Waterfront destinations are a popular choice for meeting planners looking to wow attendees with unique activities set in a tranquil atmosphere. 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 Hotel Indigo® Old Town Alexandria. The boutique, 120-room hotel features a modern design 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 restaurant, Hummingbird, provides stunning views of the Potomac River, ideal for outdoor receptions.
WHERE TO DINE
Blackwall Hitch’s live music, oyster bar and outdoor seating make it the perfect catch. The buzzing 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 & Grain serves up modern tavern fare within a historic brick setting, once a 19th-century feed house. It offers flexible seating and format options with full-service event coordination for events up to 300 attendees and is available for partial or full buyout for 150-300 guests. For another go-to spot for after-meeting drinks or dinner, try 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 Hi-Tide Lounge can accommodate groups up to 40, while the Dockside Grill features seating for 86 indoors and 60 on the patio.
WHAT TO DO
Alexandria’s waterfront features unique venues like the Torpedo Factory Art Center, a former WWII munitions factory. 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. The space can accommodate receptions and special events for up to 450 people.
There’s always free entertainment at the waterfront, from street performers like the glass harpist to special events like the Alexandria/USA Birthday Celebration. For an unforgettable—and photogenic—riverside experience, visit the site-specific public art installation at the expanded Waterfront Park, rotated annually.
In Alexandria, it’s easy to come up for air after a long day or week of meetings. 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. Potomac Riverboat Company offers private charters for business and social occasions. 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.
After business is done, let your attendees sail back in time on the tall ship Providence, a full-scale replica of one of the U.S. Continental Navy’s first warships, built in 1768 and captained by John Paul Jones. The screen-famous ship, landing in Old Town in the summer of 2019, has appeared in the Pirates of the Caribbean and Master & Commander films. Onboard, treat your crew to a beer cruise, in partnership with Alexandria’s Port City Brewing Company, or enjoy the educational programs and tours. The Providence will also be available for private charter.
History buffs can also hop on the Monuments Tour from Alexandria to Georgetown for a no-sweat solution to seeing D.C. highlights, including the Washington Monument and Thomas Jefferson Memorial. 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 Wharf 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 & Soccer Boat to Diamond Teague is the best way to get to a Nationals or D.C. United 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