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Top sights in Washington, DC
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 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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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/.
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.
- When should I visit?
- Tues - Thurs 7:30AM to 11:30AM. Fri - Sat 7:30AM to 1:30PM.
- Is it expensive?
- 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
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!
This tour was one of the best experiences I had while on the East coast. Our tour guide, Sally, was EXTREMELY knowledgable and made the tour so interesting and fun. Without her, my dad and I would have been wandering aimlessly around D.C., trying to figure where to go and how to get there and what the historical significance of each place was.
Chris was a knowledge & excellent host. He took us through the various sights of DC an explained everything in a friendly and informative manner. I would really recommend this to families as it was fun for the children and they were able to learn without getting bored! Thank you Chris for a lovely afternoon in your beautiful city.
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.
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