In the face of the ever-evolving climate crisis, the events and meetings industry is adapting to address the urgent need for action. At the same time, attendees increasingly value reducing environmental impact. In response, planners can go green throughout every layer of the event process, from hotel options to food and beverage to free time activities. Alexandria, VA, is perfect for your small- to mid-sized meeting, and the ideal setting to host an event with a smaller carbon footprint. Keep reading to find out why.
1. Where to Stay
Among more than twenty-three hotel options in Alexandria, a number of national brands such as Marriott, IHG and Hilton are leading the charge on positive environmental impact. With several properties throughout the city, Marriott is focused on reaching various sustainability goals by 2025 through its Serve360 initiative. Similarly, IHG, with properties on the Old Town waterfront and the Eisenhower corridor, is touting its Journey to Tomorrow initiative with a 10-year business plan empowering people to shape the future of responsible travel.
Hilton’s Alexandria properties reflect the larger brand’s focus on positive environmental impact. With locations in the West End and Old Town, Hilton is the first major hotel company to establish science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, alongside taking major steps toward reducing its environmental footprint through thr Watts, Water and Waste programs. Explore Alexandria’s properties here.
2. Food & Beverage
When exploring food/beverage and off-site restaurant venues, consider spots that source their ingredients locally, such as King & Rye, Elo’s Italian and Evening Star Café, whose American menu draws from produce grown on a rooftop garden. Meanwhile, Whiskey and Oyster is a top 5 Virginia contributor to the Oyster Recovery Program, donating used shells to rebuild oyster reefs. Additionally, the restaurant’s patio features a pollination garden for two rooftop beehives, which provide pure, unrefined honey for craft cocktails.
French-infused Del Ray Café’s focus on sustainability includes a state-of-the-art kitchen using the most energy-efficient processes available, a custom water filtration system, on-demand hot water heaters, plus as a multi-faceted recycling and composting program. Have attendees say “cheers” at Lost Boy Cider, who source their creations almost entirely from Virginia-grown apples. Dive deeper into Alexandria’s dining scene here.
3. Getting Around
Getting around Alexandria is greener with its walkability and ample public transportation options. The city is served by four Metrorail stations, Amtrak, water taxi service and the free King Street Trolley running up and down the historic corridor. Plus, Alexandria is located a mere five miles from Washington, D.C., meaning that access into the nation’s capital is quick and efficient. In addition to reducing your event’s carbon footprint, all of the above options offer ways to save on your bottom line.
3. Attractions & Activities
During attendees’ free time, they can shop at sustainability-focused boutiques such as Mason & Greens, the D.C. area’s first zero-waste grocery and sustainable dry goods store which products ranging from calming scented salt soaks to hand-crafted children’s toys to kombucha on draft. Next door on King Street, Ten Thousand Villages sells unique, handmade products from around the world, including fair trade baskets, jewelry, crafts and other items from international artisans. Ten Thousand Villages utilizes a fair-trade model to break cycles of poverty while minimizing environmental impact. Plus, make your welcome gift more sustainable with single-origin coffee from Swing’s, a local roastery which sources its beans ethically from ground to mug.
For off-site activities, consider embarking on outdoor walking tours. Step back in time on a guided tour to explore Alexandria’s past, from the mid-1700s to today, with Manumission Tour Company or Alexandria the Great Tours. See the city’s spooky side with a ghost tour from Alexandria Colonial Tours or Nightly Spirits. Taste your way through Alexandria with Blue Fern Travel’s Fork & Fizz Tours or DC Metro Food Tours. Or, let attendees take their pick from Alexandria’s curated Great Walks. For a smaller-scale off-site to Mount Vernon, try Old Town ALX Tours. Find more tours, including group bicycle expeditions to explore the city on two wheels, here.
Insider Tip: For customized one-of-kind sustainable group activities, incorporate your CVB contacts at Visit Alexandria to collaborate and connect you with the additional resources and options in Alexandria.
Header Image Credit: Kristian Summerer for Visit Alexandria