Road Trip Adventures, Stop 1: Alexandria, Virginia

As I mentioned in last month’s post, the Hubs and I took a road trip to Boston for spring break. Now that we’re back and feeling oh-so-refreshed, I wanted to share some trip highlights with you.

I’ve broken our trip into separate posts by location. I’ve sprinkled in travel tips that came in handy for planning our road trip. {PS: I’d love for you to share your travel tips in the comment section at the bottom of this post!}

Today I’m sharing about the first leg of our road trip: our stop in Alexandria, Virginia [with a quick visit to the National Harbor].

On our drive to Boston, we planned a two-day stop in Washington, DC. We booked a room at the Hampon Inn and Suites in Alexandria. The hotel was great! Very friendly staff, clean rooms, comfy bedding – I’d stay there again.

The hotel also offered free parking and a free shuttle to Alexandria/Old Town or the metro. Being that we were going to have plenty of time in the car, we ditched it for two days and utilized the shuttle and the metro.


We left bright-and-early so we could arrive to DC in the early afternoon.

National Harbor

We had considered staying at the National Harbor (I stayed there when I spoke at Tableau’s conference a few years ago and loved it), but once we factored in paying for daily parking, Alexandria [less than 10 minutes away] won for the budget.

Since we arrived to DC a few hours before hotel check-in, we drove straight to the National Harbor to check that off our “to visit” list.

natl harbor 1
National Harbor

If you’re planning to visit DC, you should definitely plan a quick stroll through the National Harbor! It’s a gorgeous area to walk and there are often neat events going on (none for our dates though). It’s a very family-friendly area.

You can find all kinds of helpful information for planning your visit to the National Harbor here.

  • Where to Eat: Nando’s Peri Peri (flavorful Portugese cuisine. The National Harbor location has great outdoor seating).

Alexandria/Old Town

When we decided to stay in Alexandria, I quickly found a site with information for visitors (here!).

  • Tip: When planning a vacation or a stop on your roadtrip, google:
  1. things to do in [CITY, STATE]” – for bigger cities you can often find some great lists or blogs with ideas of cool places to visit, local events or other ideas for things to do you may not have thought of.
  2. visit [CITY, STATE]” – this will usually take you to a visitor’s site for the area. These are a great resource for tourists! I like to find hotel recommendations there [which I then follow-up with reading reviews from several sites like any trained researcher 😉 ]. I also like to browse the event calendars to see if there are any unique things going on during the time we’ll be there.

Friday we took the hotel shuttle to downtown Alexandria and explored. We walked along the waterfront and through Founders Park – it was gorgeous!

alexandria 2

We loved the walking paths and watching the dogs playing in the park. If we had a blanket, we definitely would have had a picnic here!

You can see downtown DC from the waterfront in Alexandria and if you look close enough you can see the Capitol!

alexandria 3 capital

If you’re visiting Alexandria, take some time to walk along the waterfront before the sun goes down – it’s lovely.

alexandria 4

The cobblestone roads reminded me of Charleston. {Note: don’t wear heals!}

alexandria 5

After we’d had fun wandering around, we started looking for a dinner spot. There are lots of yummy options {you can browse some here}, but I did little research on food in Alexandria so we stumbled upon a pizza place without a long line – Bugsy’s – and went for it. We opened the menu only to find out the restaurant was opened by a former Montreal Canadien‘s hockey player {the Hubs’ favorite hockey team as shown ironically by his attire for the evening!}

alexandria 6 dinner

I spotted a beautiful paper shop across the street as soon as we left the restaurant. Have you ever visited a Paper Source store?! This was my first time. It’s definitely paper heaven.

alexandria 7 paper source
Yes, I admit it: I wish these were fabric. I would’ve bought them all! 😉

We picked up some quirky birthday and mother’s day cards before heading back.


We got up bright and early [again] to maximize our day – we had a lot planned!

  • Tip: If your hotel offers free breakfast, take advantage of that! One less meal and coffee to purchase = more souvenir money! If you’re brave, snag an apple/banana/other non-refrigerated snacks to throw in your backpack for the day ahead.

Alexandria’s visitor site has a list of free things to do which was super helpful! I’m much more inclined to do something if it’s free 😉 [again: free events = more souvenir money].

On the list: the Old Town Farmers Market. We took the hotel shuttle to Alexandria early Saturday morning after breakfast. The shuttle dropped us right in front of the market which was full of beautiful flowers, locally grown produce, plants and handmade goodies. It was beautiful!

alexandria 8 market
Flowers at the Old Town Farmers Market
alexandria 9 market
More flowers at the Old Town Farmers Market {with festive bunnies for Easter!}

While walking to the King Street metro station from the market, we passed loads of beautiful shops. The area reminds me so much of Charleston with all the colorful buildings.

alexandria 12

If we hadn’t have set out so early, I would’ve loved to explore the Pendleton store!

alexandria 10 pendleton

I’ve never been to a Pendleton store, but from the window it looked fabulous!

alexandria 11 pendleton
That dress! And that sweater! #AllTheHeartEyes

After getting an all-day pass for the metro (it was about $15, but with destinations on our list that were spread out this proved to be worth it), we set off for downtown DC!

Stay tuned: I’ll share the details of our DC exploration this Friday. 

Follow along on our Road Trip with these posts: 


Author: Jordan Slice-Metcalfe

My name is Jordan. I'm a full-time working mom whose coffee cup is always half full (and probably still in the microwave). I've got a weak spot for rescuing old dogs, pretending pizza is a vegetable, negotiating dessert with every meal, propagating more plants than any home needs, dreaming of sewing projects while my husband is talking to me, and loving my tribe too deep.

5 thoughts on “Road Trip Adventures, Stop 1: Alexandria, Virginia”

  1. Jordan, OMG – thanks for posting this stuff! I am planning a trip to DC with Matthew – and I am thinking of taking the train up instead of driving (to Union Station) and staying in Alexandria – a friend of mine from work used to live there and suggested it – I LOVE all of your info and tips! We were going to go for spring break last week but something else came up (I will text you) which would have been good because maybe the cherry blossoms? Now, IDK when we can go, but we are definitely going. I am going to make a note of all of your tips, and we will probably stay in that Hampton Inn and use our points – as long as it was clean. Thanks girl!

    1. The train is such a great idea! Jeremy & I talked about how we want to take a train trip & if we would’ve planned better we could’ve tried it this time. Let us know how it goes for y’all! The hotel also has a shuttle to a nearby metro stop so you could probably catch the metro from the train station & then have the hotel shuttle pick you up. Easy-peasy.

      We were there during the Cherry Blossom festival but didn’t get by the events (we packed too much into our short stay!). I’m going to be posting about what we did in DC this Friday so check back for some more ideas! 🙂


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