During Presidents Weekend or any time, you can visit these New York City places with a special connection to US Presidents, including George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays we celebrate each February.
Several are National Park Service sites, with FREE tours by Park Rangers and other events with re-enactors in period Revolutionary Era costume.
George Washington took the oath of office on this spot on Wall Street, to become the first American President.
It’s easy to find – just look for his larger-than-life bronze statue guarding the front steps.
There’s a wonderful museum inside, with exhibits about New York City and our role in the early history of the USA, including as the first US capitol city, before that moved to Philadelphia and then Washington, DC.
including where he worshiped and ate.
This is the oldest surviving private dwelling in Manhattan, built in 1765 by a British officer as a country getaway, when this part of Upper Manhattan was still farmland.
George Washington camped out here briefly, using the house at his headquarters during the Revolutionary War after the British Loyalist owner skipped town.
Washington used the mansion again a few years later for the very first presidential cabinet meeting, which included both Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and lifelong rival Aaron Burr.
There are regular events here, including paranormal events, because the place is said to be haunted by the ghost of Eliza Jumel, who married Burr in the front parlor days before he shot Hamilton in that famous duel.
including his home and burial site
Dating from 1719, this is where the Sons of Liberty met to discuss how to gain independence from the British, and also where General Washington bade farewell to his Revolutionary War officers, just before taking the presidential oath. Fraunces Tavern still is a place to eat and drink.
There’s a Colonial-style menu downstairs and a small museum upstairs.
He’s not just the man whose face is on the $50 bill. Ulysses S. Grant was a Civil War general before he became President.
He and his wife are buried in the largest mausoleum in the United States, which overlooks the Hudson River in Manhattan, close to where they lived after leaving the White House.
There is a small museum inside, including displays of Grant’s close association with Abraham Lincoln during he Civil War, which many Southerners still call the War of Northern Aggression.
- National Park Service direct link to what is known officially as the General Grant National Monument.
The first US President born in New York City (Donald J. Trump is the second). Roosevelt’s childhood home in what is now called the Flatiron District is a National Historic Site.
Teddy Roosevelt also served as NYC Police Commissioner, and founded the national park system, saving millions of acres of land for public use.
National Park Service direct link to the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site.
- He was also a devoted conservationist, and was one of the founders of the American Museum of Natural History, where there is a the wing named for him.
Called the Four Freedoms Park, this space honoring Franklin Delano Roosevelt sits at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, overlooking the United Nations and lower Manhattan across the East River.
The park opened officially in 2012, and takes its name from one of his most famous speeches – the president’s 1941 State of the Union address, in which he expressed his belief in the universal rights of freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
There is also a New York City Parks named for former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Central Park Reservoir is named for and former First Lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis.
And, of course, many New Yorkers and visitors fly in and out of John F. Kennedy International Airport.
For Veterans Day, we published a similar round-up of the top war memorials in New York City, where you can honor the service men and women who served their presidents proudly.
Note that we are not including Trump Tower, which is purely commercial structure, part of the family real estate business, with shops on the lower floors and luxury apartments above, including the sprawling, gilded family penthouse, or any of the other Trump-branded commercial buildings in New York City.
This article was posted originally in Feb. 2016 and is updated annually for Presidents Weekend, including for 2020.
Evelyn Kanter also is the author of several NYC and Hudson Valley guidebooks, including my latest, 100 Things to Do in NYC Before You Die.