Alexandria, VA: Day trip from DC

Old Mar 8th, 2007, 09:25 AM
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Alexandria, VA: Day trip from DC

My husband & I will be traveling to DC the 1st weekend in April during the Cherry Blossom Festival. We're thinking of taking a day trip to Alexandria, VA (to break away from the festival crowd).

We'd appreciate some advice on:

1. TRANSPORTATION: best way to get to the Alexandria area from DC (we're staying at a B&B by Dupont Circle). We don't have a car, but are willing to take a cab or the metro (if this is possible).

2. TIMING: Our only full-days for visiting Alexandria are Friday or Saturday -- what's better? We're thinking of going mid-morning & returning mid-late afternoon.

3. SIGHT-SEEING: the best places to go in Alexandria --- maybe a main street/main part of town. We're in our 30s and we enjoy strolling around, going to open-air markets & shopping. Any suggestions about where to go?

4. RESTAURANTS: We'll have breakfast at our B&B in DC, but we'll need a recommendation for lunch and possibly dinner in Alexandria. Another Fodor's member - BlueSwimmer - recommended Restaurant Eve.

psy_dr is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2007, 09:51 AM
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Take the Metro (red line) from Dupont Circle to Metro Center. Switch to the blue line and take that train to King Street. Or. Red line it from Dupont Circle to Gallery Place/Chinatown and switch to a yellow line train to King Street. Very easy. Should take about 30 minutes.

Saturdays in Old Town are always busy so I'd probably chose Friday unless the weather dictated otherwise. Lots of people visit DC during this time so you may find lots of other festival visitors in Alex. as well.

Have fun!
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 09:56 AM
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Transportation: Take the Metro to the King Street Station. They have busses for $1 to take you down to Old Town (you are basicially in the outskirt of Old Town), or you could walk down King Street to the water. Lots of shops & art/antique places on the way.

On Saturday/Sunday they have a free bus that takes you back & forth from the Metro.

Sights - Down by the water is the old Torpedo Factory. Lots of arts/crafts, and a fun place to walk around.

There are so many restaurants and ethnic places. I know of at least 3 Thai places. What kind of food? There's a pub - Murphy's for sandwich/burger, for dinner, a French restaurant (my favorite) Le Refuge on Washington St, right off King. Make a reservation because it's small and good.

Or, you could just stroll down King Street and look at the menus posted outside. Greek, Italian, Spanish, Seafood, Thai, even a brew pub.

I'm sure others can pipe in and provide some other recommendations.
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 10:15 AM
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Las Tacas Tapas Bar- is excellent on King St.
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 10:40 AM
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Here's a website that may help:

I love the Torpedo Factory and walking around looking at the architecture.

For eats, I've had good lunches at The Hard Times Cafe (chili - all varieties), The bar at 219 restaurant (in the basement - New Orleans food), and The Union St. Public House (upscale pub food). Plenty of other options depending on your tastes.
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Old Mar 8th, 2007, 11:06 AM
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Take the Metro - a piece of cake and it's an easy walk from the King Street station. Or, as mentioned, a VERY short bus ride.

Are you aware that Restaurant Eve will cost you two a few hundred dollars(after wine, water, and tip)? I am not saying it's not worth it, just didn't want you be surprised.

Yes - Saturday will be more crowded. However, the tourist spots in DC will also be more crowded on Saturday so it doesn't matter. Either day is a fine day for touring Old Town Alexandria. Mid morning till mid afternoon is perfect. You definately want to go in nicer weather though - if it's raining head to the DC museums instead.

You'll see a ton of restaurants for lunch as you wander around. You don't really need to plan ahead. Here is short list (well, 74 places) to look through:

Here's a self guided walking tour from that other board:

Manyt of the shops and such are centered along King Street between Patrick St. and the Potomac River.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 09:18 AM
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King Street Metro station is IN Old Town, not on the outskirts. You'll want to walk straight down King Street, as others have said, toward the Potomac.

Lots of shops and restaurants along the way. There are some stores off of King Street, and OT is basically set up as a grid, so it's easy to wander around without getting lost.

There's a farmer's market in front of the courthouse on Saturday mornings.

I love Misha's coffeehouse. It's just off King Street, and you can smell the coffee before you see the place.

If the weather's nice, you could take a boat back into DC--it docks at the harborfront in Georgetown, so it wouldn't be a bad walk back to Dupont Circle if the weather's nice.

Or if you're taking metro back, and don't want to walk back to the station (about 22 minutes), then you can take the Dash bus.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 09:45 AM
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King Street Metro station is IN Old Town, not on the outskirts.

Yeah, it's IN, just barely, by about 10 feet?

If you were to exit the Metro and walk West, you would be walking away from Old Town. It's about a 16-17 short block walk down to the Potomac.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 02:47 PM
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Ironically, that is EXACTLY the one spot which was the only time we almost got fairly lost/turned around in the entire week we were there in the D.C. area. As Budman says, it is really not clearly apparent from the King St. Metro exit which way it it you would walk to be on King St. proper. We found a girl to send us the right way, which was toward a route which starts with a short walk across an intersection with a street called Diagonal - that's its proper name. We had already started to go in the wrong direction when we saw her and asked.

We had walked the wrong way just as Budman described, as there are several bus and traffic islands and other lanes besides the Diagonal Street and it is way off at an angle that you need to start the King's access & described walk down to the Potomac.

Which even in February was delightful.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 04:12 PM
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What you did not say is how much time you have in DC. Alexandria is nice, but I would not give up major sites in DC and/or Mount Vernon to spend time there in a trip of one week or less--unless you have been here before and seen all the major sites.

The World War II and FDR Memorials are relatively new and probably were not here if it has been some time since your last visit.
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