Gadsby’s Tavern Museum

The two 18th-century taverns that make up Gadsby’s Tavern Museum capture the changing landscape of the early United States. Through tours, programs, and special events, learn about this complex time.

Page updated on Nov 18, 2021 at 2:20 PM

Gadsby's Tavern Museum

Gadsby's Tavern ExteriorGadsby's Tavern Museum consists of two buildings, a ca. 1785 tavern and the 1792 City Tavern and Hotel. In those seven short years, the young Republic began to take shape through the conversations and choices being made in these tavern spaces. The impact of these choices and how far to extend power—political, economic, and social—is still being felt today. Named for Englishman John Gadsby who operated them from 1796 to 1808, the tavern businesses were central to Alexandria’s port-based economy, offering spaces to dine, entertain, and spend the night. A large enslaved labor force made Gadsby’s renowned hospitality possible. Notable patrons that enjoyed this hospitality included George and Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the marquis de Lafayette.

Tour Gadsby's Tavern Museum Online

The tour of these two taverns - the 1785 tavern and the 1792 City Tavern - explores power in the new Republic and its impact on people.

Covid-19 Operational Guidelines

OHA established the following guidelines to ensure consistent operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. All museums are participating in the ALX Promise Gold program. Staff will regularly re-evaluate these guidelines throughout 2021, based on guidance from the CDC, Commonwealth of Virginia, and the Virginia Health Department.


Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is open Thursdays & Fridays 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sundays 1 - 5 p.m. This page has admission information, tour options, and directions to assist in planning your visit.


Visit the first and second floors on Google 360 Virtual Tours. The virtual tour was created in late 2017, during the Time and Place exhibition. You can also tour the museum online for an in-depth visit to each room.


Gadsby's Tavern Museum is recruiting Volunteer Tour Guides. See how you can participate.


The Historic Ice Well at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum offers a glimpse into early Alexandria’s commercial and social history. An important and rare example of a commercial well in an urban environment, it provided the tavern with a ready supply of ice to cool beverages or help make the new desert of the day, ice cream.


Meet in the same room George Washington met in...Drink in the same room Thomas Jefferson drank in. Gadsby's Tavern Museum was the center of Alexandria’s social scene in the 18th century -- and now these historic rooms are available to you and your guests for your own historic event!  


Gadsby’s Tavern Museum supports educators in classrooms, in homes, and within organizations. Our on-site programs range from special tours and hands-on activities to lectures and living-history opportunities. Education programs and educational outreach kits can be tailored to meet the needs of your specific group!


Step back in time and enjoy our historic hospitality through the period dance program! Prepare for the next ball with dance classes and spend a lively evening exercising your skills at a formal period ball. Whether you dance the night away or just tap your toes, recall Philip Fithian’s 1774 saying: “Virginians are of genuine Blood. They will dance or die!” 


Miss visiting your favorite Historic Alexandria sites? Looking for some fun historic activities to share with your kids at home? Let our staff bring history virtually to you! 

Museum and Office Hours

Museum Hours
Thursday 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Friday 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday 1 – 5 p.m.

New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas 

Office Hours
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., by appointment only.

Email the Museum

Email Gadsby's Tavern Museum

Event Tickets

To purchase tickets to events at Gadsby's Tavern Museum and to shop online, visit The Alexandria Shop. Visit the Historic Alexandria Calendar for a full list of events.

Stay Connected

Follow us on social media, sign up for eNews, and join the Gadsby's Tavern Museum Society.

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Other Important Links

National Historic Landmark  |  National Register of Historic Places 

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American Alliance of Museums
Accredited Museum