Travel Back to the 18th Century at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum

Travel back in time and celebrate the rich history that Alexandria is known for at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. From political events to social gatherings, Gadsby’s Tavern was a key location in Virginia’s history. This 18th-century gem once housed famous historical figures such as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe.

The museum features two buildings: the tavern built in 1785 and the City Hotel, built in 1792. Check out both and immerse yourself in the history, architecture, decorative arts, food and clothing of the 18th century. Family and individual tours are available, along with special events like the Presidential Salon with James Madison, where you can listen to the fourth president of the United States as he talks about the political and personal issues of 1816.

Make a day out of it, and enjoy a traditional meal at the Gadsby’s Tavern Restaurant’s colonial dining room, which has provided fine fining since the 1770s.

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
134 N. Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

Let Shop Owner Kinde Show You the Ropes at Tennis City

Loyal customers travel all the way from Washington, D.C. to Tennis City, where they say the owner, Kinde, offers some of the best customer service in the area. A veteran tennis teacher, Kinde is very knowledgeable about the game, and puts the needs of customers first. According to frequent shoppers, you’ll never feel pressured to spend money on equipment you don’t need. If you’re new to the game of tennis, Kinde will help you choose good equipment that won’t destroy your budget.

Prices here are very reasonable, even considering the area, but the real reason to shop at Tennis City is to benefit from the invaluable advice you’ll receive from Kinde, who draws upon his decades of experience with the game in order to help every customer. As your game improves, return to Tennis City to upgrade your equipment. You can have your racquet restrung here, too.

Tennis City
6550 Little River Turnpike
Alexandria, VA 22312
(703) 256-4040

Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Osprey and Beavers at Huntley Meadows Park

Enjoy the great outdoors at the beautiful Huntley Meadows Park in the heart of Alexandria. This wetland park is a hidden gem that you may be surprised to find amongst such a metropolitan area.

Boardwalk structures lead the way through this marshy eco-wonderland, with a variety of other trails connecting throughout the 1,500-acre reserve area. Among the wildlife you can spot on your stroll are beavers, blue herons, osprey, snakes, frogs, turtles, and many more. Be sure to have your camera ready, and don’t forget the bug spray. Stop by the visitor center before your walk to learn more about the ecosystems through a variety of exhibits and classrooms.

Do note that they don’t allow running, biking, or dogs as to not disturb the ecosystems and wildlife. Parking is easily accessible, and as the park is a nonprofit there is a $2 suggested parking donation.

Huntley Meadows Park
3701 Lockheed Boulevard
Alexandria, VA 22306
(703) 768-2525

Union Street Public House: A Nice Spot by the Water

With a view of the Potomac, the Union Street Public House is the place to go for food and spirits with friends and family. Located across from Waterfront Park in a beautifully renovated colonial building, the Union Street Public House is even nicer when you walk inside. You’ll like the cool bar, comfortable seating and old school ambiance. There’s also a terrific view!

Come after work with friends and enjoy the selection of draught and bottled beers and wines by the glass. There are also some nice bar bites to share. The lunch and dinner menus features tasty sandwiches and entrees. But check out the oyster bar, where you can get fresh delights on the half shell.

Check out Union Street's website to find out more about this Alexandria pub.

Union Street Public House
121 South Union Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 548-1785

Explore History in a Bottle at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

For an unusual look at life in Colonial and Civil War era America, stop into the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum. This apothecary-turned-museum first opened in 1792 and functioned for decades as a widely popular place to get herbal remedies and medicines. Records maintained at the shop reveal that Martha Washington, Robert E. Lee, and hundreds of sickly Union soldiers picked up medicines here! In fact, many of the antique bottles still hold 200-year-old bottles labeled with ingredients like mercury, dragon’s blood, and opium!

With museum hours that vary by season, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum charges an admission fee of $5 for adults and $3 for children. Request a guided tour, or stop by for special events including lectures, dance classes, and hands-on science demonstrations.

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum
105-107 South Fairfax St
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
(703) 746-3852

Escape Room Live: Can You Beat the Clock During This Exciting Team-Building Adventure?

Whether you’re planning a birthday party or looking for a unique team-building exercise to do with your coworkers, Escape Room Live is tons of fun for all types of groups. This unique facility currently features two different “rooms” to choose from, each of which you’ll need to try to escape with the help of your fellow teammates. The Sherlock Holmes: A Matter of Time and Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty's Madness rooms each contain their own unique games, clues, and challenges to enable you to solve the mystery and win the game, but if you don’t solve the challenges within the allotted timeframe, you’ll have to admit defeat and try again another day.

Groups can either book one of the rooms or reserve the entire facility for private parties or functions, but whichever one you choose, you’re in for a truly fast-paced, thrilling adventure at Escape Room Live.

Escape Room Live
814 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(800) 616-4880

Get Centered First Thing in the Morning at Grounded Coffee Shop

At Grounded Coffee Shop in Alexandria, local coffee lovers stop in for hot cups of fresh, flavorful coffee before a day at work or an afternoon of running errands in the area. This colorful coffee shop is very homey inside, and it is furnished with leather couches, rainbow-hued walls and handmade artwork decorating just about every surface.

There is a glass display case overflowing with desserts and other baked goods, and Grounded Coffee Shop even offers savory dishes like homemade quiche and croissant breakfast sandwiches to give you fuel for the day ahead. The friendly baristas whip up steaming cups of drip coffee and classic espresso drinks at the espresso bar, and there are also iced teas, frappes and fruit smoothies made fresh on the spot. Settle in with a good book on a relaxing day off, or play one of the café’s board games over cappuccino with a group of friends.

Grounded Coffee Shop
6919 Telegraph Road
Alexandria, VA 22310
(703) 341-6612

Get Creative at Torpedo Factory Arts Center

Looking for something fun, unique, and inexpensive to do in Old Town Alexandria? Swing by the Torpedo Factory Arts Center for an afternoon of artistic discovery. As you stroll through the 82 workshops and seven galleries, you’ll see a few real torpedoes that harken back to the building’s history as a World War I munitions factory.

Since the 1970s, the factory—which opens out onto a walking path on the picturesque Potomac River—has functioned as a communal space for working artists to interact with the community. You can see artists at work and discuss the process with them. Be forewarned: the artists make their own schedules and if there’s someone you’d specifically like to see, you need to schedule privately with them.

Don’t miss the third floor, where the Alexandria Archaeology Museum resides, or the gift shop where you can purchase art, jewelry, clothing, and other goods made by the Torpedo Factory artists!

Torpedo Factory Art Center
105 N. Union St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 838-4565

Scoop Up Something Sweet at Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato in Alexandria

Gelato is a creamy frozen dessert that's popular throughout Italy, and you'll find it near The Asher at Alexandria's Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato. Family-owned and -operated, Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato serves made-from-scratch gelato in fresh, seasonally inspired flavors that include pumpkin, coconut, pistachio, dulce de leche, pina colada, and mint chocolate chip. You can choose from three different sizes at affordable prices.

Inside, Casa Rosada (which translates to "pink house" in Spanish) is small and cozy, with a quaint ordering counter displaying all of the various types of gelato. If you want to enjoy your dessert on site, however, there is a spacious outdoor patio area that offers a great view of historic downtown Alexandria.

Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato is open noon to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and noon to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato
111 S Payne St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 349-1001

Swing’s Coffee Roasters: Sip a Latte at This Cafe-Meets-Roaster in Alexandria

Upon entering Swing’s Coffee Roasters, the first thing you'll notice about this small coffee shop and roaster is the earthy aroma of roasting beans. Order your coffee or latte at the wooden coffee bar (and maybe even pick up a pecan tart or fresh-baked muffin), then set up camp at one of the cozy cafe tables to enjoy your coffee with a good book, good conversation, or a few good hours spent catching up on computer work.

As for the decor, exposed pipes and floor-to-ceiling windows fill the space, while glass doors keep the roasting area separate while still inviting visitors to take a peek inside.

Swing’s Coffee Roasters' Alexandria location is open Mondays through Fridays.

Swing’s Coffee Roasters
501 E Monroe Ave
Alexandria, VA 22301
(703) 370-5050

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