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Where to take friends and family in Alexandria for the holidays?

It’s a holiday weekend and you aren’t sure where to take your friends and family.

If they’ve visited you before, you’ve probably already taken them to Old Town, and there’s a hint of disappointment in their eyes when you suggest revisiting the waterfront or Captain’s Row.

One local asked where to take some friends and family visiting from out of town: here were some responses from other Alexandrians.

Look, it’s Friday before a holiday weekend: nobody is winning any Pulitzers here.

Indoors

Assuming the bitter cold keeps up over the weekend, your friends and family might prefer not to explore the great outdoors around Alexandria this weekend. In that case, here are a few indoor activities:

  • Port City Brewing (3950 Wheeler Avenue): The brewery has special extended hours around the holiday. It’s open from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 24. It’s closed on Sunday, but is open from noon to 9 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 26.
  • Lost Boy Cider (317 Hooffs Run Drive): The cidery is open from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday but, like Port City, is closed on Sunday.
  • The Birchmere (3701 Mount Vernon Avenue): No shows are scheduled for Saturday or Sunday, but actor and musician Charles Esten has a show tonight at 7:30 p.m.
  • Local Museums: From the new Freedom House museum to the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary, there are several museums around the city (granted, most of them are in Old Town) continuing to host tours over the holiday weekend.

Outside

Provided the temperature unexpectedly warms up or your family is more resilient to the cold, there are several outdoor activities around the city.

  • Fort Ward (4301 W Braddock Road): The most commonly suggested response to the original query was Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site. The former Union Army bastion during the Civil War later became a home for those who came to Alexandria to escape slavery — before being forced out by the city in the 1960s.
  • Mount Vernon (3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway): While not in the City of Alexandria, it’s a major nearby attraction with extensive tours both indoors and outdoors. The grounds will close today at 3 p.m. due to weather, but will open at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday).
  • Gravelly Point: Also not in Alexandria, but a great nearby spot for watching planes take off and land at National Airport.
  • Manumission Tour: The local company offers tours of Alexandria with a look at the city’s history through the lens of its Black residents, both enslaved and freemen.
  • Mount Vernon Avenue: If your friends or family are tired of Old Town, take them to Del Ray to explore the variety of drinks, dinners and desserts on offer along the avenue.

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