Many American cities have become popular tourist destinations due to the attractions that they host. Travelers visit Arizona to see the Grand Canyon, New York to see Lady Liberty, and Washington D.C. for the historic monuments. Not too far from Washington, D.C., is another town worth visiting: Alexandria. Located in Virginia, Alexandria is the seventh largest independent city in the state. Its historic city center draws visitors from near and far. Here are some of the sights you can’t miss.
George Washington Masonic National Memorial
Image via Flickr by OZinOH
This 20th-century Masonic memorial is dedicated to the memory of a famous Freemason who was America’s first president: George Washington. The structure is nine stories high and sits on a hill overlooking the old town of Alexandria. It houses a research library, a cultural center, and a performing arts center.
You can join one of the five daily tours of the premises. Each tour lasts one hour and takes you through the George Washington Museum, a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, a replica of the crypt beneath Solomon’s Temple, other exhibits, and the Observation Deck that offers a spectacular view of the old town.
Old Town Alexandria
Image via Flickr by massmatt
The Old Town is representative of the history of Alexandria. Take a trek through King’s Street, and enjoy the view of the harbor. If you’re interested in hiking, take advantage of the many trails available, such as Mount Vernon Trail or Green Spring Gardens. If you need a break, hop on a King’s street Trolley for free. Treat yourself to a lunch made from fresh produce at Walker’s Grille, an environment-friendly restaurant located in an industrial park. Join the 300,000 annual passengers on the Potomac Riverboat Cruise and pass by the Jones Point Lighthouse, the only lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay.
Alexandria Black History Museum
This museum was originally a segregated library for the African American residents of Alexandria. Built in 1940, it is an important part of the civil rights movement and a key to black history in the town. A tour of the site will take you through a Civil War exhibit, a cemetery of escaped Southern slaves who became soldiers, an art exhibit, and much more. A collection of artifacts, oral recollections, and photographs documents the rich black history of Alexandria.
Image via Flickr by Ken Lund
You don’t want to miss Carlyle House if you’re a history buff. This 18th-century mansion is considered by some to be the birthplace of the American Revolution — a historic meeting that took place here brought about the call for the American War of Independence. Take a guided tour through the museum’s beautiful park and gardens, and various exhibits to experience 18th-century life. It’s a memorable experience.
If you need help deciding on your Alexandria itinerary, stop by the Alexandria Visitor Centre. You’ll be able to purchase a key to the city which gives you access to eight historic sites plus an additional four free sites.