Washington, D.C. is considered by many to be a highlight on the East Coast of the United States. I both agree and disagree. Of course, it is home to some truly iconic landmarks, such as the White House, the United States Capitol and the National Mall with all its fantastic museums. However, I hate to say it, but there is not a lot to do in D.C. besides that area around the Mall. When you visit Washington, D.C., you will find that you’re done after a day or two. Therefore, I would absolutely recommend not staying in D.C., but, instead, book a stay in Alexandria, Virginia.
A Stay in Alexandria is More Rewarding Than One in D.C.
The city of Alexandria is situated about eleven kilometers south of Washington, DC., just across the Potomac River. Home to more than 150,000 people, Alexandria’s population consists mainly of (young) professionals who work in the capital and commute there every day—there is a direct metro line from Alexandria to the heart of D.C.
Now, the fact that a lot of professionals live in Alexandria is probably of no interest to you whatsoever. What is interesting, however, is that Alexandria has a historic Old Town. A place chock-full with boutiques, restaurants, cafés, antique stores and theaters—numerous blocks of them—this Old Town is exactly why you should stay in Alexandria and not in Washington, D.C.
The Old Town of Alexandria is a major tourist attraction, featuring one of the largest concentrations of 18th– and 19th-century buildings in America. Its streets are lined with trees, its Potomac River waterfront boasting boat docks, riverside eateries, parks and walking trails. This is an exceptionally walkable city—and those who don’t want to walk can use to free trolley that commutes up and down King Street.
Alexandria has many historic sites, from Robert E. Lee’s boyhood home to Gadsby’s Tavern, Alexandria City Hall and the Jones Point Light. Washington, D.C. lies 20 minutes away on the metro, while George Washington’s Mount Vernon lies only thirteen kilometers to the south.
All of this makes a stay in Alexandria quite worthwhile. You can look for a place to stay in Alexandria here. Its vibrant street life and many restaurants, entertainment venues and shops make it a much more enjoyable place to stay than bureaucratic D.C.