Visiting Gadsby's Tavern Museum is an opportunity to step back in time and experience the social and political world of the 18th century. The museum consists of two buildings, a ca. 1785 tavern and the 1792 City Hotel, both 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, and the Marquis de Lafayette.
The museum has daily tours, regularly offers family programs, such as Tavern Toddlers and Swordsmen's Rendezvous, and is a major participant in the annual George Washington Birthday festivities.