Where to Spend Presidents Day
We cannot tell a lie: Philly is a great place to celebrate history and the holiday.
Presidents Day is Monday, February 20, and wherever you stand politically, there’s a good chance the presidency has been on your mind lately. With no school in much of the area, there are plenty of events going on throughout Philadelphia, a city that knows a thing or two about presidents. And if your goal for Presidents Day is to meet someone dressed as George Washington, you’ll have more than one chance.
The National Constitution Center (525 Arch St., Philadelphia) is planning a weekend of events, featuring the interactive “Breaking Barriers” show that doubles as a Black History Month program, as well as a “Hail to the Chief” quiz game.
On President’s Day itself, admission to the center is free and a variety of special activities will take place. These include a mock voting booth, a presidential portrait Challenge, a presidential costume contest (the prize is a family membership), and a Kids Town Hall, where attendees will have a chance to meet costumed versions of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
Benjamin Franklin may not have been a president, but the Benjamin Franklin Museum (317 Chestnut St., Philadelphia) will offer free admission on Presidents Day.
The National Museum of American Jewish History (101 South Independence Mall East, Philadelphia) is also offering free admission on Presidents Day, as it is for the entire month of February. The museum will also feature a costumed George Washington, as well as opportunity to write letters about freedom with a quill, and “interactive tours highlighting the theme of religious freedom.”
Valley Forge National Historical Park (1400 N Outer Line Dr, King of Prussia) will celebrate George Washington’s birthday, just like they did in 1778. The celebration of the first president’s 285th birthday will feature historical interpreters John Lopes and Carol Spacht, as well as the Colonial Revelers, crafts, weaving, and an “enlistment table” to sign up for the Continental Army.
The Presidents’ House (524–30 Market Street, Philadelphia), which was the home of the executive branch under Washington and early in President John Adams’ term, is open to the public on Presidents Day (and every day). Visitors can learn about the presidents, their lives and business there, and the slaves who served both presidents.
The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, or PAFA (118-128 North Broad St., Philadelphia), will hold an early celebration on February 19, with a family workshop focusing on presidential portraits.
Photograph of the Benjamin Franklin Museum by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia.