Alexandria, Virginia is a fabulous location for a mommy and me day trip or a girls weekend retreat. It is situated roughly 10 miles outside of Washington, D.C. Old Town Alexandria has over 60 boutiques, antique stores, and galleries to browse, restaurants, and charming scenery. And, it has sparkling waterfront views.
We started our mommy and me day trip in Old Town. We opted for an art and spa itinerary. Our first stop was the historic Torpedo Factory Art Center. It is situated on the banks of the picturesque Potomac River.
An Affordable Art Tour
The Torpedo Factory was originally built in the early 1900s for World War II torpedo production. Today, the center houses 82 artist studios and rotating gallery displays. The center also hosts special events and art classes for both kids and adults. It is free to visit the Torpedo Factory and browse the art studios.
We enjoyed browsing the studios and seeing artists at work. Our favorite spots were the sculptors. Chris Erney in MetalShop33, has a lot of cool ocean-inspired pieces.
Lisa Schumaier of Keen Things makes creative wonder out of recycled materials. Located right on the first floor in Studio #16, this is also a great spot to take a selfie with Gluey Louie. Gluey Louie is one of Lisa’s ingenious creations made out of recycled paper and pictured below.
Our next stop on our mommy and me day was Unique & Special Kids Spa. It is conveniently located just a short, scenic drive from the historic Old Town Alexandria area.
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Mommy and Me Day Pampering
As we started the pampering phase of our mommy and me day, we walked into a pretty lobby adorned with flowers. We browsed the Wall of Glam featuring Polaroids of several happy guests! My daughter helped herself to trays of kid-sized waters and purple candies. Then, she got fitted into a pink silk robe. She took a quick second to snap a shot in the comfy lobby chair before being whisked away for her special experience.
In the treatment room, they have kid-sized pedicure stations, a television playing kids movies, and an assortment of magazines and kids books to choose from. They also have a massage room with services for adults and for kids salon services that include a princess haircut and style, specialty braids, and updos.
A Memorable Mommy and Me Spa Experience
My daughter’s mommy and me spa appointment started with picking polish and a glitter finish from over 60 shades. Then, she was offered her choice of sparkling cider, hot chocolate, or juice (she went for the chocolate of course).
As my daughter made her selections, I enjoyed a peaceful foot soak with my choice of essential oils. I chose the stress relief formula. I received a soothing warm neck pillow too.
Next, my daughter got a cinnamon sugar foot scrub and pedicure. Then, she moved to the kid-sized manicure station. After her nails were painted, she picked out some nail art and a finger and toe ring to complete her princess treatment!
While my fair lady got her finishing touches, I continued to unwind in my spa chair as they refreshed my warm neck pillow and offered me another beverage.
More About Unique & Special Kids Spa
As I received my treatment, I got a second to chat with the super friendly owner, Martia Clark. You could instantly tell that she has tons of experience with kids and a passion for the work that she does! Martia explained that she has been a daycare provider for over 14 years. She came up with the idea for the spa based on her background.
Before we left, she gave us a quick tour of the party room. Martia explained that they do dress-up fashion shows, karaoke dance parties, and even spa-inspired science experiment themes. She is planning lots of fun special events too from a Princess Ball to Chocoholic Specials!
Best Free Things to Do in Alexandria Virginia
In addition to the Torpedo Factory mentioned above, there are lots of other totally FREE things to do in Alexandria:
- Check out the Old Town Farmers Market, one of the longest continually running farmers markets in America. The Old Town Farmers Market is held every Saturday of the year from 7 am until noon at Market Square.
- Take the free trolley and shop til you drop on King Street!
- The Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria hosts First Thursdays sponsored by the Del Ray Business Association. Enjoy free music and themed activities on the first Thursday night of every month such as Dog Days and Unmask Your Superhero.
- Go on a self-guided free walking tour of art or history.
- Visit one of Alexandria’s waterfront parks.
- Head to the Dora Kelley Nature Park, a 50-acre wildlife sanctuary with a one-mile trail and an indoor nature center that has live animals and historical exhibits (open Wednesday thru Saturday).
- Escape the city and wander through 44 acres of lush foliage in search of the waterfall at the Winkler Botanical Preserve. Open daily aside from major holidays.
- Appreciate art at the 1800s era Athenaeum. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this building is home to Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association and offers rotating art exhibits.
Best Annual Festivals in Alexandria
Alexandria Virginia hosts lots of annual festivals. Plan your trip around one of these fabulous annual events in Alexandria:
- If you love architecture, check out the Historic Homes & Gardens Tour that happens every April as part of the Historic Gardens Week in Virginia.
- If cars are more your speed, mark your calendar for the Old Town Festival of Speed & Style in May. See over 100 exotic cars and motorcycles. Plus, enjoy a free street festival with musical performances and kids activities.
- The Portside in Old Town Summer Festival is another popular annual event in Alexandria. This family-friendly festival takes over Alexandria’s Waterfront Park with music, cultural activities, art, food, and craft beer.
- For art lovers, Art on the Avenue is held on the first Saturday in October. More than 50,000 visitors flock to the Del Ray neighborhood to browse 300 artisans plus enjoy food, music and lots of fun kids activities too.
More Girls Trip Itinerary Ideas in Alexandria
Alexandria is a great choice for a mommy and me date or girls trip! The historic city has earned consistent recognition as a top place to visit in America. Mentions include #1 Best Value U.S. Travel Destination by Money magazine, a Top 5 Best Small City in the U.S. 2018 by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards and one of the South’s Prettiest Cities 2018 by Southern Living.
If you are staying for the weekend, there are tons of other great options for your Mother-Daughter event to suit any preference:
- If your daughter is an adult, create a wellness weekend with fitness classes, take a winery tour or a self-guided pub tour!
- Learn about history by visiting the Market Square Museums or board a ferry from the Old Town marina to tour George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.
- Head to Cameron Run Regional Park for a variety of recreational activities. This park’s amenities include a water park, playground with climbing structures, mini-golf, and batting cages.
- Take a water taxi to National Harbor or a Washington monuments cruise.
- Take in a show at The Little Theatre of Alexandria or the Tony Award®-winning non-profit Signature Theatre.
More Resources for Things to Do in Alexandria Virginia
Whether you make it a day trip from the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area or turn it into a full weekend girls getaway, there are plenty of things to do year-round! Check out the Visit Alexandria calendar to find out more about festivals, performances, and seasonal holiday events! If you are staying in Washington, D.C., hop over to Everyday Wanderer to decide the best place to stay based on your interests!
If you opt for a Mommy and Me Day itinerary like we did, a girls trip, or another experience, the city makes a great choice. Whether your daughter is still young, a teen, or an adult, she will fall in love with the charming Old Town area and love spending quality time with mom!
For more Alexandria itinerary ideas, check out the recent Redfin article we were
featured in: Unique Things to Do in Alexandria: 11 Things to Experience as a Newby
Factory art looked so neat! Visiting art installations or museums while we travel is one of my fave things to do with my kiddos.
This looks like so much fun! I’ve never been to Alexandria, but it looks like a great Girls getaway destination. My daughter would love to have a spa day.
I enjoy a “bites” tour – having an appetizer or such at a number of different places
Love the Torpedo Factory. We like just walking around and popping in and oit of shops
That is the cutest idea ever! Love the mommy and me time!
How fun! We love doing the toddler playgroup Upcycled Arts Center in the City of Alexandria!
The recycled art looks so cool!
I love the DC/Alexandria area. My husband and I go there often for work. In fact, a few months ago we were in Alexandria and I first noticed Old Alexandria. I’m excited to visit there. I’m thinking about a girls weekend with my daughters, daughters in law, and granddaughters. Thanks for the information, great read!
Alexandria is one of my favorite places to visit. I didn’t know about the kid spa and will def check it out with my daughter! I think mommy daughter days are so special!
Definitely! It’s a super cute place 🙂
This is adorable! I especially love that there is a kids spa!! What a cool thing! I love having mommy-daughter dates with my kiddo. If we are ever in Alexandria, I am taking her to this spa. Thanks for sharing!
My pleasure! Thanks!