Self-Guided Tours

Explore Historic Alexandria with self-guided tours. Walk or bike with the guidance of brochures, maps and cue-sheets, cell tours, podcasts or apps.

Page updated on Aug 6, 2019 at 9:16 PM

Book cover; Walk and Bike the Alexandria Heritage TrailAlexandria Heritage Trail

The Alexandria Heritage Trail is a unique 23-mile urban trail, exploring Alexandria’s archaeology and history. Explore the sites, and look for Trail Signs at some locations. The guidebook Walk and Bike the Alexandria Heritage Trail (out of print but still available for purchase online), will enhance your experience.

Heritage Trail Signs

Heritage Trail Signs are being placed a number of locations in the City of Alexandria, on the Alexandria Heritage Trail and beyond. 

Bike Rider on Prince StreetBike Tours

Alexandria Bikeways:

  • The  Alexandria Bikeways map of trails and on-road bike routes is now available online. To obtain a free printed copy, stop by your local bike shop, the Old Town Transit Shop, City Hall, or any of our recreation centers.  

Civil War Defenses of Washington:

  • Alexandria Civil War Defenses of Washington Bike Trail : A map, cue sheet and information on Civil War sites are provided for self-guided bike rides. The Civil War Defenses of Washington Bike Trail is one way in which Alexandria, surrounding jurisdictions and the National Park Service are marking the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

War of 1812:

  • Discover the War of 1812 on the Star-Spangled Bike Tour: Visit places where the events of the five-day British occupation of Alexandria occurred in late August 1814, on this 6.6 mile tour. Tour information includes Cue Sheet and printable or interactive maps. Three Star-Spangled Banner signs are located in Alexandria. " Raise the White Flag" is installed in Waterfront Park. " Plundered" located in the Torpedo Factory arcade, near the Timeline. " Fighting Back" is at the base of Shuter's Hill, across from the Callahan Drive crosswalk. 

Courageous JourneyWalking Tours

African American Historic Sites: Two brochures will lead you to significant locations in Alexandria's African American history, including churches, schools and the site of the first Sit-down Strike. Many of these sites are listed on the  National Register of Historic Places.

Civil War iPhone App: Want to explore historic Alexandria's Civil War heritage?  Download this free iPhone app and take it along as you tour Alexandria. Learn about Alexandria history through this comprehensive and convenient app that takes you to Civil War forts, hospitals, cemeteries, museums and other interesting places. The Civil War Alexandria iPhone app was developed by the Office of Historic Alexandria and Tour Buddy, and is available through the iTunes Store. 

Civil War Hospitals: Learn about the many buildings in that were used as  hospitals during the Civil War, when the Union Army occupied Alexandria.
  • Interactive Map. The 23 hospitals located in Old Town Alexandria are shown on this GIS Story Map. Visit this link on your Smart Phone.
  • Walking Tour Brochure. Print this brochure and bring it with you as you walk or bike around Alexandria.

George Washington's Alexandria: This brochure, produced by Robert Madison for the Alexandria Archaeology Museum, is extracted from his larger work, Walking with Washington: Walking Tours of Alexandria, Virginia, Featuring Over 100 Sites Associated with George Washington, for sale at the  The Alexandria Shop.

Old Town North Walking Tour:

Jewish Alexandria Walking Tour:

Presbyterian Walking Tour:

Upper Old Town:

Shuters Hill wayfinding signWayfinding in Alexandria: Exploring Old Town

The City of Alexandria’s wayfinding signage system helps people find their way around the city. Take a look at the new map and history panel “mini-kiosks” in Old Town, from the Masonic Temple on Shuter's Hill to the waterfront. Read the full text of the history panels here.


Download audio walking tours of the historic city.  Many interesting and enjoyable sites that are easy to access on foot. Get the most out of your stroll! 

  • Walking Tour of Historic Old Town Alexandria (1/15/2006) MP3
    1 hour, including 30 minutes of leisurely-paced walking. Begin at Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington Street.
  • Women's History Walk, courtesy of the Alexandria Commission for Women.
    6 block (30 minute) tour MP3. Begin at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union Street.
    1 mile tour MP3. Begin at Lyles Crouch School, 530 S. St. Asaph Street.
    1.5 mile tour MP3. Begin at Lyles Crouch School.
    4 mile tour MP3. Begin at Lyles Crouch School.

Get more information about the historic city.

  • Historic Alexandria: Taking it to the Streets (1/14/2008)   MP3
  • Celebrate George Washington, 18th Century Style! (2/9/2006)  MP3
  • Gadsby's Tavern Ice Well (9/19/2007)  MP3

Scavenger Hunt imageScavenger Hunt

Alexandria Historical Scavenger Hunt is a 2-3 hour, 20-block walk that meanders through Old Town with stops at some of the city’s oldest and most historic addresses. Some stops require entrance to museums, so try to begin your scavenger hunt after 10:00, when they open. None of the clues require entering a museum that charges an admission fee. A numbers of stops are private residences; clues to these sites are found on exterior plaques, so please be careful not to disturb the residents.