Alexandria and Old Town

In this port city founded by Scottish merchants, restored 18th- and 19th-century row houses line streets and hold antiques shops, boutiques, bars and restaurants. Residents and their dogs convene at waterfront parks, while year-round events like parades, house tours, art festivals and river cruises contribute to the buzz.

Reach this historic town on the state’s eastern edge by heading toward Washington. Take I-395 to exit 5 (King Street), or exit the Capital Beltway (495) at Route 1 (South Patrick Street). To reach the estate of Mount Vernon (its kitchen above), head a few miles south on the G.W. Parkway.