Family Activities:

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum


Gadsby’s Tavern Museum

134 North Royal Street, Alexandria, 22314, VA

After a visit to Gadsby’s Tavern Museum you’ll never complain about a hotel room bed again. And I mean ever. Gadby’s is a jewel of a historical find, sitting modestly in the heart of Old Town. I don’t mean to toss a cliche your way, but oh, if these walls could talk.

Mr. Gadsby opened his first tavern in 1785 and a second tavern adjacent to the first seven years later. An eighteenth-century tavern was a magnet for locals and visitors alike because it was the only place to get the news. Gadsby’s was proud to carry thirty newspapers and men thronged from miles around to find out what was happening in the world. Gadsby’s also provided full meals and “hotel accommodations” if you want to call the crazy claustrophobic sleeping situation that. Visitors who needed a place to sleep could pay six shillings and bed down with — hello! — about three to five (stinky, I’m betting) others.

George Washington dined often and danced at balls in his honor twice at Gadsby’s. And Thomas Jefferson enjoyed a victory dinner at Gadsby’s after winning the presidency. The massive front door to Gadsby’s is the very door both great men walked through.

To present day you can actually dine in Gadsby’s Tavern Restaurant — the second tavern built next to the first. The costumed staff presents food by candlelight with a colonial flare. Unless you have adventurous eaters, I recommend dining without the kids, although the Sunday Brunch might be up their alley.