We all know how important the overall destination is when choosing an event or meeting location. One of the features that makes a destination ideal is the ready availability of numerous group-friendly, pre-planned activities. The less you have to plan and organize, and the more there is easily available to do outside meeting hours, the more likely it is people will choose to attend and ultimately, the happier you and your attendees will be. So, what does Alexandria, Virginia, located minutes from Washington, D.C., have that makes it an idyllic destination? Tours, and lots of them!
Learning something new together is a great team-building exercise. Get a little group history lesson with Alexandria Tours, which covers Old Town’s famous citizens, history, unique architecture and more, or Footsteps to the Past. For an even more unique way to learn history, take a tour with Fetching Photos. See beauty that is often hidden in plain sight, hear carefully researched and historically accurate stories about Alexandria, all while learning to capture your best images, whether you’re using a smartphone or SLR camera.
If you want your group to network and get to know each other better, embark on a lantern-lit ghost tour of Old Town’s haunted historic sites like the Ghost & Graveyard Tour with Alexandria Colonial Tours. The Nightly Spirits “Frights and Pints” ghost tour in Old Town combines good scares and brews and can be booked for private groups. On the Gadsby’s Tavern Ghost Tour attendees will visit a cemetery and enter one of the most haunted buildings in Old Town to hear the tragic story of the Female Stranger, and visit the very room where this mysterious woman was transformed into a ghost!
Food & brew tours
If your attendees are food lovers, go beyond the typical group dinner and book an Alexandria Food Tour for a dine around night. They’ll get to take in the city’s colorful past and some of the best-preserved architecture in the country while sampling celebrated dishes and learning about Alexandria’s culinary heritage.
Beer lovers will enjoy stopping by Port City Brewing Co.’s Tasting Room for a “grain to glass” brewery tour where they’ll sample award-winning beer fresh from the taps. Or you can hop on Alexandria’s Historic Breweries Guided Tour and Tasting, with Alexandria’s Historic Breweries author, Garrett Peck, and Portner Brewhouse co-founder, Catherine Portner. There’s nothing like networking over a good pint!
Alexandria offers several specialty tours that cater to specific interests. Manumission Tour Company offers guided cultural heritage tours designed to highlight Alexandria’s extensive African-American history. Discover Alexandria will develop a customized tour for your group of up to 30 people. The company offers a range of specialty tours, including “Virginia is for Runners” a three-mile running tour that takes you off the main streets of Alexandria to explore Old Town’s hidden history, a guided sweets tour, a Boutiques Tour, and a Wine & Sweets tour.
Image credit: K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria
There aren’t many destinations where visiting another state or city is quite as easy as in Alexandria. Utilize the fact that you can jump in a water taxi and within minutes go from Alexandria, Virginia to Washington, D.C. or to National Harbor, Maryland and receive a tour at the same time! En route you get skyline views, making the excursion convenient and panoramic. Other popular taxis include the Baseball Boat to Washington Nationals games, another ready-made activity and one the Visit Alexandria staff is happy to help secure group tickets for!
A water taxi isn’t the only boat tour you can take from Alexandria. Climb aboard Potomac Riverboat Company’s Alexandria Seaport Cruise to explore Alexandria’s historic waterfront. The Washington by Water Monuments Cruise is a no-sweat solution to seeing D.C. highlights. There are even four fun and easy tours to get to and from historic George Washington’s Mount Vernon, including a combination of boats, bikes and buses. Embark DC offers private custom-crafted cruises for up to six people. Attendees can idle quietly past D.C.’s iconic sites, speed on their sportboats down the Potomac River or drop an anchor and enjoy a sunset view of the nation’s capital.
If your attendees prefer going at their own pace, try one of Alexandria’s self-guided walking tours, such as the Historic Breweries Self-Guided Walking Tour and Pub Guide, or this self-guided tour that lets you walk in George Washington’s footsteps. Visitors can also download the Geotourist app for self-guided audio tours in multiple languages right on their smartphone.
Having trouble deciding which tours to book before you’ve even shared them with your team? No problem! You can incorporate some into your event and encourage attendees to come early or stay late to experience the other Alexandria tours.
Insider Tip: Manumission, Discover Alexandria, DC Metro Food Tours and Fetching Photos all offer a 15% discount off ticket prices in conjunction with a meeting booked at an Alexandria hotel sourced by Visit Alexandria. Check out all the deals here.
Header image by M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria