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Though it's easy to see Alexandria on your own, your experience will be enhanced by having a knowledgeable local guide. Take your pick among Alexandria's Footsteps to the Past (tel. 703/683-3451 or 703/850-7138; www.footstepstothepast.com), Alexandria Tours of Old Town (tel. 703/329-1122), or The Old Town Experience (tel. 703/836-0694; www.alexandriacitywebsite.com/OldTownExperience.htm). Even if you see everything on your own during the day, you'll enjoy spooking around Old Town after dark with Alexandria's Original Ghost & Graveyard Tours (tel. 703/519-1749 or 703/548-0100; www.alexcolonialtours.com). They usually explore Old Town's streets and back alleys Wednesday to Sunday nights (call for the schedule and to make reservations). The Ramsay House Visitor Center has their schedules and will make reservations, which are required. All three tours cost $10 for adults, $5 for kids 7 to 12, free for children 6 and younger.

Potomac River Cruises

After you've seen Old Town's attractions on foot, you can get a fish-eye view of the city on a cruise operated by Potomac Riverboat Company (tel. 877/502-2628 or 703/548-9000; www.potomacriverboatco.com), based at the city dock behind the Torpedo Factory Art Center at the foot of King Street. A 40-minute "Alexandria Seaport Tour" is fine for taking photos of Old Town from out on the river, and it's especially suitable if you are traveling with children. This tour costs $14 for adults, $8 for children ages 2 to 12. Much more scenic is the 1 1/2-hour "Washington Monuments Tour," as it goes upriver for super views of the nation's capital. This tour costs $26 for adults, $14 for children ages 2 to 12, but it's worth the extra money. All cruises run daily from June to September and weekends during May and October. Check at the dockside booth or call for information and reservations.

The company also has cruises to Mount Vernon.

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.