Washington, D.C - Around Town : Beyond the City Center (part 2) - Shops, Places to Eat

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A Day in Old Town Alexandria


Begin at Christ Church (

  • 118 N Washington St

  • Open 9am–4pm Mon–Sat, 2–4pm Sun

  • Donation

), a handsome Georgian-style building completed in 1773. George Washington’s box pew has been preserved. Then turn right onto Cameron Street toward the harbor. Continue three blocks and turn right onto North Royal Street. The two buildings on your right comprise Gadsby’s Tavern Museum . The half-hour tours are a fascinating introduction to colonial life in the city.

Head back to the harbor, turn left just before the Chart House Restaurant, and continue a half block to the Torpedo Factory Food Pavilion, with its Italian and Oriental specialties, and coffee bar. Take-out food can be eaten on the Pavilion’s deck with its river views, or, a few steps upriver, in the lush Founder’s Park.

Christ Church

  • 118 N Washington St

  • Open 9am–4pm Mon–Sat, 2–4pm Sun

  • Donation


Heading out of the Food Pavilion, directly ahead is the ticket booth for the Potomac Riverboat Company, which operates the Admiral Tilp. It provides a narrated 40-minute tour of the waterfront and nearby points of interest.

To the right of the tour boat kiosk is the Torpedo Factory . It takes at least an hour for even a quick inspection of the studios of the over 164 artists here, so take a leisurely late afternoon deciding which piece you’d like to take home.


  1. ADC Map and Travel Center

    Maps and travel guides detail everything from the streets of Jakarta to the interstates of Iowa. Many are beautiful in themselves, and all are practical.

    • 1636 I (Eye) St, NW

  2. Old Print Gallery

    The gallery presents a huge collection of fine art prints arranged by themes. An outstanding source for political cartoons, city views, sporting prints, and historical subjects.

    • 1220 31st St, NW

  3. Politics and Prose

    A bookstore with a large selection of works on politics, culture, and government. A cheerful place, despite its serious selection, with a coffee bar.

    • 5015 Connecticut Ave, NW

  4. Capitol Coin and Stamp

    The shop has a variety of coins and stamps – in a correspondingly huge price range. For non-specialists, the colorful political campaign stamps, buttons, and posters will be of interest.

    • 1001 Connecticut Ave, NW

    Capitol Coin and Stamp
  5. Affrica – African Art

    This Dupont Circle gallery specializes in authentic African artifacts of the finest quality. The fabrics are astonishing in design and execution. Masks, sculptures, and jewelry are equally fine.

    • 2010 R St, NW

  6. Torpedo Factory Art Center

    The building was originally a factory to manufacture torpedoes. Today, the site contains 83 studios where artists and craftspeople create work and offer it for sale on site. Prints, ceramics, photography, painting, and sculpture.

    • 105 N Union St, Alexandria

    Logo, Torpedo Factory Art Center
  7. Balducci’s

    The gourmet ingredients here are of extraordinary quality, and the selection is astonishing. The wine choice is excellent.

    • 3201 New Mexico Ave, NW

  8. Sullivan’s Toy Store

    There is such a range of playthings here that it is as fascinating for adults as for children. The real stars are the items with a link to the past: model kits, craft supplies, board games, and kites.

    • 3412 Wisconsin Ave, NW

  9. Copenhaver

    In Washington there remains an appreciation of the formalities of communication. Copenhaver sells the tools: elegant writing paper, envelopes, and pens.

    • 1301 Connecticut Ave, NW

  10. Kron Chocolatier

    This store is famous for its molded chocolate items – bears, sports cars, even the US Capitol. They also sell greeting cards made of chocolate.

    • Mazza Galleria, 5300 Wisconsin Ave, NW

Places to Eat

  1. Farrah Olivia

    Iron Chef contender Morou Ouattara named this acclaimed restaurant after his daughter. He has crafted a menu that reflects his African heritage and French techniques while incorporating locally-sourced American ingredients.

    • 600 Franklin St, Alexandria, VA

    • 703 778 2233

  2. Austin Grill

    The inexpensive Tex-Mex food here is a cut above similar places. Even the tortilla chips are flavorful. Tacos, enchiladas, and burritos, of course, but also good grilled fish and shrimp.

    • 7278 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, MD

    • 301 656 1366

    • Dis. access

    Austin Grill
  3. Bacchus Restaurant

    The mezze at this Lebanese restaurant are delicious. Marinated chicken, eggplant, hummus, and squid fill numerous little dishes with flavor.

    • 7945 Norfolk Ave, Bethesda, MD

    • 301 657 1722

    • Dis. access

  4. Passage to India

    The Indian menu here does not limit itself to any particular region of India. The dal and butter chicken are rich and smooth.

    • 4931 Cordell Ave, Bethesda, MD

    • 301 656 3373

  5. Ray’s the Steaks

    A favorite among steak-and-potatoes fans and insiders, this no-frills steakhouse is known as one of the best dining bargains in the area. Enjoy fine cuts of meat for a lower price than you expect.

    • 1725 Wilson Blvd

    • 703 841 7297

  6. Green Papaya

    At this Vietnamese restaurant, lemon grass beef and chicken are popular.

    • 4922 Elm St, Bethesda, MD

    • 301 654 8986

  7. Bilbo Baggins Restaurant

    The menu fuses dishes from around the world. Try crêpes with ham mousse and Gruyère.

    • 208 Queen St, Alexandria, VA

    • 703 683 0300

    • Dis. access

  8. Jackie’s Restaurant

    Housed in a redesigned auto parts garage, Jackie’s adds a touch of fun to eating out. Enjoy a modern American menu including free-range meats, organic produce, and seafood.

    • 8081 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD

    • 301 565 9700

  9. Restaurant Eve

    Wood and amber create a cozy ambience here. There is a cocktails and nibbles lounge, a bistro, as well as a tasting room. Don’t miss the Musovy duck leg with lentils.

    • 110 S. Pitt St, Alexandria

    • 708 706 0450

  10. Taverna Cretekou

    Fantastic Greek food, ouzo, and traditional dancing can be found at this popular restaurant.

    • 818 King St, Alexandria, VA

    • 703 548 8688

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