Photo by Kristian Summerer for Visit Alexandria
Photo by Kristian Summerer for Visit Alexandria

Looking for a fun reason to get out of the house? Grab your face covering and follow our guide to completely free outdoor activities in Alexandria, from finding hidden photo spots to taking historic walking tours to relaxing in natural escapes. And if you visit August 21-30, make it a picnic with a specially priced takeout meal from one of 60+ locations for Alexandria Restaurant Week To-Go!

Go on an Architecture Photo Adventure

Spite House: Cobalt-blue Spite House, America’s skinniest historic home, clocks in at a diminutive 7 feet wide. Pose with arms wide in front of the doorway on the 500 block of Queen Street.

Captain’s Row: Feel transported on Captain’s Row, the colonial streetscape on the 100 block of Prince Street, with the smoothed-down cobblestones beneath your feet and light dappling through the arched tree canopy.

Christ Church: Stroll outside centuries-old Christ Church on N. Washington Street, built in the English country style and outfitted with a courtyard and cemetery which opens up into a sacred escape filled with magnolia trees, azaleas and more.

George Washington Masonic National Memorial: Take a sensational sunset shot at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, the Egyptian-inspired tower offers a sweeping vista eastward of Carlyle, Old Town and the Potomac.

Painted Ladies: South Old Town boasts Alexandria’s rendition of San Francisco’s famed “painted ladies.” Tucked into the 500 block of S. Fairfax Street, these vibrant-hued, long-and-lean beauties rub elbows for a picturesque effect.

Explore Free Historical Experiences

Courageous Journey African American History Driving Tour: Embark on a Washington Post-endorsed 10-site driving tour to start exploring Alexandria’s wealth of Black historic sites, from the Edmonson Sisters’ Duke Street statue to the Southern cornerstone of D.C. laid by Benjamin Banneker.

Historic Cemeteries: Visit tranquil Ivy Hill Cemetery, dating back to the early 1800s in Alexandria’s Rosemont neighborhood. Then, head to the Contrabands & Freedmen Cemetery Memorial on S. Washington St., where some 1,800 African American men, women and children were buried after fleeing enslavement to Union-occupied Alexandria during the Civil War.

Enjoy Refreshing Green Spaces

Waterfront Parks: From Oronoco Bay to Founders Park and from Waterfront Park to Jones Point Park, Alexandria is filled with riverside green space. Take your pick and play, picnic or plant yourself on the grass to soak up some vitamin D.

At Waterfront Park, see Old Town’s newest public art piece, “Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies”  by Olalekan Jeyifous. The contemplative installation frames Alexandria’s African American history through the lens of the city’s industrial and merchant history from the 17th to 20th centuries.

Mount Vernon Trail: Catch a cool breeze off the river along with glimpses of wildlife as you explore sprawling Mount Vernon Trail, spanning the George Washington Memorial Parkway from Rosslyn to George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Check out for even more ideas for exploring Alexandria on foot.

This article has been adapted from Caroline Secrest’s “Your Guide to Free Things to Do Outside in Alexandria” from the visitALX blog at

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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