Why You Should Vacation in Alexandria, Not Washington – an Opinion Piece

Alexandria Old Town

Millions of people from around the world and across the country visit Washington, D.C. each year. Millions of people also visit D.C.’s neighbor, Alexandria – but Alexandria’s average annual tourist total is only about one-sixth that of D.C.’s. That’s just not fair. This expert’s opinion on Alexandria is that it is oftentimes a better place to stay than Washington, D.C. Here is why.

The Capital is Within Easy Reach

Maybe you were thinking about going to Washington, D.C. for its hip vibe, myriad of historical sites, and cool attractions like the National Theater. You can still experience all of that if you choose Alexandria. Just hop on the Metrorail or a bus, and you’re there in minutes.

Dodge the D.C. Traffic

Seriously, you’re on vacation. Who wants to deal with outrageous traffic when they’re trying to relax? D.C. has some of the nastiest traffic around, which could easily put a damper on your vacation. That isn’t to say that driving in Alexandria is like taking a Sunday drive in the country, but, depending on where you stay, you can probably walk or take a trolley to most places you would like to go.

If you want a hotel that is close to all the action, check out the Embassy Suites in Old Town Alexandria or The Westin Alexandria in the upscale Carlyle area.

Alexandria TrolleyBig City Shopping, Small Town Quiet

Your shopping radar will go into overdrive in Alexandria. The city has a multitude of shopping options. Feast your eyes on the goods in boutiques along Mount Vernon Avenue and King Street. If big names are more your thing, you can also visit some of the nation’s top chain stores in Alexandria, including Chico’s, H&M, and Macy’s.

Certainly, there are some stellar shopping venues in D.C., but they aren’t as close to quiet retreats as the shopping hotspots in Alexandria. Alexandria’s West End is a comfortable distance from all the craziness of the capital city.

Alexandria MarinaPlay by the Potomac

What is a vacation without some time spent on a waterfront? Washington, D.C. has National Harbor, a busy area with loads of things to do, and is worth a visit. However, Alexandria’s waterfront has an advantage. It doesn’t feel as hemmed in by buildings, and there are still plenty of activities. You can dine at a restaurant with a view, check out fun art galleries and shops, or hop on a boat and get a new perspective on the historic and scenic Potomac River.

The Almighty Dollar

The best vacations are the ones where you don’t come home feeling like you have to work overtime for the rest of your life to get back on top of your finances. Alexandria’s accommodations are often cheaper than those in D.C., and you can get an great deal if you visit in winter or summer; the city is usually busiest in the mild weather of spring and fall.

Convinced yet? A Washington, D.C. vacation can be both memorable and fun, but so can an Alexandria vacation. When you’re ready to book your stay, check out this guide to Alexandria hotels that I wrote. Happy travels!

Author Bio: Joy Nelson is a professional freelance writer who loves to travel, especially to places that aren’t on typical lists of must-go vacations.

Leave a Reply