When America's first six presidents needed a place to celebrate, they headed to Gadsby’s Tavern. Home to Thomas Jefferson's inaugural banquet and two of George Washington's Birthnight Balls, the tavern also hosted plenty of community dances, musical performances, and meetings for local organizations.
These days, at the circa-1780s tavern—plus its neighboring 1792 hotel—guides teach visitors about 18th-century decorative arts and social customs. Visitors can also learn about the tavern's recently restored historic subterranean ice well. Designed along with the buildings by architect John Wise, the well could store up to 68 tons of ice, enough for the tavern plus Alexandria's citizens and vacationing polar bears.
In addition to regular guided tours, the museum plays host to frequent programs and events throughout the year. Along with lectures and candlelight tours, these include an annual recreation of George Washington's ball, complete with costumed actors filling in for George and Martha.