Old Town Alexandria is a hot spot for historical landmarks in Northern Virginia, but there are also many other noteworthy places to visit on the outskirts south of the city. George Washington, before being a General and President, was a surveyor, and he actually did the planning for many of Alexandria's streets. The first U.S. President spent much of his adult life in Alexandria; even the church he attended is still an active one today.
To get a good feel for where the historical landmarks are in Alexandria, your first stop should be the Ramsay House Visitors Center located on King Street. The center houses a plethora of brochures and other valuable information you'll want to have during your visit. The Ramsay Center is also a historical landmark in itself since it dates back to 18th century and was the home of a city founder, William Ramsay.
Depending on your interests, you may want to go on a walking tour or target your visit towards visiting specific locations. If you opt to take either a formal or informal walking tour, there is plenty to see and you never know what you'll stumble upon as you wander the city streets, specifically if you stick to wandering around in the Old Town section of Alexandria. Alexandria City Hall and Market Square is located just across the street from the Ramsay House. The current structure was completed in 1874 and has a definitive colonial feel. The fountains are a nice addition and make this section a noteworthy landmark.
Not too far from the Market Square is Gadsby's Tavern. The tavern was operational in colonial times and today is still a working business. In addition, there has been a museum added to the tavern and former hotel. This tavern is remarkable and was a place Presidents Washington and Jefferson used to frequent.
The Alexandria National Cemetery is the resting place of soldiers. The cemetery is located on Wilkes and Payne Streets and holds 3,500 graves of Civil War soldiers, and also a few men who lost their life pursuing John Wilkes Booth after President Lincoln's assassination at Ford's Theater.
|Princess Street is of the two cobblestone segments that remain in Old Town Alexandria. This road has only been "touched" once since it was originally built. These are the original cobbles.|
If you venture out of the city, there are also a few other landmarks located within Alexandria's boundaries. Off Route 1 are Woodlawn Plantation, Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope-Leighey House, and the famous Mount Vernon. These homes are all open for tours and definitely worth the time invested in visiting.