What Is First Night Alexandria?

First Night Alexandria is a celebration of the new year through the performing arts. Retail stores, hotels, museums and public buildings are turned into performance venues to showcase incredible local and regional talent.  Performers at First Night Alexandria include a Grammy-nominated rock and roll guitarist, an Earth, Wind and Fire Tribute band, smooth and classical jazz musicians, and an award winning DJ for the adults.

For a small fee for adults (children 12 and under are free), have access to all the entertainment in over 30 indoor venues that feature more than 100 performances, throughout the evening! Everything is within easy walking distances.

There are 3 Kids Karnivals from 6 – 9pm especially designed to entertain and engage families with children up to 12 years old. There will be clowns, face painting, music, games, and a special guest host at each location all for only $5 per child 2-12 years old (or free with adult with a First Night Badge). Fun! Fun! Fun!

We end the evening dancing in the street to the sounds of DJ Ray Casiano as we celebrate the dawning of a new year at midnight with a spectacular fireworks display over the Potomac River at the foot of King Street.

FAQs

Admission

Sorry, other than the afternoon pet competition sponsored by the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, First Night is for people of all ages. Unless this pet is aiding the handicapped, it cannot attend.

Yes, Online admission sales take credit cards (Visa, Master Card and Discovery). On 12/31 you can use credit cards at Durant Arts Center (1605 Cameron St.), Torpedo Factory (105 N. Union St.),  George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Dr. and the Alexandria Visitor’s Center (221 King Street) only. Be prepared for a longer process if you must use a credit card. Cash is accepted at the Visitors Center until 9 pm on 12/31.

On December 31 you can purchase onsite at the Visitor Center from 10:00 am until 9:00 pm, at the Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron St. from noon until 10:00 pm and at the Torpedo Factory, 105 N. Union St.  from 2:00 until 10:00 pm. Every venue will 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 10/31/17.  On 11/1 the price goes up to $20 through 12/10. On 12/11 the price increases to $30.

If you bought your badge online: Please pick up your badge at one of the following locations on December 31:
From noon to 10:00 pm at the Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron Street;
From 2:00 until 10:00 pm at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union Street;
From 6:00-10:00 pm at the George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Dr.

December 21 through December 23 and December 26 through 30, at the Alexandria Visitor’s Center, 221 King Street from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.  On December 24 the hours are from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm; closed Christmas Day.  On December 31 the hours are 10:00 am – 10:00 pm.

 

Kids

Hen Quarter at King & N. Alfred Street and King Street Blues are two particularly good places to take kids on December 31.

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 Ninth 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 Torpedo Factory Art Center beginning at 2:00 pm (one clue sheet per team). This is NOT a timed event. Clue sheets must be turned in between 5:30-5:45 pm. Prizes will be awarded during kickoff at 6:00 pm. Winners MUST be present to claim their prizes!

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.

Hooray for Books! (1555 King Street) has ThinkFun games, Curious George and storytelling for children.

Downtown Baptist Church also has face painting, and entertainment for children under 12.

The George Washington Masonic Memorial, in addition to adult music will have face painting, clowns making balloon sculptures, model sailboat making and sailing and more!

Transportation

Potomac Riverboat Company will run a water taxi on 12/31/18 and is another option to get from DC and MD to First Night Alexandria! Water Taxi Schedule

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. Visit WMATA.com for details on Metro for 12/31.

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 Waterfront to the King Street Metro, however, it tends to get full quickly and only operates until 10:30 PM.

DASH has several routes that run east from the King Street Metro, but will be running on its regular Sunday schedules with very limited service after 8:00 PM. Please see the DASH website for more schedule information.

The DASH bus covers the same route until 11:38 pm.  Consult the DASH website for more schedule information.

Plan to park off King Street and walk a few blocks to get to your destination. Street parking includes metered and timed spaces. There are also many reasonably priced parking lots and garages near all the action. Visit the City’s web site at http://alexandriava.gov/Parking for specific locations.

Miscellaneous

There are ATM machines at the following locations:

All of Alexandria’s fine restaurants are open on December 31. Most will require a reservation. See a full list of restaurants at Visit Alexandria.

All of the indoor venues have bathrooms that are available to use for First Night ticket holders.  There will be porta potties at Waterfront Park for those who only come for the fireworks.

Admission cost to First Night Alexandria is non-refundable.

The fireworks display will occur on January 1 at 9pm if postponed due to weather at midnight

Bundle up and bring an umbrella. The show goes on regardless of the weather!

Event Details

Absolutely!

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.

The finale ends at 12:15 am.

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.

The Fun Hunt begins at 2:00 pm on 12/31. You can pick up clue sheets at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union Street. You must return the completed clue sheet to the Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron Street 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 2017 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.

All First Night Events after 11:30 pm – music, dancing and fireworks over the river on King Street and at the GW Masonic Temple – are free!

YES! Fireworks are back on the river!

Fireworks can be viewed from along the Potomac Riverfront – the new King Street Park (1 King Street) Waterfront Park (1 Prince Street), Oronoco Bay Park (100 Madison Street), Founder’s Park (400 North Union Street), and the GW Masonic Temple (101 Callahan Drive).

Parking & Transportation

Parking

 On street parking is available.  Please observe posted notices for parking rates and hours. Download the Parkmobile app in advance for easy payment.

Parking Locations In Old Town

DASH Bus

DASH buses have several routes along King Street. View the Routes & Schedules for additional information and fares.  Please note that DASH will be operating a Sunday schedule on New Year’s Eve and will have very limited service running after 8:00 PM.

Routes and Schedules

King Street Trolley

The free King Street Trolley runs from the Waterfront to the King Street Metro, however, it tends to get full quickly and only operates until 10:00 PM

Trolley Schedule

Shuttle

There will be a continuous shuttle running from the King Street Metro station to First Night headquarters at the Durant Arts Center and then to the George Washington Masonic Memorial.  The shuttle is free and runs from 5:00 pm – 1:00 am.

Water Taxi

Potomac Riverboat Company will run a water taxi on 12/31/18 and is another option to get from DC and MD to First Night Alexandria!

Water Taxi Schedule

Metro

Metro has not announced how late it will be open on New Year’s Eve. Check back for the latest information. King Street Station on the yellow and blue lines are the closest for First Night Alexandria activities.

Routes and Schedules

Food

For additional dining and hotel options, visit Alexandria’s tourism office