Colonial and post-Revolutionary buildings are Old Town Alexandria’s main attractions. Our favorites are the Carlyle House and Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, but they’re all worth a visit.

These sites are most easily accessible via the King Street Metro station, combined with a ride on the free King Street Trolley to the center of Old Town. The exceptions are the Alexandria Black History and Resource Center, whose closest Metro stop is the Braddock Street station, and Fort Ward, accessible via the AT5 DASH bus from the King Street Metro station, or by car or taxi.

Whenever you come, you're sure to run into some activity or other -- a jazz festival, a tea garden or tavern gambol, a quilt exhibit, a wine tasting, or an organ recital. But note that many of Alexandria's main attractions are closed on Monday.

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Three Specialized Attractions -- In the former headquarters of Franklin, Armfield & Co., one of America's largest 19th-century slave traders, Freedom House Museum, 1315 Duke St. (tel. 703/836-2858;, between Payne and West streets, uses first-person accounts to tell the story of the more than 1,800 enslaved persons who were bought and sold here each year. A slave compound occupied most of this city block. The museum is operated by the Northern Virginia Urban League, which shares the building. Open Friday and Saturday, 1pm to 5pm. Admission is $5.

Much digging has taken place to study and preserve the past in Old Town, and some of the results are on display in the Alexandria Archaeology Museum, 105 N. Union St. (tel. 703/838-4399;, on the third floor of the Torpedo Factory Art center. It shares space with a working laboratory. Admission is free. Check website for hours.

If you've ever had a clever idea for an invention you thought would revolutionize the world (and make you rich), walk into the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Museum, in the USPTO's Madison Building, 600 Dulany St. (tel. 703/968-4332;, which uses high-tech displays to explain how ideas for famous products came into being. Admission is free. The museum is open Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday 11am to 3pm. From the King Street Metro station, follow Diagonal Road south to Dulany Street.

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.