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Alexandria falls under the aegis of Washington, D.C., when it comes to the performing arts. The free weekly City Paper (www.washingtoncitypaper.com) and the monthly magazine Old Town Crier (www.oldtowncrier.com) are the best sources of news about the local bar and music scene; pick up copies at the Ramsay House Visitor Center and in hotel lobbies.

King Street restaurants are the center of Alexandria's ongoing club and bar scene. Especially noteworthy are Two-Nineteen, 219 King St. (tel. 703/549-1141), which features live jazz Tuesday to Saturday nights in the Basin Street Lounge; the Fish Market, 105 King St. (tel. 703/836-5676), with either a pianist or a guitarist Thursday to Saturday nights; and Murphy's Irish Pub, 713 King St. (tel. 703/548-1717), the town's best Gaelic bar with live Irish bands to accompany corned beef and cabbage on weekends.

An older crowd likes to gather for live music on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings in the cozy lounge of the Morrison House, 116 S. Alfred St. (tel. 703/838-8000), between King and Prince streets. Sometimes you can hear wannabe professional singers belt out some fine jazz and even an aria or two.

Built about 1914 as a vaudeville house, the restored Old Town Theater, 815 1/2 King St. (tel. 703/683-8888; www.oldtowntheater.com), shows second-run movies. It serves hot dogs, burgers, pizzas, and a few main courses. Call or check the website for the schedule.

The Birchmere, 3901 Mount Vernon Ave., south of Glebe Road (tel. 703/549-5919; www.birchmere.com), is the Washington area's prime showcase for nationally known bluegrass, country, and folk stars. Call or check the website for the schedule and reservations, which are absolutely necessary when a top performer is on stage.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.