With Presidents’ Day fast approaching, why not visit a presidential place to mark the holiday? After all, it might be a three-day weekend, allowing you to honor those who have served as the president of the United States. While Washington D.C. is an exceptional city to the enjoy the holiday there are great spots countrywide. The following are just 10 recommendations for you to consider visiting over this important federal holiday. Of course, if the February weather is a deterrent, you can always visit another time.
Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial
540 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20024
Washington DC will be among the most popular places in America to visit on Presidents’ Day. For instance, you’ll find sizable crowds at the Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial, as well as the FDR Memorial. In addition, you can also visit the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial, across from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Open 24 hours a day, the Eisenhower Memorial is the newest presidential memorial in the nation’s capital. A design from architect Frank Gehry that opened in September 2020, the memorial honors the military leader and 34th President of the United States. The memorial’s most distinctive features are sculptures of Eisenhower and World War II servicemen and two giant columns. One column represents Eisenhower’s achievements in World War II while the other marks his achievements as President.
General Grant National Memorial
122nd St & Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10027
There are several presidential sites in America’s largest city. For instance, Federal Hall on Wall Street is an important along with Theodore Roosevelt’s birthplace near Union Square. But don’t overlook Grant’s Tomb, especially if you have never had a chance to visit. In fact, this memorial near Columbia University is the largest mausoleum in North America. An enormous structure with a Neoclassical design on .76 acres, its houses the sarcophagi of the 18th president and his wife Julia. Although the visitor center remains closed, you can visit the interior of the mausoleum. What’s more the tomb will be open throughout the Presidents’ Day weekend, including February 20, even though it’s normally closed on Monday.
How to Get To Grant’s Tomb
To reach Grant’s Tomb, you can take the 1 subway line (Red) to the 125th Street Station. From the subway station, it’s a .3-mile walk to the tomb. Alternatively, you can take the M5 city bus and get off at Riverside Drive and West 119th Street. From that stop, it’s a .2-mile walk. Incidentally, across Riverside Drive from the tomb is Sakura Park, known for its beautiful cherry blossom trees. However, the bloom season is usually in April.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
Mount Vernon, VA 22121
You can spend a full day or more seeing all the sites on the National Mall in Washington DC. Even so, another important place for you to visit over the Presidents’ Day holiday is just a half hour away. In fact, you can make public transportation connections or a tour bus from Washington DC to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. However, online reservations for President’s Day and Washington’s birthday are not available. That’s not to mention boat trips, which appear to be sold out. In case you still want to visit on Monday, there is a chance you can purchase a ticket that day. While a tour of the mansion is the main highlight, don’t overlook the museums and the tomb of George and Martha Washington.
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
303 Pearl St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Although not open on Mondays, the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids will a popular spot over the holiday weekend. After all, it’s the only presidential museum in Michigan and a fascinating attraction for people of all ages. What’s more, there are 44,000 square feet of exhibits to see that chronicle the life of President Ford and his wife Betty. This includes the permanent exhibits and temporary exhibits like Gerald Ford: A Sporting Life. In addition, you can also visit a replica of his Oval Office, featuring authentic artifacts. Lastly you can also pay your respects at their burial site on the grounds of the museum. If you want to make your visit simpler, you can purchase your admission tickets online.
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum is America’s only presidential library with a different location from its presidential museum. In this case, you would have to travel to his alma mater, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Unfortunately, the library isn’t open on federal holidays or on weekends. As a result, you would have to visit this noteworthy spot at a different time.
Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
4097 Albany Post Road
Hyde Park, NY 12538
There are several presidential sites in New York City, such as Grant’s Tomb and Federal Hall on Wall Street. But if you want to get out of the city for the weekend, head up to Hyde Park in the breathtaking Hudson River Valley. A 90-minute drive north from Manhattan, Hyde Park is Franklin D. Roosevelt’s birthplace and home to many top attractions. Over the Presidents’ Day weekend, one of your first stops is FDR’s home, which also serves as his and his wife Eleanor’s final resting place. Furthermore, its presidential library is the oldest of its kind. Also known as the Springwood Estate, the property encompasses 800 acres and includes the FDR Presidential Library. Four tours are available each day and you can purchase tickets online or at the visitor center. As part of your visit to Hyde Park, you should include the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site and Vanderbilt Mansion.
Vanderbilt Mansion and Other Hyde Park Attractions
The former home of railroad magnate Frederick William Vanderbilt and his wife Louise, the Vanderbilt Mansion is a National Historic Site. Under the management of the National Park Service, the mansion will be open for tours on Presidents’ Day weekend and President’s Day. Four tours are available but only on a first-come first-serve basis. In addition, you should also visit the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, especially if you’re a foodie.
James Monroe’s Highland
2050 James Monroe Parkway
Charlottesville, VA 22902
With regards to presidential attractions in Charlottesville, Monticello is the most popular. However, there are two other presidential homes in the area, including James Monroe’s Highland, adjacent to Monticello. Just three miles from Thomas Jefferson’s home, Highland was the home of America’s fifth president for 25 years. Open on Presidents’ Day and the holiday weekend, you can take a self-guided tour or a private tour at 10 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. While the property covers 530 acres, your top points of interest are the 1818 Guesthouse and outdoor spaces. Highland is now under the ownership of the College of William & Mary, James Monroe’s alma mater. You can purchase general admission or private tour tickets online
JFK Presidential Library & Museum
Boston, MA 02125
In the historic City of Boston, there is no shortage of presidential attractions. Take for example statues of George Washington in Boston Public Garden and at the Massachusetts State House. Equally important over the Presidents’ Day weekend is a visit to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. Overlooking Boston Harbor on Columbia Point, the library and museum preserves documents and artifacts of the 35th American president.
JFK Presidential Library & Museum Highlights
Among the highlights you can see are President Kennedy’s Ceremonial Room, replica of his Oval Office and moon rocks from the Apollo 15 trip. The Presidential Library and Museum will be open on President’s Day and throughout the holiday weekend. Plenty of tickets will remain available online although that’s subject to change. The Presidential and Library is a one mile walk from the JFK/UMass MBTA subway station. In addition, you can make a bus connection from the subway station to take you .4 miles away, near Residence Hall at UMass.
Jimmy Carter National Historic Site
300 N. Bond St.
Plains, GA 31780
The Jimmy Carter National Historic Park preserves historic structures in the birthplace of the 39th president. For example, Jimmy Carter’s high school is within this 71-park as is the historic train depot. In fact, it’s Plains High School that serves as the Visitor Center and Museum while the depot is an extension of the museum. You may also find President Carter’s childhood farm of interest that’s a few miles west of the center of town. However, one spot you are not able to visit is the Carter’s private residence, although it’s part of the park. There is no entrance or parking fees to the Jimmy Carter National Historic Park. The historical park will be open throughout Presidents’ Day weekend and on Monday.
Lincoln Home National Historic Site
413 S. Eighth St.
Springfield, IL 62701
In case you’re hoping to visit the Lincoln Home in Springfield, there is some important information you must know before going. For one, tickets for guided tours are only available on a first-come first-serve basis the day of your visit. With that in mind, Presidents’ Day weekend is all but certain to be quite busy so might want to arrive early. However, the National Park Service says tickets to ranger-led tours sell out by 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. on busy days. In addition, if it’s busy, you might have to wait before you can attend one of these tours. Despite this, it’s worth the wait to see the interior of Abraham Lincoln’s first and only home. Among the highlights of the tour are the parlor, kitchen, Abraham Lincoln’s bedroom and Mary Lincoln’s bedroom.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
In addition to the Lincoln Home, you may also wish to visit the presidential library less than a mile away in Springfield. Open over President’s Day weekend, it’s the official library of the 16th American president and contains many interesting exhibits. For instance, there are lifelike figures of President Lincoln and his family, rare artifacts and two theaters. What’s more, you may even see actors dressed as Abraham and Mary Lincoln. Open over the President’s Day weekend you can purchase tickets online in advance of your visit. Another interesting point of interest is the Old State Capitol, just one block away.
Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is easily one of the most famous presidential homes in America. In fact, it’s the only presidential home that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with Academical Village at the University of Virginia. Resting upon a 850 foot peak in Virginia’s Southwest Mountains, the historic property will be open throughout the holiday weekend. However, because of its immense popularity, you should buy tickets as soon as possible. Fortunately, tickets are still available, with options for self-guided passes, gardens and grounds passes and special tours. The clear highlight is the palatial home, with a suggested tour of the interior, including the Dome Room. In case this is of interest to you, you can also visit Thomas Jefferson’s gravesite in the Monticello Graveyard.
About The Author
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget, NBC.com, NJ.com and Radio.com. He earned a Media Fellowship from Stanford University in 2012.