Old Town Alexandria, VA #1
STEP GOAL: 5,000
INTENSITY LEVEL: EASY
DISTANCE: ~3.0 MILES
A good friend of mine was visiting Washington, D.C. We wanted to meet up somewhere we hadn’t gone before that was still pretty close to the city. She’s also a big American history buff. We decided on Old Town Alexandria, which is a perfect spot for a fitstyle weekend getaway!
The Main Drag
We arrived about midday by Lyft. It’s a 15 to 20-minute trip with no traffic. (My preferred fitstyle transportation choice would have been the DC Metro, which has a stop right on King Street, but we had suitcases and the car ride just seemed easier. But we laughed a lot along the way catching up, so we got in a little abs workout :))
Old Town Alexandria is an ideal mix of history and modern-day amenities and King Street has both. It follows a straight path from the Washington National Masonic Memorial to the waterfront of the Potomac River. It’s a flat easy walk that’s about 1-mile long. The way to rack up those additional steps is to venture into some of the side streets and go inside some of the shops and unique museums. AND try NOT to take the cute King Street trolley!
While you have recognizable shops like Anthropologie, Banana Republic, and Lululemon, the local shops that caught our attention were: The Hour - step back in time to the Mad Men-era as you walk through their extensive curated collection of vintage barware and cocktail glassware. It’s AMAZING (and not cheap, but definitely worth a look)! And, it has two floors, so “yay” stairs! - and the Christmas Attic - the second floor is dedicated to holiday decorations ALL year round, and, again, “yay” stairs!
History is everywhere in the architecture and the cobblestone streets. You’ll definitely want to venture over to City Hall, which was built in 1871-74 or stop by the Visitor Center along King Street for historical walking maps. There are quite a few museums within a block or two of King Street. One of the most unique was The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, a family business founded in 1792 and operated in that exact location from 1805 until 1933. It was totally worth it, especially once you get to the second floor - can’t help it, “yay” stairs! The original boxes of herbs and elements they actually used to make medicine are still there. (For my Harry Potter fans, I got to hold Dragon Blood :))
If you keep walking to the very end of King Street, you’ll hit the waterfront where you have more shops and restaurants. There’s also the Torpedo Factory Art Center that you can walk through to see the many working artist studios. After walking through one of the small parks, we headed back down King Street to find some snacks.
We landed at Hank’s Oyster Bar, where they have a delightful happy hour and a fitstylish bar area. Of course, those high top chairs give you the standing option I’m always on the lookout for.
With our tummies full, we walked away from the water along King Street to the Washington National Masconic Memorial, then back to our hotel. We had a bike tour to Mount Vernon to get ready for the next day!
My Step Count: ~7,495
- Arrived via Lyft at the Kimpton-Lorien Hotel & Spa (although the metro stop is just a block or two away and is a short ride from Washington, D.C.!)
- Shopped along King Street (some of our favs Lululemon, Anthropologie, Christmas Attic, and The Hour Shop)
- Visited the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum
- Walked along the Potomac River waterfront
- Headed back down King Street to the base of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial, then to our hotel.
Amp It Up!
Here are a few fun ways to add a challenge to your adventure:
- Walk all the way up to the George Washington Masonic National Memorial (and take a tour).
- Pick up the pace and use King Street as a running route.
- Take the free fitness class at Lululemon, if you’re there on a Sunday morning!
- Kimpton-Lorien Hotel & Spa: Relatively new boutique hotel in a prime location on King Street; lovely outdoor patio. (caveat: at least in the room we stayed in, the door to the bathroom slides side to side and doesn’t close all the way; don’t look for extreme privacy if you’re sharing the room!)
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