With the weather on our side and armed with Metro passes, after slogging up the hill at Georgetown to view the National Cathedral, we made our way to the charming town of Alexandria, past the Pentagon, before hopping off at King Street station on the Metro blue line. The hometown of US President George Washington, Old Town Alexandria plays brilliantly to its history by creating a quintessentially early American experience for tourists and locals alike.
Dotted with museums such as the Freedom Museum and the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, you can dine at Washington’s former hangout (Gadsby’s Tavern Museum) and ride the complimentary trolley bus up and down King Street. It takes you from the station to the Waterfront with regular stops in between.
At just under 2km, the route is eminently walkable – although you can hire a bike – and is dotted with shops and restaurants, from the highly recommended Warehouse Bar & Grill (the She Crab soup is a must) to Kilwins sweet store (try the homemade caramel), a range of gift shops and even a clairvoyant to set you on the right path. If you’re missing home, Nando’s is flying the flag for SA at 702 King Street.
Alexandria is a delightful addition to any Washington DC experience, not only because it seems to offer something for every disposition or palate, but because it’s a reminder of the foundations of this dominant global power. Like Georgetown, Alexandria could easily have been gobbled up when the brash new capital sprung up in 1790, but it too has retained its magical appeal and village-like quality. Both come highly recommended although, for my money, Alexandria wins for sheer time-travelling charm, and crab soup.