There’s more to this 3-day weekend than a Prez-themed shop-athon. By George, it’s time for Washington’s birthday celebration! Get out the party hats and streamers and get ready to boogie to fifes and drums. From Old Town’s parade to the National Portrait Gallery’s Presidential Family Fun Day, we found the best places to honor our Founding Father and Honest Abe. Scroll on for where to party with the original POTUS—as well as the 16th.
photo: Mount Vernon
Party with a President
Celebrate President’s Day with a birthday party for America’s first Commander-in-Chief. Mount Vernon, the historic home of George and Martha Washington, opens its doors to the public on Feb. 17 and Feb. 22 for a day of admission-free fun and learning. Watch a musical demonstration of fifes and drums on the Bowling Green and sample maple syrup in Vaughan Lobby. Demonstrations and tributes are continuous on both days from 9 a.m.-3 p.m
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.
Mount Vernon, VA
photo: Madame Tussauds
Pose With The 1st and 16th
Step into moments of history at Madame Tussauds where you can shake hands with a past president or take an Insta-worthy pic during one of history’s great moments. Looking for a more realistic experience? Check out the new Alive with AR experience where exhibits come to life with the help of augmented reality (Alive with AR is included in admission; tickets start at $18/person). Don’t limit your visit to just George and Abe, though. You can cozy up to all 45 presidents—Say cheese!
1001 F Street, NW
photo: National Park Service
Get a Peek into the White House
George Washington may never have lived in the White House, but he did select the site the present day presidential home sits on. An actual tour of the presidential mansion may not be on this weekend’s agenda (requests for tickets must be made 21 days in advance and are rewarded on a first come, first served basis), but the near-by Visitor Center offers a more hands-on interactive experience. Younger kids will enjoy letting their dinosaurs and trolls move into the doll sized version of the White House display; older kids can play an edible version of Jeopardy at a table set with life-like food with questions like Who liked jelly beans? or Who dined on squirrel soup? Don’t forget to stop at the Visitor Desk for a special rangers guide to the President’s Park (located just steps away from the entrance).
1450 Pennsylvania Ave NW
photo: Visit Alexandria
George Washington Birthday Parade
Head over to Old Town, Alexandria for the most energetic President’s Day event in the DMV. Over 95 years old, the GW Bday parade features bands, floats, wagons, horses, antique vehicles, historic reenactment units, youth groups, military units and drill teams, local organizations and special performances. The parade is from 1-3 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 17th. Get there early and enjoy quaint, cobblestoney Old Town before taking on the parade. You can even add a quick visit to Mount Vernon, only a few miles up the road, before or after.
Gibbon St. at S. Fairfax St., to Wilkes St. at S. Royal St.
photo: Sidney C. via Yelp
Visit President Lincoln’s Cottage
Take this opportunity to visit #16’s cottage, one of DC’s must-see landmarks. Tucked away in Petworth, this is where the Great Emancipator drafted the Emancipation Proclamation as well as where he spent lots of his time during the Civil War. Tour this significant marvel near Rock Creek Park.
140 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW
photo: National Portrait Gallery
Presidential Family Fun Day
On Feb.15 from 11:30 a.m.–p.m. head over to the National Portrait Gallery to celebrate the presidents. There will be live music, art activities, tours with historians, and (just maybe!) a special appearance by Washington Nationals’ Running Presidents.
750 Ninth St. NW
—Meghan Yudes Meyers Ayren Jackson-Cannady and Guiomar Ochoa