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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

This program will be available for sale to the general public starting on October 7, 2022.

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The Holidays in Old Town Alexandria

In-Person Program

Weekend Tour

Saturday, December 17, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1CSC04
Select Your Tickets
$60 - Member
$70 - Non-Member

Materials for this program

  1. COVID Guidance for In-Person Tours

Tree at Market Square, Old Town Alexandria (Photo: K Summerer)

Please Note: Current CDC and Smithsonian COVID-19 guidelines (at the time of the tour) will be followed.

Join local guide Lynn O’Connell on a charming walk through Old Town Alexandria during the most wonderful time of the year. Begin in Market Square near the city’s Christmas tree, and then experience Old Town’s holiday magic as you stroll along the red-brick sidewalks. 

Step back in time as O’Connell leads an exploration of how Christmases of yesteryear were celebrated in Alexandria. Learn how John Carlyle, George Washington, and other city leaders of the 18th century marked the season; what the holidays were like in in the former Carlyle home during the Civil War; and the new customs brought to Alexandria in the 1880s and 1890s. Get the delicious details on the holiday feasts served at the historic Gadsby’s Tavern in the 19th century, including George Washington’s favorite dish—and his rather boozy eggnog.

The morning walk also brings the opportunity to discover some of the seasonal traditions at local churches, including Christ Church and the Old Presbyterian Meeting House. Along the way, enjoy a brief holiday performance at the Little Theatre of Alexandria and a special appearance from a period guest. Throughout your visit, take in the delightful colonial-inspired and contemporary decorations that make Old Town Alexandria a picture-perfect place during the holiday season.

Additional Date Options

General Information

  • Registration for this tour will end by 2 p.m. ET on Friday, December 16, 2022.
  • The tour route covers approximately 2 miles, meeting and beginning at Market Square (300 King Street) and ending at King Street and Washington Street.
  • Dress for outdoor walking.
  • For additional tour information:
Tour meets at 1315 Duke St, Alexandria, VA