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. Recent performers at First Night Alexandria include clowns, face painters and magicians for children, to a Grammy-nominated rock and roll guitarist, jazz musicians and classical performers 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.

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 all venues.

You can buy online at www.firstnightalexandria.com/buy-tickets/, at the Visitor Center, 221 King Street and other locations to be announced soon.

On December 31 you can purchase onsite at the Visitor Center from 10:00 am until 7:00 pm, at the Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron St. from noon until 10:00 pm and at the Torpedo Factory, 105 N. Union St. beginning from 2:00-5:00 pm and from 7:00-10:00 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 2:00-5:00 pm and from 7:00-10:00 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 26-30, 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 – 7:00 pm.

ALL SALES ARE FINAL. BADGE PURCHASES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.

BADGES WILL NOT BE MAILED!

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

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 foot of King Street to the metro. However, it tends to get full quickly.

Dash has several routes that run east from King Street Metro. The schedule can be found at Dash Bus.

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.

Miscellaneous

There are ATM machines at the following locations (there are many others around, but these are ones we are certain of):

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.

There will be three food trucks in the 100 block of N. Royal Street near the intersection of Cameron Street.

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.

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.

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.

No – you do not have to pay to see the fireworks, but you must have a First Night Badge to attend any of the other First Night performances.  Please help us keep this event alive by making a contribution at Donate or sending a check to First Night Alexandria, 221 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314.  First Night Alexandria is a 501(c)(3) non-profit.  All contributions are tax deductible.

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 closer to the river.

Parking & Transportation

Parking

 On street parking is available.  Please observe posted notices for parking rates and hours. Download the Pango 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.

Routes and Schedules

King Street Trolley

The King Street Trolley runs every 15 minutes (depending on traffic conditions) from the corner of King and Union Streets to King Street Metro.

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.

Hotels & Accommodations

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

Food

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