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Alexandria or DC

Level Contributor
29 posts
Alexandria or DC


My wife and I will be in the area for a week for a conference (which is in National Harbor) and will be staying in Nat'l Harbor the 3 days of the conference. Other than evenings, we will have 2 days before the conference and a day after to do some sight seeing. I am debating to stay in DC or Alexandria for our first 2 nights. We are staying in Arlington near the airport our last night. We would like to stay somewhere the first 2 nights that is easy to get on the subway to DC but that also is going to provide many options for food, libations and shopping/people watching.

I am also looking for an exciting place to take my wife for her birthday which falls on a Wednesday. Any recommendations for someone who has never been in the area would be great.

Thank you!

2 replies to this topic
Alexandria, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Alexandria
Level Contributor
608 posts
172 reviews
1. Re: Alexandria or DC

National Harbor is a great place for conventions and conferences. At night there are plenty of restaurants and shops to keep you preoccupied for three days. Most hotels have shuttles that might run you to the Outlet mall a mile away from the waterfront, or the casino, which is a healthy walk, as well. It is safe, but there are limited transportation options other than cabs which are about $15 to take you to old town Alexandria across the river. There is also a boat taxi to ferry you straight to our own waterfront board walk.

Old Town is charming as compared to the carnival atmosphere of National Harbor. We are genuine, historic and charming restaurants and boutiques line the mile from the waterfront to the Metro at the top of King. We are an eminently walkable town you will want to see (assuming you have been to DC and seen the monuements and museums and are looking for something different to experience.) I see you are staying in Arlington your last night, and I can't imagine why. We are 3 miles from the airport, so even the earliest flight can be managed without having to change your hotels. I highly suggest staying in the historic core if you can swing it. It will enhance your stay.

As for special dinner anything on the Waterfront is perfect; Chart House, Blackwall Hitch, Virtue feed and Grain. All have lovely outdoor patios which are great assuming the weather cooperates. If you are seeking a more romantic dinner, I suggest my favorites Columbia Firehouse, Brabo, Le Refuge and Vermillion.

If you have not experienced downtown DC, then split your time between the two and cancel your Arlington hotel for the last night, it doesn't make sense if you stay in Alexandria (inside the beltway) or Washington DC downtown! Feel free to inquire further. In the meantime, check out this site for more detailed info on hotels, sites and restaurants here on TA and


Level Contributor
29 posts
2. Re: Alexandria or DC

Thank you for the great review Karen. We decided to stay in the Dupont Circle area the first 2 nights as we will be like 7 blocks from the National Mall and we will just take the hop on buses to see the sights. We plan to have dinner and then do some walking through the mall into the evening so that we can view the monuments at night. Cooler and fewer people hopefully. Can you recommend a good evening walking tour of the monuments? The 2nd day we will go to the Holocaust Museum, the Museum of American History and the Museum of Natural History. Day 2 will be busy but good. We may only have time to hit 2 museums. Day 3 we go to the Gaylord Resort for a 3 day conference. I am done at the conference at 5:30 on days 3, 4 & 5 and then at 4:30 on day 6. We plan to spend 1 evening in National Harbor, an evening in Alexandria on the boat and then 1 evening at Mt. Vernon. My wife will be on her own while I am at conference from 8am to 5:30. We plan to eat supper together every night. From what I've been told the Nat'l Harbor has plenty to keep her busy during the day.

Day 6 we are staying in Arlington but are going to go to Old Town Alexandria and Arlington National Cemetary and then fly home the next morning.

Anything that you might recommend or comment on with that itinerary? Thank you in advance!

Edited: 11:51 pm, July 17, 2018
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