The Alexandria Neighborhood Guide
Alexandria, Virginia, may be just seven miles south of Washington, D.C., but it appears worlds apart from the bustle of the nation's capital, with its rich colonial history, Old World charm and many small vibrant arts and cultural destinations.
Old Town, Alexandria’s nationally designated historic district was founded in 1749, and has over 200 restaurants and boutiques, plus a number of museums, theaters and galleries. CRE activity is slower in Alexandria than in other parts of Northern Virginia and D.C., as the city’s preservation laws and agencies curb redevelopment and large-scale projects.
Historic, quaint buildings and a cosmopolitan vibe co-exist in Old Town, with its preserved 18th- and 19th-century architecture housing new and innovative culinary and artistic offerings. Legendary live music venue and supper club The Birchmere, eclectic theater company MetroStage and the Athenaeum museum of fine arts are some of the city’s most noteworthy attractions.
As D.C. expanded after World War II and saw public sector job growth and an influx of residents, Alexandria became one of the bedroom communities supporting the hub of government agencies and contractors.
A large share of Alexandria’s population works in the public sector, for employers like the Department of Defense and the Institute for Defense Analyses. Residents and visitors use the Metro, water taxi and bike-sharing to get around Alexandria, which is minutes from Reagan National Airport.