This is a quick tour of the city's most notable attractions and neighborhoods. I'll show more in future, more specific installments.
This is the New England State House. Built in 1800, it is the fifth building to serve as state house. The city government hoped that it would become a center of downtown life; however, it is rarely visited by anyone other than state employees (although there are plenty of them).
Camsden Hall, built in 1743, is the oldest surviving building in Alexandria. Originally a meeting place, the hall and the surrounding square is now a public market and events place. While most of Alexandria's historic buildings have been demolished, several blocks nearby were preserved with the establishment of the Camsden Square Historic District. Additionally, the Downtown Historic District prohibits the building of any buildings over 300 feet in the southern area of downtown Alexandria. Camsden Square is commonly used to refer to the southeastern area of downtown, Alexandria's premier shopping and nightlife district. Alexandria City Hall and the Alexandria Museum of Modern Art are located in the area.
Here we have the Central Financial District. It's one of the city's chief employment centers, and most of the banks with offices in Alexandria were located in this area, with the Bank of America being the notable exception. Since the collapse of Alexandria's banking industry in the mid-1980s, the offices have been divided between many different businesses; the companies currently occupying the most office space are Bazynga, Cloudline, and Tribune, in their namesake buildings. Despite the area's notability, not a single building over 300 feet has been built since 1994. The city government is hoping to encourage more construction in the district to pull the city out of its recession; however, transportation in the district is busy: Convention Center is the busiest station in the M system, with 3 lines running through. The city is looking for ways to provide relief, as trains running toward the station are often at capacity.
The Eastern Financial District has been a bustling employment and entertainment district since the early 1990s, when the internet companies began moving into the city. The Great American Insurance Group was located in this area until 1989, and Bank of America's world headquarters was in this area, occupying Alexandria's tallest building until 1984. In addition, the Alexandria Trojans play at Costco Field, in the center of the district. The Kings Street M station was designed as a defining feature of the area, and its design has influenced several nearby buildings.
Sometimes called the "Brooklyn of Alexandria", Acton Park is a former industrial area that has been transformed into the city's newest neighborhood. In an effort to transition away from manufacturing, the City of Alexandria purchased the large Acton Industrial Estate in 1979 with the intention to turn it into a mixed-use neighborhood. The city built new schools, parks, roadways, apartments and offices and extended the M's Red Line in order to create a vibrant community. Acton Park has, on average, the youngest residents out of every defined neighborhood, in large part due to its proximity to downtown and mixed-use development.