Walking Tour of Alexandria, Virginia
The city of Alexandria lies just south of Washington, DC, so makes a fine base of operations for any exploration of the nation’s capital and other attractions in the area. However, don’t overlook Alexandria itself. It is a wonderful Colonial city, with a well-preserved Old Town that has maintained its cobble stone streets and architecture.
The walk begins at the Ramsey House Visitor Center, at 221 King Street. The home belonged to William Ramsey, merchant and city founder. As the Visitor Center, it provides maps and local information — a good place to start your visit.
As you leave the Visitor Center, turn right (west) on King Street and take your first right on Fairfax Street. Visit the Carlyle House, built in 1752. Next, take a left on Cameron Street, past the City Hall, and walk to Royal Street, then take a left to see the Gadsby Tavern, frequented by George Washington, among others.
Continue south on Royal to King Street, turn right and right again on Washington Street. Christ Church, the oldest church in the city, is on the left. George Washington and Robert E Lee both attended services here.
Further down Washington, also on the left, is Lloyd House, a Georgian residence built in 1796. Continue northward to the corner of Washington and Oronoco Street. The Lee-Fendall House, built in 1755, is at 614 Oronoco. Across the street, at #607, is the boyhood home of Robert E Lee, Commander of Confederate Forces during the Civil War.
Go back to Washington and turn right, then left on Wythe Street. The Alexandria Black History Museum is a few blocks ahead on the right.
Turn left on Alfred Street and continue south to King Street. Turn right and walk to its end. Rising in front of you is the George Washington Masonic National Museum, standing tall on Shorter’s Hill. It is modeled after the Alexandria, Egypt Lighthouse, one of the original Seven Wonders of the World. Inside are numerous tributes to the first US President, once a Mason.
Leave on Dangerfield Street which heads to the southeast, then turn left on Duke Street. At #1315 is Freedom House, a former Slave Market and later a prison for Black soldiers during the Civil War.
Continue east on Duke Street, then turn left on Alfred to see the Friendship Firehouse. Turn right on King Street, then right again on Washington Street. On the left is the Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum.
Turn left on Duke Street, heading east. When you reach Fairfax Street, turn right. The Old Presbyterian Meeting House is on your right. Patriots met here during the Revolutionary War and George Wasghington’s funeral was held here in 1799.
Continue south on Fairfax, then turn left on Wolfe Street and left again on Union Street. At the corner with King Street, on your right, is the Torpedo Factory. Once a plant for the manufacture of torpedo parts, it was converted into artist apartments, studios, and galleries. On the third floor is the Alexandria Archaeology Museum and Laboratory.
When finished here, head west on King Street to the Ramsey House where the walking tour began.