White House
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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 3,405 reviews

What a fantastic way to see the city! Had company in from out of town, one of which has issues walking long distances! This was perfect. Because traffic was light and it was so easy to get around, we were able to hop off and have 20 minutes around Lincoln and the reflection pool area and about 10-15 at MLK. Well worth the price if you’re trying to maximize what you can see on a quick trip!

It has an announcement and tells you where you at ( landmark) history about the area and landmarks. They give individual earphones to listen better.I also like the get off and get back on at any of their bus stops , so that was great and.at easy. Mr. James J. Was an excellent tour bus driver .

We really enjoyed just staying on the whole time, stopped for shopping and then went on again...not having to walk in the extreme heat and humidity was awesome! And we still got to take lots of great pics!

I was worried to book based on some negative reviews. Glad we took a chance. Staff was professional. Tour was great! Beautiful views of monuments & sunset. Recommend!

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

Connor was an awesome tour guide! We were able to see all of the monuments we wanted as well as history behind them! So much fun my family had a blast.

Washington, D.C.: 2.5-Hour Sites by Segway Tour Reviewed by