5 miles S of Washington, D.C.; 95 miles N of Richmond

Founded by a group of Scottish tobacco merchants, the riverfront town of Alexandria came into being in July 1749, when a 60-acre tract of land was auctioned off in 1/2-acre lots. As you stroll the brick sidewalks and cobblestone streets of highly gentrified Old Town, the city's official historic district, you'll see more than 2,000 buildings dating from the 18th and 19th centuries.

George Washington stood in the door of Gadsby's Tavern and reviewed his troops for the last time. Robert E. Lee spent his boyhood here. Both worshiped from the pews of Christ Church. Indeed, if they weren't instantly shocked back to death by the cars jockeying for prized parking spaces, Washington and Lee would still recognize their old haunts.

There's more than history here to explore. With its abundance of shops, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and tourists (not to mention hordes of older teens hanging out on Fri and Sat nights), Old Town Alexandria serves as our hip version of Georgetown over in D.C. Once you get here, you will find plenty to see, do, and eat in Old Town. Give yourself at least a day to poke around the historic district, another to see Mount Vernon and the other Potomac plantations a short drive to the south.