5 things to do on President’s Day
George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Once a vibrant plantation in the 18th century, George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate is now one of the nation’s most visited historic sites. Combining an authentically interpreted 18th century home, lush gardens and grounds, intriguing museum galleries, immersive programs, and first-rate dining and shopping, Mount Vernon is an incomparable national treasure.
Celebrate with General Washington in honor of his 288th birthday! Admission is FREE!
President’s Day Parade
Old Town Alexandria, VA
1:00 ~ 3:00 PM
The annual George Washington’s Birthday parade in Old Town Alexandria is the largest celebration of the country’s first president in the United States and one of the most vibrant President’s Day event in the Washington, D.C. area.
The parade dates back to at least 1923 and features bands, floats, wagons, horses, antique vehicles, historic reenactment units, youth groups, military units and drill teams, community and fraternal organizations, and a host of special performances. The event is planned by the George Washington Birthday Celebration Committee in coordination with the City of Alexandria and representatives from the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Disabled American Veterans, the Masonic Fraternity, the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, the Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Society, the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association, and other local organizations.
When celebrating Presidents Day, Abraham Lincoln is another commander-in-chief to come to mind. This three-day weekend is a popular time to explore the Lincoln Memorial, one of the nation’s most important and iconic buildings, located at the far end of the National Mall along the Potomac River. Looking out from the Lincoln Memorial steps, visitors get an impressive panoramic view of the Capitol building, the Washington Monument, and the Reflecting Pool.
On Presidents Day, a special wreath-laying ceremony takes place followed by a dramatic reading of the Gettysburg Address, one of the most famous speeches ever delivered in American history.
Smithsonian National Museum of American History
The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History explores the lives and contributions of the 45 men who have led the nation since its founding. The exhibit features more than 900 objects and artifacts that bring to life the role of the presidency in American cultures, such as the carriage ridden by President Grant during his inauguration or the microphone used by President Roosevelt during his evening fireside chats.
The National Museum of American History is located in the National Mall at Constitution Avenue, between 12th and 14th streets and next to the Museum of Natural History. As with all Smithsonian museums, admission is free every day.
National Portrait Gallery
View the “American Presidents” exhibit and see a portrait of every one of our nation’s leaders, including rarely seen works of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. After being on tour, the official portrait of President Barack Obama is now on permanent display in the “American Presidents” exhibit as well. Apart from the White House, the National Portrait Gallery is the only place to see the full collection of these official portraits.
For Presidents Day weekend, the National Portrait Gallery will offer a variety of family fun activities ranging from calligraphy workshops to scavenger hunts, games, music, and hands-on activities. The activities take place on Saturday, February 15, 2020, beginning from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Because the National Portrait Gallery is part of the Smithsonian Institution, admission is free.