Events: Celebrate summer in Alexandria

Events: Celebrate summer in Alexandria
Mind the Mat's Megan Brown hosts a pilates class on Mount Vernon Avenue during the 2018 Well Ray Festival. (Photo Credit: Will Niccolls)

By Missy Schrott |

With Memorial Day in the rear-view mirror, summer is coming in hot. Each year, summer in Alexandria brings a collection of fun events, from recurring annual hallmarks like America and Alexandria’s joint birthday celebration in July, to first-time events like the Carlyle Block Party.

Get ready to mark your calendars, because whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, stay active or sample drinks throughout the city, Alexandria has you covered. Below are some can’t-miss summer spotlights, but there are numerous other one-time and ongoing events taking place throughout the summer, including outdoor movie screenings, First Thursdays in Del Ray and more. Keep up with our calendar each week for a list of upcoming events.

Portside in Old Town

Celebrate the newly opened Waterfront Park with the Portside in Old Town Summer Festival. Portside in Old Town is a free programming series that aims to draw people to the new park at the foot of King Street, according to Visit Alexandria. The series kicked off this past fall with the first Portside in Old Town Festival on the waterfront, but because of flooding along the waterfront, the event took place before the new park was completed.

The new waterfront public art piece, “Mirror Mirror.” (Photo Credit: Alan Tansey)

On June 22, the festival returns in full swing at the now-finished Waterfront Park. Primarily a music festival, the event will feature six local musical acts that are tinged with international flavor: Elena & Los Fulanos, a Latin folk band; Christylez Bacon and Nistha Raj, a duo that blends hip-hop and Indian classical music; Feedel Band, an Ethiopian jazz ensemble; Cissa Paz, a Brazilian jazz artist; and Black Masala, a D.C.-based brass fusion band.

The free event, which will take place rain or shine from 2 to 8 p.m., will also feature pop-up eats from Pizza Paradiso, Rocklands BBQ and Dolci Gelati; activities from the Office of Historic Alexandria, The Art League and School of Rock Alexandria; and a beer garden from Port City Brewing Company. The waterfront beer garden will return the following two weekends, June 28 through 30 and July 5 through 7.

More information is available online at

Well Ray

Well Ray is an annual event that’s become a hallmark in Alexandria’s health and wellness scene over the past six years. Falling on June 22 this year, the festival takes place each summer on Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray.

The free festival features a variety of outdoor yoga, Pilates, CrossFit, spin, barre and dance classes led by Del Ray studio instructors. There will also be a lineup of health and lifestyle vendors offering massages, acupuncture, blood pressure screenings and other services.

For more information, visit

Carlyle Block Party

With an influx of new businesses, including Lost Boy Cider and Whiskey & Oyster, and even more new concepts on the way, including a food hall at 200 Stovall St. and a Wegmans grocery store, it’s no secret that Carlyle is one of the city’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods.

To celebrate the growing neighborhood, the inaugural Carlyle Block Party will take place on June 22 at John Carlyle Park from noon to 8:30 p.m. The event is hosted by the Carlyle Vitality Initiative, a group that aims to improve the neighborhood’s vitality through physical and experiential improvements, according to the City of Alexandria website.

The all-day block party will feature performances by Capital Blues Ensemble, Turtle Recall, Aztec Sun and other Alexandria bands, as well as two beer gardens, food trucks and a variety of games.

For more information, visit

USA / Alexandria Birthday Celebration

Alexandria’s Town Crier announces former Mayor Allison Silberberg at last year’s Alexandria Birthday Celebration. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Miller)

In Alexandria, residents are never shy about celebrating the city’s history. This annual event keeps the Fourth of July celebrations going, bringing together American and Alexandria history along the waterfront.

The party, which will take place on July 13 at Oronoco Bay Park, will celebrate the country’s 243rd birthday and the city’s 270th.

Each year, residents gather in their lawn chairs and blankets for the party’s main event – a fireworks display accompanied by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra. Other festivities include birthday cake and food vendors.

For more information, visit