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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 2,911 reviews

Knowledgeable live guides and punctual pick up times

Was going to use Circulator, but found out BigBus stopped outside our hotel. It was so hot (90 degrees) so we opted for tickets. We were well pleased with the pick up punctuality compared to our experience in Philly. We used the tracking app and it was pretty accurate. Stop info was enough to give us an idea of what each attraction offered. Particularly we enjoyed the live tour guide (can't remember her name) but she was super knowledgeable and had many close ties to the area. My 14 year old grandson was so impressed with her knowledge he was thinking he would like to be a guide. He loves history and geography.

Great 1st Washington D.C. tour experience.

Dewayne was a very knowledgeable tour guide. He knew details about things that weren't on our tour and made our experience both fun and very informative. Kris was a great driver and very pleasant. The day of our tour, at 12:30 pm the heat index was 106 degrees, but there was plenty of bottled water available to keep us hydrated and the bus was always nice and cool. I don't think I could have asked for a better tour for my daughter's and my first Washington D.C. trip. Will definitely us this tour service for our next trip to D.C.

Washington D.C. 6-Hour Sightseeing Bus Tour 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

Tour was perfect for me and my grandchildren. Better than Bus tour.

My grandchildren and I enjoyed the additional information provided as we approached each stop. The driver was very knowledgeable and personable. Not having to wait for the next “Tour Bus” was a big plus. I would recommend this tour to anyone.

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

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