alexandria waterfrontFor anyone that lives in the Washington DC area, walking along the streets of Old Town Alexandria in Virginia for an afternoon or evening is a popular family outing and is a perfect place to enjoy the dolce vita. Sitting on Potomac River, Alexandria is home to a rich sense of history and activities, great shopping, restaurants, bars, and outdoor activities making it a fabulous family destination (makes a great couples getaway as well).

gadbys tavern museum
The first reason that Alexandria is a great family destination is that is offers a diverse assortment of historical site, tours, and experiences for the entire family. There are full (or half day) sites like Mount Vernon where visitors can see how President George Washington lived.  There are also shorter but still engaging museums like the Alexandria Archaeology Museum, Torpedo Factory Art Center, and Gadsby’s Tavern. Our favorite was the entertaining and educational Ghost and Graveyard tours where we learned folklore and legends about Alexandria and its past with the help of an 18th century costumed guide.

Insider’s Tip: Consider purchasing the Key to the City booklet at the Visitors Center for $9 which includes admission to nine historic sites plus 88 special offers at shops, restaurants, attractions, and activities.

bike rental from bike and rollActivities

Situated on the water, Alexandria lends itself to activities that revolve around boat tours. There are boats of all types like a Pirate cruise that entertains children of all ages as they learn about Alexandria’s history as an important seaport or more traditional cruises like he Alexandria Seaport Cruise or Washington Monuments Cruise. Walking the Potomac River Waterfront in the late afternoon or evening is always a delight for the senses with artists and musicians that entertain. There is even the FREE King Street Trolley that makes it easy to explore the historic King Street from the waterfront to the George Washington Masonic Temple. 


On land, families can get a unique perspective of Alexandria by bike which is not only fun for kids, but also a great way to be active together.  Bike and Roll is a full service rental shop at the bottom of King Street offerign rentals for individuals, families. We headed south for our ride, towards Mount Vernon for a scenic ride along the Potomac River on our own, but Bike and Roll also offers tours like a Historic Old Town Bike Tour, as well as a Mount Vernon by Bike and Boat tour.

hotel monaco lobby

Staying at the Hotel Monaco, a Kimpton Hotel, located perfectly on King Street near City Hall and the Visitor’s Center adds an element of luxury and fun for any family traveling to Alexandria.  With its Daily Kids Hour, Wine Reception, and pet friendly ambiance, every member of the family will feel pampered and relaxed after seeing the sites. Our favorites were the bath tub that was deep enough for scuba diving and relaxing at the stunning indoor pool.  For family travel, The Hotel Monaco hosts Dive in Movie nights on Saturday with inflatable rafts. Talk about fun!

hotel monaco kids hourAlexandria offers so much variety to visitors making it a year round destination for all ages. Also? Regardless of where you are traveling, check out the Kimpton Hotel choices for luxury, elegance, and pampering for the entire family.  

Live the dolce vita along with me…  

Italian by birth, Elena tells the story of living-doing-and growing as a Cancer survivor, freelance writer, teacher, runner & triathlete from her perch in the DC suburbs at Ciao Mom.

My family and I were guests of the Kimpton Hotels and Hotel Monaco and were provided tickets to activities by  Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association for the purpose of a review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own