Historical Overview (45 mins.)

Walking tour mapTread the same cobblestoned paths as Alexandria's historical citizens and uncover the city's colorful past on foot (45 mins.).

To access a printable version of this tour, click here.

Begin your tour at the Alexandria Visitors Center at Ramsay House, 221 King St. at the corner of Fairfax St., a recreation of the circa 1724 home of Scottish merchant and co-founder of Alexandria, William Ramsay.

Walk two blocks east on King St. toward the Potomac River to Union St. Turn right onto Union St. and right onto Prince St.

1. Captain's Row

100 block of Prince St.

Welcome to Captain's Row, one of Alexandria's oldest and most picturesque blocks with authentic cobblestones. Many of the Federal houses were built by sea captains or masters of ships at a time when Alexandria rivaled New York and Boston as a port of entry.

Continue up Prince St. to the 200 block, known as Gentry Row. On the corner of Prince and Lee sts., lies the Athenaeum. 

2. The Athanaeum

201 Prince St.
Thursday, Friday & Sunday: Noon-4 p.m.
Saturday: 1-4 p.m.
Admission: Free

Built in 1851, this antebellum Greek Revival building originally housed the Bank of the Old Dominion. Today, the Athenaeum has been transformed into an art gallery and is the home of the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association.

Return to Prince St. and turn right. Turn right on S. Fairfax St. 

3. The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

105-107 S. Fairfax St.
(November to March) Wednesday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday: 1-4 p.m.
(April to October) Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday & Monday: 1-5 p.m.
Admission: Adults $5, children (ages 5-12) $3

Here, Edward Stabler began his pharmacy business in 1792, serving customers like George and Martha Washington and Robert E. Lee. The family business operated continuously until 1933 when the Depression forced the shop to close. Today, the museum exhibits herbal botanicals and medical equipment, much as they would have been in original form.

Turn left onto King St. and right into Market Square. 

4. Alexandria City Hall

301 King St.

This building is home to Alexandria's City government. Its structure was built in 1871 as a courthouse, atop a site first used as a market space frequented by George Washington. Today, its tall steeple tower is a landmark on the Alexandria horizon, and the Farmers Market tradition still continues each Saturday throughout the year.

Return to Fairfax St. and turn left. 

5. Carlyle House

121 N. Fairfax St. 
Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sunday: Noon-4 p.m.
Admission: Adults $5, children (ages 5-12) $3

Built in 1752 by wealthy Scottish merchant and city co-founder John Carlyle, this handsome stone mansion is an outstanding example of Colonial Georgian architecture.

Turn left onto Cameron St., and walk one block to Royal St. 

6. Gadsby's Tavern

134 N. Royal St. 
(November to March) Wednesday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday: 1-4 p.m.
(April to October) Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday & Monday: 1-5 p.m.
Admission: Adults $5, children (ages 5-12) $3

This two-building complex, the 1785 Georgian-style City Tavern and the 1792 Federal-style City Hotel famous for its great ballroom, was built by businessman John Wise. Ideally situated on the main stage route between Boston and Williamsburg, the tavern became an important political and social center, whose notable patrons included George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Robert E. Lee.

Walk up Cameron St. 

7. George Washington's Townhouse

508 Cameron St. 

This structure recreates a modest 18th-century dwelling originally built in 1769 by George Washington to provide convenient quarters when business or inclement weather prevented his return to Mount Vernon.

Continue on Cameron St., cross over N. Washington St. 

8. Christ Church

118 N. Washington St. 

This still-functioning church was built in 1773 and is an excellent example of a small rectangular Georgian church. The three-story tower with belfry topped by a cupola was completed in 1818. George Washington played a part in building the church and was an original pewholder (number 60). Robert E. Lee was also a member of the congregation.

Continue down N. Washington St. toward King St., which turns into S. Washington St. 

9. The Lyceum, Alexandria's History Museum

201 S. Washington St. 
Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday: 1-5 p.m.
Admission: $2 

Since its beginnings in 1839, this Greek Revival building has been used as a Civil War hospital, a private home, an office building and the nation's first Bicentennial Center. Today, the Lyceum displays exhibits on Alexandria's story through more than 1,500 historical objects.

Turn left on Prince St., then right on S. Alfred St. 

10. Friendship Firehouse

107 S. Alfred St. 
Saturday & Sunday: 1-4 p.m.
Admission: $2

Built in 1855, this firehouse is headquarters to the Friendship Fire Company, Alexandria's first volunteer firefighting squad. The stories of those who protected Alexandria's citizens from fire-an overwhelming concern in the days of mostly wooden buildings-are preserved in the Friendship Firehouse Museum.