This spring in Alexandria, be enchanted by fluffy cherry blossoms and themed treats along Old Town’s streetscapes and wander the waterfront for new dining, art and history experiences. Stroll through eye-catching architectural gems during Architecture Month, get outside for signature festivals, attend concerts in a secret garden and more. Keep reading for our list of the top spring events and things to do in Alexandria.
1. Cherish Cherry Blossom Season
This cherry blossom season, soak in the pink and white wonders as you wander Alexandria’s red-brick sidewalks, or see the blossoms up close with bike tours from Pedego Electric Bikes and Unlimited Biking. Take a Water Taxi to the Wharf for a short jaunt to the Tidal Basin, or take the Monuments Cruise past the Hains Point blossoms and into Georgetown. On April 10, attend Torpedo Factory Art Center’s “Cherry Blossom Jubilee,” a free satellite event of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, complete with Japanese taiko drumming, cherry blossom-themed artwork and more.
Savor food and drink specials such as Turkish Coffee Lady’s seasonal cherry blossom blend and themed presentation. Sample Lost Boy Cider’s cherry blossom cider, or try “The Blossom” cocktail at Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap. Unwind with a paint-by-number cherry blossom sip-and-paint workshop from Shop Made in DC on March 26 and April 26.
2. See New Waterfront Public Art
I Love You, the latest temporary art installation on Old Town Alexandria’s waterfront starting March 25 is a luminous declaration of affection from the city to the public, creating a photo-ready postcard of Alexandria which represents the city’s welcoming spirit and a message of hope through the COVID-19 pandemic. Created by award-winning and globally recognized R & R STUDIOS, I Love You is a plaza with the words “I Love You” scripted in rose-hued metal and lighted neon standing 15 feet high above a pink ground mural emulating a giant “magic carpet.” This “social sculpture” utilizes three words at once universal and utterly personal to establish a place of encounter, friendship and camaraderie on the river. Miami-based R & R Studios is helmed by husband-and-wife Argentinian-born, American architects Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt. I Love You is the fourth installation of the City of Alexandria’s annual temporary public art series, “Site See: New Views in Old Town,” and will be displayed through November.
3. Get Outside for Festivals
Throughout spring, al fresco festivals abound throughout Alexandria. On April 2, 2022, parade your pup around Oronoco Bay Park during the inaugural ALX Dog Walk, hosted by local celebrities including “Say Yes to the Dress’s” Monte Durham, for the chance to win prizes and raise funds for sustainability efforts in the city. From May 13 to 15, George Washington’s Mount Vernon invites you attend its most popular event of the year, the Spring Wine Festival & Sunset Tour. Taste unlimited samples from Virginia’s finest wineries, bring a blanket to relax on the east lawn overlooking the Potomac River and meet George and Lady Washington on the Piazza. Then, view dozens of rare and exotic cars up close during the Old Town Festival of Speed & Style on May 22, enhanced by a presentation of style, fashion and live music provided by over 40 local merchants.
4. Explore Alexandria’s Architectural Gems
Alexandria is filled with beautifully preserved architecture and dream homes. Take an architectural tour at Lee-Fendall House on April 10 and May 15, 2022, and at Carlyle House on April 16. Or, embark on a self-guided Old Town architecture stroll past pretty-in-pink Athenaeum, cobalt blue Spite House and more. On April 23, Take part in the 89th Annual Old Town Alexandria Historic Homes & Garden Tour. This year’s tour includes admission to five exclusive private homes and gardens and six nearby historic public properties, including: Carlyle House, Lee-Fendall House, River Farm, Gunston Hall, Mount Vernon and Green Spring Gardens. Find more of Alexandria’s standout architectural spots to explore here.
5. Dine al Fresco
Welcome the warmer weather with al fresco dining across Alexandria’s outdoor patios. Brunch on Chadwicks’ newly debuted balcony or savor waterfront views as you sip on the rooftop of Misha’s Coffee. Meanwhile, Village Brauhaus promises an al fresco penthouse perch to enjoy Bavarian brews and plates, opening this spring. Or, book a luxurious blossom-themed picnic tablescape from Picnic & Peonies, with the option for seafood-infused catering from Hummingbird.
6. Take a Guided or Solo Tour
Get ready to learn something new, taste new flavors or get spooked during a guided or solo walking tour. Throughout March, celebrate Women’s History Month with a brand-new walking tour past sites associated with a wide array of diverse and courageous women who have been an integral part of Alexandria’s history from the 18th century to today. Explore Alexandria’s rich Black history with a cultural heritage tour from Manumission Tour Company and the waterfront African American Heritage Trail and StoryMap, with a southern route debuting this spring. Sip your way through the city on a Nightly Spirits tour and learn the city’s spooky secrets on a Ghost & Graveyard Tour. Show up hungry for the Boutique Old Town Food Tour with Blue Fern Travel, where you’ll visit four local, predominantly minority and/or women-owned restaurants. Between stops, you’ll learn about Old Town’s evolution, from the role played during the founding of the country, to the Civil Rights Movement, to modern day. Or, forge your own path with one of Alexandria’s Great Walks, from a self-guided architectural stroll to an Old Town art photo walk and more.
7. Check Out Alexandria’s Arts Events
In addition to the arrival of I Love You, art happenings abound this spring in Alexandria. On March 12, 2022, start or add to your art collection at the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s always popular March150 Art Party to purchase artwork for just $100. Then, swing by the Art Center from April 2 to May 1 to view cherry blossom-themed artwork displayed on all three floors. On May 14 and 15, discover one-of-a-kind pieces at John Carlyle Square during the 2nd Annual Alexandria Old Town Springtime Art Festival.
In addition to visual art, catch live performances through the spring. Classical Movements invites listeners to linger in the Secret Garden at the Rectory on Princess Street and soak in some 40 performances ranging from instrumental performance and opera, fascinating choral programs, jazz and more. On April 23 and 24, be transported by Alexandria Symphony Orchestra’s “Barber & Brahms: Resilience” performances.
8. Enjoy Seasonal Shopping Events
As storefronts bloom with new offerings, experience Alexandria’s many boutiques and shopping events. On April 9, 2022, join Old Town Business Association’s Easter Egg Hunt and hop from boutique to boutique across Old Town. Pick something up for a special lady in your life during Del Ray’s Mother’s Day Pop-Up Market on May 7. Visit the Del Ray Vintage & Flea Market the second Saturday of every month, beginning in April, to find treasures from local vendors.
9. Participate in the PNC Parkway Classic
Lace up your running shoes for the 2022 PNC Parkway Classic, returning on April 24, 2022, with a 5k, 10-miler and Kid’s Dash. The Parkway Classic 5K course starts and finishes at Oronoco Bay Park with a scenic and one-of-a-kind course through Old Town. Meanwhile, the 10-miler starts at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and finishes at Oronoco Bay Park with a scenic point-to-point course down the George Washington Memorial Parkway and through Old Town. The exciting 600-meter Kid’s Dash is designed for kids 12 and under. Virtual options are available for 5K and 10-miler.
10. Honor AAPI Heritage Month
Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this May and show your support by getting to know some of Alexandria’s AAPI business owners. Roll up your sleeves and take a class from Katie Nguyen-Wells’ team at AR Workshop, and explore international artwork at Kyo Gallery, helmed by Jason Longfellow. Get motivated to reach your goals at Get Fit Studio, owned by husband-and-wife team Carlo Pascasio and Ann Pham.
Dr. Zongmin Li brings the “soul food” of her childhood in China’s Yunnan Province all the way to Old Town North with Yunnan by Potomac Noodle House, while owner Thia Kongubol’s Pasara Thai offers specialties such as the roasted duck curry, which features the perfect balance of chili paste and coconut milk. Find many more businesses to support year-round and find new favorites here.
11. Take a Spring-stagram Tour
Find photogenic gems throughout Alexandria with our spring Instagram guide. Capture the city’s cherry blossoms, vibrant murals, colorful artwork and more.
Find more ways to savor springtime in Alexandria here.
This article has been adapted from Caroline Secrest’s blog article of the same name from the visitALX blog. Stay up to date with the latest happenings and things to do in Alexandria at VisitALX.com.