Alexandria is home to more than 160,000 people yet plenty more pass through the area thanks to its proximity to downtown Washington DC, Alexandria is merely seven miles to the south of the “beltway” as it is commonly called. Alexandria’s proximity to the nation’s capital has strongly influenced its characteristics. This lovely city is home to federal civil service professionals, defense contractor employees, National Science Foundation workers and those employed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. However, Alexandria is not all work and no play. If you are in search of something fun and exciting, there is plenty to do in Alexandria
Alexandria’s Old Town
Old Town is Alexandria’s historic center. Laden with fantastic restaurants, antique shops, cute boutiques, theaters and plenty more, this space is one of Alexandria’s top draws. Stroll around Old Town on any given day and you will rub shoulders with Beltway elites, tourists and everyday people who are proud to call Alexandria home. Old Town is revered by just about everyone, partially because it is walkable, compact and easy to navigate. The vast majority of Alexandria neighborhoods and streets can be described similarly. If you enjoy traveling by foot, you will feel right at home in this pedestrian-friendly city.
Alexandria’s Economic Activity
Examples of businesses and federal agencies headquartered in beautiful Alexandria include VSE Corporation, The Institute for Defense Analyses, ThinkFun, Mandiant, BoatUS, Oxford Finance, Port City Brewing Company, and The Motley Fool. Yes, you read that right – the popular stock-picking website “Motley Fool” is based in Alexandria. Additional local employers include the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the United States Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Food and Nutrition Service and the Office of the Inspector General.
The local economy is also stimulated by the presence of countless trade associations, non-profit organizations, charities, and other groups. Alexandria has just the right mix of finance, government, and legal sectors. All in all, Alexandria firms employ nearly 100,000 people. The vast majority of these jobs are positioned around the conveniently located Metrorail stations and the city’s west side I-395 corridor. It is particularly interesting to note that merely 13% of those who work in Alexandria live in the city. The majority of local workers commute from nearby cities and towns.
Things to do in Alexandria
Spend some time in Alexandria and it is nearly guaranteed you will be back for a subsequent trip. If you are in town around the Christmas holiday, be sure to check out the Scottish Christmas Walk. This event includes a lengthy parade that passes through Old Town Alexandria’s center to celebrate Alexandria’s Scottish heritage. The Christmas Walk is just one component of the city’s annual holiday festival. Additional popular parades in Alexandria include an annual parade for George Washington’s birthday and the insanely popular St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Locals rave about the summertime Red Cross Waterfront Festival. If you are more into history than reveling, take a look at Alexandria’s many landmarks. From the Pope-Leighy House designed by the one and only Frank Lloyd Wright to the Mount Vernon Estate, Washington’s Grist Mill, the John Carlyle House, and the Jones Point Light, there are seemingly countless local landmarks worth visiting.
Fun Under the Alexandria Sun
Alexandria’s proximity to Washington DC presents several opportunities for sports fanatics. Alexandria is just a hop, skip and jump away from several professional sports team stadiums including those for the world champion Washington Nationals, Washington Capitals and Washington Redskins. Alexandria even has its own professional sports team, dubbed the Alexandria Aces. Those who prefer green spaces will find the Alexandria park system quite attractive. This system spans a whopping 950 acres that stretch across 70 parks and nearly three dozen recreation centers. Alexandria also features the Cameron Run Regional Park where you will find a water park highlighted by a wave pool, water slides, batting cages, and a miniature golf course.
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