King Street (Alexandria, Virginia)

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King Street
Old Town Alexandria.jpg
King Street through Old Town Alexandria, as seen from the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.
King Street.png
Map showing King Street's path through the city
Part of City of Alexandria
Length 5.1 miles (8.2 km)
East end King Street Park at 0 King St Alexandria, VA 22314 38°48′15″N 77°02′21″W / 38.804119°N 77.039282°W / 38.804119; -77.039282
West end S George Mason Drive 38°50′42″N 77°06′53″W / 38.844921°N 77.114696°W / 38.844921; -77.114696

King Street is a major road in Alexandria, Virginia, United States and historic Old Town Alexandria. It extends westward from the Potomac River waterfront near the Torpedo Factory Art Center and nearby bustling tourist gift shops and restaurants, passing City Hall and the Alexandria General District Court.[1]


In 1964 Richard Muzzrole begins nine years of excavations along King Street.[2]:7 In 1965 artifacts from King Street homes, shops, and taverns are excavated by Malcolm Watkins of the Smithsonian Institution.[2]:7 During the 1960s urban renewal prompted the demolition of a six block area along King Street.[2]:12 In 1965 Bulldozers revealed creamware, glasswork, porcelain, and pottery.[2]:12 Bulldozers preparing for parking garage construction revealed brick lined wells. [2]:14 In 1977 Pamela Cressey begins excavations at the King Street courthouse.[2]:7 Deep wear marks on wine bottles found within King Street privies reveal the practice of refilling bottles at taverns.[2]:12

King Street in 1933

In 2007 the American Planning Association listed King Street as a “2011 Great Place in America” within the “Great Streets” category.[3]

King Street is currently seen as an active strip of commerce and tourism that successfully accommodates both Alexandria’s local residents as well as its visitors. Historically the street was used as access to the seaport and later as a main center of trade. The balance between past and present is noticeable with the vitality of the street’s noteworthy character. Architectural and demolition regulations have been employed to allow for the continued visual appeal of 18th and 19th century buildings. Zoning laws, particularly those established in 2005 and 2007, are responsible for ensuring mixed use on this street. Various businesses, outdoor dining and other activities can be found all along King Street. One amenity to this street is the Market Square found at Alexandria City Hall as it is one of the oldest U.S farmers markets and is often used to provide venue space for concerts, festivals, and community events. Other features found on King Street include Alexandria City Hall, which is in the style of the period during the Second Empire, and clock tower that was designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe. The Torpedo Factory Art Center is another hotspot for tourism and is currently used as studio housing for artists.


On reaching the Washington Metro and Amtrak stations and the George Washington National Masonic Memorial, King Street bends.[4]:817 Between Russell Road and Janney's Lane, green bike lanes exist. Wealthier residents fought against these.[5] King Street passes Chinquapin Recreation Center, T.C. Williams High School and several historic churches, becoming Leesburg Pike as it leaves Alexandria at Bailey's Crossroads. King Street becomes State Route 7 west of Washington Street (State Route 400). In Old Town Alexandria, King Street is designated as the dividing line between north and south in the addressing system, while Duke Street (State Route 236) is designated as the dividing line in the West End area of Alexandria.[6] King Street follows the original southwest border for the District of Columbia, becoming Leesburg Pike then Route 7 as it extends westward into Fairfax County.[6]


The Washington Metro has a station at King Street, just west of Old Town, on the Blue and Yellow Lines. Also, the King Street Trolley takes passengers on a ride along King Street every 15 minutes.[7]


  1. ^ Elise H. Ford (26 October 2010). Frommer's Washington, D.C. 2011. Frommer's. pp. 298–. ISBN 978-0-470-63004-4. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Cressey,, Pamela J.; Anderson, Margaret J. (May 11, 2006). Alexandria, Virginia. Oxford University Press. p. 48. 
  3. ^ "King Street Alexandria, Virginia". Great Places in America. American Planning Association. Archived from the original on 2012-03-15. 
  4. ^ Hudson, Kenneth; Nicholls, Ann (Jun 18, 1985). Directory of Museums & Living Displays. Springer. p. 1047. 
  5. ^ Tuss, Adam (Nov 11, 2013). "King Street Bike Lane Battle Heats Up in Alexandria". WRC-TV. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Bikeways Network (Jul 14, 2015). "Alexandria bike map" (PDF). City of Alexandria. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  7. ^ "King Street Trolley". DASH. Alexandria Transit Company. Retrieved 24 March 2017.