Gadsby's Tavern Museum consists of two buildings, a ca. 1785 tavern and the 1792 City Hotel. The buildings are named for Englishman John Gadsby who operated them from 1796 to 1808. Mr. Gadsby's establishment was a center of political, business, and social life in early Alexandria. The tavern was the setting
for dancing assemblies, theatrical and musical performances, and meetings of local organizations. George Washington enjoyed the hospitality provided by tavernkeepers and twice attended the annual Birthnight Ball held in his honor. Other prominent patrons included John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison,
James Monroe, and the Marquis de Lafayette.
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In 1929, the newly formed American Legion Post 24 purchased the buildings now known as Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, restoring them in honor of World War I veterans. As part of the World War I Centennial Commemoration, learn more about the American Legion’s history in Alexandria. Whether in 1929 or 2018, home or abroad, these men and women embody the idea of service. Through Veterans Day. Included in museum admission; Veterans and active duty military personnel are free.
Experience the museum independently at your pace, or join us on an In-depth guided tour. Discounts are available to AAA Members and to visitors who have dined at Gadsby's Tavern Restaurant. Admission is free for members of the Gadsby's Tavern Museum Society, AAM members, HHMC member organizations, and Alexandria City Employees.
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!”
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
November to March:
Wednesday to Saturday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday: 1 - 4 p.m.
Monday and Tuesday: Closed
Last entry: 3:45 p.m.
Closed: New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas
April to October:
Tuesday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday and Monday: 1 - 5 p.m.
Last entry: 4:45 p.m.
During Museum hours, guests are welcome to walk through anytime with a self-guided tour. Guided tours are offered at select times throughout the day. For more information, refer to our
Plan your Visit page.
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., by appointment only
Email the Museum
Email Gadsby's Tavern Museum
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.
Other Important Links
National Historic Landmark |
National Register of Historic Places
American Alliance of Museums