Waterfront destinations are a popular choice for meeting planners looking to wow attendees because of the unique activities they add to an itinerary and the tranquil atmosphere they create. Alexandria, Virginia, located minutes from Washington, D.C. on the Potomac River, offers patio dining, boat cruises and rooms with a view, making it easy to plan your entire event around Alexandria’s spectacular Potomac River waterfront.
Where to stay
Nestled along Alexandria’s waterfront is the new Hotel Indigo® Old Town Alexandria. The boutique, 120-room hotel features a modern design but with a nod to its authentic seaport past. The hotel offers a private room for small corporate events and meetings and the patio at Hotel Indigo’s chic new restaurant Hummingbird provides stunning views of the Potomac River, ideal for outdoor receptions.
Where to dine
Blackwall Hitch offers live music, an oyster bar and outdoor dining make this the perfect catch. The hip restaurant features a variety of private rooms for events both business and social, from the Crow’s Nest perched high above the main floor, offering enviable vistas of the shoreline below, to a tent-able outdoor space overlooking the river. Next door, Chart House accommodates groups up to 300 guests. Virtue Feed and Grain offers flexible seating and format options with full-service event coordination for events from 25 to 110. All these venues are also go-to spots for after-meeting drinks or dinner, once the official business is complete, as is Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge with a patio on the marina perfect for people watching while you enjoy classic seafood fare. Vola’s can accommodate groups up to 40.
What to do
Alexandria’s waterfront also features unique venues like the Torpedo Factory Art Center, a former torpedo factory during WWII that is now home to 82 artists’ studios where visitors can discover art in progress. The space can also accommodate receptions and special events for up to 450 people. This visual powerhouse features more than 80 working artists’ studios, six galleries and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum on the top floor. Beyond enjoying the art, you can also purchase the artists’ work to bring home.
There’s always free entertainment at the waterfront, from street performers like the glass harpist to special events like the Alexandria/USA Birthday Celebration.
Coming up for air after a long day or week of meetings is easy in Alexandria. The Mount Vernon Trail beckons runners, walkers and cyclists with 18 miles of waterfront vistas, loads of green space and a route that runs all the way from George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate up to Arlington through Old Town Alexandria. Many hotels like The Alexandrian, Autograph Collection offer complimentary bikes for attendees to enjoy a leisurely ride along the Potomac or even into D.C.
On the water
When you’re ready to dive in and take the meeting out on the water, Alexandria has you set again. Numerous boating companies offer private charters for business and social occasions including Potomac Riverboat Company, Potomac Belle and Nina’s Dandy. You can also use an on-the-water experience to reward some special VIPs. Embark DC takes out groups of six or less on private, custom-crafted cruises, tailored specifically to you. Insider Tip: Receive a 15% discount off certain cruises in conjunction with a meeting booked at an Alexandria hotel sourced by Visit Alexandria. Check out all the meeting delegate discounts here.
You may need to stay dockside for the meetings, but after the business is done, your attendees may find it hard to resist the siren’s call. History buffs can dive into the past aboard the Alexandria by Water Seaport Cruise or hop on the Washington by Water Monuments Cruise for a no-sweat solution to seeing D.C. highlights. Head south to our first president’s estate on the Mount Vernon by Water narrated boat cruise or opt to bike there and cruise back on the Mount Vernon by Bike and Boat tour. Ready to get wet? Rent kayaks, canoes, sailboats and even stand up paddleboards at the Washington Sailing Marina.
Water taxis offer your group a scenic route from Old Town Alexandria to D.C.’s National Mall or National Harbor in Maryland. The 30-minute trip is not only convenient, but also panoramic. And if a ball game sounds like the perfect addition to your agenda, the Baseball Boat is the best way to get to a Nationals game, hands down! The helpful staff at Visit Alexandria can even help you with group tickets to the game!
Insider Tip: Host your meeting in July or August. Not only will the waterfront be buzzing, but you enjoy substantial discounts at Alexandria hotels.
Header image by R. Kennedy for Visit Alexandria