The White House
Given the first-come, first-served nature of securing a self-guided White House tour, most visitors admire the imposing building from behind the front gates. The White House is a popular stop on most Washington DC tours, whether by hop-on hop-off bus, bike, trolley, Segway, or on foot.
Paying a visit to the nearby White House Visitor Center—home to a large-scale model of the White House and numerous interactive exhibits—is also a fun way to learn about this iconic building. There are also annual garden tours held in fall and spring, with exact dates announced close to the time.
Things to Know Before You Go
Touring the White House requires advance planning. Submit your request no later than 21 days prior to visiting.
White House tours are on a first-come, first-served basis.
All visitors over the age of 18 must have their government-issued photo ID/ passport with them at all times during their visit.
Bring only the basics—keys, wallet, phone, small camera. You can't enter the White House with backpacks or other bags.
The nearest restrooms are in the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion.
The White House and grounds are wheelchair accessible, but strollers are prohibited.
How to Get There
Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, the White House can be reached by taking the Washington Metro—disembark at Metro Center, McPherson Square, or Federal Triangle. There's no parking available near the White House, so it can make sense to visit on a guided walking, bike, or Segway tour.
The White House is a popular year-round attraction, one that’s easy to admire in all weathers. If you want to tour the White House, you need to submit your request well in advance as spaces are limited. Fall and spring are the best seasons to visit Washington DC and see the arrival of the annual White House garden tours—the exact dates are typically announced a couple of weeks in advance.
Securing a Tour of the White House
To go inside the White House on a free self-guided tour, you must submit an official request to your member of Congress (or your home country’s embassy in Washington) between 3 months and 21 days prior to your visit. Spaces are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and Secret Service members are stationed in each room to answer any questions. If you do secure one of these public East Wing tours, highlights include the Red Room, used primarily for afternoon tea; the Green Room; and the Blue Room, the setting of the White House Christmas tree.
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