If you’re looking for the best things to do during your family trip to Alexandria, Virginia, look no further. This in-depth family guide will help you have the most amazing vacation!
by Kimberly Pangaro
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If you’re hoping to take a family trip to Alexandria, Virginia in the coming months, I’ve got it all mapped out for you!
Create the best family vacation using my handpicked selection of experiences, restaurants, and hotels that will help make your time here even more memorable. Oh and about 90% of the activities listed below, I booked through Viator and TripAdvisor which I highly recommend doing because I can trust the reviews and they’ve never steered me wrong!
So Where is Alexandria?
Located 15 minutes from Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia offers an abundance of activities and scenery to enjoy during your time here. From the amazing 4th of July Potomac views to the historic tours of Old Alexandria, I managed to narrow this guide down to the very best!
Alexandria is the perfect place to enjoy great food, explore cute and cozy shops, and immerse yourself in history. Plus, heading into D.C. is just another great option as most of the museums are free! That’s a huge win for any parent!
Okay, let’s get started. Here are the best things to do during your family trip to Alexandria, Virginia.
Things To Do On Your Ultimate Family Trip to Alexandria
#1 The Smithsonian
The Smithsonian Institution is the largest museum in the world and a wonderful place to explore and learn from as a family.
Before you visit this enormous set of museums, be sure to wear sneakers and some major hydration! Oh and if you have littles like I do, bring snacks. They do a bag check, so try to keep those easily accessible.
Within the complex, you’ll find lots of different days out! Including:
- The Air and Space Museum – Temporarily Closed, Reopening July 30th
- Smithsonian’s National Zoo – Currently Open (Check their guidelines for entry)
- The National Museum of African-American History and Culture – Currently Open (Check their guidelines for entry)
And so much more!
This Air and Space Museum in DC remains temporarily closed and will reopen on Friday, July 30. Click this link to plan your trip.
#2 The Lincoln Memorial
There is nothing more fascinating to kids than taking a trip to see the giant stature of the Lincoln Memorial, and because it’s so amazing to see in-person, it is definitely worth a visit. The site is a wonderful place to learn about the history of the memorial as well as President Lincoln himself and all of the wonderful things that he did for America.
A great history lesson and fun family day rolled into one!
*Currently Open – Plan Your Trip Here
#3 Alexandria Waterfront
The Alexandria waterfront is full of live entertainment, culture and music. As a family, you can spend lots of time here! Drink or eat at the waterfront, shop around the little boutiques, and enjoy a various array of musical talent.
Don’t forget to visit here for the Fourth of July — the firework show is incredible!
To learn more about what you can do at the waterfront, click Alexandria Waterfront
#4 The Ghost and Graveyard Tour
No visit to Alexandria would be complete without a creepy tour through Old Town Alexandria. A fantastic experience for kids, you’ll follow a colonial-costumed guide lighting the way through charming streets and graveyards with a lantern.
During the 60-minute ghost tour, you’ll hear stories of ghosts, romance, and unsolved mysteries that will bring these quiet streets back to life!
You can go ahead and schedule your tour by clicking SCHEDULE A GHOST TOUR
#5 King Street Trolley
The King Street Trolley is a completely free and environmentally friendly and fun way to visit all of the shops, restaurants, and attractions on Alexandria’s main street.
The trolley normally operates year ’round and comes along every 10-15 minutes. Their operation schedule is Sunday – Wednesday 11:00AM to 10:30PM and Thursday – Saturday 10:30AM to 12:00AM.
The trolley is currently discontinued until further notice – but we hope to see it up and running again this year!
Click here to learn more about their current status.
#6 Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon is one of the most historic places in America and is where you’ll find George Washington’s beloved home. You can visit this historic home year-round! On the grounds, you’ll find a farm, tomb, trails, and beautiful gardens just waiting to be explored.
While in Mount Vernon, be sure to check out:
- Huntley Meadows Park
- The Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture
Mount Vernon is a truly picturesque place where you can take your family to appreciate natural beauty and escape the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s the perfect day out for families who are interested in the arts, culture, and outdoor activities.
Upcoming Events: Meet George Washington on July 4, 2021 Buy Tickets Here
#7 Experience a Potomac River Dinner
This 2.5 to 3 hour dinner cruise comes with a 3 course meal and a spectacular view of the Potomac River up close and personal. With serene sunsets, live music, good food, and the breeze in your hair, this will surely keep the kids entertained. Don’t worry, there’s no age restrictions for this experience.
The best places to eat in Alexandria, Virginia
#1 Southside 815
Southside 815 offers up American food at affordable prices which is just perfect for a family dinner or date night (if you get the chance!).
Be sure to try the Southside Nachos or the Chesapeake Strip Steak. You can check out their menu HERE for other goodies they offer.
#2 The Chart House
A beautiful restaurant offering water-front dining on The Potomac river, the Chart House is a gold mine filled with ambience and stunning panoramic views of the river.
Though this is an ideal spot for large families, it is on the more expensive side. With that said, they do have some delicious food items to choose from and kids will love their hot chocolate lava cake for dessert.
You can check out their menu and make reservations by clicking HERE
#3 The Fontaine Bistro
This is a must visit, especially with the kiddos! If you and your children love pancakes, then you will all fall in love with their crepes.
Eating at the Fontaine Bistro will make you feel like a true local. If you’re into eating fresh, eating local, and organic ingredients, then this place is for you. This restaurant is 100% organic and they get all of their baked goods and vegetables from local sources.
Because their menu items are cooked to order, they are able to offer more than just crepes. Plus they offer a wide variety of craft beers and great wines. Take a look at their menu HERE
If you’re not sure what to order and you are there for dinner, I recommend trying the Parisienne for dinner and the Late Nighter for dessert. Your mouth will thank you!
Note* This restaurant is on the smaller side so it’s Not stroller-friendly!
The best hotels for a family trip in Alexandria, Virginia
#1 The Kimpton Lorien
The Kimpton Lorien is an upscale, dog-friendly hotel & spa situated right on King Street.
They offer valet and self parking–for a fee. They also offer free bicycle rentals and free wi-fi. Their breakfast is not free, but it is delicious. The best part is that they are located right on King Street, so you’re no more than a stones throw away from local eateries, gift shops, and dog parks.
#2 The Embassy Suites Hotel
Situated in Alexandria Old Town, the Embassy Suites is perfect for larger families–I have a family of six, so this hotel was perfect for us, with plenty of room to move around and to store our toddler-friendly playpen and stroller.
Breakfast is completely free, so that’s a huge money saver for families! There’s no valet parking, but there is self parking for a daily rate. They offer pet friendly rooms and there’s an indoor pool to keep the kids busy on bad weather days.
We can’t wait for you to visit Alexandria and fall in love with it like we have! It really is a fantastic place to visit with your kids. There’s always something to do, whether it’s a show on the pier, a food tour through the best restaurants, or a stop in some of the many storefronts, you will never be bored here!
Have you visited Alexandria before? What’s on your must-see list? Let us know by following us on Instagram @atomic_mommy!