Gadsby’s Tavern Museum

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is a historic landmark in Alexandria, Virginia. The museum is located in two 18th-century buildings that were once home to Gadsby’s Tavern, a popular gathering place for George Washington and other notable figures of that time period. Today, the museum houses a collection of 18th-century artifacts and offers tours, educational programs, and special events.

In the early 1800s, Gadsby’s Tavern was sold to a family who operated it as a hotel. However, the Tavern became a popular gathering place for residents and travelers.

The Gadsby’s Tavern Design

It is an excellent example of Georgian architecture. The two-story brick building has a symmetrical facade with a central door flanked by windows. The second story features a balcony that Gadsby once used to entertain guests. 

The Tavern’s interior includes a variety of 18th-century furnishings, including a mahogany bar, chairs, and tables. The museum also houses a collection of 18th-century artifacts, including firearms, ceramics, and glassware.

Gadsby’s Tavern is a three-story brick building that was built in 1752. The first floor of the Tavern features a large dining room, a smaller dining room, and a barroom. The second floor contains four guest rooms, and the third has two event rooms.

George Washington often stopped at Gadsby’s Tavern while traveling between his Mount Vernon estate and Philadelphia. Other notable guests of the Tavern included Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison.

Interior of Gadsby’s Tavern, c. 1796

In 1796, Gadsby retired and sold the Tavern to John Wise. Wise operated the Tavern as a hotel and continued to host many notable guests, including President James Monroe and Marquis de Lafayette.

In 1801, the Tavern was sold again and underwent renovations. The new owners added a second story to the building and changed the name to “The City Hotel.”

The hotel’s first floor features a lobby, a parlor, and a dining room. The second floor contains six guest rooms, as well as the third and fourth floors.

The hotel continued to operate until 1939 when the City of Alexandria purchased it. The city renovated the building and reopened it as a museum in 1941.

Some Things To Do

  • See Gadsby’s Collection
    The Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is home to a collection of 18th-century artifacts. The collection includes furniture, ceramics, silver, and glassware. The museum also has a library with books and manuscripts from the 18th century.
  • Tours
    The Gadsby’s Tavern Museum offers tours of the historic tavern building. Guides lead tours in period dress that last approximately 45 minutes.
    The museum also offers self-guided tours of the first floor of the tavern building. Visitors can view the dining room, barroom, and parlor, furnished with 18th-century furniture and decor.
  • Educational Programs
    The Gadsby’s Tavern Museum offers educational programs for school groups, scouts, and homeschoolers. Programs are available for students in grades K-12 and focus on topics such as early American history, the Revolutionary War, and the founding of the United States.
    The Gadsby’s Tavern Museum also offers a summer camp program for children ages 6-12. The camp program includes games, crafts, and hands-on activities that teach about life in 18th-century Alexandria.
  • Special Events
    The Gadsby’s Tavern Museum hosts special events throughout the year, including holiday parties, concerts, lectures, and tea dances. The museum also hosts weddings and other private events.

Today, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is open for tours and special events. The museum houses a collection of 18th-century artifacts, including furniture, paintings, and ceramics. The museum also offers educational programs for students and adults.


Adults: $5

Children (ages 6-12): $3

Seniors (age 60+): $4

Students (with ID): $4

Members: Free

Alexandria residents: Free

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The museum is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

The Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is located at 134 North Royal Street in Alexandria, Virginia. The museum is accessible by Metrobus and the King Street Trolley. Parking is available on the street and in nearby public parking lots.

If you are in the Alexandria area, stop by Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and step back in time to the 18th century!

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