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White House: Tours & Tickets

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Top sights in Washington, DC

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Architectural Facts About The White House

The architecture of the White House is classical while regal, honoring royal British and ancient Greek times. In a neoclassical and Palladian style, the presidential residence has seen many changes throughout its history.

The Men Behind The House

The Men Behind The House

The inspiration for the building came from the only president that didn’t live there, George Washington, who designed it like an English country house with architect James Hoban.

The First Resident

The First Resident

John Adams moved into the White House in 1800 for just 4 short months at the end of his term. With over 100 rooms, Adams frequently commented the residence was "too big."

Fire in 1814

Fire in 1814

In the War of 1812, British troops marched to Washington and set the White House ablaze, destroying everything but the outer walls. Hoban restored it by 1817.

How The White House Was Named

How The White House Was Named

The building was first painted white after the fire. Although commonly called the “White House,” it wasn’t official until 1902 when Theodore Roosevelt made it so.

Withstanding The Test of Time

Withstanding The Test of Time

Despite a second great fire, the same outer walls and classical style that Hoban designed remain intact today -- a cultural icon that has withstood over 200 years.

Our insider tips

Inside the White House

Tours through the White House are in fact available. The tour is free and self-guided, but requires quite a bit of planning in advance. It’s required to apply through your member of Congress or foreign U.S. Embassy 6 months to 21 days in advance. Find your representative here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.

When You Can’t Plan Ahead

Alternatively, if timing doesn’t allow, the White House Visitor Center at 1450 Pennsylvania Ave. is open 7 days a week until 4:00PM. Here you’ll find exhibits and more information on this history behind the building and its legendary residents.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Tues - Thurs 7:30AM to 11:30AM. Fri - Sat 7:30AM to 1:30PM.
  • Is it expensive?
    Free!
  • Will I need a guide?
    Nope! Hard as it is to believe, you can roam the White House alone!
  • How to get there
    Take the Metrorail to Federal Triangle or Metro Center.
  • Additional information
    There are a number of prohibited items so be sure to take a gander at the rules and regulations before you visit.

What people are saying about White House

Overall rating
4.4 / 5
based on 3,106 reviews

Great experience and value (time & money wise)! Highly recommend!!!!!

Tour Guide Josh was AWESOME. As a second generation tour guide, he was so knowledgeable and engaging. He did a fabulous job!! Driver Thomas provided a safe and comfortable ride, even providing ice cold bottled water on a very hot August day! We would never have gotten to all these places on our own, or learned as much. An excellent experience at a very affordable price. So glad we took this tour - great way to experience DC!

Washington, DC: Full-Day Tour and Boat Cruise Reviewed by

One of the best day trips we’ve been on, guide Brian very knowledgable

Thought this trip may be crammed, but opposite was true, plenty time to see the various highlights the coach visits. The driver was safe and smooth, the onboard guide was informative and friendly. If you’re in New York and have a day to spare, do it! It was one of the highlights of our holiday!

Washington, D.C. Day Trip from New York Reviewed by

This was our first time to DC, it was awesome. We really enjoyed it.

We enjoyed everything we saw. The Hop on Hop off bus was excellent way to go around to the different parts of monuments. It made it easy to get around to see them and take it all in. It was also a good idea to include the museum tickets with the tour. This made the trip worth visiting DC.

Amazing guide and driver must be the best in the business

Highly recommended from the knowledge of the guide to the itinerary I have been on many excursions and without doubt this was the best, many thanks to Alan and Adam of Tour America for making this such a memorable experience, a wonderful excursion made even better by the guide and driver

Washington DC Day Trip by Bus from New York City Reviewed by

Excellent tour...great historical insight

Casey was so friendly and extremely knowledgeable about the history of DC. I loved the reference and book suggestion if interested in further reading. Her voice was clear and articulate as a TV news person.

Washington, DC: Open Top Bus Tour By Night Reviewed by

Things to do near White House