Alexandria, VA

With Visit Alexandria pivoting from external tourism to keeping locals engaged, the city-sponsored organization has written up a guide for celebrating Memorial Day (Monday, May 25) in Alexandria.

Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, is not scheduled to start lifting coronavirus restrictions until May 29. There are still more restaurants and retail locations starting to reopen as they adjust to social distancing rules. The Visit Alexandria site has a list of local eateries with Memorial Day specials. Jast as with Cinco De Mayo, some local restaurants are offering interesting or unusual items.

Fresh off their margarita donut, Elizabeth’s Counter (né Sugar Sheck) will have a bourbon donut available over Memorial Day weekend, from May 22-May 25.

Hummingbird Bar and Kitchen in the Hotel Indigo (220 S. Union Street) is offering a grill and chill bag serving four, including a shrimp cocktail, grilled artichokes, a fully loaded baked potato, four steaks with garlic butter, brownies and a bottle of wine for $200. The bags have to be reserved by Thursday, May 21, by calling 703-566-1355. The bags can be picked up on Saturday, May 23.

Meanwhile, other local retail spots are offering special items for Memorial Day, including:

As the local hotel industry struggles to recover from the sluggish business during the pandemic, some hotels in Alexandria are also offering special discounted rates.

Photo via Elizabeth’s Counter

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Several restaurants around Alexandria are offering specials and deals tomorrow (Tuesday) to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Los Tios at 241 S. Van Dorn Street in Del Ray is offering fajitas for two and tacos with the option to make your own combo. The meals are only available for pick up and can be ordered at 571-982-4937.

Visit Alexandria has also put together a list of restaurant options for Cinco de Mayo as part of the organization’s ongoing ALX at Home project. Many of those include restaurants taking advantage of new regulations allowing restaurants to deliver cocktails, a request that had been pushed for by Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson.

In addition to the usual taco offerings, some of the highlights from the list include:

  • Elizabeth’s Counter at 804 N. Henry Street, formerly Sugar Shack, is going back to its roots with a Boozed Up Margarita Glazed Donut, with lime sea salt and a candied lime wheel. The donut must be preordered and is only available tomorrow. Accompanying speakeasy Captain Gregory’s is also offering a special cocktail called “Colonel Faces the Firing Squad” — which includes mexcal, scorched rosemary, lime, pomegranate and bitters
  • Mia’s Italian Kitchen is offering a chicken fajita pizza, featuring grilled marinated chicken breast with chipotle sauce, jalapeno rajas, cheddar cheese, lime crema, pickled onions. The pizza is only on May 5 for take-out and delivery.
  • Margarita-Grams from Vola’s Dockside Grill. The restaurant, reopening tomorrow with a limited takeout menu, is offering to send margaritas around town. The margaritas include an option of a classic margarita or a frozen, spicy pineapple margarita. They’re $34 but serves four. Chips and salsa can be added for $3 or chips and guacamole for $6. A cute naming card can also accompany the order. Orders must be placed today (Monday) through the Vola’s website.
  • The People’s Drug is offering a specialized cocktail menu for online ordering.

https://www.facebook.com/TheOldTownShop1/photos/a.111479749391138/769555136916926/?type=3&theater

Photo via Elizabeth’s Counter/Facebook

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Though restaurants across Alexandria are closed for traditional Easter and Passover meals due to the coronavirus pandemic, many are offering select take-out options available for pick-up or delivery.

Visit Alexandria, which has been running a series called ALX at Home to keep locals engaged during the quarantine, has put together a long list of local restaurants with special Passover and Easter options. Many of them do require pre-ordering the meals in advance.

Restaurants featured on the list include:

  • A la Lucia (315 Madison Street) — An Easter Family Dinner Special which includes either a braised lamb in red wine sauce or pork chop in peppercorn sauce, as well as a salad, a choice of sides and bread. Total: $75, serves 3-4.
  • Balducci’s Passover and Easter Catering (600 Franklin Street) — Passover and Easter catering is available for pickup, but orders must be placed 48 hours in advance.
  • Bastille (606 N. Fayette Street) — A French cuisine Easter dinner including salmon filet or lamb with additional wine available for $25. Total: $49, serves two.
  • Chart House (1 Cameron Street) — Easter family dinners include prime rib and roasted salmon. Total: $80, serves two-three.
  • Clyde’s at Mark Center (1700 N. Beauregard Street) — Clyde’s is offering four Easter entrees, from roast lamb to ribeyes, along with a sauce, sides, and brownies. Orders can be placed tomorrow (Wednesday) before 5 p.m. by calling 703-820-8300 with pick-up on Saturday (April 11) or Sunday (April 12).
  • Del Ray Cafe (205 E. Howell Avenue) — The local French cafe is offering an Easter brunch with a variety of vegetarian options. Pre-orders must be placed by Thursday (April 9) by calling 703-717-9151.
  • Elizabeth’s Counter (804 N. Henry Street) — Elizabeth’s Counter, né Sugar Shack, is embracing the donut origin a pick-up box of six Easter donuts. The menu — donuts included — is entirely vegan.
  • Hummingbird Bar + Kitchen (220 S. Union Street) — The restaurant in the Hotel Indigo on the waterfront is offering brunch, featuring ready-to-bake cinnamon rolls and salad. Total: $59, serves four.
  • Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap (401 E. Braddock Road) — Lena’s is offering three-course Easter meals featuring spaghetti, chicken cacciatore and more. Orders can be placed on the phone at 703-683-5330. All menus will be available for pick-up via ChowNow, or for delivery via UberEats, Postmates and GrubHub. Total: $69, serves 4.
  • Mia’s Italian Kitchen (100 King Street) — Mia’s is offering a three-course Easter menu, including a Sunday salad with a choice of either Braciole di Manzo or chicken cacciatore rollatini. Total: $69, serves 4.
  • Oak Steakhouse (901 N. St Asaph Street) — The North Old Town steakhouse is offering an Easter at Home menu with steak, a burger, or portobello mushrooms. Orders can be placed by emailing [email protected] or calling 703-283-7645. Pick up will be Thursday (April 9) through Saturday (April 11) from 4-7 p.m.
  • Sweet Fire Donna’s (510 John Carlyle Street) — The barbecue joint is offering Easter Brunch To-Go including smoked ham with roasted asparagus and two eggs. Preorders should be placed by 10 p.m. on Saturday (April 11). Total: $15.95.
  • The Majestic Cafe (911 King Street) — the American comfort food eatery is offering pickup at Mia’s Italian Kitchen (100 King Street) for a three-course Easter meal. Options include prime striploin, leg of lamb, and others along with lemon icebox pie for dessert. Preorders should be placed at 703-997-5300. All menus will be available for pick-up via ChowNow, or for delivery via UberEats, Postmates and GrubHub. Total: $99, serves 4.
  • Union Street Public House (121 S. Union Street) — the waterfront pub is offering catered Easter meals with options like grilled asparagus, potatoes au gratin, and deconstructed carrot cake. The meals also come with selected wine pairings available for purchase. Preorders should be placed by 4 p.m. on Thursday (April 9). Total: $35 per person.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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The City of Alexandria planning to host a commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. next Wednesday, Jan. 15.

The ceremony is scheduled for 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Beth El Hebrew Congregation (3850 Seminary Road) It will feature Spencer Crew, interim director for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, talking about the work of the museum and the ongoing commitment to social justice, according to the city’s website.

Mayor Justin Wilson is also set to speak at the event.

The meeting is part of Alexandria’s Community Remembrance and Reconciliation project and the ongoing Equal Justice Initiative work aimed at examining the city’s civil rights history. Members of the committee are expected to attend and provide updates on the project’s work, as well as efforts to place markers for the two known lynchings that took place in Alexandria.

Photo via National Park Service/Flickr

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(Updated 10:30 a.m.) Your Christmas tree was beautiful, but it’s 2020 and it’s time for the tree to go.

Starting today (Thursday), Christmas trees placed on residential streets will be collected by the city. Pick up will run until Friday, Jan. 17.

Trees must be placed at the regular waste collection point by 6 a.m. on the scheduled refuse collection day.

Trees set out for recycling must be stripped or ornaments, tinsel and tree stands. The trees should also not be placed in plastic bags, which will contaminate the mulch. The trees are ground up into mulch that can be picked up by residents in the spring.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Alexandria is gearing up for its 25th annual First Night celebration tomorrow (Tuesday).

First Night is the city’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration featuring various local businesses and civic organizations. Events are scheduled to take place across Old Town. Kids entertainment is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. while music starts at 7 p.m.

This year, the event is planned to include a pop-up comedy show as well as live music, according to the First Night website.

All-access tickets to the event are $30 today, but increase to $35 tomorrow. Badges are free for active-duty military.

Other bars and restaurants around town are also hosting special New Year’s Eve parties as well, including:

  • Noon Year’s Eve Party and Balloon Drop at Hops N Shine (3410 Mount Vernon Avenue) — New Year’s celebrations start a little early at Hops N Shine tomorrow. Events are planned to include face painting, s’more kits, moonshine infusions and a balloon drop at midnight.
  • New Year’s Eve with Evening Star Cafe (2000 Mount Vernon Avenue) — The Del Ray restaurant is offering a $75 per person four-course meal with the option to add a $35 wine pairing.
  • Roaring 2020s NYE at Village Brauhaus (710 King Street) — Village Brauhaus is hosting a costume party with a Great Gatsby theme. General admission tickets are $30 and come with a buffet and snacks, along with a glass of champagne or sparkling cider. The $45 ticket includes two glasses of wine, two light beers, and two specialty cocktails as well as the buffet, snacks and champagne.
  • New Year’s Eve Fireworks Cruise with the Potomac Riverboat Company (211 N. Union Street) — The riverboat Cherry Blossom will take to the river for a unique view of the city’s fireworks celebration. The three-hour cruise will feature hors d’oeuvres along with beer and wine, culminating with fireworks and a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are $160.
  • New Year’s Eve at Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub (713 King Street) — The Irish pub in Old Town will offer a four-course dinner, party favors and live music for $55, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. Reservations can be made over the phone at 703-548-1717.

Photo via First Night Alexandria/Facebook

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A half dozen businesses and residences in Old Town have been selected by a local, very niche group as the best exterior holiday decorations in the historic district.

The Old Town Walled Garden Club announced the winners of its 51st annual decorating contest. The contest evaluates decorations by the originality of design, scale, color, contrast and attractiveness from the street.

The commercial honorees were:

For the residential candidates, all decorations must be created by the homeowner.

The residential honorees were:

  • First Place: 630 S. Fairfax Street
  • Second Place: 728 S. Lee Street
  • Third Place: 612 Duke Street.
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Parking at metered spaces will be free throughout the city on Christmas Day this week.

The police will not be enforcing parking restrictions at metered spaces, residential permit parking districts, and other areas with parking time limits on Wednesday (Dec. 25), according to the city’s website.

This only applies to restrictions on legal parking spaces, so prohibited places like loading zones or spaces for persons with disabilities will still be restricted. Temporary no-parking signs will also be enforced.

Bus riders are less lucky, though. DASH buses will not be running on Christmas.

On Tuesday (Dec. 24), the regular weekday schedule will be in effect, but service will end at 7 p.m. On Wednesday (Dec. 25) there will be no DASH service, but the free King Street Trolley will operate on its regular schedule. The trolly will run every 10-15 minutes from 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. between the King Street-Old Town Metro station and the waterfront.

Meanwhile, most other city services in Alexandria will be closed:

  • Alexandria Library: all branches will be closed tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday, (Dec. 25)
  • Recreation Facilities: all recreation facilities will be closed on tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday (Dec. 25).
  •  The Torpedo Factory: the art fac ility will be open tomorrow (Tuesday) from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. but closed on Wednesday (Christmas)
  • Animal Shelter: the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter will be open from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Tuesday, December 24, with animal viewing beginning at noon. The Animal Shelter will be closed on Wednesday, December 25.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Where better to celebrate the ugly sweaters so associated with Christmas than Alexandria’s yarn store Fibre Space?

At a free event tonight (Tuesday) from 608 p.m. at Fibre Space (1319 Prince Street), guests can either wear their ugly sweaters or finish working on their sweaters with friends.

The store’s annual holiday party is scheduled to include a hot cocoa bar with a variety of toppings, a raffle for prizes, and a gift for every purchase over $50.

If you’re looking for a place to wear your new ugly sweater, there are several sweater-related parties this weekend around Alexandria.

  • Hi-Tide Ugly Sweater Party on Friday (Dec. 20) from 7-9 p.m. at Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge (101 N. Union Street). The event is scheduled to include a gift card for the person with the ugliest sweater.
  • First Annual Winter Wonderland Party on Friday (Dec. 20) from 6-8:30 p.m. at Scramble (5412 Eisenhower Avenue). The event is more child-friendly and child-focused than others, given that Scramble is an enormous indoor playground. Activities are scheduled to include snowflake crafting, a winter scavenger hunt, a photo booth and an ugly sweater contest. The cost is $8 for children under 2 and $12 for children 3 and over.
  • Ugly Sweater Party at The Garden on Saturday (Dec. 21) from 1-4 p.m. at The Garden (1503 Mount Vernon Avenue). The event will be dog-friendly and will feature a prize for the ugliest sweater, according to the Facebook post for the party. The Garden will also have eggnog, hot cider and hot cocoa on special for $6.
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A regional nonprofit is again planning to offer free rides through Lyft to help keep drunk drivers off Alexandria streets during the holidays.

Starting on Dec. 20, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) will offer its annual Holiday SoberRide program nightly from 10 p.m.-4 a.m., until Jan. 1.

In addition to Alexandria, the program is offered to rides in D.C., Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, and Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties in Virginia.

According to a press release:

Each evening, during this six-hour period, area residents age 21 and older celebrating with alcohol may download Lyft to their phones, then enter a SoberRide code in the app’s Promo section to receive their no cost (up to $15) safe transportation home. A separate Holiday SoberRide promo code will be posted at 9:00 pm on December 20, 27 and 31.

WRAP reported that 1,988 people in the D.C. area used the SoberRide program last December. The program also offers free rides on St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Independence Day and Halloween.

“More than a third (38%) of all U.S. traffic fatalities during the holiday season in 2018 involved drunk drivers according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” Kurt Gregory Erickson, president of WRAP, said in the press release.

Image via WRAP

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The 4th annual Del Ray Candy Cane Bar Crawl will bring holiday revelers to Mount Vernon Avenue this weekend.

From 1-6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, fifteen restaurants across Del Ray will have specials on holiday cocktails and beers. Raffles, a costume contest, and a photo booth are planned for different restaurants, with trolley transportation connecting the different venues.

Advance tickets to the bar crawl are $15, or $20 at the door. All proceeds from the bar crawl go to benefit Community Lodgings, an Alexandria nonprofit that helps families escape homelessness and establish self-sufficiency.

The first 250 registrants will receive a 16-ounce event souvenir cup, according to the event description, and bar crawl t-shirts will be available for sale the day of the event.

Participating restaurants include:

But the bar crawl isn’t the only festive event this weekend in Del Ray. There’s a holiday sing-along at the Del Ray United Methodist Church (100 Windsor Avenue) on Friday, among a number of other holiday activities planned for the area.

Photo via Del Ray Candy Cane Bar Crawl/Facebook

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A sing-along celebration this weekend will feature a live band backing up you — the audience — as the chorus.

Alexandria’s 2019 Holiday Sing-Along, hosted by the Del Ray United Methodist Church at 100 Windsor Avenue, is a free holiday concert presented by the Alexandria Citizens Band.

The event is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 13, from 7:30-9 p.m.

The sing-along will feature brand new songbooks with lyrics for attendees to join along in the music, even if they’re not as familiar with the tunes, according to a Facebook page for the event.

Guests are asked to wear holiday sweaters and Santa hats to the sing-along.

The event is sponsored by a grant from the City of Alexandria Office of the Arts.

Photo via Alexandria Citizens Band/Facebook

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