ALEXANDRIA, VA-Named one of Travel + Leisure’s Best Places to Travel in 2023 and Best Cities in the U.S. 2023 and one of Good Housekeeping’s Best Places to Travel in December 2023, Alexandria, VA, is filled with nostalgic wonder during the holiday season. Stroll along the King Street mile and feel transported into a European Christmas village as you pass by lantern-lit doorways and pop into buzzing shops and eateries, leading to the bustling Potomac River waterfront, within eyesight of Washington, D.C.
Enjoy cherished holiday traditions happening throughout Alexandria including the 52nd Annual Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade sponsored by Wegmans, featuring dozens of Scottish clans dressed in colorful tartans; the 23rd Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights sponsored by Amazon on the Potomac River; and “Shop Small” events including Plaid Friday: Alexandria’s Small Business Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Plus, new this year, get into the holiday spirit with A Very Merry ALX Jazz Fest and explore annual open-air markets, immersive holiday lights experiences and more.
For more holiday events and activities, visit VisitAlexandria.com/Holidays.
52nd Annual Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade Sponsored by Wegmans
December 2, 2023, beginning at 11 a.m.
Old Town Alexandria, VA 22314
Alexandria was founded in 1749 by Scottish merchants and was named after Scotsman John Alexander who owned the land that became Alexandria. Today, the city continues celebrating its heritage with the iconic Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade on Saturday, December 2, 2023. Dozens of Scottish clans dressed in colorful tartans parade through the streets of Old Town, joined by pipe and drum bands, as well as terriers and hounds, community groups and more.
23rd Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights Sponsored by Amazon
December 2, 2023
Parade begins at 5:30 p.m.; Dockside festivities 1 to 8 p.m. at Waterfront Park (1A Prince St.), Canal Center festivities 3 to 7 p.m. (44 Canal Center Plaza)
Admission: Free; $ for food/drink and some activities
Parade viewing areas along one mile of the Old Town Alexandria waterfront stretching from Canal Center Plaza (44 Canal Center Plaza) to Ford’s Landing Park (99 Franklin St.)
Old Town Alexandria’s historic waterfront will shine for the 23rd Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights sponsored by Amazon at 5:30 p.m. as more than 50 brightly lit boats cruise along one mile of the Potomac River shoreline. Enjoy dockside festivities from 1 to 8 p.m. in Waterfront Park including a pop-up beer garden from Port City Brewing Company, holiday music and giveaways from 97.1 WASH-FM, hot chocolate from Dolci Gelati, pizza by the slice from Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, American comfort food from Mason Social cookies, snacks from Together We Bake and more. Also at Waterfront Park, from 1 to 5:30 p.m. enjoy hands-on activities from independently owned Alexandria businesses Shop Made in Virginia, Penny Post and AR Workshop Alexandria.
Holiday Markets at Old Town North
November 21, 2023, from 3 to 6:30 p.m.; November 26 and December 3, 10 and 17, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; December 5, 12, and 19, from 3 to 6:30 pm.
Montgomery Park, 901 N Royal St., Alexandria, VA 22314
Shop for local gifts while celebrating the Christmas season with dozens of vendors offering an array of baked goods and produce, specialty food items, seasonal decorations and fresh greenery and gifts.
Christmas Market & Holiday Craft Show at John Carlyle Square
December 9, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
300 John Carlyle St., Alexandria, VA 22314
Start your holiday shopping and find the perfect gift for your loved ones at the Christmas Market & Holiday Craft Show at John Carlyle Square. More than 110 artisans, crafters, independent consultants and other local small businesses will showcase their products, just in time for the holidays. From arts and crafts to jewelry and baked goods to body and hair care, discover everything you could wish to surprise your loved ones. Take a break from shopping to enjoy the beautiful Christmas Carols Show and bring little ones to the Elves’ Shop where they can create a customized Christmas ornament. Pictures with Santa will also be available.
Holiday Lights Experiences
Ice & Lights: The Winter Village at Cameron Run
November 17, 2023, to January 1, 2024, open daily from 5 to 10 p.m.; additional daytime skating: December 18 to 30, from 12 to 5 p.m. and weekends and holidays January 6 to February 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission: $9 online admission to Winter Village only; $22 online admission to Winter Village plus ice skating; free for kids under the age of 2
Cameron Run Regional Park, 4001 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria, VA 22304
Ice & Lights: The Winter Village at Cameron Run offers a fun, unstructured outdoor family experience, just a short drive from Old Town Alexandria. Explore unique light displays, snap family pictures or selfies with a variety of displays and take a spin on the outdoor ice rink. Capacity is limited; reservations are required to ensure access on a specific date. Ice skating reservations are required. Tickets are on sale now. New this year, daytime ice skating is available December 18 to 30 and weekends and holidays throughout January and February.
City of Alexandria Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 18, 2023, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Market Square, 300 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Ring in the city’s official start to the holiday season with the lighting of the 40-foot tree adorned with nearly 40,000 twinkling lights, plus enjoy appearances from Alexandria’s Town Crier and Santa himself.
Del Ray Holiday Tree & Menorah Lighting
December 3, 2023, 6 p.m.
Pat Miller Neighborhood Square, intersection of Mount Vernon and Oxford Avenues, Alexandria, VA
The Del Ray neighborhood will come together for the annual Christmas tree lighting, Menorah lighting and holiday carols. Enjoy hand-painted holiday windows in storefronts and start your holiday shopping with a stroll down Mount Vernon Avenue, which will be illuminated by thousands of luminarias.
Christmas Illuminations at George Washington’s Mount Vernon
December 15 and 16, 2023, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Admission: Non-members: $60 per adult/$38 per youth with mansion tour; $58 per adult/$36 per youth without mansion tour; Members: $50 per adult/$28 per youth with mansion tour; $48 per adult/$26 per youth without mansion tour
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA 22121
Visit the first president’s home for its landmark holiday event, Christmas Illuminations, set to return December 15 and 16, 2023, featuring a fireworks and holiday lights show over the Potomac River. The event includes an 18th-century winter market featuring handmade items by colonial artisans and much more.
Annual Old Town Alexandria Cookie Crawl
November 18, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and November 19, 2023, from 12 to 5 p.m.
Admission: $40 registration fee
Various locations throughout Old Town Alexandria, VA 22314
Kick off the holidays early during Old Town Business’s annual Old Town Cookie Crawl. Receive a commemorative tin and stop by 25 retailers on the crawl to receive a cookie at each location. It’s fun for the whole family and a great way to explore Old Town’s walkable shopping district. Tickets are limited; registration is required.
Plaid Friday: Alexandria’s Small Business Black Friday
November 24, 2023
Throughout Old Town Alexandria and beyond
On November 24, 2023, celebrate Plaid Friday: Alexandria’s Small Business Black Friday with more than 50 independent shops in Old Town and beyond offering some of their best deals of the year, including early bird, storewide discounts and free gifts with purchase. Shoppers will find one-of-a-kind deals on home décor, chic fashion, gourmet food, classic toys, gifts for pets and more. More than a dozen businesses will offer early bird discounts starting at 6 a.m. including Pacers Running, Red Barn Mercantile, The Dog Park and more. Plaid Friday is presented by Visit Alexandria and the Old Town Business Association.
Alexandria’s Small Business Saturday
November 25, 2023
Throughout Old Town Alexandria and beyond
On November 25, 2023, celebrate Alexandria’s Small Business Saturday with deals and special offerings at nearly 50 shops in Old Town and beyond. Stroll historic streets twinkling with holiday traditions as you enjoy special discounts, free gifts with purchase, in-store treats and more. Find everything from story time, author readings and book signings at Hooray for Books to free gift card offerings and complimentary stocking stuffers with purchase at The Spice & Tea Exchange of Alexandria. Store hours vary from approximately 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Shops of Del Ray Holiday Sip & Shop
December 7, 2023, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Admission: Free to participate
Various locations throughout Del Ray, Alexandria, VA 22301
Join the Shops of Del Ray for special extended shopping hours to shop sooner, shop local and enjoy special promotions and complimentary wine and refreshments.
The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s “A Christmas Carol”
December 2 to 16, 2023, at various times
Admission: Tickets $20-25 per person, plus fees
The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
From the first “bah humbug” to the final “wassail,” this timeless classic is sure to rekindle your holiday spirit. Join all the beloved Dickens characters—Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family, the Fezziwigs, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, and, of course, everyone’s favorite curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge—as they transport the audience to Victorian England and remind everyone of the meaning of Christmas.
How to Celebrate Kwanzaa Workshop
December 9, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 pm
Admission: $3 per person
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St., Alexandria, VA 22314
Learn about the origins, concepts, practices and foods of Kwanzaa and leave knowing how to do your own celebration. Families of all ages welcome.
A Very Merry ALX Jazz Fest
December 16, from 7 to 9 p.m.
George Washington Masonic National Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA 22301
New this year, the City’s Office of the Arts is proud to present “A Very Merry ALX Jazz Fest,” a holiday event that is free and open to all at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. Immerse yourself in the timeless melodies of jazz and prepare to be moved by mesmerizing spoken word performances that will inspire and uplift. Performers are selected through the Office of the Arts Jazz Fest activation team, comprised of professionals from the Smithsonian, NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series and the Levine School of Music. Before the main event begins, attend the pre-show and mingling session starting at 5 p.m., featuring three art projects commissioned by the Office of the Arts through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
29th Annual First Night Alexandria
December 31, 2023, with live entertainment from 2 until 11 p.m.
Admission: Matinee shows until 6 p.m.: $10 for all ages; all-access passes (includes day and evening performances): free for children ages 0 to 2; $10 for children ages 3 to 10; $20 for youth ages 11 to 19 and seniors 65+; $35 for adults ages 20 to 64; $50 VIP Pass
Free to view fireworks at the Old Town Alexandria Waterfront, 1 Prince St., Alexandria, VA, 22314
Experience the region’s signature family-friendly New Year’s Eve festival of music and more. A community celebration of the performing arts, First Night Alexandria rings in the new year with music, comedy, dance and fireworks. New this year, enjoy a spectacular twilight fireworks display at 6 p.m. Following an evening of live entertainment, an abbreviated encore fireworks display over the Potomac River will occur at midnight. Visit the event website for a full schedule of events.
About Alexandria, Virginia
Experience holiday magic on historic streets in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, located on the waterfront just minutes from Washington, D.C. Alexandria was named one of Travel + Leisure’s Best Places to Travel in 2023 and Best Cities in the U.S. 2023 and one of Good Housekeeping’s Best Places to Travel in December 2023. Feel transported by a sense of holiday wonder with a stroll along the King Street mile, reminiscent of a European Christmas village. Dine around a firepit on heated patios or duck into cozy Alexandria restaurants. Show your love for Alexandria’s independent boutiques that provide personal service and curated gift selections all season long. [SEE ALSO: Cricket Club Grows in Popularity at Alexandria City High School]