Alexandria: Home of the Brave, Land of the Freebie

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Its been a year or so now that those close-to-home vactions have actually been given a name Staycations and throughout the summer, the Alexandria Times will be featuring a regular series of local and regional ideas that keep you close to home without sacrificing family fun. Beginning with 25 free things to do in and around Alexandria, look for future ideas on outdoor adventures, water sports and vacationing with pets. So, are we there yet?

25 Free Things to Do This Summer

1. Visit the Torpedo Factory at 105 North Union Street and watch artists working in their studios.

2. Take a walk or bike ride along the Potomac River on the bike trail.

3. Ride the King Street trolley and stroll around lower King Street and the boardwalk behind the Torpedo Factory to enjoy the sidewalk performers music and art work.

4. Go bird watching or hiking at Dyke Marsh.

5. Play volleyball or basketball at one of the riverfront parks, such as Founders Park or Windmill Hill Park.

6. Feed the ducks at the city marina.

7. Attend a poetry reading or authors lecture at one of the citys public libraries.

8. Check out the latest exhibit at the Atheneum, a 19th century Greek revival building at 201 Prince Street.

9. Stroll around the 8-acre African Heritage Park and see the sculpture at the park on Holland Lane, which is close to Duke Street and Whole Foods. Follow the Black History walking tour. Brochures are free at the Black History Museum.

10. Examine the work of Alexandrias archeologists on the top floor of the Torpedo Factory at the Alexandria Archeology Museum.

11. Explore Fort Ward, the best preserved fort of all of the Civil War Union forts that surrounded Washington.

12. Run around and climb on the remains of old military batteries at Fort Hunt, a 10-minute drive south of Alexandria on the George Washington Parkway.

13. Visit the Old Presbyterian Meeting House and the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier in the cemetery behind the church, located at 321 South Fairfax Street.

14. Take a picnic or go for a walk or let your kids play in the childrens garden at River Farm Park, the headquarters for the National Horticultural Society at 7931 East Boulevard Drive along the George Washington Parkway.

15. Explore and hike on Theodore Roosevelt Island, a 10-minute drive north on the George Washington Parkway. See more than 200 types of wildflowers.

16. Skateboard at the Shuyler Hamilton Jones Skateboard Park at 3540 Wheeler Avenue (off Duke Street).

17. Pay a visit to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Museum at 600 Dulaney Street. Be sure to visit the murals with historical depictions of old Alexandria in the pedestrian tunnel near the King Street Metro.

18. Take the George Washington Masonic Temple tour and go to the top of the tower to see the view of Alexandria and Washington.

19. Visit St. Pauls Episcopal Church, a Benjamin Latrobe designed church, which is 200 years old this year.

20. Play tennis on any one of the citys many tennis courts.

21. Take a picnic and enjoy the citys free summer concerts or the free Superheroes 22-week Monday night movie festival in Crystal City.

22. Pick up a copy of the Alexandria Visitors Guide at Ramsey House Visitors Center on the corner of King and N. Farifax streets and follow the walking tour around town.

23. Attend any one of the citys many art fairs: Art Safari, King Street Art Fair or the Del Ray Art Fair.

24. Take all of your summer reading books from the past few years to the Book Barn at 1510 King Street and trade your old books for this years summer reading books.

25. Listen to the music of the Alexandria Symphony and watch the fireworks at the citys birthday celebration on July 11.

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