Washington Special Traveler Destination Guide

Looking for things to do in Alexandria or Washington? This guide can help.  Highlighted/underlined words contain hyperlinks; click on them for web sites with more complete information. Information contained here is believed to be correct, but please confirm hours, rates and availability prior to making plans.

 

                                                                                                         Washington Monument                                                                                      Photo by Bill Hakkarinen

What to do in Alexandria

Our train will arrive at the Alexandria Amtrak Station (800-872-7245), located at 110 Callahan Drive in the Old Town section of the city, adjacent to the King Street Metro station (202-637-7000). The King Street Metro station is just a few steps away - take the Metro, Blue or Yellow lines, or you can hop on the King Street Trolley, a free transportation service that makes many stops along King Street until it reaches its final destination at the waterfront. For more information on the King Street Trolley and for the trolley route map go to King Street Trolley website. 

 

Facing the Alexandria train station is the George Washington Masonic Memorial. Take a free tour and see the magnificent 17-ft. bronze statue of George Washington and an outstanding collection of artifacts. 

George Washington Masonic Memorial
Photo by Arthur W. Pierson.  Courtesy of
Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association (ACVA)

 

Or experience the city’s rich culture and history and explore the many attractions Alexandria has to offer.  Many tours are available, including cruises on the Potomac River, horse drawn carriage rides, and historic walking tours (guided or self-guided).  For detailed information on tours visit the Alexandria Sightseeing Tours website.

Old Town Alexandria – This is a historic district near the waterfront of the Potomac River where you will find lots of things to do.  Walk on the cobblestones of Prince and Princess Street, enjoy 18th and 19th century historic houses, churches and commercial buildings, have lunch in one of the many wonderful restaurants in town, and explore interesting shops. There are several self-guided walking tours of Old Town Alexandria to choose from, one of which – the King Street Tour, departs from the George Washington Masonic Memorial conveniently located across from the Alexandria train station.  On the waterfront visit the Torpedo Factory, a three-story art center where visitors can watch artists at work. Or relax and take in a great view of the river, or opt for a boat ride on a water taxi to the new National Harbor and Gaylord Hotel, or cruise to Mount Vernon.  The Alexandria Visitor's and Convention Bureau operates a visitor's center in the old Ramsay House at 221 King St., in Old Town near the river. 

                

Torpedo Factory Art Center                         Artist in action at the
Credit Alexandria Convention
                      Torpedo Factory Art Center
and Visitors Association (ACVA)                  Credit Torpedo Factory Art Center
Courtesy of (ACVA)


 

Mount Vernon - The home of George Washington, Mt. Vernon is located about 8 miles south of Old Town Alexandria. Visit the mansion, the outbuildings, the gardens and the museum and learn about the life of America's first president and his family.  If you take a boat (see above cruise to Mount Vernon) the price of the cruise ticket will include the estate admission ticket.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate
Photo by Lautman for Mount Vernon (Photo courtesy of ACVA)

                                                                                                              

Christ Church - Located on 118 N. Washington Street, the Christ Church is an Episcopal church built from 1767 to 1773.  This is a lovely small church from the colonial times where George Washington had a pew.  Its congregation also included other notable figures such as Harry "Lighthorse" Lee and Robert E. Lee. The grave stones in the yard are very interesting, with old sayings about the lives and deaths of the residents.

 

Maps:

Map of Alexandria

 

Additional Resources:

About Old Town Alexandria

Historic sites in Alexandria

 

What to do in Washington D.C.

Our train will arrive at the Washington DC’s Union Station located at 50 Massachusetts Avenue NE. Walk around the station to admire this beautiful building designed by Daniel Burnham that opened in 1907, explore shops, restaurants, and the food court; or walk to the Union Station Metro stop, just steps away from the Amtrak area. 

                                                                                                Washington D.C. Union Station
                                                                                                Photo by Lawrence Biemiller

 

The Metro is a great way to get around the region. There are five lines that cover the entire downtown area and stretch to the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia. There are several stops in the city center near the famous monuments, landmarks, museums, and government buildings, making the Metro a great way to see what the city has to offer. The Metro fares range from $2.15 to $5.90 using a SmartTrip card (there is a $1 surcharge for paper farecards). For Metro information, including maps, stops, and trip planners go to the Metro website. 

Another great way to see the city is to take a trolley tour (202-832-9800). The trolley (a bus loosely resembling a trolley) has three different routes: National Mall and Downtown, National Cathedral/Uptown/Georgetown, and Arlington National Cemetery.  There is a trolley ticket booth at the Union Station; you can buy the ticket and hop on the next trolley, right there.  Also available from Union Station are the Big Bus tours (877-332-8689).

National Mall and Memorial Parks – Located in the center of Washington just south of the White House, the National Mall stretches for two miles from the U.S. Capitol to the east and the Lincoln Memorial and Potomac River on the west. It is a pedestrian friendly tree-lined area where you will find many federal buildings (including the National Archives), the world famous Smithsonian Institution museums (definitely worth a visit!), several of our nation's most impressive monuments and memorials, and the U.S. Botanic Garden.

U.S. Capitol with the Library of Congress in the background to the right
Photo by Bill Hakkarinen

 

The Three Branches of Government – If you are interested in touring the White House, the U.S. Capitol, or the U.S. Supreme Court, go to the Touring the Three Houses of Government in Washington website to obtain more information.

Library of Congress – Located at 101 Independence Ave, the Library of Congress is recognized as the national library of the United States. Its collections comprise the world’s most comprehensive record of human activity and knowledge.  If you plan a visit, check the Library of Congress website.

Georgetown - Located in northwest Washington, Georgetown is a historic neighborhood where you can find high-end shops, a wide range of restaurants, beautiful townhouses, and the lovely Washington Harbour waterfront at K Street between 30th and 31th Streets. Georgetown is home of the main campus of the Georgetown University and many other landmarks, such as the Old Stone House, the oldest unchanged building in Washington, and several embassies (e.g., France, Mongolia, Sweden, Thailand and Ukraine). A walking tour is a great way to see Georgetown! The Top Ten Things to Do in Georgetown website may also be of help in planning your visit.

Maps:

Map of Washington DC

Map of Georgetown

 

Additional Resources:

 Washington Post Visitor’s Guide of Washington DC