Alexandria is a historic city in the Commonwealth of Virginia, located just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The city was founded in 1749 and named after the Scottish merchant and founder of the city, John Alexander.
During the colonial period, Alexandria was a major port for the export of tobacco and other goods. The city played an important role in the American Revolution, serving as a supply center for the Continental Army and as the location of several key battles.
After the Revolution, Alexandria continued to prosper as a commercial center and was an important shipping point for goods traveling up and down the Potomac River. In the early 1800s, the city was one of the largest in the United States and was home to many wealthy merchants and landowners.
During the Civil War, Alexandria was occupied by Union troops and served as a major supply and transportation center for the Union Army. The city was also the site of a large hospital for wounded soldiers and a prison for Confederate soldiers.
In the years following the war, Alexandria experienced significant growth and development, with new industries and businesses moving into the area. The city's historic Old Town district was preserved and restored, becoming a popular destination for tourists and history enthusiasts.
Today, Alexandria is a thriving city with a rich history and cultural heritage. Visitors can explore the city's many historic sites, including the Carlyle House, the Lee-Fendall House, and the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum. The city also offers a vibrant arts and cultural scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and music venues.
Alexandria Top Tourist Attractions
Alexandria, Virginia, is a popular tourist destination that offers a wide range of attractions for visitors.
- Old Town Alexandria: This charming historic district is filled with beautiful, well-preserved 18th- and 19th-century buildings, cobblestone streets, and unique boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries.
- George Washington's Mount Vernon: Just a short drive from Alexandria, Mount Vernon was the home of America's first president, George Washington, and is one of the most popular historic sites in the United States.
- Torpedo Factory Art Center: This former naval torpedo factory has been transformed into a vibrant arts center, with three floors of studios, galleries, and exhibition spaces showcasing the work of over 160 local artists.
- Alexandria City Marina: Located on the Potomac River, the marina offers scenic views of Washington, D.C., and easy access to boating and water sports.
- Carlyle House: This Georgian mansion was built in 1752 and was once home to John Carlyle, a wealthy merchant and one of Alexandria's founders. Today, the house is a museum showcasing the history of the Carlyle family and colonial life in Virginia.
- The Athenaeum: This historic building houses the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association, with a rotating series of art exhibitions, concerts, and other cultural events.
- Gadsby's Tavern Museum: This 18th-century tavern was a popular gathering spot for political and social events in early America, and today it is a museum showcasing the history of the tavern and its many famous visitors.
- Market Square: Located in the heart of Old Town, Market Square is a public space that hosts farmers markets, festivals, and other community events throughout the year.
- Jones Point Park: This waterfront park offers stunning views of the Potomac River and the Washington, D.C., skyline, as well as hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and a playground.
- The Lyceum: This Greek Revival building was built in 1839 as a cultural center for the community, and today it is a museum showcasing the history of Alexandria and its people.
Alexandria, Virginia, has a humid subtropical climate, characterized by hot, humid summers and mild winters. The city experiences four distinct seasons, with the temperature and precipitation varying throughout the year.
In the summer months of June to August, the average high temperature in Alexandria is around 87°F (31°C), with high humidity and occasional thunderstorms. Nighttime lows usually drop to around 70°F (21°C).
In the winter months of December to February, temperatures in Alexandria average around 43°F (6°C), with occasional snowfall and freezing temperatures. Nighttime lows can drop to around 28°F (-2°C), so warm clothing is essential.
Spring and fall are mild and pleasant in Alexandria, with comfortable temperatures and moderate humidity. In the spring months of March to May, temperatures average around 63°F (17°C), while in the fall months of September to November, temperatures average around 68°F (20°C). Overall, Alexandria's climate is influenced by its location on the Atlantic coast and its proximity to the Chesapeake Bay. Visitors should be prepared for changing weather conditions and should check the forecast before visiting.
Alexandria, Virginia, is located in the northeastern part of the state, just south of Washington, D.C. The city is situated on the west bank of the Potomac River, which forms the boundary between Virginia and Maryland.
Alexandria has a total area of 15.4 square miles (39.9 square kilometers), with approximately 15.0 square miles (38.9 square kilometers) of land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 square kilometers) of water.
The city is characterized by a mix of urban and suburban landscapes, with densely populated neighborhoods in the downtown area and more spacious residential areas in the outskirts. The Potomac River is a significant feature of the city's geography, providing opportunities for water sports and recreational activities.
Alexandria is surrounded by several nearby communities, including Arlington to the north, Fairfax County to the west, and Prince George's County, Maryland, to the east. The city is located within a short drive of several major transportation routes, including Interstate 395, the George Washington Memorial Parkway, and the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.