Christmas Feeling in Old Town Alexandria

Old Town Alexandria is a national treasure. Its old world charm, storied history, world-class restaurants, enchanting streets, and unique shops attract visitors all year long. So it should come as no surprise that Christmas is a truly special experience in Old Town. Imagine streets lined in twinkle lights, frothy mugs of hot chocolate, festively decorated storefronts, and bustling crowds of cheery people. Join some of the lively events planned for the month of December to get into the swing of the holiday season and enjoy the most magical time of the year.

Scottish Christmas Walk
On Saturday, December 2, bagpipes and kilts will hit Old Town with Scottish-style merry-making. Did you know Alexandria has a strong Scottish heritage? The parade is just one part of a full weekend of festivities- the Taste of Scotland scotch tasting (Friday, December 1), a holiday Heather and Greens sale, and Holiday Designer Tour of Homes (Saturday, December 2). Even better? The Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend is presented by and benefits The Campagna Center, a local nonprofit that provides education and enrichment opportunities to children and adults in Alexandria.

Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
In the evening of December 2, 65 illuminated boats will light up Alexandria’s harbor as they cruise the Potomac River. The boats are dressed to impress in hopes of winning one of a dozen prizes. Parade-goers are invited to step into the Torpedo Factory Art Center which will be open until 9 p.m. with its annual Holiday Festival from 2 to 6 p.m. Shop for handmade artful gifts while exploring open studios and meeting artists. Kids can also scout for art with a building-wide scavenger hunt before and after taking photos with Santa, or write him an old-fashioned postcard. Special performances at the art center include appearances by the Alexandria Choral Society Pro Coro and the Silver 5 Brass Quintet.

Visit with Santa
There are two amazing opportunities to meet Santa. On Saturday, December 2, 2017, Santa Claus will ride in the Scottish Christmas Walk parade at 11 a.m. Later that afternoon, Santa will arrive by fireboat at the Alexandria City Marina (at 3 p.m.), then walk to the Torpedo Factory Art Center where he will meet with children until 6 p.m. during the art center’s Holiday Festival.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be at Hooray for Books! on Sunday, December 17. To reserve a spot to meet the beloved couple, call or visit Hooray for Books! and buy a gift card from the shop in any denomination, for staff to select books, toys, and games to donate to local causes.

Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours
On December 9, explore Alexandria’s most famous historic homes—Carlyle  House, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Old Presbyterian Meeting House and Lee-Fendall House—by joining the annual Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours, with seasonal spirits and period-themed food. The tours are from 4-9 p.m. and cost $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 65 and older and active military and $5 for children ages 6-17. For tickets, go to

116 King Holiday Pop Up Shop
Back for a second year featuring emerging fashion and lifestyle designers and brands, the 116 King is a pop-up located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. 116 King's mission is to encourage and facilitate retail innovation in the Old Town community. An ongoing events calendar will make 116 King not just an inspiring place to shop, but also a destination to connect.

King Street Magic
The simplest and perhaps most magical of all - take a stroll down King Street in Old Town this season and you will find yourself wrapped in a winter wonderland, with twinkling trees, glowing storefronts and evergreen wreaths.