Alexandria’s King Street is Royal
Photo: Kevin Harber
King Street in Alexandria is the place to go for royal treatment, and it’s even easier to explore now that a section of it is vehicle-free. A stretch of the roadway from Lee to Union streets was permanently closed to traffic in recent years, making it an ideal spot to go for a stroll, do some shopping, or find a great place to eat.
Area restaurants have since turned some of their former parking spots into outdoor seating, and some stores in the area have used their sidewalks as extended retail space. It’s part of the “streetery” program, which began in the pandemic, and was extended due to its overwhelming popularity.
Due to the success of a temporary closure of the roadway, in fall of 2021, city leaders voted to close the stretch of King Street permanently to vehicle traffic, making it only open for pedestrian use. While the original “streetery” was set to expire in spring of 2022, the city found that most residents approved of making the street closure permanent.
Supporters say it’s helped to ensure the future of a number of the neighborhood’s longstanding businesses. King Street is popular with both locals and visitors, alike.
This lively stretch of roadway in Alexandria is packed with great places to grab a bite to eat, some of which have been a fixture in the neighborhood for generations. In fact, there are more than 200 independently owned restaurants and boutiques in Old Town to visit, and some great examples of well-preserved 18th and 19th-century architecture.
Along with some of its tasty eateries, or rather “steeteries”, Old Town also boast one of the nation’s longest continually operating farmer’s markets, the famed Torpedo Factory Art Center, and some area museums. While not all of King Street is permanently closed to vehicle traffic, you can always hop on the free King Street Trolley, which runs from Market Square to the King Street Metrorail Station.