Alexandria was originally part of the annexed area of Washington D.C. Over the years, the city was eventually returned to Virginia. Some of the first deaths of the Civil War occurred in the area surrounding Alexandria. Yet within this beautiful city are a variety of neighborhoods, reflecting the diverse population of the area. With its close political ties to the nation’s capital, it is not surprising that a vast majority of federal employees make their homes here.
As a result of these close ties to Washington, the city of Alexandria reflects its pedestrian friendly city planning
The city includes plenty of examples of 18th and 19th century architecture, as well as current cultural trends. Restaurants, shops and a variety of entertainment options are in every neighborhood of this amazing city.
Yet within the neighborhoods is Alexandria’s own special art district, otherwise known as Del-Ray. Often referred to as the place where Main Street still exists, the district’s Mount Vernon Avenue is dotted with independent shops, restaurants and holistic health businesses. Additionally, the area is also full of artistic flair. Signature events along with eclectic shops contribute to its overall ambience. First Thursday is a popular event in the area, because every month means a new festival being held. Thus residents and visitors alike flock to the local businesses and the streets to enjoy the family fun and a touch of local culture during the evening hours.
The district is also home to the Birchmere Music Hall. Here residents can enjoy a variety of musical acts within a cozy 500 seat venue. Ticket holders can also enjoy a light dinner fare. Looking for a unique dining experience? Then try the Cheesetique. This restaurant offers a variety of gourmet cheeses, including hard to find meats and accompaniments. Enjoy a variety of wines and beers as well. This is just one unique aspect of this diverse neighborhood.
Those that enjoy music with their dinner will love St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub. Here one can get a cup of fresh roasted coffee and live music throughout most evenings and afternoons. Delight in the music while people watching from their outdoor tables.
Arts on the Avenue is a musical and artistic festival held annually on the first Saturday of every October. There are typically over 300 different artists at the festival, providing visitors and residents with original woodworking, pottery, jewelry and sculptures. There are also musicians, reflecting a large musical variety of Irish, rock and country, just to name a few. Plenty of kid friendly activities are also available. Enjoy plenty of local fare from food vendors as well. This is just one example of the artistic flavor of Del Ray shining through.
Year round, residents can enjoy the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. This market provides a variety of local fresh produce, along with meats, cheeses, baked goods and other food products. Small shops provide an international flavor throughout the neighborhood. This area of Alexandria is a cut of history mixed with the diverse population of a nation’s capital.