The Washington Nationals Presidents Race Guide to DC

This season, there are a number of reasons to catch a Nationals game. Currently first in the National League East, fans flock to see if second baseman Daniel Murphy will hit another home run and to catch favorites Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, and Stephen Strasburg on the diamond. A highlight of every game, no matter the score, is the fourth inning when a different competition takes center stage—the Racing Presidents.

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If you’re coming into the District to catch the Nats, why not take a tour of the city based on what president wins the presidents race at the Washington Nationals game. Let the presidents race chose your DC adventure. Here are the top three tourist spots to learn more about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Herbert Hoover.

If George Washington Wins the Presidents Race

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According to the Nationals, “George Washington is the quintessential champion. He is, as the saying goes, first in war, first in peace and first to win the Washington Nationals Presidents Race.” Take in GW’s glory by visiting the following memorials to his memory:

Mount Vernon

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Mount Vernon, George and Martha’s vast plantation in Alexandria, Virginia, is a convenient and short drive from Washington, DC. This historic site offers a glimpse of 18th century plantation live through preserved buildings and programs, including opportunities to hear from our first president and his wife. Visitors to Mount Vernon can walk the Washingtons’ gardens, enjoy amazing views of the Potomac River, and visit George’s distillery. Mount Vernon is open 365 days of the year. Admission: $20 for adults, $10 for children (those under 5 are free); discounts are available online.

Landsdowne Portrait

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The iconic Landsdowne portrait of George Washington, so-called as it was a gift to the Marquis of Landsdowne, an English supporter of American independence, is available for viewing at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, located in Chinatown/Gallery Place. Painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1796, the portrait features Washington “grand not as a king but as a stalwart representative of democracy.” Dolley Madison famously risked her life to rescue the portrait from the White House when it was burned by the British in 1814. The Smithsonian is open daily, excepting Dec. 25. Admission is free.

George Washington Monument

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Standing at 555 feet high, the George Washington Monument dominates Washington’s skyline and is the tallest stone structure and obelisk in the world. The Monument was constructed in two phases due to the Civil War and lack of funding: from 1848 to 1854 and 1879 to 1884. The tone-tone color resulted from marble being used in phase two taken from a different quarry. Admission to the Monument is free; tickets are required to ascend to the observation deck (a fee is applied if reserving online). Due to earthquake damage, the Monument is closed; the grounds remain open.

If Thomas Jefferson Wins the Presidents Race

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The Nationals describe our third president as such: “Tom Jefferson is more bookish than athletic. He is a reader, a studier. He is prone to distraction, once stopping mid-race to orate to the crowd. Before each race, Tom tests the atmospheric conditions in the stadium, the incline of the route and the length of the course…and sometimes ferments up a bottle of wine.”

Jefferson’s Library at the Library of Congress

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Fittingly for a president “more bookish than athletic,” visitors to DC can peruse Jefferson’s library in an exhibition within the Library of Congress. Jefferson acquired thousands of books over his lifetime, and, after the British burned the White House, Capitol, and Library of Congress, he offered to sell his collection to the Library to replace the lost collection. Admission to the Library is free; the Library is open daily excepting Thanksgiving day, Christmas, and New Year’s.

Jefferson Memorial

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If the Thomas Jefferson Memorial on the National Mall looks familiar, it’s because it is modeled on the Pantheon of Rome. This classical style was introduced to the United States by Jefferson himself, and the design of the Memorial is an homage to his personal tastes. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt laid the cornerstone in 1939 and by its dedication in 1943, the 19 foot statue of Jefferson gazed over the Tidal Basin, famed for its cherry blossoms, towards the White House. Admission is free and the Memorial is open daily, except Dec. 25.

The Charters of Freedom in the Rotunda at the National Archives

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On display in the Rotunda of the National Archives, alongside the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence may be the most famous Jeffersonian accomplishment. Drafted by Jefferson between June 1 and June 11, 1776, the Declaration “announced to the world on July 4, 1776, that thirteen British colonies in North America were leaving Great Britain to form a separate nation, called the United States of America. In justifying the revolution, the Declaration asserted a universal truth about human rights.” The original copy, in Jefferson’s had, remains on display though faded due to the poor preservation techniques of the 19th century. Admission is free; the Archives is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

If Abraham Lincoln Wins the Presidents Race

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Our 16th president’s might be known as “Honest Abe,” but according to the Nationals, his racing alter-ego “is not always the most honest of runners – he realizes what it takes to win and knows that, in the end, he will earn the respect of his competitors. With long strides (and longer face), Abe often finds himself emancipating himself from the pack and crossing the finish line first.”

Ford’s Theater

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While the Lincoln Memorial, located at the western most point of the National Mall, might be the most famous monument to the Great Emancipator, downtown DC is home to Ford’s Theater, where John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln on April 14, 1865. This National Park site encompasses the theater and its museum; the Peterson House, the building across the street where the wounded Lincoln was brought and administered to, and where he succumbed to his injuries; and the Center for Education and Leadership. In addition to preserving and exhibiting Lincoln’s legacy, Ford’s Theater is also a working theater. Admission is available for purchase online.

Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldier’s Home

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President Lincoln spent almost a quarter of his presidency in residence at this cottage, located on the grounds of the Soldier’s Home. Here Lincoln was able to escape some of DC’s humidity in the summer and spent his time visiting wounded soldiers as well as drafting a preliminary version of the Emancipation Proclamation. Located in the Petworth/Park View area of DC, this historic site and museum offers tours, exhibits, and public programs. Admission: adults, $15; children 6-12, $5. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Round Robin bar at the Willard

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A hotel has been operating on the site of the Willard Intercontinental Hotel since 1850 and patrons of its famous Round Robin bar include Mark Twain, Walt Whitman—and Abraham Lincoln. Today the bar offers up historic atmosphere and throwback cocktails like the mint julep—which Kentuckian Henry Clay mixed for the first time in the Round Robin. Visit for a sense of history and potentially a glimpse of today’s DC movers and shakers. Open daily from noon to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to midnight Sundays.

If Theodore Roosevelt Wins the Presidents Race

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A perennial loser until recently, Teddy is also a perennial fan favorite. According to the Nats, “Teddy is the people’s champion. He became the undisputed favorite among fans who were baffled by his seeming inability to win, a streak that lasted nearly seven full seasons. He had the skills, he had the drive and he had the brains, but he did not legally break the finish line first until the final regular season game of 2012 – following the Nationals first-ever playoff berth.”

Theodore Roosevelt Island

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In the1930s, Washingtonian’s fittingly honored Roosevelt, a noted outdoorsman, by turning an 88.5-acre island in the Potomac River into a memorial to the 26th president. Landscape architects tamed the island by adding miles of trails visitors can walk or run and from which they can view local wildlife. Roosevelt Island is also a favorite stop for watercraft on the river—canoes and kayaks can be rented in nearby Georgetown. Parking is available off of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The island is open daily with no entrance fee.

National Cathedral

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The National Cathedral was first envisioned by Pierre L’Enfant, the architect commissioned by George Washington to lay out Washington, D.C. in 1791, but it was President Theodore Roosevelt who laid the cornerstone in 1907. The stone came from Bethlehem and was added to a larger piece of American granite. Roosevelt, alongside the Bishop of London, addressed over 10,000 people during the ceremony. The Cathedral is dedicated to serving as a house of prayer for all people, and in addition to services, visitors can tour the Cathedral and its grounds, attend concerts, or climb its tower to view the gargoyles. Admission: adults, $12; youth 5-17, $8; under 5, free. Admission is free on Sundays.

Teddy & the Bully Bar

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Teddy & the Bully Bar is an homage to our 26th president. The food reflects Roosevelt’s taste for simple foods, and the classic cocktail menu harkens back to the golden days of American cocktails prior to Prohibition. The décor reflects Roosevelt’s interest in the outdoors and his “cowboy persona.” Located in Dupont Circle, Roosevelt lived directly across the street from the restaurant’s location during his tenure as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President McKinley.

If William Howard Taft Wins the Presidents Race

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Taft was added to the Racing President roster in 2015. “Bill is the ultimate competitor. A law expert, historian and staunch follower of the Constitution, he is never afraid to take out his competition – or simply stand in their way. Using his mighty stature, The “Big Chief” strikes fear in his racing opponents and often finds himself leading simply because the others worry about the repercussions of causing him to lose.”

The Supreme Court of the United States

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While the first set of racing presidents were the four represented on Mount Rushmore, the addition of Taft was fitting due to his connections to the national pastime. Taft was the first President to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game, and it even took place in DC—on Opening Day in 1910, he tossed the first pitch at Griffith Stadium, home to the Washington Senators. A popular origin for the seventh inning stretch attributes the custom to Taft as well, after he, sore from prolonged sitting, got up to stretch during a Senators game and was followed in the gesture by the crowd. Nationals Park is located in Navy Yard, along the Anacosita River. Visit the website of the Washington Nationals for schedules and ticket prices.

Nationals Park

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While the first set of racing presidents were the four represented on Mount Rushmore, the addition of Taft was fitting due to his connections to the national pastime. Taft was the first President to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game, and it even took place in DC—on Opening Day in 1910, he tossed the first pitch at Griffith Stadium, home to the Washington Senators. A popular origin for the seventh inning stretch attributes the custom to Taft as well, after he, sore from prolonged sitting, got up to stretch during a Senators game and was followed in the gesture by the crowd. Nationals Park is located in Navy Yard, along the Anacosita River. Visit the website of the Washington Nationals for schedules and ticket prices.

Arlington Cemetery

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There are many reasons to visit Arlington Cemetary. Visitors head to Arlington to honor servicemen and women lost defending our country and our freedoms, to solemnly watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and to visit the burial site of John F. Kennedy. However, many don’t know that Taft was the first president to be buried at Arlington, and his wife, Helen, was the first first lady. Taft’s grave is marked by a Stony Creek Granite monument, sculpted by James Earl Frazer. Admission is free. Arlington Cemetery is open 365 days a year, open hours vary by season.

If Herbert Hoover Wins the Presidents Race

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The Nationals have partnered with the White House Historical Society to feature a rotation of modern presidents in the racing roster. The 2016 season features Herbert Hoover, our 31st president.

The National Museum of Natural History

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Both Hoover and his wife, Lou, trained as geologists at Stanford—Hoover was part of the first ever Stanford graduating class. The Hoovers spent their early adulthood traveling the world as employees of a mining company. Honor their geological expertise by heading to the second floor of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History where you’ll find its GeoGallery. The exhibition features gems—including the infamous Hope Diamond—minerals, meteorites, and rocks. Admission is free. The museum is open daily, except Dec. 25, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The National Museum of American History

On Lou Hoover, her White House biography says: “She dressed handsomely; she “never fitted more perfectly into the White House picture than in her formal evening gown,” remarked one secretary. The Hoovers entertained elegantly, using their own private funds for social events while the country suffered worsening economic depression.” Visitors to the National Museum of American History’s First Ladies exhibition can see examples of her evening dresses on display, as well as garments worn by White House hostesses throughout American history. Admission is free. The museum is open daily, except Dec. 25, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Photo Attribution

Washington Nationals Celebrate Win
If Washington Wins
Mt. Vernon
Landsdowne Portrait
George Washington Monument
Jefferson Wins
Jefferson’s Library at the Library of Congress
Jefferson Memorial
The Charters of Freedom in the Rotunda at the National Archives
Abraham Lincoln Wins
Ford’s Theater
Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldier’s Home
Round Robin bar at the Willard
Theodore Roosevelt Wins
Theodore Roosevelt Island
National Cathedral
Teddy & the Bully Bar
William Howard Taft Wins
The Supreme Court of the United States
Nationals Park
Arlington Cemetery
Herbert Hoover Wins
The National Museum of Natural History
The National Museum of American History