Alexandria, VA, minutes from D.C., offers options galore for outdoor activities that groups can enjoy together or on their own. Take your delegates for a sail on a reproduction 18th-century sloop, enjoy a guided walking tour along Old Town’s centuries-old streets, bike along a riverside trail and more. Hosting a hybrid meeting? Find ideas for virtual experiences to get every attendee involved. Keep reading for the best outdoor activities in Alexandria.
Please note that face masks are required in all indoor public spaces as well as outdoors where 6 feet of physical distance cannot be maintained. Learn more about Alexandria’s commitment to health and safety and see what’s open here.
1. The King Street Mile
Centuries-old architecture, brick-lined streets, cobblestone alleys and a canopy of twinkling lights make strolling King Street the #1 thing to do in Alexandria. Delegates can mask up and wander past dozens of independently owned restaurants and boutiques, ducking into the shops that make up the D.C. region’s largest collection of independent boutiques, along with national brands such as Patagonia, Sephora, Warby Parker and West Elm.
2. Outdoor Dining
From laid-back patios to rooftop terraces to riverside seating, outdoor dining is available in abundance in Alexandria. Find even more options for your group with brand-new “streateries” offering a prime people-watching perch, plus all-new waterfront dining destinations bringing hundreds of new outdoor seats beside the Potomac River. Explore some of our favorite al fresco dining spots here.
3. Biking Rentals and Tours
There are plenty of ways to explore the city on two wheels. Rent your steeds from Unlimited Biking, and opt for the Bike and Boat Package to tie in a trip to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Get an extra boost from Pedego Electric Bikes, suitable across abilities and ages, and choose from guided tours such as the “Old Town at Night” route which provides nighttime views of Old Town, Washington, D.C., and National Harbor. Beer-lovers will savor Port City Brewing Company’s “Pedals ‘N’ Pints” experience, where they’ll work up a thirst for the award-winning brews on two wheels. Additionally, Alexandria boasts more than 30 Capital Bikeshare stations that can help your group explore historic Old Town and cruise along waterfront bike trails.
4. Walking Tours, Guided Routes and More
Alexandria offers guided walking tours to suit every group. Explore Alexandria’s rich Black history with a guided cultural heritage tour from Manumission Tour Company, learn the city’s spooky secrets on a Ghost & Graveyard Tour or let Discover Alexandria Tours design a customized route for your group. Sample the flavors of the city with Blue Fern’s Fork Tours, which tell the story of Alexandria through food, taking guests on an enticing journey of cuisine and culture. A portion of every ticket sale goes to feed a local resident in need for a day. DC Metro Food Tours offers completely customizable culinary tours and for groups throughout Alexandria, but with a focus on the Old Town, Del Ray and Eisenhower neighborhoods. DC Metro Food Tours are participants in ALX Insider Perks, offering a 15% discount for groups booking a meeting in one of Alexandria’s hotels through Visit Alexandria’s sales team.
Looking for a self-guided experience? Take your group on one of Alexandria’s Great Walks, from a self-guided architectural stroll to an Old Town art photo walk and more.
5. On the Water
Treat your group to a refreshing outing on the Potomac River. Potomac Riverboat by Hornblower offers sightseeing tours, private charters and water taxi transportation. Their vessels link the Alexandria waterfront to nearby attractions such as The Wharf district in D.C., Georgetown, National Harbor and George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Cherry Blossom is one of the few working sternwheelers in the country and is available exclusively for private charters. Check Potomac Riverboat by Hornblower’s website for schedules.
Tall ship Providence, a reproduction of the first ship authorized to serve in the Continental Navy and John Paul Jones’ first American command, is a venue unlike any other in the Washington area. Cruise the Potomac aboard Providence get an idea of what life was like aboard an eighteenth-century sloop, complete with historical interpretation. The ship is also available to rent for three-hour charter sails on the Potomac for parties of up to 35 people. When you book a charter on tall ship Providence, their Events Manager will coordinate all your event details to create a unique and memorable experience. Tall ship Providence is a participating member of ALX Insider Perks, offering a 15% discount for groups booking a meeting in one of Alexandria’s hotels through Visit Alexandria’s sales team.
With Washington Sailing Marina, enjoy a breathtaking view of downtown D.C. while sailing, kayaking or enjoying a stand-up paddleboard around the iconic Daingerfield Island. Meanwhile, Belle Haven Marina offers canoes, kayaks and more to explore Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve.
6. Parks and Trails
Alexandria encompasses more than 900 acres of parks and dedicated public space. Alexandria boasts eight waterfront parks, each with ample green space and gorgeous views, from local favorite Founders Park to Jones Point Park, part of the National Park Service and home to the last riverine lighthouse in Virginia and one of the original boundary stones for Washington, D.C.
Alexandria is also home to an impressive number of nature parks, preservation areas and trail networks dispersed throughout the city. Nearly 18 miles long, the Mount Vernon Trail stretches from George Washington’s Mount Vernon alongside the scenic Potomac River north to the national monuments and memorials in Washington D.C. Dora Kelley Nature Park is a 50-acre wildlife preserve with prime birding along nature trails and water features. Expansive Ben Brenman Park has open playing fields, paths and a pond with plenty of room to explore.
Groups looking for outdoor activities and team-building in Alexandria don’t want to miss Cameron Run Regional Park on Eisenhower Avenue. It’s filled with endless fun including the Great Waves Waterpark, batting cages, miniature golf, picnic areas and more spread out over 26 acres of outdoor adventure.
7. Team-Building with The Leadership Collection at Alexandria
For world-class teambuilding experiences, try outdoor activities with The Leadership Collection at Alexandria. Eight miles south of Old Town, groups can experience America’s most popular historic estate. check out The George Washington Leadership Institute for your next C-suite retreat. The beautiful riverside grounds of George Washington’s Mount Vernon include the Mansion, outbuildings, tomb, working farm and more. Your delegates can explore a wide range of perspectives, including the experiences of the enslaved individuals who lived and labored on the estate. Learn more about what’s open to experience at Mount Vernon here. From April to October, your group can cruise to Mount Vernon from Old Town with Potomac Riverboat by Hornblower.
The McChrystal Group, founded by retired four-star general and best-selling author Stan McChrystal, offers a sunrise National Mall monumental walk and jog. The experience inspires, bonds and cements the “Team of Teams” methodology as you hear vignettes and history that tie to the challenges that leaders face in business and society today.
Building Momentum, a veteran-owned problem-solving engineering and consulting company, lets your team engage in hands-on interactive learning methods and think differently using 21st century technology.
Insider Tip: The team at Visit Alexandria can help you promote all the safe and fun outside activities available for your attendees to enjoy and assist with finding the perfect outdoor group activity.
Header Images Credits, left to right: Chris Cruz for Visit Alexandria; Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria; Kristian Summerer for Visit Alexandria