The Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights is a favorite holiday celebration in both Old Town Alexandria and Washington, DC. Festively decorated pleasure boats light up the sky along the Potomac River and include 50 powerboats, sailboats and the District's fireboat, the John Glenn, spouting water 70 feet into the air. The brightly lit boats are creatively decorated as they compete in categories such as "Best in Show," "Best Thinking Outside the Christmas Box," and "Hardiest Souls." From 4-6 there are activities on the docks in Old Town and at 5:00, the boat parade begins. Once the boats leave, we can find somewhere warm to hunker down for dinner/drinks.
After the parade we'll walk or carpool about 7 blocks up King Street to Las Tapas restaurant. They have tapas and a full menu. Please post in your RSVP if you plan to stick with us afterwards so we have a reasonably accurate number for the reservation. Please note that if you commit to the restaurant and don't show up, there will be serious repercussions. I am considering suspension from the group for a time frame to be determined, as these types of no-shows are particularly offensive on several levels. (As an aside: We mostly ignore/work around no-shows as a rule as it would be a full-time job to police, but we cannot be expecting restaurants to hold seats for us for a large number of people who don't show up. It is not only rude and makes us look really bad, but it costs the restaurant money. And just an FYI for everyone who isn't aware, our no-show rate for almost any ocassion is at least 50%, which is really a sorry state of affairs.)
Considering meeting places. The parks on S. Union may be the best idea.
Parking garages are here: http://alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/recreation/info/OldTownParkingMap.pdf
Taking the metro isn't a bad idea, especially if you are planning to go to the Masonic Temple festivities. Take the blue or yellow lines to King Street and you can take the trolley or buses down to the water. But they are going to be crowded. Parking near Las Tapas (see garages above) and walking down might be a good move. Then you won't have to walk back to your vehicle after dinner.