5 Historic Things to Do and See in Alexandria, VA

The abundance of historical and educational opportunities in Alexandria, Virginia, attracts large crowds of tourists every year. These are some of the best historical attractions to visit when exploring the city.

Alexandria Archeology Museum

The Alexandria Archeology Museum is dedicated to uncovering Alexandria’s history, which dates back to 1749. The museum holds numerous exhibits, including hospitals of the Civil War and even an interactive torpedo factory. This archeological museum was the first in the country to develop an archeological code. During a waterfront renovation, this code allows local archeologists to discover additional history about Alexandria from the 18th and 19th centuries.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Alexandria Archeology Museum

Mount Vernon was the home of the prominent leader of George Washington. It is also the most popular historic estate in the country. George Washington’s Mount Vernon spans across 500 acres of land made up of gardens, farms, and estate property. There are many different attractions to explore on the land, including the actual Washington Mansion, the Pioneer Farm, and the George Washington Distillery. The center is perfect for all types of travelers, with both educational and self-guided tours available.

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History

Although this Alexandria Smithsonian location is a newer contribution to the city, the unique history and design make it worth visiting. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History is the only national museum that specifically honors and documents African American history and culture. The museum holds over 36,000 historical African American artifacts. Current exhibitions include A Changing America, Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom, and Explore More! The museum also often hosts special events, such as book signings and activist discussions.


The Athenaeum is an important part of Alexandria’s cultural and architectural history. The Athenaeum sits on a piece of historical land originally owned by Lord Fairfax and frequently visited by George Washington. While the building was once was the popular bank of the city during the Civil War, today it is Alexandria’s first Museum of Fine Arts. Upcoming art exhibits at the Athenaeum include Katie Pumphrey and Two Solos work. The Athenaeum also hosts public yoga classes and is home to the Washington School of Ballet.

The Athenaeum is in a great location in the city, right in the downtown area of Old Town Alexandria. Choosing the right hotel accommodations in Alexandria will put you in the center of the city and local to the best historical attractions.

Alexandria Black History Museum

The Alexandria Black History Museum recognizes the importance of African Americans to the city’s interesting history. The museum features important African American historical events, including the sit-down strike in 1939, the desegregation of the Robert Robinson Library in 1940, and the Alexandria Black History Research Center development. The museum also boasts a 9-acre park, a Watson Reading Room, and two full exhibition galleries.

Alexandria, Virginia, is often called Old Town because of its nationally designated historic district. Any of these historical attractions are a great way to immerse yourself in the most fascinating parts of the city’s history.