PawsGo: 10,000 Steps Through Old Town

Take your dog for a walk in Old Town and you’ll be walking in George Washington’s footsteps! (Karen Johnson)

10,000 Steps Through Old Town

By Karen Johnson

ALEXANDRIA,VA- On a beautiful summer day, I needed some quality time with Boomer and to get in my 10,000 steps. That’s roughly five miles, so we headed to Old Town. It’s noted by many healthcare professionals that 10,000 steps is an optimum number of daily steps for good health. Outfitted with my Fitbit, credit cards, and phone, I set out with Boomer on an urban adventure.

Old Town Alexandria is known for its history, smart shops, and delicious restaurants. Our bustling Port City was home to George Washington and Robert E. Lee, but OT’s cobblestone streets aren’t just steeped in history—they are also lined with water bowls and dog treats! Old Town is extremely dog friendly.

Boomer and I began our trek near the Metro station at the top of King Street. First stop? The very canine- (and budget-) friendly Crate and Barrel Outlet at 1700 Prince Street, where we wandered the aisles looking for bargains. We found several, and racked up 400 steps!

As we headed toward the Potomac River, we passed numerous dog friendly outposts offering tins with dog treats and water bowls. I had walked 2,000 steps when we reached Current Boutique at 1009 King Street, where we were welcomed with a big DOG FRIENDLY poster on the door. Boomer not only got a treat, but I also checked out their new and gently worn fashions with labels ranging from Tory Burch to Trina Turk (two personal favs).

Anthropologie always has dog treats at the register, and someone knows it! (Karen Johnson)

Dogs and owners pass us as we continue down King Street. Our leisurely pace has us around 3,000 steps. Time for another stop, this time at The Dog Park. Located at 705 King Street, this is a great shop packed with cool dog toys, accessories, healthy food, and creative treats. Heaps of praise, a belly rub, a couple of treats, and a birthday present for my sister’s dog, and we’re on our way.

We cross Washington Street and pop into Banana Republic for a quick look at their summer sale items (and more praise for Boomer). Then we hit the very dog friendly Anthropologie at 610 King Street. Boomer heads straight to the register where he is immediately given a treat. We wander the store, rack up lots of steps, and look at everything, including the sale section!

Across from the Alexandrian Hotel (which hosts doggie happy hours every Thursday night), we wander through Market Square, where farmers and vendors have been selling their wares since 1753. George Washington had produce from Mount Vernon sold here. Market Square is said to be haunted, because in addition to selling fruits and veggies, people were sent to the gallows there. Alexandria has long history of mixed use projects.

Getting closer to the Potomac, we’re almost at 5,000 steps, halfway to our goal! Along the way we meet a great looking dog named Sam, relaxing with his owner outside of Restaurant 219. A big fan of walking, Sam’s owner told me she lost 10 pounds when she first started taking walks with him!

Thanks to a tip from the owner of a dog named Chief, Boomer and I make several purchases at the Paper Source (118 King Street). Chief’s owner was right. The employees at the Paper Source were the friendliest people in a very dog-loving town.

We walk along the waterfront behind the Torpedo Factory and head to Founder’s Park, which is dog friendly, kid friendly, just plain friendly! Wandering around the park, we surpass 5,000 steps more than halfway, easy peasy, those 10,000 steps are within reach!

Walking up Cameron Street, we pass Carlyle House and, a little farther on, Gadsby’s Tavern and George Washington’s city home. The current structure is a painstaking replica of Washington’s original house. You can identify it by the bust of George in the front window.

We cross N. Washington Street to walk through the Christ Church graveyard (on the walkway and no stops by Boomer). Christ Church, built in the 1760s, was the home church to both George Washington and Robert E Lee.

Our 10,000 steps are now firmly in sight, so Boomer and I snake our way back to the Crate and Barrel Outlet, ending this adventure with a very respectable 10,212 steps. I am not sure what that is in dog steps, but we both enjoyed the walk. I got some exercise, we met some wonderful people, did a bit of shopping, and both enjoyed a beautiful day in Old Town.

Karen Johnson is the founder of PawsGo ( the Alexandria-based online community for humans and their dogs, promoting an active lifestyle for both! PawsGo merchandise can be found online and locally at From Head to Tail Grooming and Spa, Bon Vivant Café and Farm Market and Reunions.

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