What to Do On Your Day Off: Alexandria, VA!

Are you disappointed to find that, after coming off of the high you get from finishing midterms, college life on campus can actually be pretty monotonous? We’ve all been in that place where you have a day off, either because it's a Wednesday (since wonks don’t do Wednesdays) or because your classes suddenly got canceled, and you find yourself in the middle of a light week with nothing to do. On days like that, a really great way to enjoy the day is to take a day trip to somewhere close by--starting with Alexandria, Virginia!

Why Alexandria: Old town Alexandria is currently the catalog picture for the full fall experience. With its cobbled streets, beautiful shades of yellow, red, pink, and green leaves, and its small town charm, it's the ideal escape from the daily grind that you’re so sick of. 

How to get there: If you’re anything like me, you’ll use the classic “but it’s so far!” as an excuse to stay rooted firmly in your dorm room. But the fact is, Alexandria is less than an hour away and it is surprisingly easy to get there. All one has to do is take the red line to Gallery Place from Tenleytown and switch from there to the yellow line, taking you straight to Alexandria at King Street Station. 

Once you’ve gotten there: There are a lot of things to do in Alexandria, ranging from shopping to taking in the sights to eating some amazing food. Some of the highlights are: 


King Street is the perfect place to start your adventure, with its beautiful scenery and shops on both sides for you to admire and while away the day in. 


There are several interesting and unique thrift stores in Alexandria, some of them on King Street itself. In addition to browsing through the discounted clothes, keep your eye out for homemade cds with new unique tracks that will send you into peels of laughter. For instance, I am now the proud owner of a homemade Christmas cd whose first track is entitled “I farted on Santa’s lap.” 


Enjoy a relaxing stroll by the scenic waterfront, then grab a bite to eat at one of the excellent restaurants near by. 


An unexpected but entertaining part of the adventure, for just 5 dollars you can step back in time to this amazingly well-preserved part of the town’s history and take a tour to learn about the original medicinal bottles in the apothecary store, along with their surprising uses. You may even find some interesting Harry Potter references on your tour. 


Going hand-in-hand with the old-fashioned feel of the town, Pop's is a quaint diner that gives you 60s vibes as soon as you step in. If their decor and genre-appropriate music doesn’t draw you in, their delicious ice-cream definitely will. 


If you’re a book lover on a budget, this is the perfect store for you. A small space filled to the brim with books, the book bank is a used bookstore with a well-organized variety of books that makes it easy to locate exactly what you’re looking for and maybe even stumble upon something entirely new, all for an affordable price. 


Though this particular donut shop is a little ways away from the main streets of Alexandria, it is worth the walk. Not only are their donuts filled with sugary goodness, you can get one for free if you simply fulfill the day’s requirement (posted daily on their Facebook page). 

Alexandria is a great place to go to escape the stress of college life and unwind, taking a moment to realize that there is a world off campus. It’s an affordable, enjoyable experience that every AU student should have at least once while they are at college. 


Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7