What is First Night Alexandria?
First Night Alexandria 2013 is a celebration of the new year through the performing arts. Coffee shops, retail stores, hotels, museums and public buildings are turned into performance venues to showcase incredible local and regional talent. Recent performers at First Night Alexandria include clowns, face painters and magicians for children to a world-class Scottish fiddler, a Grammy-nominated rock and roll guitarist and a classical cellist for adults.
For a small fee for adults (children 12 and under are free), you have access to all the entertainment, more than 100 performances, all evening! Everything is within easy walking distances. And we celebrate the dawning of a new year at midnight with a spectacular fireworks display on the Potomac River at the foot of King Street.
- Will there be fireworks this year?
- Do I have to pay to see the finale?
- What time is the Fun Hunt? What is the cost?
- How do I know where to go and what to see?
- What time does the event end?
- How late will the venues be open?
- Can I bring my lawn chair for the fireworks?
- Is this event kid friendly? Where are the children's activities?
- What can we do with kids in the afternoon?
- Where are good places to take kids to eat?
- Where can I get admission badges?
- Do you take credit cards?
- Can I bring my pet to First Night Alexandria?
- What do you do if it rains?
- What about snow or really bad weather? Can I get a refund?
- Do you have porta potties?
- What restaurants/fast-food places are open?
- Where are the closest ATM Machines?
Will there be fireworks this year?
YES! Fireworks are back on the river! Best viewing is anywhere along the river from Oronoco Bay Park to Waterfront Park. Some of the display will be visible from the steps of the Masonic Memorial but the best viewing will be close to the river.
Do I have to pay to see the finale?
What time is the Fun Hunt? What is the cost?
The Fun Hunt begins at 2:00 pm on 12/31. You can pick up clue sheets at the Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron Street and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union Street. You must return the completed clue sheet to the Durant Art Center by 5:30 to be eligible for prizes. Winners must be present to claim their prizes. To pick up a clue sheet, a team needs one 2013 First Night Alexandria admission badge. You must also show the badge when you turn in your clue sheet to be eligible for prizes. The Fun Hunt is not a timed event. It will take you approximately 60-90 minutes to complete without stopping.
How do I know where to go and what to see?
The full schedule is posted at the Schedule tab at the top of this page. When you pick up your admission badge you will also receive a printed program. It explains all the entertainment and shows the best places for kids. The footprint of the event is very walkable.
What time does the event end?
The finale ends at 12:15 am.
How late will the venues be open?
All venues will be closed by approximately 11:45 pm. Some close earlier. Please refer to the schedule either on the web site or the printed program for specific locations and times.
Can I bring my lawn chair for the fireworks?
Is this event kid friendly? Where are the children’s activities?
|View a PDF of all Kid Friendly Activities at First Night Alexandria 2013!|
First Night Alexandria is extremely family friendly. No venue is off limits to kids. However, there are some venues that have more activities for kids.
Jefferson Houston School on Cameron Street is all about kids withentertainment, model sail boat building and sailing, moon bounce and interactive carnival games (10 and under). New this year is the ThinkFun game room!
Hooray for Books (1555 King Street) has storytelling for children.
Downtown Baptist Church also has face painting, a moon bounce and interactive carnival games for children 10 and younger.
The George Washington Masonic Memorial, in addition to adult music will have face painting and clowns making balloon sculptures.
What can we do with kids in the afternoon?
There are many afternoon activities being planned for children and adults. Stay tuned and check the schedule for activities beginning at 2:00 pm!
The Fifth Annual First Night Alexandria Fun Hunt – a scavenger hunt through the streets of Old Town where you follow clues. Anyone that finishes and has all the correct answers is eligible for one of several prizes (more information and prizes are listed on the Fun Hunt page). Clue sheets can be picked up at the Durant Center and the Torpedo Factory Art Center beginning at 2:00 pm. This is NOT a timed event. Clue sheets must be turned in between 5:30-5:45 pm. Prizes awarded during kickoff at 6:00 pm.
Where are good places to take kids to eat?
The best places to take kids to eat in Old Town on New Year’s Eve are King Street Blues (kids eat free on 12/31 with the purchase of an adult meal), Bittersweet, Nickells & Scheffler and Hard Times Café. In 2013 we're hosting food trucks! Check the map in December for specific locations and menus.
Where can I get admission badges?
You can buy online at www.firstnightalexandria.org/tickets or at the Durant Arts Center beginning at noon on 12/31. Every venue will also sell badges beginning 15 minutes before the first performance. Tickets will be available until 10:00 pm on 12/31. The price is $15 through 12/18. On 12/19 the price goes up to $20 through 12/31.
If you bought your badge online: Please pick up your badge beginning at noon on December 31 at the Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron Street in Alexandria. BADGES WILL NOT BE MAILED!
Do you take credit cards?
Yes, Online admission sales take all credit cards. On 12/31 you can use credit cards at Durant Arts Center (1605 Cameron St.) and Torpedo Factory (105 N. Union St.) only. Be prepared for a longer process if you must use a credit card. Cash is accepted at all venues.
Can I bring my pet to First Night Alexandria?
Sorry, other than the one afternoon activity at King Street Garden Park, First Night is for people of all ages. Unless this pet is aiding the handicapped, it cannot attend.
Where can I park?
There is plenty of street parking as well as numerous parking lots and garages in Old Town. Visit the City’s web site at http://alexandriava.gov/Parking for specific locations.
How do I get up and down King Street?
The easiest way to get around to the venues is to walk. Most of Old Town is flat and the total distance from one end to the other is only one mile.
The free King Street Trolley runs from the foot of King Street to the metro. However, it tends to get full quickly.
Dash has several routes that run up and down King Street. Beginning at 6:00 pm, any regular bus that runs east and west on King Street will be FREE. Thank you DASH! The schedule can be found at Dash Bus.
What metro station are you close to?
King Street metro on the blue and yellow lines brings you right to the heart of Old Town and all of the First Night venues. The metro will be running until 2am on NYE - take a look at our Transportation page for more information on last train details!
Still have questions about transportation for First Night Alexandria? Visit our Transportation Page for more information!
What do you do if it rains?
Bundle up and bring an umbrella. The show goes on regardless of the weather!
What about snow or really bad weather? Can I get a refund?
Unless there is a severe blizzard making travel hazardous, First Night Alexandria goes on. Bundle up. Only if the event is cancelled prior to beginning will tickets be refunded.
Do you have porta potties?
There are no outdoor portable toilets. All of the indoor venues have bathrooms that are available to use for First Night ticket holders.
What restaurants/fast-food places are open?
All of Alexandria's fine restaurants are open on December 31. Most will require a reservation. A list of kid-friendly locations can be found here. The map will show locations of food trucks in the 100 block of N. Union St., and in the 1500 Block of Cameron Street.
Where are the closest ATM machines?
There are ATM machines at the following locations (there many be others around, but these are ones we are certain of):
- Embassy Suites Hotel, 1900 Diagonal Road
- Virginia Commerce Bank, 506 King St.
- BB&T Bank, 1717 King St.
- Burke & Herbert Bank at King and S. Fairfax St. and at 621 King St.