Alexandria offers numerous ways to busy the brain this summer and avoid the summer slide. Take advantage of these free or low-cost events and programs.
Read, Read and Then Read Some More!
Little Free Libraries
Have you ever noticed what look like birdhouses filled with books in some neighborhoods? These are known as “Little Free Libraries,” where you can take a book and/or leave one. Scout your neighborhood for a Little Free Library, or start your own.
ACPS Summer Reading Requirement
If you are the parent of a rising or current middle school student in grades six or seven, be sure your child stays on track to complete the required summer reading project before they head back to school this fall.
Attend the City’s Birthday Bash
Alexandria turns 269 years old this July and will celebrate with a huge birthday bash on Saturday, July 7, along the Potomac waterfront at Oronoco Bay Park in Old Town. Enjoy live music from the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, food vendors, patriotic birthday cake and dazzling fireworks over the river.
Fireworks will take place at special events at George Washington’s Mount Vernon on June 29 and 30. There will be daytime fireworks on July 4 at An American Celebration at Mount Vernon along with military re-enactments, a wreath-laying ceremony and a naturalization ceremony for new citizens with a keynote address.
Embark on a historical scavenger hunt with this free printable History Alexandria Scavenger Hunt challenge, which includes 20 different sites to see and learn about!
Alexandria Archaeology Family Dig Days and Workshops
Various Saturdays through October, 1:30–3:00 p.m.
$10 fee. Pre-registration required.
Assist at a public dig that includes history and archaeology of the Shuter’s Hill site along with a tour. Registered participants have the opportunity to sift through excavated soil and assist with artifact processing. Archeology workshops also available. Spaces fill quickly. Register online today.
Friendship Firehouse Festival
Saturday, August 4, 9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. at 107 S. Alfred Street.
Have some fun at the annual festival and receive a free fire hat while visiting the historic fire station. The festival includes a community booth, fire-fighting activities, fire vehicles and more. Learn more.
National Inventors Hall of Fame
Located on the campus of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the National Inventors Hall of Fame features a gallery of icons illustrating each of the 500+ inductees and their great technological achievements that helped stimulate growth for our nation and beyond. Get details.
Get Your Art On
Enjoy Alexandria’s free concert series at locations throughout the city. Get dates and details.
Visit the Torpedo Factory
Looking for a chance to see art, meet new people and explore over 80 artist exhibits? Visit the free Torpedo Factory.
First Thursdays on The Avenue
Enjoy this outdoor street festival that takes place along Mt. Vernon Ave. from 6 to 9 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month through September with a different theme each month. Get details.
- July 5 – Red, White & Blue
- August 2 – Aloha Thursday
- September 6 – Show Your Spirit
The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage
Enjoy free daily performances with no tickets required. Visit the website for details about upcoming performances.
Connect with Nature
Mount Vernon Trail
Take a bike ride or a walk along the Potomac River starting in Old Town, or at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and ride, walk, rollerblade or bike to the national monuments/memorials in Washington, D.C.
Visit the Nature Center and Go for a Hike
Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center at 5750 Sanger Ave.
Open Wednesday–Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center is free to the public year round. The center includes an exhibit on Alexandria’s birds of prey, a reference library with children’s section, a greenhouse with tropical rainforest plants and live parrot, interpretive exhibits on local geology, and live snakes, salamanders, turtles, toads and more!
Enjoy Plane-Spotting at Gravely Point Park
Lay back on a grassy field along the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Potomac River and watch as planes arrive at and depart from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Get a close-up view of the underbelly of airplanes, feel the vibrations and experience the sounds of flight up close and personal. Learn more.
Learn From Local Farmers and Artisans
Stop by a farmer’s market and enjoy samples, buy local and talk with the vendors to learn more about the farmers and artisans and the bounties they offer.
- Old Town Farmers Market – Thought to be one of our nation’s oldest, in Market Square on Saturday mornings.
- Del Ray Market – Saturdays year-round at East Oxford and Mount Vernon Avenue.
- West End Farmer’s Market – Pet-friendly market on Sundays at Ben Brenman Park.
- Four Mile Run Farmers Market – This Arlandria market runs on Sundays
Kick Back and Enjoy a Movie
Regal Cinemas: Summer Movie Express
$1 movies all summer long on Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting at 10 a.m. Available locally at Potomac Yards and Kingstowne movie theaters. Get details.
Alexandria Comcast Outdoor Film Festival
Enjoy free movies at Waterfront Park. The movies are played in HD with a backdrop of the Potomac River, perfect for a picnic on a blanket.
- July 13 – Coco
- July 14 – Wonder Woman
Cinema Del Ray
More free movies on the fields of Mt. Vernon Recreation Center at Mt. Vernon and Commonwealth Avenue starting at dusk.
- July 21 – Toy Story 3 (in Spanish with English subtitles)
- August 18 – Cars 3
- September 15 – Coco
Enjoy your summer!