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This 3-story industrial-looking building was a Naval torpedo factory during World War II. It has now been converted into one of the largest collections of art and craft studios in the United States (see their website www.torpedofactory.org). Each artist, sculptor, or craftsman leases a studio where they work and show their works for sale. Admission is free, and it is open until 6pm everyday with the exception of Thursdays when it is open until 9pm. Classes in many various art media are also taught there. The Alexandria Archaeology Museum is also there.
The Torpedo Factory Art Center is located at the foot of King Street by the Potomac River, in a very busy popular spot, next to the festive and fun Potomac River boardwalk plaza, which on weekends has several street musicians, jugglers, a parrot handler, a sidewalk artist, a river cruise boat landing; and park benches -- a good place for watching people of many global cultures stroll by. Countless restaurants/watering holes, boutiques, antique and gift shops are immediately nearby in the historic and bustling colonial "Old Town" area.
Use one of many nearby parking garages, or else metered parking (free on Sundays). You can also park further South on Union Street near the playground, where parking is less congested, and free. A free trolley also operate east and west along King Street, from the King Street Metrorail station (located a full mile to the west). "Founders Park", an attractive grassy park by the waterfront, just North of the food court and boardwalk -- a good park for walking dogs, picniking, or playing frisbee. On warm weekends you will see many bicyclists riding by as they use the area as a link between downtown Washington and the famous Mount Vernon bikepath.