White House Tours
The White House in Washington DC serves as both home to the President of the United States and their family, and a museum of American History. Every US President since John Adams has resided there during their Presidential term. Tours of the White House are free, self-guided tours that allow you to see a limited portion of the famous house, including the Red Room, Blue Room, Green Room, and the East Room where state dinners and receptions are held, and where Presidents Lincoln and Kenney laid in state following their untimely deaths.
The President and their home must be protected by the utmost in security measures at all times, but the First Family strives to make the White House open to visitors. In order to ensure safety of both the Presidential family and visitors, certain protocol must be followed in order to enter and tour the White House. We've posted the current guidelines for visiting the White House below, to help you easily complete your plans for visiting Washington DC.
White House Tour Request Process
- Must send a request through your Member of Congress. If you're unsure who is your representative, you can find out at http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and enter your zip code. Each Representative has their own procedure for processing requests, but typically you can make the request online. Be prepared to provide information including name, address, phone number and arrival/departure dates.
- Requests are accepted up to six months in advance, but must be at least 21 days prior.
- Requests are typically responded to within one month of requested tour date.
- The White House does provide a limited number of wheelchairs for handicapped visitors. Be sure to make the request as soon as you arrive at the White House Complex. Likewise service animals are permitted on tours, with prior approval.
- All White House Tours may be subject to last minute cancellation.
- For the most current information on White House Tours, call 202-456-7041.
If you receive approval for a White House Tour, you will undergo security screening several times at the White House Complex. Each visitor over 18 years must show valid government issued ID, and the information much match exactly that provided in the request. The list of prohibited items is extensive, and changes often. To be safe, plan to leave behind everything but your car keys.
While it is certainly a one-of-a-kind experience to tour the inside of the White House, it can be an extremely difficult procedure. However, those who prefer ease of planning will find a variety of sightseeing tours that stop by the White House Visitor's Center. As with the actual White House Tours, visits to the White House Visitor Center are also subject to last minute cancellation, though the booking process is infinitely easier, and with the tours you'll be taken to numerous other popular sites in Washington DC to ensure that your plans are not completely ruined.
Tours Visiting the White House Visitor's Center
The Old Town Trolley Narrated Tour offers hop-on/hop-off privileges for a flexible tour option that stops by the White House Visitor's Center. Aside from visiting the White House Visitor's Center, the Old Town Trolley Narrated Tour also makes stops at, or offers views of, sites including U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court, Lincoln Memorial, Veterans Memorial, FDR Memorial and numerous other popular landmarks throughout the DC area.
The All Day Washington DC Interior Buildings Tour is just that — a full nine hour tour experience that offers an encompassing look at Washington DC. As with every tour on this list, you'll stop at the White House Visitor Center, and stop at other unique locations including Ford's Theatre, Peterson House, World War 2 Memorial, National Museum of American History, U.S. Capitol and National Air and Space Museum. Additionally, you'll find views of many other sites including the FBI Building, Washington Monument, Library of Congress and much more.
Two Day Grand Tour
Those wanting a full look at Washington DC will find the Two Day Grand Tour to be just the ticket. Offering two nine hour days of sightseeing, you'll feel as if Washington DC is your home town. Tour stops include the White House Visitor's Center, the stops along the All Day Washington DC Interior Buildings Tour, and more. And just as with the tour stops, you'll find the same views from the All Day Tour and then some along the Two Day Grand Tour for a complete look at our nation's capitol.
Follow these links for information about touring other famous Washington DC buildings: