Around the Corner: Alexandria Holiday Events and Experiences

Visit Alexandria releases details of virtual events, candlelight tours, and more

Matt Chenet for Visit Alexandria

UPDATE (Nov. 3): A previous version of this article mentioned a cocoa and cookie bar at King & Rye. It has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Alexandria is known for its holiday celebrations each year. In fact, the city has its festivities highlighted in The Oprah Magazine and Southern Living.

Today, Visit Alexandria released the schedule of upcoming events for the 2020 holiday season. And though things will be different becausye of the coronavirus pandemic, there are still plenty of fun and safe events planned. They range from candlelight tours to virtual festivals to light and decoration displays.

Note that many of the participants are following the ALX Promise, which promotes wearing a mask and social distancing.

Take a look at everything planned and learn more about each event below. Event summaries by Visit Alexandria.

Office of Historic Alexandria’s Online Holiday Activities Portal

Online portal goes live on November 20, 2020

alexandriava.gov/historic 

In lieu of in-person programming, Historic Alexandria is offering online and to-go options to mark the coming of winter and the holiday season. The videos, activities and collection tell the stories of the season—celebrating family and community, marking milestones, making and preserving food and keeping warm. A new online portal, going live on November 20, 2020, will feature videos and activities exploring how Alexandria has celebrated and endured the cold season throughout the years.

Office of Historic Alexandria’s “Winter in Alexandria” Kit

Reservations open on November 20, 2020; kits will be shipped on December 11, 2020
alexandriava.gov/shop

Looking for activities to do with children over the holidays? Purchase a Winter in Alexandria kit that will be shipped on December 11, 2020, in time for winter break. This kit provides everything you need from materials to step-by-step instructions on how to explore Alexandria’s history through hands-on activities and stories. With ten different activities, there will be plenty to do over winter break. Reservations and pricing for kits will be available online at alexandriava.gov/shop beginning November 20, 2020.

Photo: Josh Weilepp for Visit Alexandria

Ice & Lights: The Winter Village at Cameron Run

November 20, 2020-January 3, 2021, open nightly 5 to 10 p.m.; January 9-February 28, 2021 (skating only), open Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission: $8.16 for general admission to Village; $20.68 for admission with skating; starting January 9, 2021, $12.19 for skating

Cameron Run Regional Park, 4001 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria, VA 22304

novaparks.com/events/ice-lights 

Ice and Lights: The Winter Village at Cameron Run will return this year, featuring an ice rink, more than a dozen holiday light displays perfect for Instagramming, retail area, food, music and more. The Ice and Lights Village is a short drive from Old Town. Masks are required in all areas of Ice & Lights except when eating or drinking in the concession areas.

Photo: Chris Cruz for Visit Alexandria

Old Town 2nd Annual Cookie Crawl

November 21-22, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission: $30 registration fee

Various locations throughout Old Town Alexandria, VA 22314

oldtownbusiness.org

Savor the holidays during Old Town Business Association’s second annual Old Town Cookie Crawl. Schedule a time to pick up your tin, then shop and fill your cookie tin with pre-wrapped treats among 25 retailers in Old Town Alexandria. Advance registration is required at oldtownbusiness.org. Reserve a time to pick up your tin, beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. It’s fun for the whole family and a great way to explore Old Town’s walkable shopping district.

Photo: Sam Kittner for Visit Alexandria

City of Alexandria Tree Lighting

Ceremony recording available online beginning mid-November

Admission: Free

Virtual

703-746-5592

alexandriava.gov

This year, the City of Alexandria’s 2020 Tree Lighting ceremony will move online in an effort to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual ceremony will feature a special holiday message from Mayor Justin Wilson. Several special guests join him to help celebrate the season and light the tree. Watch online via alexandriava.gov starting mid-November, and mask up to visit the Market Square tree in person throughout the season.

Alexandria’s Holiday Market at Carlyle

Virtual from November 27 to December 4, 2020; in-person December 5-6, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Admission: Free

John Carlyle Square Park, 300 John Carlyle St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-566-6450

thecarlylecommunity.com

Alexandria’s Holiday Market is an annual signature event that transforms John Carlyle Square into a lively open-air festival, perfect for children young and old. This year, shop online and preorder the perfect present prior to the in-person market, which will feature physically distant vendors and musical entertainment including Gretchen and the Sidecar Six. The holiday market and festivities are sponsored by The Carlyle Vitality Initiative. 

Del Ray Holiday Market

November 28-29, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Del Ray Psych & Wellness parking lot , 1900 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301
703-683-2570
visitdelray.com

Del Ray Business Association (DRBA) invites you to explore the Del Ray Holiday Market with sidewalk sales and other promotions, kicking off on Small Business Saturday. The open-air holiday market will be held in the parking lot of Del Ray Psych & Wellness. It will feature DRBA members and local artists from Art on the Avenue. Vendors will be physically distanced, and masks are required for entry. On Saturday, participate in a food drive for The Salvation Army in their adjacent parking lot. On Sunday, look for food vendors and live music.

Photo: Visit Alexandria

Christmas at Mount Vernon

November 27-December 31, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission: $23 for adults; $12 for youth (ages 6-11); free for children age 5 and below; extra cost for some activities

George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy., Mount Vernon, VA 22121

703-780-2000

mountvernon.org/christmas

Visit Mount Vernon this winter to participate in holiday activities and meet special guest Aladdin the camel. Learn about camels and George Washington’s interest in exotic animals during Camel Talks, offered Friday through Sunday beginning on November 27. Specialty tours give guests a deeper look into the holidays at Mount Vernon. During the tour “Mrs. Washington’s Mount Vernon,” hear Martha Washington discuss the day-to-day planning needed for a busy holiday season. The “Holiday Dinner for the Washingtons” tour shares how food was grown, preserved and served during the holidays. Mount Vernon is open 365 days a year, including on Christmas Day.

Photo: Buddy Seccor/Visit Alexandria

Winter Glow at Mount Vernon

November 27-29, December 11-13 and 26-28, 2020, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Admission: Starting at $25 for members; $30 for non-members

George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy., Mount Vernon, VA 22121

703-780-2000

mountvernon.org/christmas

Experience an enchanted evening of winter lights at Mount Vernon. See the estate illuminated with soft lights and holiday patterns as you listen to Christmas carolers and visit an 18th-century winter encampment. You can also meet Aladdin the camel, shop for artisan-made goods, purchase warm food and holiday drinks at the Mount Vernon Inn Food Truck and more.

ArtWalk by The Art League and Old Town Business Association
Map available beginning December 1, 2020

Admission: Free

Various locations along King Street (Union to Diagonal), and select side streets, Alexandria, VA 22314

oldtownbusiness.org

Old Town Business Association is partnering with The Art League of Alexandria to offer a holiday themed ArtWalk in Old Town along King Street (Union to Diagonal) and select side streets. Each block will feature a work of art adorning a lamppost. Maps may be found at oldtownbusiness.org beginning December 1, 2020. Keep an eye out for holidays trees located on both upper and lower King Streets.

Winter Wonderland at The Alexandrian’s King & Rye

December 2, 2020-January 30, 2021; igloos available Wednesday-Saturday, with reservations beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Admission: Free; $50 for igloo rental and $100 food and beverage minimum with igloo use

King & Rye, 480 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314

703-549-6080
kingandrye.com/event/winter-wonderland

King & Rye’s courtyard is transforming into a Winter Wonderland. In addition to general courtyard seating with heat lamps and holiday décor, new this year, book an igloo for private dining for up to eight guests. This is ideal for social distancing as you are only in the space with your party, and the area is sanitized between parties. The igloos will each have heaters as well as the option to play your own music via a Bluetooth speaker. The igloos will be reservation required with a $50 rental and $100 food and beverage minimum. For food and beverage, enjoy a tapas style menu with a southern twist and, of course, festive cocktails. Reservations can be booked online or via info@kingandrye.com, available as of December 2, 2020.

Holiday Kissing Ball Workshop at Lee-Fendall House

December 3, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.; December 6, 2020 at 2 p.m.

Admission: $20

Lee-Fendall House, 614 Oronoco St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-548-1789
leefendallhouse.org  

Learn how to create your own traditional holiday kissing ball using fresh boxwood from Lee-Fendall’s own garden. All materials are provided. Space is limited to 10 participants per workshop.

Del Ray Artisans’ 25th Annual Fine Art & Fine Craft Holiday Market

December 4-6, 11-13 and 18-20, 2020; Fridays, 6 to 9 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission: Free

2704 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301
703-828-4827

delrayartisans.org

During the first three weekends in December, Del Ray Artisans 25th Annual Holiday Market offers unique handcrafted fine arts and crafts from local artists. As always, the artists are presenting a variety of media, including fiber/textiles, glass, jewelry, mixed media, mosaics, painting, paper crafting, photography, pottery/ceramics, sculpture, watercolor, wood turning and more. Different artists are featured each weekendDel Ray Artisans Gallery and the Holiday Market follows ALX Promise guidelines to protect the public. Face masks are required, and the number of individuals allowed in the gallery is limited.

The Little Theatre of Alexandria (Photo: M. Enriquez/Visit Alexandria)

The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s “A Christmas Carol”

December 4-19, 2020; Wednesday-Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday at 3 p.m.
Admission: $20
The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-683-0496

thelittletheatre.com

The Little Theatre of Alexandria is proud to present the timeless holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol.” This heartwarming story of compassion and transformation brings to life the beloved characters of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and a number of other intriguing characters. This year’s production will feature seven “actual” actors portraying all the traditional roles and even a few new ones. The unique aspect of this production will be the inculcation of real ghosts. That’s right, a few characters may not be who they seem to be. The production combines animation, 3D and virtual reality to totally bemuse and confuse the audience. One thing’s for sure: Scrooge is real. Or is he? This is a must see for any “A Christmas Carol” enthusiast. Seating will be socially distanced and limited.

Kwanzaa How-To Workshop with Office of Historic Alexandria
December 5, 2020, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Admission: Free (registration required)

alexandriava.gov/shop

Enjoy learning how to celebrate Kwanzaa in your home and all the family fun it brings. Learn about the principles, symbols, recipes, and crafts. Register online to receive the link to join the hour-long program.

Torpedo Factory Art Center Holiday Festival

December 5, 2020

Admission: Free

Virtual / Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria, VA 22314

703-746-4570

torpedofactory.org

The Torpedo Factory Art Center’s annual holiday event moves online for a series of select art projects and download-ables to enjoy with your loved ones. Stop by the Art Center to visit artist studios and shop for your holiday gifts or browse Torpedo Factory’s web site for links to studio artists’ online shops.

Colonial Winter Nights at Carlyle House

December 5-6 and 12-13, 2020, from 5 to 8 p.m. (tours on the half hour)

Admission: $10 per adult; $3 per child; free for children under six years old

Carlyle House, 121 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-549-2997
novaparks.com

Experience the holiday season with Carlyle House focusing on how the Carlyles and the estate’s enslaved workers observed the holidays during the 18th century. Stay tuned for updates about live music. Be sure to check out last minute deals in the Museum Shop. Space is limited and reservations are required. All COVID-19 safety procedures will be in place during this tour. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

The Lee-Fendall House (Courtesy photo)

Holiday Candlelight Tours at Lee-Fendall House

December 5, 12 and 19, 2020, from 5 to 8 p.m. (tours on the half hour)

Admission: $8 per adult; $3 per child; free for children under 6 years old

Lee-Fendall House, 614 Oronoco St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-548-1789
leefendallhouse.org

Celebrate the holiday season with evening candlelight tours of the Lee-Fendall House decked out in Victorian splendor. The antique toy exhibit will also be on view. Space is limited and reservations are required. Face masks and social distancing will be in place throughout the tour.

A Victorian Christmas at Lee-Fendall House

December 12, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission: $8 per adult; $12 per child; free for children under 2 years old

Lee-Fendall House, 614 Oronoco St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-548-1789
leefendallhouse.org

Experience the wonder of the season by visiting the Lee-Fendall House for a family-friendly Victorian Christmas. Enjoy traditional décor, music, seasonal crafts, a visit by Santa and more. Timed tickets on the hour are available through advance registration. All recommended health requirements will be followed, including face masks and social distancing.

Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon

December 18-19, 2020, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Admission: Starting at $20 for members; $22 for non-members
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy., Mount Vernon, VA 22121
703-780-2000
mountvernon.org/illuminations

Attend the evening event Christmas Illuminations, a festive fireworks show choreographed to holiday music. You’ll visit with re-enactors throughout the estate and stay toasty warm by the bonfire. Tickets for Christmas Illuminations are available to purchase online. Learn about safety measures on the estate.

Mansion House Christmas at Carlyle House

December 19-20 and 26-27, 2020, from 5 to 8 p.m. (tours on the half hour)

Admission: $10 per adult; $3 per child; free for children under six years old

Carlyle House, 121 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-549-2997
novaparks.com

Discover how Christmas was celebrated when the Green family lived at Carlyle House and the Mansion House Hotel was being used as a Civil War hospital. Stay tuned for updates about live music. Be sure to check out last minute deals in the Museum Shop. Tours offered of the first floor with timed entry on the hour and half hour. Space is limited and reservations are required. All COVID-19 safety procedures will be in place during this tour. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

The Torpedo Factory Art Center (Zebra Press file photo)

Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Virtual Olde Year’s Day

December 31, 2020

Admission: Free

Virtual

703-746-4570

torpedofactory.org

Welcome 2021 from the comfort of your home with our art videos and projects to create and share.

Holiday Open House at Carlyle House

December 31, 2020, from 5 to 8 p.m. (tours on the half hour)

Admission: $10 per adult; $3 per child; free for children under six years old

Carlyle House, 121 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-549-2997
novaparks.com

Wrap up your year with a visit to Carlyle House on New Year’s Eve.  Guests will learn about holiday traditions of old, some which we still enjoy today. Stay tuned for updates about live music. Be sure to check out the Museum Shop clearance sale. Tours offered of the first floor with timed entry on the hour and half hour. Space is limited and reservations are required. All COVID-19 safety procedures will be in place during this tour. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

26th Anniversary First Night Alexandria

December 31, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. (or virtual)

Admission: $75 per car for VIP admission; $60 per car for general admission; $20 for virtual link. Ticket sales begin in late November with limited in-person capacity.

5001 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria, VA 22304

703-963-3755

firstnightalexandria.org

New this year, First Night Alexandria brings “A Night of Nostalgia” with a drive-in concert experience. Ready to get out of the house? Load up the car and celebrate the arrival of 2021 with a VIP drive-in concert experience. Sing-along, dance and enjoy a night filled with classic hits, local food truck favorites and exciting giveaways. Or, planning an intimate gathering in the comfort of your home? Let First Night Alexandria be the soundtrack for your party, featuring the same great music as the live event, streamed to you virtually.

This annual festival of music and performing arts is a capstone holiday event in Alexandria and offers great options for family and friends to celebrate together safely. The site for entertainment this year expands the focus to the West End of Alexandria, VA. Reflect on good times, enjoy great music and anticipate a new year filled with new possibilities. A portion of the proceeds support young musicians studying choral, band and orchestra in Alexandria, VA middle and high schools. Sponsorships available and donations welcome. This event is made possible by the continued generosity of multiple community partners.

RELATED: First Night Alexandria Making Plans to Celebrate New Year’s Eve 2020

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