6 Ways to Celebrate President’s Day in Our Nation’s Capital

by Ben SanfordFebruary 19, 2018

Take This Opportunity to Honor Our Nation’s Past Presidents

President’s Day weekend is the perfect time to visit Washington, DC to honor our nation’s past presidents and to do some sightseeing in one of the most historically rich cities in the country. George Washington, the first president of the United States of America, was born on February 22nd, 1732. America has celebrated this day since before the death of Washington, as a day to remember his life and to celebrate America’s independence.

When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, America began celebrating his birthday, February 12th. Under President Nixon, the two national holidays were combined into one day, the third Monday of February, where we celebrate all of America’s presidents. Washington, DC hosts special celebrations every year on President’s Day in order to memorialize and commemorate the incredible history of our nation’s leaders. Here’s a short list of the many treasures that await you on your next visit to Washington, DC.
tour the capital on president's day

1) Visit the Lincoln Memorial

Built in 1922, the Lincoln Memorial is located on the very western end of the National Mall. Designed in the form of a Greek temple, the memorial features grand columns and an enormous, awe-inspiring statue of Lincoln.

Spend an afternoon exploring the many nuanced details of the memorial. You’ll find Martin Luther King Jr.’s full “I Have a Dream” speech engraved on one of the landings of the memorial, in addition to the infamous “Gettysburg Address” speech that Lincoln delivered during the Civil War. Find more visitor information on the National Park Service website.

2) Visit the Washington Monument

The Washington Monument soars above DC’s modest skyline, making it one of the most iconic monuments to visit in the city. Construction of the monument began in 1848, but it wasn’t completed until 1885.

Visitors used to be able to climb the 898 steps to the top of the towering structure, though access was closed due to safety issues. Now you can just admire the impressive tribute to our first president from afar.

3) Presidential Family Fun Day at the National Portrait Gallery

Each year on President’s Day, the National Portrait Gallery hosts a Presidential Family Fun Day. This year’s activities include music by the Linton Hall Fife and Drum Corps, president-themed tours of the gallery, and a Virginia-Reel workshop.

You can also write love notes like George and Martha in a calligraphy workshop, dress up like George Washington, and make your own tricorn hat. Find more information about the festivities on the National Portrait Gallery Website.
tour the capital on president's day

4) Meet the (Wax) President

In honor of the celebrity status of many of our nation’s past presidents, you can take a few moments to visit Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum where you can check out the wax version of every single United States president.

Browse the likeness of Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Thomas Jefferson, and more. Madame Tussaud’s has the most comprehensive catalog of presidential measurements and statistics, so prepare to get up close and personal with some of the most famous executives of all time.

5) Take the Smithsonian Tour of Presidential Highlights

Honor President Teddy Roosevelt’s lifelong connection to the Smithsonian by taking the Presidential tour of the Smithsonian. With presidential portraits, art, and artifacts in all six Smithsonian museums, you’ll be able to keep yourself busy all weekend.

Check out Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, Bill Clinton’s saxophone, George Washington’s battle uniform, and more, all on display at various Smithsonian museums around the city. Create your own personalized presidential tour on the Smithsonian website.

6) Eat at a Presidential Restaurant

After a full day of presidential fun in DC, you’ll want to chow down on some presidential food. So why not eat at a restaurant where one of the presidents also enjoyed a meal or two?

Grab a meal at the Occidental, built in 1906 and referred to as a place “where statesmen dine.” Located in the same neighborhood as the White House, the restaurant has enjoyed such patrons as Calvin Coolidge and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
tour the capital on president's day

Observe President’s Day in the Most Presidential City

The temporary home of every single United States President, Washington, DC is ripe with fascinating history that’s perfect for exploring over President’s Day weekend. Learn some new facts, participate in tons of fun memories, educational activities, and eat some delicious food in a historic restaurant. What more could you ask for from your President’s Day weekend?

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About The Author
Ben Sanford
Ben is a real estate agent and freelance writer. He's lived on the east coast his entire life and is just as "at home" on a snowboard as he is in the office. When not writing about local real estate markets and researching hot new tips for homeowners, he can be found working on his home renovation projects with help from his wife Melissa and their kids, Josh and Cheyenne.