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Alexandria’s Boat Parade of Lights Returns Dec. 2

boat parade of lights
Photo: Carol Jean Stalun Photography for Visit Alexandria

ALEXANDRIA, VA-During Alexandria’s biggest holiday weekend, Old Town’s historic waterfront will shine for the 23rd Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights sponsored by Amazon on Saturday, December 2, 2023, at 5:30 p.m. when more than 50 brightly lit boats cruise along one mile of the Potomac River shoreline from Canal Center to Ford’s Landing Park. Boat parade dockside festivities in Waterfront Park will entertain parade-goers from 1 to 8 p.m. The boat parade is part of a weekend of festivities including the 52nd annual Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade sponsored by Wegmans.

Head to Waterfront Park at the foot of King Street for festivities from 1 to 8 p.m. including a pop-up beer garden from Alexandria’s award-winning Port City Brewing Company with hard cider from Alexandria’s Lost Boy Cider. Sip hot chocolate from Dolci Gelati and enjoy food options such as American comfort food from Mason Social and empanadas from Tequila & TacoNew this year, grab pizza by the slice from Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana and cookies and snacks from Together We Bake. Holiday music from 97.1 WASH-FM will deliver a festive atmosphere all day, and their street team will round out the Waterfront Park experience with giveaways from 3 to 5 pm.

Also at Waterfront Park, from 1 to 5:30 p.m. enjoy hands-on activities from independently owned Alexandria businesses. New this year, enjoy a family-friendly activity from soon-to-open children’s shop Pippin Toy Co. Shop Made in Virginia presents ornament and watercolor holiday card making, along with two annual favorite activities, a Letters to Santa postcard station from paper goods boutique Penny Post and a holiday ornament craft activity from AR Workshop Alexandria.

Head to Canal Center on the Old Town North waterfront from 3 to 9 p.m. for the Canal Center Holiday Art Mart to enjoy family friendly festivities and watch the start of the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights on the terrace with parade assembly anticipated between 5 and 5:30 p.m. Peruse the holiday bazaar of arts, crafts, vintage goods and more, while enjoying food and drink from Chalkboard Wings & BBQ, Scuttlebutt Bakery, Port City Brewing and other local food vendors. Pop into The Gallery at Canal Center to see the current art exhibition presented by Galactic Panther, and enjoy live music from 3 to 8 p.m. from Yellow Door Concert Series featuring perennial holiday jazz favorites such as Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas and other classics.

At 3:30 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive by fireboat at the Alexandria City Marina before attending the annual Holiday Festival at Torpedo Factory Art Centerwhich takes place from 12 to 6 p.m.

For the best parade views and to avoid crowds, guests are encouraged to spread out along a mile of Alexandria’s shoreline in areas without programming that span the Old Town North waterfront and continue south to Ford’s Landing Park. To avoid traffic delays, parade-goers should come to the area earlier in the day and drivers should plan ahead for road closures close to the waterfront. This year, Union St. will only allow one-way traffic between Duke and Queen St. Additional transportation details will be available on in the coming weeks.

“Amazon is proud to sponsor the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights and partner with Visit Alexandria on such a beloved community event for the third consecutive year,” said Patrick Phillippi, head community engagement for Amazon for the HQ2 region. “We’re grateful to collaborate with the local community on this cherished event each year.”

The parade is produced by Visit Alexandria in collaboration with the City of Alexandria, City Cruises-Alexandria and the Old Dominion Boat Club.


December 2, 2023

23rd Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

Parade begins at 5:30 p.m.; Dockside festivities 1 to 8 p.m. at Waterfront Park (1A Prince St.)

Canal Center Holiday Art Mart from 3 to 9 p.m. (11 Canal Center Plaza)

Parade viewing areas along one mile of the Old Town Alexandria waterfront stretching from Canal Center Plaza (11 Canal Center Plaza) to Ford’s Landing Park (99 Franklin St.)

Admission: Free; $ for food/drink and some activities


  • Canal Center Plaza (11 Canal Center Plaza)
  • Rivergate City Park (2 Montgomery St.)
  • Oronoco Bay Park (100 Madison St.)
  • Founders Park (351 N. Union St.)
  • Alexandria City Marina (0 Cameron St.)
  • Waterfront Park (1A Prince St.)
  • Point Lumley Park (1 Duke St.)
  • Robinson Landing (7 Pioneer Mill Way)
  • Shipyard/Harborside Park (1 Wilkes St.)
  • Windmill Hill Park (501 S. Union St.)
  • Ford’s Landing Park (99 Franklin St.)
[SEE ALSO:  Scottish Christmas Walk Dec. 2]

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