray Mural Stroll

shadow
Del Ray Mural

Alexandria’s artsy Del Ray neighborhood pops with personality and color that sets it apart from the rest of the city. Meander by murals capturing aspects of Alexandrian’s history on this three-quarter-of-a-mile route:

  • Start at Mount Vernon Recreation Center, whose whimsical community mural was created during one of Del Ray’s Art on the Avenue festival.
  • Take a picture beside Chad Brady’s “Greetings from Del Ray” mural on the side of 2417 Mount Vernon Ave.
  • Then, see how Brady conjured the old St. Asaph Racetrack on Cheesetique’s vintage “postcard” painting.
  • Spot famous former Alexandrian Jim Morrison mugging on Brady’s St. Elmo Coffee Pub’s exterior.
  • Look up from the pups prowling around The Dog Store to see intertwining trees atop a bright blue background on Alex Cook’s “Dream Forest” mural facing E. Del Ray Ave.
  • Steps from the site of Del Ray’s Farmers’ Market, see a vibrant market scene painted on the side of Vélocity Bicycle Cooperative by artist Patrick Kerwin.
  • Catch the subtle floral garden mural on the house across from Evening Star Café, created by Chad Brady.
  • End beside the evocative, rustic rendering outside Junction Bakery & Bistro, painted by Torie Partridge and Cory Bernat.


Green Getaways

shadow
Fort Ward

Plan an escape to roam through one of Alexandria’s wide-open greenspaces:

  • For a foray into the past, head to Fort Ward in the West End, constructed by the Union Army in 1861 to defend Washington, D.C., during the Civil War. The park welcomes visitors to take a run along its hilly paths or pack a picnic to enjoy in its 35 acres of greenspace.
  • Also in the West End, Ben Brenman Park offers a sprawling natural oasis. The 59.3 acres include a peaceful pond, amphitheater, sports fields, space for dogs to frolic and more.

Your WanderLove is Calling

Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire to travel, but here in Virginia, we call that feeling WanderLove. And while travel doesn’t look quite the same this year, you can still explore Virginia’s endless beauty with an epic road trip. Please wear a face covering when indoors or less than six feet from others outside your household and observe Virginia’s current safety guidelines.