It’s easy to find creative inspiration within a short distance from the Hotel Indigo Old Town Alexandria. Here’s a wide range of arts experiences in and around Old Town:
Torpedo Factory Arts Center
A sprawling, three-story artisans’ collective set in a former military complex on the downtown waterfront, Torpedo Factory Arts Center showcases a range of visual and craft artists. Look for expressive watercolors by Janice Sayles, bold precious-gem jewelry by Marcos Teixeira and sea-inspired kinetic glass sculptures by Alison Sigethy, as well as hundreds of works made from clay, metal, fiber, wood and a myriad found objects.
While on-site, be sure to pop into the Alexandria Archaeology Museum to see treasures unearthed by local digs, and check out the small gallery at The Art League, an educational center that offers art history lectures, art classes and arguably the city’s best art supplies store.
Old Town Gallery Scene
Wander through the fine art galleries on and around King Street, such as Principle, known for contemporary oil paintings and bronze sculptures, and St. George Gallery, which specializes in ornate paintings, textiles, furniture and objects by Ethiopian artists and craftspeople. Every year in mid-September, the six-block-long King Street Art Festival highlights the work of Old Town-area artisans, including paintings, sculpture, photography, jewelry, fiber art, glassworks and ceramics.
Open Thursday through Sunday, the fine art gallery at local performing and visual arts center The Athenaeum is free to enter and features a different exhibit each month; the largest show is the center’s annual themed Invitational, held each October. Housed in a preserved Greek-Revival mansion that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Athenaeum is included each April in the American Institute of Architects’ annual Old Town architecture tour, which explores Alexandria homes, churches and businesses from the 18th century through the mid-1930s.
For a dose of Alexandria’s medical history, visit the Stabler-Ledbetter Apothecary Museum to learn about vintage potions made for local luminaries such as First Lady, Martha Washington, who lived nearby at Mount Vernon. In the 18th and 19th centuries, apothecaries like this one made curative elixirs from botanicals and spices that were meant to be dissolved in alcohol — the predecessors of the modern cocktail. You can gather the supplies for your own elixirs at specialty boutique The Hour, which boasts more than a century’s worth of vintage barware, then sample handcrafted cocktails at local hot spots like The Majestic and reservations-only Bar PX.
Theater for Varied Tastes
Catch a new drama, comedy or musical at the 130-seat, non-profit MetroStage, which specializes in original and often socio-political shows by emerging writers. For more mainstream fare, try The Little Theatre of Alexandria, which has been in continuous production since 1939, and offers modern re-tellings of classic plays like Uncle Vanya andstage versions of hit movies like Legally Blonde. Pre- or post-theatre, you can tuck into a farm-to-table meal at Virtue Feed & Grain (set in a former granary) or a sustainably harvested seafood feast at Hotel Indigo’s own Hummingbird.
Artsy Side Trip
A 10-minute drive or ride from Old Town, the Del Ray neighborhood features Art Deco-style storefronts like the sprawling, locally roasted Swing’s Coffee, Arts + Crafts-era bungalows lining quiet residential streets and a wealth of creative types. At Del Ray Artisans, a community arts center, you can sign up for weekend drawing classes and take in monthly themed exhibits by local painters, sculptors and photographers of all ages.