15 Great Things to Do on Presidents Day Weekend in/near Northern VA

Updated on January 16, 2024 by Julie McCool

Are you looking for fun and interesting things to do this Presidents Day Weekend in Northern Virginia? Here are 15 of the best presidential events and places to visit during Presidents Day Weekend in Northern VA and nearby. These presidential destinations and events are mostly free and there is something on the list for all ages.

The Presidents Day Weekend adds a boost of extra fun to a chilly month. The long weekend is a great opportunity to explore hidden gems in the greater DC region in Northern Virginia and nearby. It is also a great time to visit local historic sites and parks associated with American presidents.

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Fun annual Presidents Day Weekend events are back in 2024. Plus, we highlight places to go where you can learn and celebrate presidential history all year long.

Here are 15 great events and destinations to visit this Presidents Day Weekend in Northern Virginia. Follow the links for hours and ticket options (where needed). Presidents Day is on Monday, February 19 in 2024 but most of these destinations are also open on Saturday and Sunday.

1. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Alexandria, Virginia

George Washington's Mount Vernon is open daily including Christmas Day
George Washington's Mount Vernon

If you can only visit one George Washington site in Northern Virginia, take a trip to his beloved home, Mount Vernon. Washington spent much of his life here. He lived at the mansion both before and after his time as a General in the Revolutionary War, and his two terms as the first President of the United States.

Washington’s Birthday Celebration, Mount Vernon, Feb 19, 22

Special activities honor and celebrate George Washington's 292nd birthday during and after the Presidents Day Weekend. Visitors get free admission to Mount Vernon on February 19, Presidents Day. Mount Vernon admission is also free on February 22 and Washington's actual birthday.

Tickets are limited and are first come first served so arrive early. Activities include demonstrations, character performances, and birthday cake. Check out this fun, short video from a prior President's Day Weekend at Mount Vernon! Free; 9:00 – 5:00.

It is fun to explore the beautifully preserved home and grounds. A mix of indoor and outdoor activities gives you options on a chilly day and makes Mount Vernon an excellent place to visit with kids.

At the Be Washington interactive exhibit in the Reynolds Museum, you can tackle challenges that George Washington faced. Interesting storylines and interactive elements make the Be Washington experience fun and informative. There is also a great 4D Revolutionary War Theater featuring snow, fog, and rumbling seats.

Plan your visit with our complete guide: Fun Things to Do at George Washington’s Estate in Mount Vernon Virginia.

2. George Washington Birthday Parade, Alexandria, Feb 19

The George Washington Birthday Parade is a popular way to celebrate President's Day weekend. Photo credit: Tisara Photography
George Washington Birthday Parade, Photo by Tisara Photography

Celebrate the 292nd anniversary of George Washington’s birth at the nation’s largest George Washington Birthday parade. The one-mile route through the streets of Old Town Alexandria honors one of Alexandria’s favorite sons. The parade is free; 1:00 – 3:00.

Additional events throughout the month of February include a Cherry Challenge among Alexandria’s best restaurants, outdoor walking tours, and virtual events. Find more fun events in our guide to February Events in Northern Virginia.

3. George Washington Birthplace, Colonial Beach, Virginia

Alert: The Memorial House Museum and Kitchen are closed for restoration work until March 2024.

Washington's Birthplace on Virginia's Northern Neck
Washington's Birthplace on Virginia's Northern Neck

Virginia’s Northern Neck is the birthplace and first home of George Washington, though he only lived at the farm on Pope’s Creek for 3 years. Here you can learn about the life of a Virginia gentleman farmer, and the influences that shaped Washington's life.

Fire destroyed the original buildings, but the National Park Service has done an excellent job recreating the site. Visitors can tour the Memorial House Museum and enjoy pretty nature trails along Pope's Creek.

The park grounds are open daily from 9:00 – 5:00 including Presidents Day, but the Visitor Center is only open Wednesday to Sunday..

Plan a visit to George Washington's Birthplace National Monument.

4. Ferry Farm, Fredericksburg, Virginia

Ferry Farm Fredericksburg Virginia
Ferry Farm, Fredericksburg Virginia

At the age of 6, Washington and his family moved to a farm along the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg VA. At Ferry Farm, visitors can explore Washington's reconstructed boyhood home and grounds. Ferry Farm hosts a fun celebration on Presidents Day but is closed for the rest of January and February.

George Washington's Birthday at Ferry Farm, Fredericksburg, Feb 19

Celebrate George Washington’s birthday at his boyhood home with fun activities for the whole family. Activities include games, crafts, tours, living history activities, the Stone Throw Challenge, and birthday cupcakes.

“General Washington” will be there to talk about his youth on the farm. Reserve a 90-minute time slot online; $5 adults, under 17 free. 10:00 – 3:00

5. Great Falls Park, Great Falls, Virginia

Great Falls Park in the snow, one of the nest winter walks and hikes in Northern Virginia
Great Falls Park in Winter

2024 Alert: Great Falls Park is open daily but the Visitor Center is currently closed.

George Washington surveyed the banks of the Potomac River as a young man. But his larger contribution to Great Falls came after the Revolutionary War. This was the site of George Washington’s ambitious project to build a canal from Ohio to the Chesapeake. He believed that trade between the states would help to unite the new country.

Today, you can visit the remains of his Patowmack Canal, built to bypass the treacherous waterfalls at Great Falls Park safely. Take a hike on the River Trail to enjoy beautiful views of Mather Gorge then visit the remaining canal walls on the Patowmack Canal Trail.

Unfortunately, Presidents Day is not a National Park free entrance day, so you will have to pay the regular entry fee. If you plan to make return visits, this is a great time to purchase an annual National Park pass.

Take a hike to the Potomac River in nearby Seneca Regional Park to see another small remaining section of George Washington's Potowmack Canal.

Historic 1700s Patowmack Canal wall at Seneca Park
Historic Patowmack Canal, Seneca Park

6. George Washington Masonic Memorial, Alexandria

George Washington Masonic Memorial Alexandria Virginia
George Washington Masonic Memorial Alexandria Virginia

View a giant statue of George Washington, murals, and artifacts at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria VA. Here you can learn about “Brother Washington” in roles throughout his life and see artifacts including the Washington family Bible.

Tours of the Masonic Memorial are offered Thursday through Sunday and advanced reservations are required. Tours are $20, under 12 free.

7. Old Town Alexandria

Captains Row cobblestones in Alexandria Virginia
Captains Row, Old Town Alexandria

George Washington was a frequent visitor to the port of Alexandria and regularly dined at Gadsby's Tavern. In fact, five other Presidents—Adams, Jefferson, Monroe, and John Quincy Adams—also frequented Gadsby's. In 1798 and 1799 Washington attended “Birthnight Balls” held here in his honor and those annual balls continue today.

Today visitors can dine at the Gadsby's Tavern Restaurant in an atmosphere much like Washington would have enjoyed. In addition, tour the Gadsby's Tavern Museum to learn about the tavern and its history.

You can even spend the night in a vacation rental in the heart of Old Town. The George Washington townhouse is a period reproduction of a townhome owned by our first President. Or book a stay at the Duvall House, which once hosted a celebration for Washington to celebrate his victory over the British.

Explore more Fun and Unique Things to Do in Alexandria VA

8. Theodore Roosevelt Island, Arlington

Theodore Roosevelt Island in Winter
Theodore Roosevelt Island in Winter

Take a short hike on a presidential island managed by the National Park system. A plaza on Theodore Roosevelt Island honors the former president with a giant bronze statue, plaques with quotes, and water features. This is a nice hiking spot with pretty trails and a wetlands boardwalk.

The island is actually in DC, but you’ll park in Virginia before crossing a footbridge to the island. You can also visit Roosevelt Island on a scenic drive on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The park is open dawn to dusk and admission is free.

Find more easy hikes in our guide 6 Beautiful Boardwalk Hikes in Northern Virginia.

Visit Presidential Homes In and Near Charlottesville Virginia

Of course, Washington was not the only US President born locally. In fact, eight presidents were born in Virginia, the most of any state. You can tour three fascinating presidential homes in and near Charlottesville VA.

Plan a Charlottesville getaway or a long day trip to visit all three presidential homes. Be sure to include a visit to Jefferson's masterpiece of higher learning, the University of Virginia. In addition to historic sites, you'll find great Charlottesville restaurants, shops, and more fun places to visit.

Plan your visit: Fun and Unique Things to Do in Charlottesville Virginia.

9. Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Charlottesville

Photo credit: Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello
Photo credit: Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello

Monticello was Thomas Jefferson’s home and plantation for much of his life. Jefferson lived here both before and after he served as America’s third president. Tours of Monticello highlight Jefferson’s life as a scholar, inventor, and founding father. Docents also discuss the conflicting reality of his devotion to American freedom, and his role as a slaveholder.

10. James Monroe Highland, Charlottesville

James Monroe Highlands Charlottesville Virginia
James Monroe Highland Charlottesville Virginia

Highland is close to Monticello for good reason—Monroe chose the site to be near his mentor, Thomas Jefferson. James Monroe was America’s fifth President and the last of the Founding Fathers.

In addition to serving as president, Monroe had a long career in public service. He served with George Washington at Valley Forge, studied law under Jefferson, and served 50 years in public office as Senator, Ambassador, Secretary of State, and President.

11. James Madison’s Montpelier, Orange

James Madison's Montpelier Orange Virginia
Front view Montpelier Orange Virginia

James Madison, America’s fourth President, lived at Montpelier as a boy, a family man, and a founding father. Tours of the mansion at Montpelier interpret the life of James and Dolley—the first American power couple—after he was elected President.

Here James entertained the nation’s founders, and Dolley defined the role of First Lady. Exhibits and tours also highlight the difficult life of the enslaved community who lived at Montpelier.

Montpelier is open weekends and Monday holidays, including Presidents Day. Purchase tickets in advance to ensure a spot on one of the tours.

12. Arlington National Cemetery and Arlington House

Arlington House, Arlington Cemetery, Virginia
Arlington House pathway, Arlington Cemetery, Virginia

Only two Presidents are buried in Arlington National Cemetery, John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft. But the eternal flame at the Kennedy gravesite is one of the most visited spots in the cemetery. 

Arlington House, which sits on a hill in the cemetery also has a presidential connection. George Washington Parker Custis, Washington's adopted son, built the house as a living memorial to George Washington.

Today Arlington House is more often associated with Confederate General Robert E. Lee, whose family lived here before the Civil War. During the war, the federal government took over the property and buried 2,111 war casualties there.

13. Maryland State House, Annapolis

George Washington Maryland State House
George Washington Maryland State House, Annapolis

At the Maryland State House, take a self-guided tour to see the restored Old Senate Chamber. In this room, George Washington resigned his commission as Commander in Chief in 1783.

Annapolis Maryland makes a wonderful day trip or weekend getaway from the Northern Virginia area.

14. Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond

Two US Presidents are buried in Hollywood Cemetery—James Monroe and John Tyler. Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, is also buried here. Other important Hollywood Cemetery burials include six Virginia governors, two Supreme Court justices, and over 18,000 Confederate soldiers (including 22 Generals).

The cemetery offers beautiful views of the James River and is an interesting stop to include in a Richmond, Virginia getaway.

15. Eisenhower National Historic Site, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Dwight D Eisenhower National Historic Site Gettysburg PA
Eisenhower Historic Site, Gettysburg PA

Located next to the Gettysburg Battlefield, the site preserves the home and farm of Dwight D. Eisenhower. The 34th President used the home as a family retreat and as a meeting place for world leaders. He purchased his Gettysburg home, the only one he ever owned, after retiring from military and public service.

The Eisenhower site is free and open year-round. Plan a Gettysburg holiday visit to see the modest home decorated for the Christmas season in Mamie’s holiday style.

While special celebrations add extra fun to the Presidents Day Weekend, these historic and natural sites are worth visiting any time of year. However you choose to celebrate, we wish you a very happy Presidents Day weekend.

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Presidential destinations in and near Northern Virginia are perfect for a Presidents Day weekend outing, or fun and history all year long.
Presidential Destinations DC Region