Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 17, honors the birthdays of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and the work of our nation’s Commander-in-chiefs.
Celebrate Presidents’ Day 2014 with free museum admission, special tours, themed events and more for the duration of the entire long weekend — and beyond.
With such iconic attractions as the National Constitution Center, the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, there is no better place to discover presidential history than Philadelphia.
Many of the happenings slated for Presidents’ Day weekend include free tours, programming and museum admission. Save your pennies and head to the National Constitution Center, National Museum of American Jewish History and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts all for free.
Bonus Idea: Use the long holiday weekend as an excuse for an overnight stay at a Center City hotel. With many schools and offices closed on Monday, and with so many activities taking place all weekend long — detailed below — it’s the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to a quick Philly getaway. (And oh yeah, it’s happens to be Valentine’s Day weekend as well…)
The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, which includes two nights accommodations AND free hotel parking, is a great way to take advantage of the long weekend. Click here to search all Visit Philly Overnight package rates.
If you’re only looking for a one-night stay, there are great deals out there for that as well, including (as of the time of publishing) Sunday night rates of $119 at the Radisson Blu, $109 at the Courtyard Marriott and Sheraton Downtown, $149 at the Hyatt at the Bellevue, $160 at the Sofitel, $89 at the Doubletree and that’s just a handful of the available options. Click here to search all available hotel rates.
But back to the reason for the hotel stay — check out our guide to the long weekend’s happenings below.
• National Constitution Center: From February 15 to 17, the National Constitution Center celebrates Presidents’ Day with special tours, games, crafts and activities for folks of all ages to enjoy. Learn about the tasks that go into the President’s day-to-day and show off your presidential knowledge during a bout of trivia. Also look forward to extended hours on Sunday, February 16 and free admission on Monday, February 17 in celebration of both Presidents’ Day and Black History Month.
• National Museum of American Jewish History: Stroll the galleries of the National Museum of American Jewish History for free on February 17 as it raises a hat to our country’s presidents. Learn how various presidents impacted America and the Jewish population in America during tours, stories, crafts and more. Also feast your eyes on an original letter penned by George Washington to the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island.
• Free Admission to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: Celebrate our presidents’ with free admission to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. While the museum is open and free every Sunday through April 6, 2014, not specifically for Presidents’ Day, it’s still a great opportunity to explore the museum and take in art from the era of our founding fathers.
• The President’s House: The interactive site located on Independence Mall is the perfect place to learn about our past leaders. The President’s House is free and open to the public all year round. The site tells the story of the slaves that worked at President George Washington and President John Adams presidential home at Sixth and Market streets.
• Historic Philadelphia Presents Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday Commemoration: A few days before President’s Day, on Wednesday, February 12, Historic Philadelphia honors President Abraham Lincoln’s 205th birthday at Independence Square. Join the free celebration which will include a flag raising, laying of a wreath and playing of Taps.
• Historic Philadelphia Presents The Many Faces of George Washington: On February 15 and 16, Historic Philadelphia spotlight the portraits of President George Washington, Martha Washington and their contemporaries during free tours at the 2nd Bank Portrait Gallery. Stop by from 3 to 3:30 p.m. to experience a portion of history on the tour.
• Friends in High Places at Laurel Hill Cemetery: Learn about the trusted friends and colleagues of some of the nation’s greatest presidents as Laurel Hill Cemetery invites guests to embark on a tour of the historic grave sites. On Sunday, February 16, hear about Thomas Jefferson’s doctor during his final days, an opera singer who recorded Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite song and more. The tour begins at 1 p.m. and costs $12 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors and $9 for members.
More happenings, below.
• Presidents’ Week at City Tavern: Transport back in time at City Tavern as it serves up a special Presidents’ Week menu from February 17 to 21. Stop by for a curated menu by Chef Walter Staib who has cooked inside of the homes of the first five Presidents.
• Presidents’ Day Tours at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens: Spend your day off, Monday, February 17, taking in the fine mosaic artwork of Isaiah Zagar at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. The South Street attraction provides visitors with a 2 p.m. tour on the presidential holiday.
• Abraham Lincoln: A Study in the Paradox of Greatness at the Brandywine River Museum: This Wednesday, February 12 at 6 p.m. the Brandywine River Museum celebrates Abraham Lincoln with a discussion led by Commonwealth Speaker Roger Lane about Lincoln’s politics and the influence his presidential run had on future generations. Before the discussion, explore the museum’s N.C. Wyeth’s America in the Making exhibition for a look at Wyeth’s illustration of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.
• Foodways of Washington’s Time at the Mercer Museum: Learn about some of our first presidents’ favorite food at Foodways of Washington’s Time, a cooking demonstration at the Mercer Museum. From noon to 4 p.m., sample old time fare and learn a thing or two about George Washington’s diet.
• Valley Forge National Historical Park: Celebrate the 282nd birthday of President George Washington at the site of the first public location for his birthday as Valley Forge invites guests in for free crafts, games, cake, a drill formation workshop and an opportunity to play dress up and try on 18th century clothing. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on February 17, join the festivities throughout the park. On February 16, a local living history reenactment group will encamp at the Valley Forge Muhlenberg Brigade for the day and members of the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment will be on-site in full regalia to demonstrate drill and artillery maneuvers at specific times from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also on Sunday, February 16, visit the Valley Forge Education Center in the park for the ranger talk General Washington: Commander-in-Chief.